The livelihood of any neighborhood, let alone a prime location like the North Coast, relies heavily on the retail and entertainment features it provides. CEO of Baky Hospitality Ayman Baky has reshaped the fine-dining culture in Egypt, influencing the concept across his many restaurants in the capital and in the North Coast, including Sachi, Kazuko, Chinko, Lexie’s, and Sachi By The Sea, all of which are highly praised by the general public.
What made you decide to invest in this industry?
I always had a passion for hospitality and food. After the revolution, and with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi taking over the country, I felt safe and began to think of reinvesting in Egypt again. I did not expect to reach where we are now, but I was confident enough that we will be able to get Sachi up and running ahead, given the circumstances back then in 2014.
How do you evaluate the retail/hospitality sector in Egypt?
I personally think it is on the rise. We are currently seeing more entrepreneurs wanting to open up retail and hospitality outlets. The food and beverage (F&B) market in emerging countries is the only sector that does not get affected dramatically, therefore many have turned heads to operate in such industry. The problem is that some inexperienced people invest in the field, and thus, are delivering poor-quality products. However, others are doing a great job.
How do you foresee the sector in five years?
I see it five times bigger than it is today. I see international brand names trying to integrate into Egypt. The more competition, the better of course for everyone, who is doing a good job and delivering a good quality. With the rise of the industry, people will begin to acknowledge which restaurants are good and which are not. It is rather educational to the customer, and at the end of the day, s/he is the winner.
What are the challenges facing the retail sector in general, and your business in specific?
In our industry, the most awkward challenges we face are with product, both on a F&B level. In this regard, we have a selection of proper liquor, wine, and food ingredients to be able to deliver world class dishes or cocktails.
What are the incentives that should be offered to encourage more investments in the retail/hospitality sector?
The government should facilitate and offer easier licensing process, with the correct supervision from the Ministry of Tourism and setting high standards for restaurants to comprehend.
How do you evaluate Egypt’s tourist destinations, especially the North Coast and New Alamein, and how the retail market can help boost their livelihood and make them all-year-round destinations?
We play an essential role in attracting tourism, especially in the North Coast. We are moving to try building the Egyptian Riviera, and this cannot happen without hotels, restaurants, clubs, and, of course, cafes. This industry is key to making the North Coast an international tourist destination that works all year around. And of course, when the New Alamein project is finished, I am sure this will help make the North Coast become a livable city all year round.
When asked about what the future holds for Baky Hospitality, the master chose to keep it confidential at the moment, making us all wondering what his innovative plans are and we cannot wait to find out!