Unlocking the secrets to the success of Em Sherif with Mireille Hayek 

Unlocking the secrets to the success of Em Sherif with Mireille Hayek 

Mireille Hayek is an intuitive, spontaneous and meticulous restaurateur. However, she doesn’t take success for granted. In this exclusive interview, Hayek shares her story and what drives her ambition.  

As a successful businesswoman, what advice would you give to fellow restaurateurs?
At Em Sherif, we attribute our success to being attentive listeners. Our customers play a crucial role in our growth, and we value their feedback as we strive to improve our cuisine every day. Our recipe for success is founded on perseverance, and we prioritize our customers above all else. We make it our mission to achieve excellence and consistency in everything we do, going beyond just food, service, and interior design. Ultimately, it’s about creating a unique and soulful dining experience that resonates with our customers.

What makes your concepts appealing to audiences in the Middle East and Europe?
To achieve success, we believe that the main ingredients are quality, consistency, perseverance, presence and authenticity. As a skilled home cook, my passion for showcasing Lebanese culture and my family’s support have fueled my desire to become a flagbearer for my country’s cuisine. At Em Sherif, we strive to create an immersive experience where customers can touch, see, taste and feel all the aspects that make up our unique landscape. Our goal is to create an authentic and soulful atmosphere in every Em Sherif location.

Your restaurants are  sought-after franchises. How do you pick the right franchisor?
We look for a good mixture of experience, portfolio and financial capabilities.

Your daughter, Yasmina, was heavily involved in developing the menus at your concepts. What can you tell us about this mother-daughter collaboration?
Together with my daughter, we form a formidable team. I bring my knowledge of the market and understanding of Lebanese culinary techniques, while my daughter contributes her expertise in innovative cooking techniques and design.

Do you have any expansion plans or new concepts in the pipeline?
We have several openings scheduled in the GCC region and beyond, including Em Sherif Restaurant in Oman and Dubai, Em Sherif Sea Café in Riyadh, and Em Sherif Café in Oman, KSA, Bahrain, Jordan and Irbil. Em Sherif has also expanded to Europe with the opening in London at Harrods, Monaco at Hotel de Paris and soon in Greece, France and Switzerland. We recently launched Em Sherif Deli, which offers ready-to-eat items from its extensive menu. The first outlet started operating in Harrods London in January 2022 and the concept is expected to rapidly expand throughout all the territories in the coming few years.



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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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