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In a League of its Own

by Deborah Joy Peter 1 Aug 2012
In a League of its Own

When Lebanese-born restaurateur Joseph Sabeh Afaki quit his banking vocation almost half a decade ago to start a food and beverage business in Malaysia, even he wasn’t entirely convinced that spearheading Al-Amar Lebanese Cuisine was a step in the right direction, career-wise.

But exactly four years later and after having witnessed a growth so significant, the chain’s Managing Director is taking it up several notches this year with a brand new name and the introduction of a ‘social circus’. Do we mean tigers, elephants, stunt masters, lion tamers and clowns, you wonder. Well, let your imagination run wild.

The rebrand officially took effect in May. With a shining new portfolio which now also includes Main Course Catering Services and entertainment outlet Circus, opening in August, the initiative was necessary in order to steer the brand’s core audience towards being able to identify the group above and beyond just Al-Amar.

“I wanted to move away from being portrayed as Joseph of Al-Amar, Middle Eastern cuisine or just Al-Amar, hence the trademark transformation to The Eatertainment Group, the main umbrella under which Al-Amar Fine Dining, Al-Amar Express, Main Course Catering Services and Circus are now positioned,” the entrepreneur and visionary shares.

Since then, working painstakingly to reposition itself as contemporary food and beverage service provider with international flavour, the company as a whole is dedicated to adding value to the local market by continually bringing in fresh concepts and ideas. Circus will feature a bar, cocktail lounge, live entertainment, kitchen and restaurant; all the elements which guarantee a great night after a long day.

In the spirit of altering mindsets and driving change, the brand retains its quality of ‘exclusivity’ by being the only Middle Eastern restaurant in the country by far to serve Lebanese wines and beers, while its kitchen ingredients are brought in from purely halal suppliers.

Meanwhile, the group is also starting to look at expanding its beverage portfolio to include other wines. As Lebanese wines tend to be on the pricier side, the introduction of alternative selections supports the aim of catering to a broader clientele. With plenty more in store, possibly even a regional expansion in the coming years, one thing remains clear: Joseph is just getting started.

“I choose to believe that with time, the right marketing strategies, promotional objectives and a sufficient amount of brand awareness created, people will come to both fully understand and appreciate our evolution into something much bigger and bolder to serve them better.”

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