Tell us something about yourself.
I believe that achieving success is a never-ending journey. Each accomplishment is a stepping stone towards learning and one’s own betterment. I, Aamer Rafique Qureshi, am a philanthropist, a columnist, an analyst, and above all, an entrepreneur. Other than the hospitality trade, my business portfolio includes Real Estate Development, Corporate and Overseas Legal Consultation and an Immigration Law firm. Allah has been kind. By His blessing, I am the Chairman, Global Investments Committee, Vice Chairman, Hospitality Committee and Vice Chairman, Banking Committee of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Not only this, I am also the Chairman, Restaurants, Hotels and Catering Committee of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry & Vice Chairman, M.M Alam Road Traders Association Board. I had also been honored with the post of Deputy Chairman, Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), Home Department, Government of the Punjab.
What brought you to the hospitality business?
Basically only ambitions and curiosity! Hospitality industry always fascinated me and with Allah’s help and His gift, rest is history. Hospitality is a wide and varied field. It provides exiting opportunities to groom oneself professionally and as a person. Anyone in hospitality greets new people, customers and colleagues and cops up with the situations to put his/her skills to trial. This is what I love about the business. It is really exhilarating!
What is so special about The Poet?
Delicious food, great hygiene, professional staff and a mesmerising ambiance are what make The POET so special. But one thing that makes us distinct is our belief that our strength lies in treating our staff like a close family as if they were our own flesh and blood. We religiously believe that it is our people who at the end of the day make everything about The POET so special from food and ambiance to hygiene. Even though the opening of The Poet was on 14 May 2018, by Allah’s grace, in a short span of time, we are proud to have become a trendsetter in the restaurant industry of Pakistan by providing safe, healthy and hygienic food with extraordinary presentation including flames and dry ice fog “special effects” with latest culinary standards. Best rooftop vantage views of Minar-e-Pakistan, situated in the middle of dancing fountains, complimentary golf cart, photographs and cakes for birthdays and anniversaries add to our specialties.
What is the biggest challenge in the hospitality business?
There is a modest saying that ‘Health is Wealth’. In this field of business, I believe that protecting and providing safe, healthy and quality food and environment is the biggest challenge of which I have first-hand experience. Adherence to strict quality assurance and food quality standards were the key elements which aided me in overcoming this hurdle.
What sort of competition do you witness in the hospitality industry of Pakistan?
Every hospitality business in Pakistan enjoys its own market share and everyone strives to gain maximum out of it. What I’ve witnessed is cut throat competition in this industry. If you are not prepared to take decisive actions when time requires, someone else is going to snatch your market share from you. You must always grab opportunities. Survival is not easy by any means.
Do government policies favour hospitality industry in Pakistan?
In my view, none of the government policies favour any industry in Pakistan and so I believe that it is high time that we as an industry must rise and voice our demands before it is too late.
Is relevant education necessary before joining the hospitality business?
Absolutely, one must know about the waters he/she ought to swim in. Also needed is ambition, brains, determination, discipline and consistency and of course guidance, which I believe COTHM is doing well, transforming dreams into tangible realities. I may add that relevant education is definitely a plus in every profession and hospitality is no exception, but experience, passion and acumen play a vital role for one to excel.
What are your future plans?
I believe that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. My future or dream, you may say, lies in introducing safe and hygienic culinary standards all across Pakistan which involves an ambition to expand the Poet domestically and internationally. Another aim is to unite the hospitality industry at one platform in order to address the ever-emerging challenges and hurdles that slow down or impede our progress.
How did you manage your restaurant operations after coronavirus pandemic?
Restaurants are believed to be known by their food which one cannot disagree with, but I believe that after this pandemic, restaurants will be known by their hygiene and safety standards first and since The POET has always upheld safety and hygiene above all, it was not so difficult for us to adapt to the pandemic situation. Yes, it is true that coronavirus has affected us like all others.
Any message for the readers?
When your head is on the pillow and the day is almost over, count Allah’s blessings and count them one by one! Believe me, it is the best of self satisfaction that you will ever experience!