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Unit A2 Al Majaz Waterfront Sharjah
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(06) 764 8167
Unit A2 Al Majaz Waterfront Sharjah

The UAE-based restaurant hiring those made redundant by the pandemic

The UAE-based restaurant hiring those made redundant by the pandemic

While the world of work has profoundly been impacted by the novel coronavirus this year, the UAE community is standing together with their little acts of kindness to share moments of positivity in the country.

While recruiting amid the pandemic can be quite tricky, Spice Grill located in Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah opened its doors on October 24 becoming a ray of hope by stepping in, by hiring those that have been specifically made redundant due to COVID-19.

Discussing the selfless move to help people get back on their feet, owners Christine Caringal-Melad and Lourds Adalia-Evertse explained they wanted to “set an example and lead an initiative to other business owners”.

“The UAE has done a great job on protecting and prioritising our safety during this pandemic,” they explained. “As a genuine gesture of giving back to the community, let’s prioritise employing those who lost their jobs.”

With a seating area of 300 diners both indoors and outdoors, the newly-opened restaurant has already hired around 17 competent candidates and wants to provide more opportunities for more people in the future

Emirates Woman recently sat down with owners Caringal-Melad and Adalia-Evertse, founders of Spice Grill, to see how they are managing to give back to the community during these trying times.

What are the key challenges that you faced while opening this year?

COVID-19 has pushed back all of our plans, we were supposed to open our restaurant in April but it was delayed to October 2020. All came to standstill due to pandemic and we heavily experienced challenges such movement restrictions in the UAE due to lockdown and we had to pause construction that led to a further delay in opening. Not to mention the fear if we will be able to pick up since F&B is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Have you noticed a growing trend in deliveries amid the pandemic?

Yes, as most people are frightened and reluctant to go out. This resulted in increased home delivery demand. However, despite the sudden change in F&B demand pattern, it is of human behaviour that we see the need of having to socialise with others provided that safety precaution measures are in place which is the number one priority across not just the food industry but all establishments and individuals.

How many staff members have you hired so far and how many do you wish to do so in the foreseeable future?

We currently have 17 team members and we are aiming to hire the next batch of skilled individuals giving preference to those who were affected by COVID-19. We are optimistic that we will be able to do this once the restaurant becomes busy given that we are already approaching nice weather in the gulf.

Around how many applications were received when you made the announcement of hiring?

We interviewed around 200 applicants during the hiring process. We have carefully selected those who have qualities, skills and good attitude to be part of Spice Grill family.

It’s a really special move you’ve made – what was the driving force behind helping those who have been made redundant?

We ourselves have been affected by the pandemic too. During our earlier discussions, we thought of things on how we can make a difference despite these trying times. We have genuinely prioritized those applicants who lost their jobs and give hope to people during this pandemic.

To ensure the truthfulness of each candidate’s story, the duo screen each applicant’s documents and social media handles. They also prefer that applicants come to their store to apply. ‘When applicants come to the shop and we like their demeanour and profile, they get interviewed right away,’ Lourds said.

With this hiring style, Spice Grill is more than ready for their opening later this month. ’The restaurant is more than just a passion project for us, It is also a symbol of persistence and hope,’ the two best friends say in unison.

Asked about candidates that they were able to help the most, the entrepreneurs recounted the story of their current barista who lost her job of 12 years. ‘She received a competitive offer in Abu Dhabi but she instead signed with us,’ Lourds narrates. ‘When we asked her why she joined us, the woman said: “Because at my lowest, you were there. When I had lost all hope, you took me in.”

What has been the reaction from staff members you have hired and from the clientele you have attracted since opening?

All our team members who had almost lost hope when they got redundant felt so blessed and thankful that they have found new jobs to support their families back home.

As from our clientele’s point of view, they were truly moved and touched by our story, and the word of mouth is spreading. It has always been our values that in these simple ways, we have managed to make a difference and gave hope during this crisis.



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