From his role as Marketing Director for an international hotel chain, to his years of managing a slew of successful restaurant openings, Tony Garcia has built himself a reputation as a seasoned culinary veteran with a knack for marketing.
His expertise couples well with Dr. Hussain Rahal’s entrepreneurial mindset. Their latest collaboration in Ottawa is Fairouz, an upscale restaurant offering a modern take on Middle Eastern cuisine.
“It all started with a conversation we had in NYC, over seven years ago. We had been talking about doing something together, on and off,” says Garcia.
The pair was always planning multiple ventures, but Garcia says this opportunity came first because the property was already owned by Rahal. He also knew the time was right to bring some new spice to Ottawa’s dining sector.
“Both Ottawa and Canada as a whole are extremely diverse with a very large immigrant population that both appreciates, respects, and enjoys, each other's cuisine,” Garcia says.
The Fairouz.ca story
Fairouz has a history in Ottawa. Before it closed its doors a few years ago, it was a formal, fine dining restaurant back when fine dining was defined by having tablecloths.
“It was a family-owned-operation that focused on the traditional Lebanese table,” explains Garcia.
The new Fairouz flaunts more modern cuisine with a more casual yet slightly luxurious setting.
“We are trying to fill a gap in demand for premium, upscale, dining in Middle Eastern establishments,” Garcia says of their approach with the new Fairouz.
The company has hired top talent such as Chef Walid El Tawel, the former Executive Chef for Restaurant Eighteen, as well as accomplished sommelier, Adam Weiss, also of Eighteen and Brookstreet Hotel. Even the restaurant’s approach to ingredients has been refreshed, with the addition of a specialty herb-growing fridge.
On choosing .CA
“The global conversation has moved online,” says Garcia.
We feel in order to be successful and communicate effectively with our future guests, we must do so online.
Fairouz’s online marketing strategy includes a full search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, optimized by both review marketing and search engine sites. Social media also plays a large role.
“We will have our own presence through our blogosphere and we will have social media driven traffic through multiple platforms, Instagram and Facebook,” Garcia says.
While social media is an essential component of any company’s marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the exclusive channel mentioned in your strategy. Creating your own website establishes credibility for businesses, and allows for ultimate control over the look and feel to appeal to existing and potential customers. From a branded domain name (like mygreatbusiness.CA) to customized design and functionality, to the ability to blog and sell products online, a website allows businesses to define its own identity and grow beyond the confines of social media platforms.
Having a .CA site was a first choice for the team at Fairouz and Garcia recommends it for any Canadian entrepreneurs looking to launch their business online.
”We’re a Canadian restaurant, so we feel it is important to operate as such. It’s part of our identity,” he says, adding the setup process was easy and quick. “We searched for and found our domain right away. It’s actually the first thing we did. It was quite easy.”
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