Meet Dharam Lobin - Restaurant Manager at La Pirogue
May 20 2019
May 20 2019
Situated along the flawless west coast of Mauritius, the four-star La Pirogue provides a stunning and authentic sanctuary for discerning travellers seeking a tropical holiday unlike any other. Located on the water’s edge and amongst lush, tropical gardens, La Pirogue is truly a boho-chic paradise, perfect for romantic getaways or unparalleled family trips.
While some of the drawcards of this magnificent hotel include the array of land and sea-based activities, stunning accommodation, glorious views and a sublime culinary scene, another of the greatest aspects of this hotel is the signature hospitality. Each staff member here plays an integral role in the guest experience, and they do their best to go above and beyond, to constantly please their guests.
To gain greater insight into the marvellous staff at La Pirogue, we chatted to Dharam Lobin, the Restaurant Manager who has not only been in the hospitality industry for 32 years but with the Sun Resorts group for the duration of that time.
Here’s what Dharam Lobin had to say:
How long have you worked for La Pirogue?
I’ve been working for La Pirogue for 32 years and slowly worked my way up to where I am today. Before I worked for La Pirogue, I was a gardener. Then I worked in the textile industry as a sample analyser until the company I worked for closed. After that I moved around, working here and there. In August 1987, I started at La Pirogue as a trainee waiter for six months, after which I became a full-time waiter. I loved the work I did and after working as a waiter for 9 years, I was promoted to Head Waiter, and then in 2011, I was promoted again to Restaurant Manager. The rest is history!
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
As a restaurant manager, you have to be ok with early mornings! Work starts at 5:30 and my shift usually ends at about 18:00, but a shift can last until 22:00. I start the day by scheduling all the events for the day, I like to make sure my team know a bit about the guests who will be dining with us and any of their allergies and preferences. It’s also a time to check the new arrivals, VIPs who might be joining us, special in-house events and so on, just to ensure we are properly prepared for the day. I liaise with the front office regarding any special requests and convey this to the kitchen, make sure the restaurants and logistics of the day are in order and get ready for the breakfast buffet which ends at 10:30.
Once the breakfast buffet is finished, I usually have meetings where I brief the Food and Beverage team and relay any special messages. From 12:30, I manage all the restaurants and bars and debrief the team after the shift. In between this, it’s a lot of office and administrative work (staff scheduling, future event planning, attendances and so on). As the night sets in, I assist the night shift and manage the organisation of the dinner buffet.
What about La Pirogue makes you excited about working there?
Definitely the incredible people that I get to meet and work with. I have been working in the hotel for many years, but what is quite interesting was this is never where I thought I would end up! I wanted to work in accounting.
Once I started working here, however, I realised how important the relationships with my guests were to me and that motivated me to stay. I love meeting new guests and creating relationships with them. Another great aspect of working at La Pirogue is the unbelievable teamwork and the amazing team spirit. It’s also pretty wonderful that my work and my capabilities are recognised and I am awarded every year by the hotel.
What are some of the things guests enjoy the most about what you are offering?
I pride myself on having very good communication skills (hugely important when you work in the hospitality industry). I also love to solve problems and to work efficiently, always helping my guests as quickly as possible and giving them tailor-made services - no ask is too great or small for us.
Why, in your own words, do you think your role at the hotel is so important?
Ensuring everything runs smoothly at the restaurants is hugely important in order for the guests to fully enjoy the culinary delights offered at La Pirogue. I work hard and have been here for a long time and have also established great relationships with the guests, many of which return, and I like to think I play a part in that! That’s why I think my personal role is so important.
What makes working at La Pirogue so special?
This hotel is so wonderfully unique and it’s been here for years so we really know how to provide exceptional experiences for our guests. La Pirogue's team is great, the management is excellent and we constantly aim to provide the signature, warm Mauritian hospitality to our guests.
What is your most treasured memory from your job?
There are two big ones that have really stuck with me. The first was that in 2015 the hotel gave me the opportunity to do my degree at Vatel - the International Hospitality Management School, and once I had, I was promoted. I was then awarded the best employee of the year and was given a trip to South Africa as a prize, which was truly amazing.
The second memory that stands out is when the hotel re-opened in 2017 after some major renovations. It was such a special time for us and the event itself was spectacular! One of the most memorable events of all time.
What is your favourite part of your job?
That’s a difficult one! In fact, there’s no one answer - I love everything I do!
What made you want to work in the tourism industry?
As I mentioned earlier, it was a number of factors that led me here, but it was the chance to meet new people, interact with guests and even form relationships with them that made me love the industry and want to stay in it.
What part/element/facet of your country are you most proud of?
I love that Mauritius is so multi-cultural, but that we totally accept each other and live in peace. It’s a wonderful country.
What does La Pirogue offer that many other hotels don’t?
We have an exceptionally unique beachside Seafood BBQ that is out of this world, a wine bar, a tribute to jazz and our signature Mauritian hospitality - you will find it hard to find these elsewhere!
How do you welcome new staff members?
Most of the time the people who join the hotel industry, especially in the Food and Beverage department, come from middle-class families. They really just want to get a job, learn new skills and improve their financial situation. So when a new employee joins our team, we ask them some personal questions to understand them better (such as their family situation etc.), then we explain the hotel and how everything works and fits together and we try to find the best possible role for them.
We take time with our new employees and teach them with patience in a simple language before throwing them in the deep end. Because a high standard of hospitality is so important to us, we want people to feel very comfortable and confident in their roles.
What are your thoughts about the Tourism Industry in Mauritius?
Sadly, I think the Tourism Industry is declining because of poor offerings by the country - we are not offering tourists what they really need. But it gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves a question; are we offering tourists what they need, or are we offering them what we have? We must constantly strive to offer them the products and services that they actually want, which is what we at La Pirogue strive to do constantly.
If you would like to experience La Pirogue’s exemplary hospitality for yourself and would like to interact with exceptional and hugely dedicated staff members such as Dharam Lobin, who is sure to take care of you in the restaurants and bars, then book a stay today. A holiday at La Pirogue is sure to be one for the books.