FACT Chats: Kashif Hussnain, F&B Manager at BurJuman Arjaan by Rotana

With over a decade of experience in Dubai’s hospitality scene, FACT discusses challenges, goals and inspirations at BurJuman Arjaan by Rotana with F&B Manager, Kashif Hussnain.

What can diners expect when dining at BurJuman Arjaan by Rotana?

The Café 302 tagline says it all: EAT, DRINK, & CHAT. It’s a friendly atmosphere that serves specialty coffee, delicious meals and is a great place to hang out with friends and family. This large area is furnished with comfortable tables and chairs. It is a great location to conduct business away from the usual office environment. Café 302 is renowned for its specialty coffee and cold brew coffee made in the Kyoto style to make your working day more productive. Additionally, we offer affogato coffee, a dessert made of ice cream or gelato combined with one shot of espresso. And, of course, our guests always look forward to our freshly made sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and pasta.

The hotel boasts several exciting concepts, including Café 302 and Pool Snack Bar. Which is your favourite and why?

As for me, I am an indoor person more than an outdoor one. I would rather sit down with friends in calm and cosy places like Café 302 and have a clear chat while enjoying a meal or coffee. Colourful earth tones, an elegant design, and a dynamic atmosphere add to the vibrancy of the café, which makes me feel more relaxed. I also take into account how sustainable the venue is, as well as the food they serve, which should be environmentally friendly and made with fresh, local ingredients. The last thing I consider is how comfortable the atmosphere will be.

Kashif Hussnain

Let’s talk a little more about Café 302. What are the restaurant’s signature dishes?

In every restaurant, no matter how huge their menu is, there are always the bestsellers. Café 302 is known for its beef burger, club sandwich, superfood bowl, vegetarian and vegan dishes, Jain food and gluten-free options that are all made in-house. And on top of that, our signature drink, the cold brew “Kyoto style”, is slow drip cold coffee that takes between 12 and 18 hours to brew.

How did you start your career, and what is it about the hospitality industry that inspires you?

I started my career in a Captain position in 2010, almost 12 years ago. For me, hospitality is all about working with passion and interest to meet our guest’s expectations. So they can have a memorable experience, where they create a few fantastic memories. 

Kashif Hussnain

As Food & Beverage Manager at BurJuman Arjaan by Rotana, could you tell us about your day-to-day role and what keeps it challenging and exciting? 

My workday usually begins at 5:30am until the restaurant closes. I typically work with my laptop in the restaurant so that I can have direct contact with our guests. This way, it is easy for me to assist with any restaurant and banqueting requirements we may have at any given time. It is challenging for my team and I to have busy days consecutively where both the restaurant and banqueting are fully booked. However, I am thankful and blessed to have my team and we support each other as we have one common goal. This is what motivates me most in the day to day operation. When not involved operationally, I work with the commercial team on new strategies and forecasts or liaise with our Chef to discuss menu options and exciting new trends that we could apply. 

With so much on offer at the hotel, what can we expect from BurJuman Arjaan by Rotana in the coming months? 

In the coming months, we plan to launch our special summer drinks. We also plan to introduce new theme nights like vegan night and look forward to celebrating Café 302 Dubai’s second birthday in September.

Kashif Hussnain

What do you believe restaurants and nightlife venues must do to stay relevant and ensure success during these unprecedented times for the industry?

I firmly believe that offers after working hours contribute to keeping the venue alive. That includes running a happy hour offer alongside special theme nights that will drive footfall and new faces at the restaurant. And to make sure we will meet the expectations of our guests and the restaurant’s target revenue, we are planning ahead with the projected expenses and how we will communicate the promotion to our diners. 

What would you say sets BurJuman Arjaan by Rotana apart from your competitors in the marketplace? 

I think the personalised service we are giving to each and every guest of the restaurant. Apart from the vast options of dishes from our menu that cater to everyone, we ensure that customers feel relaxed, from the seating arrangements to our friendly approach. At that moment, when walking into the Café, they start feeling at home. And most importantly, the location itself as we are in the centre, with easy metro access and connection to BurJuman Mall. 

Kashif Hussnain

When eating out in Dubai, which restaurants are your favourites and why? 

I personally like dining at speciality restaurants. My perception of food goes much deeper than nourishment. I want to see the latest trends and how the interior perfectly blends with the food concept. Most importantly, the authenticity of the cuisines they are serving is thrilling to me. From the ingredients used to the presentation, every speciality restaurant has a story and unique means of presentation. At Rotana, we have several highly recommended speciality restaurants, such as Teatro, Rangoli, and Benihana – all must-try restaurants.

Please share some of your professional goals for the rest of the year. 

For the remainder of 2022, I expect to gain new skills and keep the hype of Café 302 going by using new trends and styles. Boosting my networking abilities will help me in any future partnership; I plan to undergo cross-training with sister properties to gain more experience, especially regarding the pre-opening of hotels within Rotana. And last but not least, to improve our sales and productivity numbers in alignment with our sales and marketing initiatives. By the end of the year, I am looking forward to having positioned Café 302 Dubai as a much higher scale restaurant and not just a café. 

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