An exclusive interview with Henrik Winther, President and Owner of Tigrus Holding.
Can you tell us more about the philosophy behind the sustainable and eco-friendly approach of Tigrus Holding?
Tigrus holding is built on values such as quality in everything we do, positive emotions, development and motivation of employees, efficient use of resources, and care for the environment. The last principle holds a special place in our strategy. It is not a marketing move or a tribute to fashion, but a new reality. It is important to realize the impact of our business on the surrounding world and take steps that will help offset the negative consequences. As part of the holding’s initiatives, we follow the principles of conscious consumption, implement programs for preserving wildlife, and work on offsetting our carbon footprint.
Tigrus Holding operates over 40 restaurants globally, what inspired you to bring the restaurants to Dubai?
The UAE is known for its stable economy, high population incomes, and multiculturalism. Despite the fact that Dubai’s restaurant market is saturated and very advanced in terms of cuisine diversity and concepts, after studying it for a year, our team has concluded that the city lacks quality establishments in the casual dining segment. Our brand concepts, Osteria Mario and Shvili, met all the requirements and did not undergo major changes when introduced to the region. Italian and Georgian cuisine are popular and easily understandable to consumers around the world, so we only slightly adjusted and supplemented our traditional menu with local specialties.
Tigrus Holding is working on an initiative to protect Caracal in the UAE, which are under threat of extinction. Can you share with us more details about this initiative?
In each region where we are present, we strive to support various environmental and social initiatives. Here in the UAE, we are in the process of studying and discussing opportunities to support and protect the caracal. Only after careful examination of the issue, we can discuss necessary measures and specific steps. For example, as part of our initiatives in other regions, we combat poaching and forest fires, help with the renewal and repair of park vehicles and off-road vehicles, organize population monitoring, and engage in environmental education for the population.
Can you speak about the challenges and opportunities of implementing sustainable and eco-friendly practices in the Middle East?
In the process of implementing environmental initiatives, regardless of the region, various types of difficulties often arise. When launching projects in Dubai, we noticed that the number of suppliers offering quality eco-friendly alternatives to our bags, straws, napkins, disposable utensils, packaging, etc. is severely limited. These aspects are very important to us. Another aspect of working with ESG principles is raising public awareness and conveying the message that not only specialized companies but also, we ourselves should take care of the health of the environment. It is important to convey this message not only to employees but also to guests and partners.
How does Tigrus Holding’s sustainable and eco-friendly approach to restaurant operations benefit other businesses?
The consequences of implementing ESG principles can be: increasing brand recognition, including HR branding, and increasing the company’s value; developing employees through work with involvement in a large common cause, their greater engagement and effectiveness; high guest loyalty, which manifests itself in an increase in the frequency of visits and average check. And, of course, many decisions lead to direct savings and cost reduction. For example, abandoning plastic straws, strict control over water and electricity consumption.