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Name: Marc Antoni Ledesma Turiño
Graduation year: 2006
Program name and specialization: BBA in Global Hospitality Management with Marketing
Current position: Director of Concept Development Restaurants & Bars Marriott International (Middle East & Africa)
A career in hospitality can be a rewarding one. From rising through the ranks, to meeting new people and challenging the status quo – there’s a world of opportunities out there, if you apply yourself. Alumnus, Marc Antoni Ledesma Turiño, studied at the Les Roches’ Marbella and Bluche campuses before heading to the Middle East, via his family’s Spanish seaside restaurant. In a recent interview, he shared his journey so far and the lessons he’s learned along the way.
“After graduating from Bluche in 2006, I moved back to Spain to work in my family’s seaside restaurant for the summer. At the end of the summer I travelled to Dubai where I had a couple of interviews lined up. Within a week of arriving, I had managed to secure a job.”
Marc Antoni’s career has moved quickly since then, working with international Hotel chains and F&B consulting companies, as well as leading independent restaurant companies and corporate hospitality brands. “I’ve now been working and living in the Middle East for the last 12 years, during which time I have enhanced my skills, networked and given myself the best chance for future career growth”, he said.
“As you move through the ranks, your day to day stakeholders change from end-customer facing positions with little management interaction, to leading customer facing teams and being responsible for the growth of the business. You’ll also be focussing on developing the skills and the career growth of the teams that you manage.”
“It is important that you have an end goal and that you involve yourself to the fullest in every layer of the industry at every position level you hold. Never forget that you must master your current post in order to lead others tomorrow.”
It is the best feeling seeing an idea work and positively affect those around it.
In his current role as Director of Concept Development for Restaurants & Bars at Marriott MEA, Marc Antoni’s responsibilities are many and varied. “I love to get involved in the strategy and development of a new idea, working out the nuances and putting them to the test to eventually seeing it materialize and impact the market”, he said.
“It is the best feeling seeing an idea work and positively affect those around it. My team and I design concepts for restaurants and bars, mostly within hotel environments in different markets around the Middle East and Africa. The goal is to attract and provide a viable alternative to the communities around the hotel, these concepts can span from lower tier hotels to the highest end of the spectrum.”
Constant self-improvement helped me to reach my current role
“If you feel you need to improve your skills on a certain aspect that is going to help you reach your goal, the best thing to do is to dive into it without hesitation. Once you are there you will figure out how to deal with it and eventually master it.”
This spirit of constant self-improvement, industry involvement and determination through the daily challenges is what helped me to reach my current role.”
“It is important that throughout restaurant and bar concept development phases you challenge the idea itself, conduct market researches, taste panels, visit and experience similar concepts, innovate and come up with a vision that is different and unique, yet accepted and needed by the community.”
As well as reading market trends and thinking creatively to meet them, Marc Antoni’s role also encompasses strategic and operational duties. “There are many other responsibilities in my day to day, concept design is just one. I am also responsible for bringing the idea into reality, working together with designers, architects and engineers through the design and construction phases”, he said”.
“I also coordinate with the operations teams through the pre-opening and opening phases to make sure, the entire guest experience remains true to the original concept and ultimately naturally allow guest to have emotional connections with the product.”
“Self-development is continuously ongoing. It should never stop. You must look to yourself to learn and develop in the areas that you need. Be critical with yourself and seek sources of knowledge from peers, industry institutions, market leaders, competitors, suppliers and of course educational institutions. Your industry and market are continuously evolving and adapting, and so should you.”
“It might change as you move ahead in life but first; choose your goal. Be inquisitive learn the different business models and push the boundaries to achieve it, do not be scared to take a risk. Above all, be happy with what you do and respect your environment.”
So, there you have it, Marc Antoni’s seven career-boosting habits that have taken him to his current role as Director of Concept Development Restaurants & Bars for Marriott MEA. They’ll work for you and anyone wanting a successful career in hospitality, and beyond.
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