July 23 - 29, 2007

Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers came into being on July 17, 1982 and is the internationally managed five-star hotel in Pakistan. Since hotel industry is closely linked with the local food industry, PAGE had the chance to talk with Mr. Thomas Flindt who is the Deputy General Manager of Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers, he has worked with the Sheraton hotel for many years and has come from Food & Beverage background.

PAGE: Tell me a bit about yourself. How long have you been associated with Sheraton in Pakistan?

TF: I have been with the Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers, since April 2003 for almost four years, and have been associated with Sheraton International for the past twenty five years.

PAGE: What are the main challenges that our hotel industry is facing in Pakistan with regard to food and beverages and their supply?

TF: I guess the main challenge that we face is the Proper delivery system -i.e. refrigerated trucks for all fresh goods. Though certain fruit and vegetables are only available in certain seasons, but for an international hotel, it would be an added advantage if most products were readily available round the year.

PAGE: Give me a bit background of Sheraton, does the Sheraton import any food items or does it wholly work with the local food industry?

TF: The Karachi Sheraton is utilizing as many local products as possible, but as mentioned before, there are certain items that are not available year round, which forces us to make imports. For certain specialty restaurants like Italian and Lebanese, many products are not available locally; as they are not part of the daily usage for the main population, hence for these types of foods we have no choice, but to import.

PAGE: What is the general response of the food varieties being introduced by Sheraton, how popular are they and which is the most popular of them?

TF: The general response is very positive, and there are many popular menu items. As we have a variety of restaurants, it is difficult to point out one particular item.

PAGE: Do you think that the consumption of the new varieties of food is having a good response or you have some other views?

TF: I believe the Karachiites are quite willing to try new varieties of food, and I think it is very positive; this will encourage more restaurants to try out new things, and not only offer the "old" Paratha Roll or things like that.

PAGE: What are the future expansion plans of Sheraton with regard to its food?

TF: We are constantly developing the menus of the restaurants, as well as organizing international food promotions, and we will continue to do so. Next up on the International food scene will be an Italian promotion to be held in the Cozmo Restaurant in early November, where two Italian Chefs are flying in to tantalize the taste buds of the Karachiites

PAGE: Do the food offered by Sheraton face any kind of challenge in the hotel industry competition or does it carry its own image and clientele?

TF: I believe we are facing stiff competition from all serious restaurants in town, which is very healthy, as it keeps all chefs and restaurateurs on their toes, to constantly offer the best to their clients. Surely the Karachi Sheraton has its own reputation in the market and has a large number of loyal clients. I believe that by being innovative and offering good quality one can sustain ones reputation and clientele.

PAGE: What are the main consumption items that you take from local market?

TF: Almost all kind of vegetables, fruits, meats and seafood, dry goods, dairy items etc etc

PAGE: How is Sheraton helping our local food industry?

TF: I think we are helping the local industry by buying quality foods from quality suppliers.

PAGE: Any suggestion or message that you would like to mention through this medium?

TF: I hope the government will support all local industries to develop and thereby improve all products, ensuring that imports are kept to a minimum.