In a few words tell us about yourself.
My name is Mekwuye Eric. Born into a large and average family. Third to the last born. A fellow at the Association of Professional Chefs, Nigeria. Catering & Hotel management (OOU), Nigeria Hospitality management (AIU), USA International foodservice HP, Paris-France Total Quality Management -TQM, Nigeria Key Accounts Management – KAM (LBS), Nigeria Service First – Key to customer satisfaction (SQI), UK Foodservice general equipment, Dubai-UAE International Bartending Course (Shaker BarSchool), South Africa Master Certified Food and Beverage Director (SUNY-GFI), USA Certified HACCP Professional (SUNY-GFI), USA And over 8 different Hospitality Professional Certifications. Developed top-notch recipes around various equipment; Developed and conducted various live cooking shows for top chefs and business owners; Conducted classroom and on-site training on foodservice operations, food safety and HACCP for over 4000 industry workforce; Designed, equipped and commissioned various restaurants, bakeries, Cafe and kitchens including multinationals’ guesthouses.
What inspired your interest in the hospitality and tourism industry?
The fact that guest mainly arrives unhappy but leave very happy.
What’s your vision for the hospitality & tourism industry?
An industry manned by at least 80% of Nigerian hospitality professionals with world-class delivery. An industry exporting its home-grown professionals to other parts of the world as expatriates.
In what ways has your company contributed to the growth of the hospitality industry and its stakeholders?
HM is more of a revolutionary movement than a company. Driven with the passion to correct the wrong perception that hospitality industry jobs are stop-gap measures or for those not academically sound for other professions, our core objective is “building hospitality professionals” through globally recognized Certifications and world-class Hands-on Professional education. Within four years, HM has helped almost three hundred Chefs, Restaurants operators, Hospitality business owners, Quality Assurance and other hospitality practitioners in West Africa to earn the Professional Certification of the State University of New York-Global Foodservice Institute. Many of these ones are now ‘breaking barriers’ in their workplaces and getting professional connections, well-deserved promotions and still others, taking up higher job functions at various hospitality firms within and outside Nigeria! In December 2017, we launched West Africa’s first state-of-the-art Hotel school – Hospitality Business School (HBS).
This is believed to be a veritable Pedestal for the industry. With HBS, Nigerians and West Africans do not need to seek world-class hospitality education abroad, thereby avoiding sacrifices associated with seeking such abroad. Programmes are designed to teach EVERYTHING hospitality in state-of-the-art REAL-LIFE settings! Accreditation, Partnership, and endorsements include Ministry of Education, State University of New York-Global Foodservice Institute, International Foodservice Execute Association (since 1901), Association of Professional Chefs, Nigeria. HBS course faculty consists of international Chefs, Restaurateurs, Sommeliers, Mixologist, Room division Directors/managers, F&B Directors/managers, Consultants, Successful investors, Thought-leaders and Subject-matter experts. HM through its consulting arm has helped previously existing restaurant brands recruit/onboard new employees and developed new product recipes. We have also successfully designed, equipped and commissioned new brands that are doing well in the market.
What are your major challenges in your business?
What are your thoughts on the state of the hospitality & tourism industry in Nigeria?
Very bad before now, but thank God, it’s getting exciting daily. We are having ‘thinking and doing’ professionals now. Professionals who are working to see the industry better rather than “sit and complain”
How do you intend to join in the campaign of changing the game and perception of the hospitality & tourism industry in Nigeria?
Consistently working on acts of industry development.
Words of wisdom for intending and current industry stakeholders.
For intending, “work and learn until nothing more”. And for current stakeholders, “maintain a culture of continuous career development and be generous with knowledge”.