Bateel Dates are known in the region as being the best for personal consumption and as the perfect gift to take to friends and families. We met with Tina Memic, General Manager, Retail & Operations Bateel International to talk about the brands gourmet food business; their expansion plans for luxury Boutiques and her journey with Bateel
Our meeting was at Bateel Cafe on Beach Road, which has a full range of gourmet products with an extraordinary selection of gifts suitable for all occasions. From high-quality dates and premium chocolates, pralines and truffles, to other exclusive fine food products such as date biscuits, nuts and dressings – it certainly is an invitation to experience the exceptional.
Tina is a German national, living in the UAE for over 10 years. She gained professional experience in China, Europe and the MENA region among cultural diversification and change management roles, which today are her key strengths.
Renowned for inventing and cultivating the world’s only gourmet dates, Bateel, according to Tina is the ultimate indulgence. Tina is passionate about healthy food, is an advocate of an active lifestyle and is regarded as the “Date Specialist” of the region.
She is on a mission of education. “Most consumers are not aware of the health aspects of dates and that it is a power fruit of nature. I am on a mission to make the date, tomorrow’s Banana. Bringing ever new taste sensations to the consumer, making them experience new tastes and flavours and seeing their facial expressions while they taste something for the first time in their life is price less, ”states Tina.
Tina is part of the Bateel International and leading their retail and franchise operations worldwide for over 6 years. She is now seen as a figure head who gets involved with training and is hands on with every aspect of the business.
Empowerment for Tina is key for employee development and satisfaction. For her, staff members are often regarded as “exchangeable” into areas they best excel in and this has helped increase sales and customer satisfaction profoundly.
According to Tina, all Bateel products are free of any pesticides and all produced under fair conditions from suppliers honoring “fair trade” agreements. The brand remains fair to their staff as well and is one of few companies that do not ban staff.
There are now 600 employees and Tina maintains a open door policy and she gets involved in HR, Supply chain and Marketing roles. Tina mentions that Bateel will open in 20 new locations in the next 12 months mainly in GCC markets such as Saudi, UAE, three in Kuwait, three in Qatar in November as well as Oman, Bahrain and Jordan.
The brand is also in London and Tina is excited about shop openings in Geneva and Detroit. Taking the brand a step beyond gourmet products, Café Bateel now offers gourmet Mediterranean cuisine which is a worth checking out.
On Tina’s request, I tried some of the desserts and have been going back to the Cafe for a regular fix. It is not just about simple dates anymore with Bateel and I for one am glad that they have brought dates into our everyday cuisine as well.