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Anthony Rahayel, founder of no garlic mo onions in one of his visits.

For the love of food, an interview with Anthony Rahayel!

2021/06/03
By Nadine Hashem

Who doesn’t love food?

 

We all sure do and we all recall moments where we drooled over an instagram picture for a juicy burger or a pinterest pepperoni pizza.

 

If this happens to you frequently then I can tell you one thing, join the club!

 

 

When we talk about the passion for food, we definitely say no garlic no onions, the famous page launched by Anthony Rahayel and featuring the most delicious food around Lebanon.

 

For the love of food, we interviewed Anthony Rahayel trying to know more about his drive, motives and experience in restaurants’ sector.

 

 

Browsing the page of no garlic no onions is a journey by itself.

 

 

A journey that takes you to the hidden gems in Lebanon holding the unique taste of every village or city.

 

Food blogging has become one of the most reliable marketing tools a restaurant can choose.

 

Do you need it as a restaurateur?

 

Yes, indeed.

 

More than ¾ of internet users read blogs.

 

Food bloggers influence readers and followers’ choice whether in purchasing or eating, the article written by Anna Ruby explains.

 

 

So, how did it all start and how did the food passionate become one of the most famous if not the most famous food blogger in Lebanon?

 

 

Rahayel stated that in 2012, he started to visit restaurants in Lebanon and write honest reviews on different aspects of the restaurant including the service and most importantly the taste and quality of the food.

 

He even had to show his meals’ receipts at the beginning to followers to make sure they know his reviews are unbiased.

 

The motives behind these reviews were no doubt his passion and love for food and on the other hand, his love for Lebanon, every inch of it.

 

 

He continued as a food blogger up until 2014 when he decided to shift his reviews to small and unknown businesses all over Lebanon.

 

Why did he do so?

 

Rahayel clarified that he wanted to spread awareness about hidden gems in different areas of Lebanon, hidden food spots that deserve to be under the spotlight, especially the ones that don’t have any social media or TV presence.

 

His aim was to encourage local tourism as well as international tourism at later stages.

 

In the meantime, his online presence was becoming stronger. He started his TV show and YouTube channel and started to reach more people.

 

About the support he provided to restaurants, he clarified that his reviews or visits to certain small restaurants drastically increased their sales.

 

Certain businesses were able to own their own restaurants after taking part in Souk El Akel events while others were able to open new franchises in other countries.

 

 

He was and still is focusing on smaller businesses that don’t have an adequate chance of reaching a bigger audience.

 

Around the corner bakeries, small butcher shops with familiar faces, small neighborhood specialty shops, all these are the focus of the famous food blogger.

 

 

Anthony Rahayel in one of his visits to local restaurants

 

When he was asked about the impact of the last two years on the restaurant industry with the spread of COVID-19 and the restrictions imposed, he clarified that the restaurant industry is still operating in an acceptable manner.

 

However, an economic shift occurred to adjust to the Lebanese market demands which he previously discussed in his articles two years ago.

 

The expansion of big chain restaurants had to slow down, giving a chance for smaller restaurants to function, the thing that happened during the pandemic.

 

 

To the question, “what about the economic situation in Lebanon, its impact on the business and how to survive it?”Anthony answered, “unfortunately, certain restaurants but not all of them have sacrificed their quality to maintain the same profit margin.”

 

 

“Restaurants have to realize that we are in a survival phase. They need to maintain their food taste and quality in order to remain competitive. They should sacrifice their profits until the economy thrives again.”

 

 

“Restaurants should find alternative ways in doing their business. They might consider opening an additional shift, decrease their expenses through closing some of their outlets, considering delivery services, renting a kitchen space to non-profit organizations, adding a daily platter to their menu and so on.”

 

 

“The key for survival is to be able to adapt to the current situation until things change again for the better,” he added.

 

 

To the question about his work internationally, he explained that in the continuing efforts of providing consultancy to Lebanese businesses, he was always supporting Lebanese franchises anywhere in the world.

He visited Australia and UAE offering support and advice for Lebanese entrepreneurs and looking for broader coverage in other countries.

 

Anthony is full of hope about the future and he is looking forward to brighter days.

 

We simply have to believe in ourselves, remain positive and simply know how to adapt to overcome this phase.

 

 

He finally concluded that it takes passion, love for quality food, professionalism and commitment to own and manage a restaurant successfully, so “let’s not forget that.”

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