Mission to open Marcopolo
by Mr.Suman Pandey
WHY WE TOOK THE INITIATIVE TO REVIVE MARCOPOLO RESTAURANT ?
It was in 1988, when we opened a Trekking Company, Himalaya Expeditions Inc. It was my first step in Tourism Career. My business was basically a “One man show” where I was a General Manager as well as a messenger. At that time, Mr. Rubiolo Battista, commonly known as “Robi” was running “Marcopolo Restaurant” in Thamel. He was already a popular name among travellers. He helped me find a place for my office on the 2nd floor of a residential house right across his Restaurant. That’s how our friendship started!
I have seen lots of ups and downs in my 30 years’ long career but the Restaurant “Marcopolo” run by Robi during those days has left a significant impact on my life. It used to be quite busy throughout the day with full of native Italians, Spanish, Americans and other International Tourists that include well known people and celebrities like Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Chris Bonnington etc. During the time, Nepali were rarely going to Restaurants. However, there were lots of Nepali from well-off classes to whom Marcopolo Restaurant at Thamel was a common name. For an amateur who was just into the business, Marcopolo Restaurant was a great demonstration of successful enterprise and made me realize how good and dignified a catering business could be in terms of profit, engagement, networking and ultimate happiness.
As Robi have widely travelled over remote parts of the Himalaya and throughout Indian sub-continent, people used to come to meet him and discuss about ideas on travelling. His recommendations to tourists were very meaningful and I got many Italian and other nationals through his reference for Trekking and Adventure holidays that kept us busy during the initial days. Robi was always available to guide me at difficult times which helped me to grow as an independent professional without much risk in a very short time. It was the Marco Polo Restaurant where I had my first experience of Italian food, Pizzas, Pastas and Lasagne and I have felt my whole life that “If there is a good Italian food, it should be like Marco Polo Restaurant’s!”
Due to some problems, Marcopolo Restaurant was closed in 1992. However, Robi continued visiting Nepal as a good friend of the Country. As of today, Robi is recovering from a major surgery in Italy and wishing us all the best. I also wish him a speedy recovery and love to see him travelling again soon. Robi’s love for Nepal, his entrepreneurial spirit and selfless heart has inspired me to open Marcopolo Restaurant at Chhaya Center, the best Business Complex built in Nepal so far. Marcopolo is my tribute to my lifelong friend Robi for his great contribution to my upbringing as a Professional in the Nepali Tourism Industry along with an ambition to re-invent the authentic flavor of the Italian food that I first experienced thirty years ago. In simple words, all I want is to re-establish Marcopolo as a successful and profitable enterprise by connecting its thirty years’ history with an ever growing future of prosperity!
Hope you will have a memorable time at Marco Polo!
Contribution towards Nepal Tourism
MARCOPOLO’S CONTRIBUTION IN NEPALI TOURISM
Whether it is for Tourism Industry or any other fields contributing towards Country’s wellbeing, we decide to make Marcopolo Restaurant a model project to serve the society and stand as a model of inspiration for others. So, we will be working in the following areas to fulfill our commitment that ensures our journey towards excellence.
1.) TOP QUALITY BRAND
Marcopolo Restaurant shall be run as a bench-mark in terms of production, service, ambience, management and consistency. To achieve this objective, we are backed with top level International experts as Consultants:
a.) Oliver Klopf: A German Master-Chef based in Indonesia after completing Twenty Years long Journey in the field of food Production. (link)
b.) Bert Van Walbeek: Originally from the Netherlands, Hotelier for 45 years and Marketer of Tourism for 35 years, a Motivator and a Master of Disaster for 25 years and a lecturer for 15 years. (link)
c.) Gisi Walbeek: a German certified hospitality trainer from the family of Hotel entrepreneurs, served as Senior Executive and General Manager in many renowned Hotels. (link)
d.) Maple: An award winning Interior designer who has the Credit of designing the “Pavillion Phuket” and also “Pavillion Hotel” in Pokhara, Nepal. (link)
e.) Khem Lakai: The CEO of GATES College, the best Hospitality College in Nepal accredited by Swiss Hotel Association, Mr. Lakai himself is a Graduate in HM from Switzerland. (link)
Our entire planning including design, management, vendor and material selection, quality control, training etc. have undergone through the direct or indirect supervision of the above team of consultants and whatever we do in our business is thoroughly reported and approved by them.
2.) BUILDING THE YOUTHS
We look forward to forming Marcopolo Restaurant a platform for skill and career building to benefit Nepali Youths. It shall stand as a ground for proper orientation, training and motivation to help them become an independent professional of International standard so that they can gain employability skill to fit anywhere in the world and bring benefit to the Country. Their level of skill shall be constantly monitored, evaluated and certified by our group of Consultants for recognition in the International market.
3.) EXPANSION, MANAGEMENT, FRANCHISE AND ENTREPRISE DEVELOPEMENT
We also envision our rapid growth in the F&B Industry in the future and look towards possibilities of opening more restaurants and/or share knowledge through management handling and distributing franchise outlets. We seek more people to benefit from our knowledge, skill and strength to become independent entrepreneurs.
4.) MORE EMPLOYEMENT
As we seek to create a successful business expanse with top level service through our own units, managed business and franchised outlets, backed by International Consultants and integrated team of Nepal, we hope to create a significant volume of opportunities to Nepali Youths for employment by honing their skills through our trainings and in-house working opportunities. We also have plans to use our contacts and networks for their placements in the best international brands.
5.) ONLY ETHICAL
Through the units of Marcopolo, we aim to implement ‘Only Ethical’ practices through sustainable approach and proper financial discipline. We try to go for ‘as much’ organic supplies, reduce energy consumptions, plant trees against firewood used, low impact actions against nature. Various CRS Projects shall be launched, and strict financial practice and tax discipline shall be maintained.
Hands Behind us
Dr Bert “Bow-Thai” van Walbeek has been an Hotelier for 45 years and Marketer of Tourism for 35 years, a Motivator and a Master of Disaster for 25 years and a lecturer for 15 years. He is an active international consultant at Marcopolo. He was Chairman of PATA Thailand Chapter, Co-Chair of the Education & Training Committee, Chairman of the PATA Rapid Recovery Taskforce and presently chairs the Tourism Committee of the Netherlands-Thai Chamber of Commerce. He also became a member of the Marketing Committee of TICA (Thailand Incentive & Convention Association), and was the Founder and first President of the Thailand Chapter of SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Executives).
His expertise is well-known in the Asian MICE Industry. He has trained hundreds of participants
together with the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA), Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association ( ATA). He was conferred lifetime award of Honorary Doctor of Letters (Hon DLitt) by the University of West London. He also has been an Adjunct Professor at various Thailand’s Universities and Honorary Professor at Shanghai Normal University. He is a renowned speaker and guest lecturer at Universities in China, Germany, Macau, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the United Kingdom; and companies like International Herald Tribune, Amadeus, Essilor and Schott Zwiesel; and associations like APEC, ICCA, PATA, UNWTO and WTTC.
He is also the author of a MICE case study book "Dr. MICE" and the co-author of a Crisis management guideline called "Bounce Back”. Currently, he is lecturing the “Next Generation”, through Master Program courses on Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Events.
Gisi, a German certified hospitality trainer, is an International counselor at Marcopolo. She attended Hotel College in Wiesbaden, doing her apprenticeship in the famous Hotel Rose in Wiesbaden. Her early hospitality career began from the Schlosshotel Kronberg, and afterwards joined Lufthansa in Frankfurt. While living in Bangkok she picked up her career again as Bangkok’s first female General Manager in Swiss Lodge, a 48 room boutique hotel, the first of its kind in Bangkok. Later she was in charge of the pre-opening phase of the Paradee Resort on Koh Samed, for product development, as well as management structure and selection.
Although officially retired, she still helps her husband Dr. Bert in various projects and lecture assignments.
Oliver Klopf, a German Native and a freelance consultant of Marcopolo, has been actively involved in F&B & Hospitality industry for 20 years. He is consulting Marco Polo for revenue generation and quality control. He also provides intensive training on quality control, empowerment, sanitation and skill classes in F & B. As a Master Chef, Certified Chefs’ Trainer, Certified Butcher and Consultant Executive Chef, Oliver has served in many reputed hotels including Marriott. Achiever of various awards, he has been honored by three culinary stars by Bello Mono Restaurants. He hosts cooking and culinary classes in Boston on a regular basis.
Moreover, Oliver has been participating in inspecting F&B outlets and looking after setting standards and organizational procedures of hotel, restaurant, banquet, catering etc. around different parts of the world.
Khem, a Certified Hospitality Educator, has 20 years of hospitality career in Europe, North America and Asia. He holds a Management degree and a Hotel Management degree from Chur, Switzerland (SSTH – Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality). He is the founder CEO of Global Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Education. A visionary thinker, he is both strategic and interpersonal, implementing new ideas that work in a wider global scenario. He participated in the “World Tourism Forum – Switzerland” as a single invitee from Nepal in 2013, and also in “World Hospitality Think Tank – Paris” in 2015. He is actively involved in establishing the hospitality sector of Nepal in the Global scenario.
Maple is a leading Thai interior designer with a strong background of art, luxury resorts and high end real estate business. She is the owner and director of Coconut Groove Interiors Co. Ltd located in Phuket, and the former director of Galleries Martini, an international art dealer gallery situated at Phuket, Thailand. She is involved with Marcopolo for expert consulting services. Currently, she is involved in many ongoing projects in various countries like Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Indonesia and Uganda.