The ever-expanding Igor's Group is in hiring mode, and experience is not always necessary THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS is booming in Hong Kong, and diners looking for new gastronomical delights have a wide variety of cuisine to choose from. But this has not always been the case. A decade ago, customers in search of western food had to go to a restaurant in a good hotel to find what they wanted. Now, there are many restaurants that offer good-quality western food. The Igor's Group set the tone in 1998 when it opened its first outlet. Since then, the number of its outlets have multiplied to 21, making it one of the most established western restaurant chains in Hong Kong. And the company is still expanding. It opened seven outlets last year, and five projects are under way. 'Overall, we are looking for people in all areas,' said Linda Kwan, marketing director of Igor's Group. Apart from restaurant staff, the group needs a wide range of professionals in administration, accounting, marketing, PR and even graphic design. With the opening of its new outlets, there is great demand for restaurant managers. An able supervisor can become a junior manager, then a manager and then a general manager with even more responsibilities. 'Usually, we give restaurant managers a smaller outlet to manage so that they can prove their skills before we move them on,' Ms Kwan said. 'Our company policy is to promote from within when possible.' For those looking to extend their range of experience, there is room to learn. Igor's Group operates not only restaurants, but also bars, clubs, lounges and cafes. Ms Kwan said being flexible, adaptable and open-minded to changes, as well as having good communication skills were necessary qualities to become a successful member of the management team. Managers must also be able to make quick decisions to grasp opportunities. 'Those who are used to a slower pace and are not flexible will have a hard time working in our company because we are always adapting to changes in a competitive market environment,' Ms Kwan said. Candidates who are passionate and excited about the business, and enthusiastic and willing to learn are preferred. 'We are looking for people who have that extra something.' Previous experience in the restaurant business is useful but not necessary. However, to provide quality customer service it is important to be patient and understanding. Successful candidates will be joining a great team led by young senior management with a similar mindset and a drive to lead changes. 'We work long hours, but we are trying to make it fun,' Ms Kwan added. While there are plenty of challenges, there is a lot of room for creativity. Apart from the exciting and challenging opportunities, the company offers attractive salary packages and the opportunity to learn. 'We are all learning as the company is growing.' While recognising that competition is getting tougher, Igor's Group believes there is still plenty of room for growth. Though the company started out small, it is now one of the fastest-growing western restaurant groups in Hong Kong, offering quality western food at a reasonable price that appeals to many people. To keep that edge in the marketplace, the company emphasises the importance of creating and maintaining a good rapport with its customers. Attention is also given to creating a pleasant ambience in its outlets. 'We do things a little bit different. It is important that people enjoy what they do. If we manage to keep ahead of the competition, it comes down to the great people we actually have,' Ms Kwan said. On a platter Recruits will be joining a rapidly growing business. Igor's Group is recruiting at all levels. Successful candidates must be willing to learn and be passionate about the industry. There are many opportunities for young professionals as the company is trying to promote from within. The opening of several new outlets in Hong Kong will create new career opportunities.