On the Move

105968 30 Jan 2020

Gates Hospitality Announces New Appointments Across The Group

James Dawkins as Director of Operations and Darryl Downs as General Manager

Dubai, UAE, January 2020 – Gates Hospitality announces two additions to their senior management team with the appointment of James Dawkins, Director of Operations across all Gates Hospitality venues and Darryl Downs who will take on the role of General Manager at folly by Nick & Scott.

 “We’ve added two exceptionally strong players to the Gates Hospitality team with James and Darryl – both are experts in their field and I’m really proud to have them onboard as we start 2020.” comments Naim Maadad, Chief Executive Office, Gates Hospitality. 


 James Dawkins

Director of Operations

Nationality: British

Brand: Gates Hospitality (Bistro Des Arts, folly by Nick & Scott, Publique, Reform Social & Grill, Stoke House, The Lion, Verve Bar & Brasserie)

Role & responsibilities:

  • Development of management team, their growth and succession
  • Setting and delivering goals to ensure promotion and company growth
  • To ensure drive on top line sales, and full conversion to bottom line profit
  • Oversea daily activity of the venues, from people development, marketing/promotions, supply chain, operational issues,
  • Implementation of SOP’s and process to ensure the company move forward as one entity

Number of years in the business: 27 years

Work history:

June 2015 – December 2019, Group Operations Manager 4-front Facilities

Nov 2012 – June 2015, Area Manager, Carluccios Restaurants

Jul 2010 – Nov 2012, Operations Manager, New Ultra Limited

Jun 2007 – Jun 2010, Operations Manager, Spice Inns

May 2000 – June 2007, Area Manager, ASK Restaurants Ltd

James comments: “Gates Hospitality has always been a company on my radar with an intent to have some kind of involvement at some point in my time here in the UAE. Naim and his “local heroes” have successfully delivered multiple concepts both in the local and international markets, offering fantastic F&B options delivered with passion and attentiveness in welcoming and relaxed atmospheres.

Delivering on the four core beliefs of Innovate, Belong, Enrich and Engage I have joined to ensure these beliefs and success are continued and driven through, whilst also ensuring we as a company are working as one team ensuring the continued future success of Gates Hospitality.”



Darryl Downs

General Manager

Nationality: American

Brand: folly by Nick & Scott and The Rooftop at folly

- Oversees front of house operational management and success of folly by Nick & Scott and The Rooftop at folly

- Maintains operational standards and success by implementing policies and standard operating procedures along with ongoing training that ensure productivity and the highest standard of quality service.

- Orchestrates and implements business plan for outlets, done so by surveying restaurant demand, identifying and evaluating competitors, and conferring with the guest community; ultimately preparing financial and sales projections and estimates.

- Drives customer growth and retention and outlet brand recognition by establishing and executing influential marketing, PR and advertising campaigns in line with market trends, demands and the differing clientele per season.

- Preserves customer satisfaction by monitoring and evaluating the entire guest experience from the greeting and arrival and delivery of food and beverage to the end of their time with us, initiating any improvements or enhancements as required; as well as establishing a memorable rapport with each patron.

- Conducts a successful team through ongoing recruitment and selection where relevant, as well as the ongoing training, coaching, counselling and discipline of associates as and when required. Maintaining effective and open communication particularly with regard to role expectations and standards and the implementation of ongoing appraisals of performance and employee satisfaction are paramount to ensure a cohesive and positive work environment.

- Tasked with inventory and financial budget management for both outlets, providing effective cost control is in place

- Assures and maintains a safe and secure environment for both employees and guests by establishing and enforcing critical sanitation standards and procedures, adhering to all health and legal regulations

- Enhances the professional and technical knowledge of self and team by understanding emerging trends in the restaurant and hospitality industries through a variety of methods including but not limited to the attendance of educational forums and conferences, evaluation and bench-marking state-of-the-art practices, the review of professional publications as well as the participation in relevant professional societies and organisations.

- Achieves company goals and objectives through the ownership and accomplishment of business needs and requests and by exploring and implementing additional opportunities and strategies that will enhance business performance.

Number of years in the business: 25

Work history:
June 2017 - April 2019, Director of Operations, Ena Restaurant Group, Dubai UAE

October 2014 - May 2017, General Manager, The Hide American Meatery & Bar, Jumeirah Restaurant Group/Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Dubai UAE

2011 to 2014: F&B Department Head & General Manager, The Capitol Bar & Grill, The Capital Hotel, USA

2003 to 2010: Owner & Managing Partner, Cheers Restaurant & Bar, USA

1989 to 2003: Held Regional Director and General Manager roles at highly successful independent and franchised restaurants throughout the United States.

Darryl comments: "folly by Nick & Scott has been one of my few 'go to' restaurants in the UAE since its opening almost 3 years ago. The combination of Nick and Scott's creative and impactful menu, knowledgeable service and superb wine list have kept folly on the forefront of the rapidly changing Dubai restaurant scene. I intend to not only hold on to that successful trajectory but also to enhance it with my own touch of personalised service, promising any diner's experience at folly will be truly remarkable. I also want to bring more awareness to The Rooftop at folly, our separate entity above folly, with arguably the best views of Madinat and some spectacular sunsets and a beautiful array of cocktails and mocktails to match. The potential for The Rooftop at folly to grow as its own brand and outlet is immense.”