What does Kitopi’s Director of Business Excellence do every day?
Meet Lays Laraya, our Director of Business Excellence, and learn about her role in driving Kitopi’s mission to satisfy the world’s appetite!
Lays joined Kitopi in January 2021, bringing with her rich experience and knowledge gained from some of the world’s most iconic hospitality names such as Disney Cruise Line, the Burj Al Arab, and Kempinski Hotels.
As the Global Director of Business Excellence, Lays heads the Business Excellence function across all our markets, overseeing the standards and continuous improvement processes of all functions to ensure Kitopi can grow and scale efficiently while delivering superior customer experience every day. To do this, what does a day to day entail for Lays?
Everything that revolves around how we can become- and remain- the best for our customers!
‘In Business Excellence, there is really no day like the other. The projects we work on range from launching a new market and training or new colleagues on compliance subjects such as Food Safety, to partnering with the Tech Team to develop a new tool for recipe management. Yet, while my day is never defined by a set routine, the responsibilities of my function revolve around:
Quality: implementing the highest standards across products, services, and processes in all areas of our business
Compliance: ensuring our Food Safety and Health, Safety and Environment standards are truly a class above the best
Integration: facilitating seamless integration of kitchens and restaurants of our invested brands through adoption of Kitopi’s standards and practices
Each of the areas above is overseen by a leader based out of Dubai, and supported by our team of talented and dedicated Business Excellence heads in all our markets. With the unique nature of each market and the rate at which Kitopi is growing, the day-to-day reality is, expectedly, less predictable than in other organisations.
Kitopi is the first tech company I am working for, and it’s been a unique experience for me. Unlike more traditional organizations I’ve been with, Kitopi is extremely agile and flexible. While I’ve found happiness at every job I’ve held, Kitopi stands out in that I have true freedom to bring every aspect of who I am to work. Given that we are in a hyper-growth phase, the workload can be intense. Yet, the culture at Kitopi is so magnetic that it is hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else.
When asked about how she maintains a good work-life balance in such a dynamic environment, Lays shares that instead of pursuing balance across all areas of life, she believes it's best to focus energy on what one is truly passionate about. 'No one can have it all together and trying to achieve that can be an obstacle to achieving excellence in anything we do. I have two main life passions - one is Business Excellence (luckily for Kitopi, there is hopefully no dropping of balls here!); while my other passion is flying Emirates (and only Emirates!) on an average of once a week. This means that I rarely have holidays lasting longer than 3-4 days, and resting becomes the ball that often gets dropped. Fortunately, I have been able to maintain an effective work routine despite this, thanks to Kitopi’s Work from Anywhere policy, which allows me to work from Dubai one day, and New York or Florida the next- or in fact, even from the air!’
On her vision and hopes for Kitopi, Lays shares that ‘I joined Kitopi to be part of a team who would transform how F&B is done, and I am confident that we can complete what we started- whilst redefining excellence!’