In focus: Mama Zonia Restaurant

3 years ago by

In an exclusive interview with, Alessio Ruffoni, the General Manager at Mama Zonia spoke to us about the customer experience offered at their restaurant and how their Amazonian themed restaurant is different from others. He also talked about how they are operating during this pandemic and ensuring guest safety.

In focus: Mama Zonia Restaurant

Q: Tell us a bit about your restaurant and what sort of cuisines do you offer?

Alessio: Located in the heart of Dubai Marina on the 2nd floor of Pier 7, Mama Zonia brings diners in Dubai an Amazonian paradise like none other. With an irresistible array of impeccable South American to Asian dishes, Mama Zonia Dubai brings you the ultimate spot to treat both your eyes and your soul. The interiors of the restaurant replicates wild luxury and has all the essentials to unleash your wild side.

Q: What makes Mama Zonia unique as compared to other restaurants?

Alessio: The design is unique, once you step inside the restaurant you will get the feeling of entering a wild place and our staff always tries to give the customers a personalized service.

Q: What mechanisms do you have in place to gather customer feedback?

Alessio: From waiters to the manager, we try to speak to our guests during their meal and check each table.  I am also very active in reading and answering Trip Advisor, Google, Zomato, Facebook and Instagram.

Q: How do you ensure your staff delivers ‘service with a smile’?  

Alessio: I am quite lucky to have a team which is naturally very positive.  We are not a team we are a family. Like we always say treat your guests the way you will treat your family and friends.

Q: Do you have any staff training programs in place and what key soft skills do you focus on?

Alessio: Staff training comes in two ways. For new staff, we usually place for each new employee a buddy trainer. For the rest of the team we do have weekly trainings that can be done in-house or could be outsourced as well. For example, coffee training, spirits, beers etc with the assistance of an outsource company.  Our main focus are the products that we use, the sequence of service and guest feedback from the previous days.

Q: In light of the ongoing pandemic, what are some of the changes and safety measures in place at your restaurant?

Alessio: While making reservations we avoid the queue at the restaurant, more staff training in regards to personal hygiene. Payment for brunch is being done at the table instead of the entrance. We also remind each guest to wear a mask, while leaving the table.

Q: How do you ensure that your guests are maintaining social distance at the restaurant?

Alessio: At the time of the reservations, the guests are told of the maximum capacity of the table. When asking to have two tables we do remind them that distance will be in place and people are not allowed to move around. During lunch or dinner, from the manager to the waiting staff, everyone is entitled to make sure these rules are being followed. The security also goes around to check.

Q: Do you offer any vouchers or loyalty programs to customers?

Alessio: We are in partnership with Emirates Skywards miles and our guests will be able to collect miles while spending at Mama Zonia.

Q: How do you plan on making the customer experience better in the future?

Alessio: We are working on the new menu and we will make the service much more interactive. We will have more interactions with the guests from food to drinks. We will also introduce a special night once the bar is fully operational.

About Alessio Ruffoni

Alessio Ruffoni is currently the Mama Zonia General Manager with over 25 years of experience in the food and beverage Industry. Since childhood he was passionate about cooking. One year after his graduation, he moved outside Italy as a waiter to Dublin and worked for 3 years. After 3 years he worked in Manchester UK working for Radisson Hotel as F&B Operation Manager. After missing the sun in 2006 he decide to move to Dubai where he joined the Royal Meridien as Restaurant Manager. Till then he has always worked for five star hotels and in 2008 he decided to join Frankie’s & Marco Pierre White Restaurant as General Manager and from there he always worked for standalone restaurants.