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Slice of life
My name is Amar Ramdhanie and I am the area manager for a national chain of an international pizza restaurant.
As a little boy, Chaguanas was rural. And then it just blossomed into what it is today: a city [that] can rival Port-of-Spain. We have everything in Chaguanas! And I dare say we have the most beautiful women in Trinidad. Because that’s where I met my wife.
I’m a Chaguanas guy and my wife, Roma, is a Chaguanas lady and we’re one of those nice little Indian love stories. Roma and our son, Sanjay, are the reason I’m here. Job, prestige, nothing matters once I have them.
Typical lifestyle for Trinidadians nowadays, young, successful entrepreneurs and business people like myself: you don’t really have the time. Even my little boy. The only time he gets to spend with the cousins is, like, one day on the weekend.
One of my biggest regrets was not excelling the way I should have at school. My parents’ separation took a toll on me. I was now getting into junior secondary school, age 11, you now starting to play the fool, as they say, and I played the fool a lot! But I was one of the fortunate ones who was able to turn it around.
People [forget] it is simple things that make you happy. Getting up in the morning and looking at the sun. Seeing the joy on my son’s face at the beach. I like to see my wife next to me, smiling at me when I wake up. Sometimes it’s not always the case.
We like to say, “God must be a Trini” – but do we really understand what we mean by that? You can find so much positivity in the little things you do every day.
I’m a very unorthodox Hindu: I don’t believe I need to go to a temple to find God. I don’t need a pundit to say my prayers for me.
My wife loves to go to the cathedral in Port-of-Spain. She finds it so tranquil. She’s not Catholic. You’ve got to take from that positive energy wherever you find it.
I started off in business at the age of six, seven years, walking around the market, going from person to person, with a basket in my hand, selling Indian delicacies. I’ve come full circle and am back walking around, meeting people, greeting people. It’s an excellent way to make people happy!
You can’t have salad and health drinks all the time, you’ve got to have a balance—but I have cheese-in-crust pizza ALL the time! I think it’s the most fantastic thing we have.
I’m in charge of making sure all seven restaurants run effectively and efficiently [to] provide the great customer experience customers expect of us. You can’t do that from an office, you have to do it from the ground. So I visit every restaurant every week.
The textbook definition of customer service is to do everything possible to make sure your customer has a good experience. But customer service, for me, is making sure that, when customers walk through the door, they ask for me by name.
The best thing about my job is engaging the customers. A negative would be that you do sacrifice family time.
Trinidadians and Tobagonians like to say we’re friendly people but I don’t think so. We want to follow how the Americans carry themselves but it isn’t the right way.
I love my country to death but, as a people, we are so ignorant, we don’t see the beauty we’re living in. It goes from the crime to the way we interact with one another to the way we litter constantly. Villages are divided now, homes are divided, and that division is getting us nowhere, fast.
We need to stop saying “government” and look and see what we as a people can do to fix things.
A Trini is two words: passion and pride.
Trinidad & Tobago is the best country with the best people. We’re the jewel in the crown. All we need to do is polish it.
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