As HORECA publisher and
founder, Ryan Galea has combined
his passion for hospitality with
his natural flair for all things
entrepreneurial. Here he chats to
Jo Caruana about his love for the
sector and his plans for the future
of this publication.
Ryan, let’s start with your background and expertise.
Where did you get started?
I come from a family-based
retail background, which has successfully run the Surplus
& Adventure stores for around 20 years. The latest project
in the pipeline is The Adventure Hub, the first corporate
adventure park in Malta, of which I have been appointed
CEO. The park will incorporate a number of activities
including paintball and lasertag, zipline, obstacle course,
together with camping areas, catering facilities and much
more. It’s been seven years in the making and I am looking
forward to launching the project in the coming months.
On a personal level, I have been involved for more than a
decade. with Innovative Solutions, which sells customised
menus and displays to the Hospitality sector. Moreover
I used to own a distribution company which was very
successful for over 20 years. That has now given way to
other projects such as the upcoming Adventure Hub. As
you can see, I love variety and developing new things!
What inspired you to start HORECA?
It was a logical
step forward for me, having been already involved in the
Hospitality world. I believe I understand our target market,
which enables us to create the content that the industry
needs right now. The result is very specialised, which is
exactly what the sector requires. It is crucial that, through
our distribution network, we know exactly who is receiving
the magazine, where they work, and what their job role is.
Our reader database, who each receive a hand delivered
copy, are the key decision makers in the industry – hotel
and restaurant owners and directors, chef patrons, executive
chefs, purchasing managers, food and beverage managers,
and so on. I was inspired by each of them to create the
HORECA Malta brand. It’s about doing something different
that really is of value to the people reading it.
How has the project developed since it started?
Today I can
proudly say we’ve reached the seventh edition of HORECA
and we now have a readership of around 30,000 between
our print and digital platforms. Yes, our social media is going
strong but print is still critical to our success. A print copy
is always a print copy, and the feedback from many of our
clients is that they still want to receive the printed version.
The magazine is published quarterly and boasts a high
visibility and penetration within the various Horeca sectors.
There’s plenty of opportunity for future development, too,
which is very exciting.
What do you enjoy about the project and why is it
I am passionate about food, and I love the
Horeca industry as many people do. The sector is very
important because Malta depends on it in so many ways. But it’s also a sector packed with fantastic stories that can serve
to inspire others, which is critical in itself. I also hope to play
a small part in encouraging young talent to become the
industry leaders of tomorrow.
How has the hospitality industry in Malta changed since
you got into it?
It’s changing constantly. It’s become very
competitive, so, today, you must have an excellent, longterm
strategy to succeed. There’s no room for failure,
especially as information now spreads like wildfire on social
media and can be very damaging, very quickly.
no reason to lose confidence. I think we have some of the
highest industry standards and talent in Europe - if not the
world - despite the fact that human resources remain a
significant challenge. The most important thing to know is
that your people will make or break your success, so it is
worth investing in them.
What do you predict for the future of the hospitality
It is still recovering from COVID and will be for
some time. But the next challenge is already round the
corner: price hikes and product shortages. That said, as
long as nothing extraordinary happens in the short-term to
cause further turmoil, there will be a bright future for the
hospitality industry and people will have the confidence to
start investing again.
Nevertheless, competitiveness should
be front-of-mind, both on a consumer and national level.
Together with the Government, who has backed the various
Horeca industries over the past couple of years with a
number of subsidies and incentives, all stakeholders must
work together to keep Malta on the right track and ensure it
remains a favourable destination.
How do you hope HORECA magazine will evolve in the
We will keep up momentum and deliver the
excellent quality that our readers have come to expect.
The plan is to expand, progress and continue to target the
right niche audience and industry. We are at the moment
busy working on projects which will diversify the current
operations of the Group.
These include Horeca Events,
Training, Gourmet Travel and more. We are excited to see
how these ventures will pan out … I would say ‘watch this