Christine Sfeir, chief executive of restaurant group Treats Holding, operates a restaurant chain called Semsom in Lebanon. The country was devastated by a 15-year civil war, which ended in 1990, while the effects of its 2006 war with Israel and the problems in neighbouring Syria mean it remains politically unstable. Ms Sfeir says the turmoil has affected the way she runs her business. When she recently opened a new branch of the restaurant in Lebanon's capital, Beirut, she planned a red-carpet launch with local celebrities, high-flying business people and media all in attendance. But two days before the grand opening, trouble broke out an hour away from Beirut. Soldiers driving tanks continuously past the restaurant meant they had to shift the opening to a low-key, small scale dinner instead.
"I didn't feel it was right to do a big event while we have funerals going on," says Ms Sfeir, who was worried continuing with the original plan would have appeared insensitive and damaged the Semsom brand.On a day-to-day basis these types of troubles hurt revenue, typically meaning no customers for three days. "We know when there is tension, the restaurant is going to be empty," Ms Sfeir says. Semsom's mission is to spread our Lebanese way of life, all over the world, and to promote the Lebanon we love. The modern Lebanese is attached to his traditions, his roots, his land and village; yet, he is modern, educated, well-travelled and interested in new culinary experiences. Semsom combines Lebanese traditional and modern cuisine through its classic dishes and its signature creations. The menu reflects a determination to revive old recipes, pillars of Lebanon's culinary heritage, as well as revisited recipes. The modernity comes from our Semsom's own innovations like the hommos with herbs, hommos with sumac and thyme and hommos with olives and sesame, chicken or cheese osmalieh. These creations are all best sellers! In total, we offer 50 dishes available ONLY at Semsom. Escape from the boardroom on BBC News Semson Broadcasts