06 - 08 April 2020    Dubai World Trade Centre

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Experts Advise On Layout, Pricing & More

Meet The Experts, courtesy of Official Publisher ITP 

Stefan Breg, Group Strategy Director, Keane Brands
Russel Scott, Vice President Food & Beverage, Luxury Brands Middle East, AccorHotels
Emma Banks, General Manager, Jumeirah Restaurant Group
Akmal Anuar, Chef & Founder, 3Fils Restaurant

Outlet Design and Layout


“An obvious pain point for restaurants is the price of rent leading to closures. The answer is to look at the size of your location. Many I see in this region are overdesigned, with a major focus on opulence, and with space enough for 200 covers despite the requirement being only 30. I would advise operators to stop prioritizing such big outfits. In Europe an 80 cover restaurant that does 3 turns a day is considered good business.  In some restaurants in this region I see 150 seats that don’t even turn once. The rest of the world defines price and keeps spend to a minimum. So my advice is to reduce on décor and focus on the product.”
Russel Scott, Vice President Food & Beverage, Luxury Brands Middle East, AccorHotels


“As Hotel groups seek to achieve growth they are becoming altogether savvier about what works. Design clients are asking for a new level of research and a deeper concept proposal, from grass roots to branding. In a competitive environment, customers expect real business solutions, which is why Hotel Groups are becoming more involved in leasing, franchising and licensing. Though there are still opportunities in high to mid-level dining, the value market is currently where it’s at.”
Stefan Breg, Group Strategy Director, Keane Brands


Hospitality as an Experience


We need to make hotel lobbies a more active space, in which commuters are served what they want, when they want. Yes, consumers are becoming more selfish, they want their granola and yoghurt at 4pm, but that is reality, that’s the future. Now I see customers showing restaurant staff a picture of some food they’ve seen on Instagram and saying “this is what I want”. Outlets have to be faster, slicker and more convenient.” 
Russel Scott, Vice President Food & Beverage, Luxury Brands Middle EastAccorHotels


"A big chef name will not cut it in restaurants anymore. We need proven concepts, even if these have to be taken from other parts of the world. There are said to have been three big waves of development in the region. The first was fast food. The second was all about massive franchises and now the focus is on combining home grown concepts with international values. This indicates a maturing of the market.
Emma Banks, General Manager, Jumeirah Restaurant Group


"Another big opportunity for development is through concierge. I think regional hotel groups need to empower their concierge and get a better understanding of the critical role they play in promoting Dubai as a tourist destination. Staff in London and New York are offered the freedom to deliver real value to guests, suggesting cool places to visit outside the hotel and giving them a reason to return. This is not about the individual hotel, it’s about the profession as a whole and I think there is more we can do.” 
Emma Banks, General Manager, Jumeirah Restaurant Group

Menu Pricing


“Customers used to pay high amounts for white truffles and caviar. Now a restaurant can pull a carrot out of the garden, tell a nice story about it and create the same value. Consumers are willing to pay luxury prices for vegetarian food if the experience is right. Similarly, years ago, customers wouldn’t consider sharing their food. Now it’s a case of putting a chicken in the middle of the table so everyone can take what they want. People want to eat less, but they want good food and they want to try new things.” 
Akmal Anuar, Chef & Founder, 3Fils Restaurant


“I believe the next big development for restaurants should be the concept of pricing food correctly from the offset and not discounting later because it turns out to be too expensive. Be clear on your concept and sell to people who are willing to pay at that price point. If you invest in design and staff training, and then resort to discounts, that kind of discord is likely to lead to problems later down the line. We as F&B providers have to find ways create value, especially within such a competitive market.“ 
Russel Scott, Vice President Food & Beverage, Luxury Brands Middle East, AccorHotels


Trending Concepts & Cuisine


My team has witnessed a growing demand for ‘stalwart’ varieties of cuisine, but put together in a different or novel way. We are seeing Chinese, Indian and Italian concepts coming back in, but today’s consumers expect a fresh and unique take on these.” 
Stefan Breg, Group Strategy Director, Keane Brands



"In terms of naming a culinary capital, I see other cities looking to Kuwait for inspiration as it is one of the more mature F&B destinations in this region. The local outlets don’t serve alcohol and the rent is comparatively high, but the spirit of entrepreneurship there is unbelievable. Kuwaitis love their coffee and the F&B concepts and products coming out of the country are amazing. Although not quite established as a tourist destination, it soon will be thanks to its exceptional culinary scene.”  
Emma Banks
, General Manager, Jumeirah Restaurant Group


“Korean fried chicken and Thai rolled ice cream are my current top trend tips in F&B. We are also seeing a move towards flexitarianism as consumers become keen to replace unhealthy food with vegetable protein”
Russel Scott, Vice President Food & Beverage, Luxury Brands Middle East, AccorHotels


“Middle Eastern, Levantine and Lebanese are still serving the biggest demand across the region. There is an underswell of value restaurants that are doing a lot of business. I see a big growth opportunity for Filipino cuisine. That represents a gap in the market, which is rare to find." 
Emma Banks, General Manager, Jumeirah Restaurant Group

Sustainability is key, which is being highlighted right now with the wide-scale move away from plastic straws. But that’s just the beginning. We have to think about how we can support local food producers and offer them the opportunity to supply a greater variety of food to a greater number of businesses. The Fairmont Hotel uses only organic growers. Yes, they are a bit more expensive, but it’s important for established businesses like ours to support them. If more outlets did so, there would be greater economies of scale.”  
Russel Scott, Vice President Food & Beverage,  Luxury Brands Middle EastAccorHotels

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