Mega events in the Middle East raises hope and confidence for restauranteurs
Mita Srinivasan
10x Industry

Mega events in the Middle East raises hope and confidence for restauranteurs

New PRIME report from POSist and Dubai Restaurant Group highlights hope but conversation around other key challenges comes to the fore in special webinar

87 percent of operators expect higher footfall while 30 percent of restaurants are still wary of marketing spends, according to a recent updated PRIME (POSist Restaurant Industry & Market Evolution) Report released recently by POSist, a cloud-based restaurant technology platform in collaboration with Dubai Restaurants Group (DRG), a not-for-profit organization under the direct patronage of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

While there are high expectations from events like Expo 2020, T20 World Cup, and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ to improve footfall and tourism, restaurant chains do not anticipate heavy marketing spending on promotional campaigns around the events, as their primary focus remains on improving margins and regaining lost business.

Ashish Tulsian, Co-Founder & CEO of POSist, added, “In this second Middle East edition of PRIME, we took a look at a broader view of how the restaurant industry is gearing up for growth alongside significant events in the region, such as the ongoing Expo 2020 and upcoming sporting events like FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the boost in Kingdom’s tourism sector.”

During a special webinar hosted around the release of the key numbers, Naim Maadad, Founding Board Member, Dubai Restaurants Group and the Founder of Gates Hospitality, pointed out, “Restaurant operators should be concerned because there are still a way to go for normalcy but lets focus on the positive. Some of the areas of concern is still that people are not able to fly even though travel is opening up and this means that the global shortage of good manpower is just as valid for our region as anywhere else. Consumer habits too have changed during the pandemic and we have all had to adapt and change some of our habits to gain consumer confidence back. But overall, I would agree with this finding and pleased with the direction we are heading.”

Despite a slowdown in business for a brief interval, employment opportunities are also back on track. Most operators across fast-casual, fine dining and cloud kitchens say they have job openings they’re finding hard to fill. In addition, restaurant operators are taking other steps to prepare themselves for the season of peak demand.

Though revenues in restaurants are returning quicker than expected, online delivery is still a significant part of its revenue. 65 percent of respondents expressed interest in setting up a cloud kitchen while nearly 34 percent of respondents shared they are setting up online ordering via their website, social media channels, or mobile app.

Feedback from the survey also shows that consumer behaviour is changing. As consumers become more familiar with delivery and ordering online, they’re more likely to choose a direct channel to order from the brand. The report highlights the rising role of social media channels to create new avenues for ordering food with 93 percent of restaurant operators saying they actively use Social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to run promotional campaigns. 32 percent of operators shared they are actively running digital marketing campaigns for promotion, followed by 26 percent who shared they have invested in influencers marketing on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

DRG’s Maadad added, “With 2021 behind us and vaccines rolling out across the Middle East, we can start to see the end of this pandemic. Our research and analysis of the restaurant industry unveil three innovation areas that will set the tone for 2022: online ordering, menu optimization, and a hybrid business model that will change the way restaurants operate.”