Ahead of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) – the premier event for restaurant investors, operators and franchisors, research was undertaken by the Forum’s organiser, Bench Events, to find out why investing in the restaurant sector is so rewarding.
The main findings were that the restaurant industry has experienced significant growth, new brands entering the market have increased the customer offer and developed the market’s appetite for dining out. “The industry, specifically in the UAE, has moved away from a hotel and mall centric approach to restaurants, with casual, QSR, and more recently premium casual to fine dining, branching out to city locations. Foreign brands have been well received and extensive numbers of significant brand names have entered the market.” commented Sami Daud, Founder Gourmet Gulf.
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Chef Todd English feels, “restaurants have become more entertainment driven and intertwined in our lives. They are forming the social epicenter of our culture – The new living rooms of society – for many different occasions (business, social, leisure, romantic, etc.). Food is the ultimate democracy, and despite turbulence around the world, food remains a constant.”
Kim Rahbek, Chief Executive Officer, Sticks and Sushi echoes this view, “People seem to go for smaller spending within travel and leisure and hospitality in which the restaurant scene plays a more and more important role. And if you can offer a great product, in nice design with great service, then a lot of people are willing to meet family and friends and spend time (money) while eating and drinking at the same time. Moreover we also face a demographic fact that we number of “singles” are increasing and “single groups” tend to have a larger purchasing power and meeting with their fellow friends often take place “in the public” e.g. cafés and restaurants. Finally we also see many “busy families” that wants to meet with other families, but do not have the time to cook at home but prefer to meet in restaurants.”
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From a business franchise perspective, Babette Marzheuser-Wood, Partner, Dentons confirms, “Investing in a restaurant franchise or joint venture has never been more attractive than today. Restaurant franchising is a form of cooperation that offers clear benefits to all concerned. The franchisee gains access to a proven concept and the franchisor taps into the local market expertise of his franchisee.”
However, food busker John Quilter warns, “90% of restaurants still fail in the first year. However, with the use of tech and new business practices your exposure today can be significantly less. You can test your market, your concept and your team as well as significantly build a customer base even before you’ve opened the doors to your new establishment.”
All of the above named executives will be present at GRIF, taking place at the Conrad Dubai on 16 – 18 February, where they will be discussing these issues and many more questions in depth.