COVID-19 has brought about several changes in the global restaurant industry. It has been a big challenge for restaurants to recover from the pandemic. While some successfully made it through, others failed and were forced to go out of business. To uncover the reasons for this, analyze the latest market trends, and numerous other restaurant-related aspects of the Middle East restaurant industry, we bring you the POSist PRIME report – Middle East edition.
In the previous PRIME report, we captured the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic for restaurateurs in the UAE. We also put forward the latest market trends and opportunities the UAE restaurateurs were counting on to survive the pandemic. This time, we aim to throw light on the region as a whole.
In this edition of the PRIME report, we have collaborated with the Dubai Restaurant Group to gather the sentiments of industry stakeholders across the Middle East and bring you this comprehensive report.
Key Takeaways Of The POSist PRIME Report Middle East Edition
For this edition, we have extensively studied the Middle East market. We recently conducted a survey in the month of September consisting of 10 multiple choice questions, to be answerable by the restaurant operators of the Middle East. With all the major events like Expo 2020, FIFA World Cup 2022, etc. round the corner, our survey aimed to capture the sentiments of stakeholders across the restaurant industry.
The respondents of the survey consisted of restaurant operators and executives of several quick-service restaurants (QSR), fine dining, casual dining, and cloud kitchen brands.
Here is what the PRIME report of the Middle East entails for the restaurateurs.
1. Impact Of Upcoming Events On The Middle East Restaurant Industry
Although the pandemic created a leap of year for many events, things seem to be coming back to track in the Middle East. Expo 2020, delayed by a year, is now finally starting in Dubai from 1st October 2021 and is expected to last till 31st March 2022. Besides, other popular sporting events like T20 World Cup 2021, FIFA World Cup 2022, and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are also going to attract tourists and sports fans from across the world.
In fact, Expo 2020 organizers are expecting more than 25 million visitors from 190+ countries. This is going to be a healthy boost for the severely hit tourism sector of the GCC region and will have a positive economic impact.
The hospitality sector is also likely to benefit. The event will feature over 200 F&B outlets serving around 85000 meals per hour across 50 cuisines with onsite sales expected to cross AED 2 million.
With such positive expectations, Expo 2022 along with the sports events will set the stage for the revival of the Middle East restaurant industry that went sluggish during the pandemic.
2. The Most Pressing Concerns Of Restaurateurs In Present Times
The concerns of restaurant operators have increased manifolds, post-pandemic. With our PRIME report, we have tried our hand at analyzing the most pressing concerns of the Middle East restaurateurs.
For example, both the front- and the back-of-the-house were heavily impacted during the lockdown. Some had rental issues, while others had inventory issues due to disrupted supply chains, and whatnot. In fact, 62% of the respondents found high operating costs to be painful during the pandemic.
3. Solutions Restaurateurs Are Adopting For Growth And Footfall Increase
In the fight for survival, restaurant operators have been looking for ways to diversify revenue. When asked about the growth strategy, 65% of the respondents answered they were looking to switch to cloud kitchen models and adopt delivery-only services.
Switching to hybrid models has also been a popular solution to the pandemic. Providing delivery services while also maintaining the dine-in facilities is a lucrative way to boost sales and revenue in the new normal. While some restaurants are switching to these, others are tapping the potential of technology, trying to revamp their menu, and exploring new ways to leverage marketing.
4. Aspects That Technology Can Improve
As business suffered, restaurant owners increasingly realized that technology could be their ticket to growth. More and more restaurateurs have gone high-tech to improve customer experience and of course, the bottom line of their restaurants.
In our survey, we asked the restaurant operators about the different aspects they aimed to improve using technology. Around 65% of them wanted to incorporate tech for efficient kitchen management and around 55% hoped to use it to enhance customer experience. The report will help you dive deeper into the industry.
5. Food And Menu Trends Of The Middle East Restaurant Industry
The sudden upheaval of the restaurant industry has given rise to multiple new trends. These trends have been driving the restaurant industry for the last two years now. For example, many restaurants have switched to wider menus, while others have adopted more limited menus.
One of the most long-lasting trends – a healthy diet – still persists. Our research shows that as much as 79% of people prefer a healthy diet instead of junk or oily foods. Furthermore, a similar percentage believed the food delivery trend would pick up by the end of the year. Another popular food trend is the DIY trend, wherein the restaurants provide their patrons with DIY (Do It Yourself) kits so that they can enjoy the essence of the restaurant’s best dishes at home.
6. Prominent Marketing Trends
While the restaurants were empty in the lockdown, restaurant operators understood that their business is a failure without customers. Our data shows that the majority of restaurant operators considered redefining customer experience as the best marketing strategy.
Many restaurateurs are looking forward to marketing their outlets around EXPO 2020 through social media, apps, and online ordering channels to get more exposure than usual. Others rely on digital marketing, e-newsletters, influencer marketing and blogs.
Stay tuned for a series of informative articles based on the PRIME report Middle East edition that will give you a complete picture of the restaurant industry in the Middle East. This diversified view of the industry will give the new restaurateurs an idea about how to proceed with opening a new restaurant in the region.