UAE is a land of booming opportunities for restaurateurs. Despite the decline in oil prices and a sluggish economy, the food and beverage industry in UAE has been growing consistently. Thus, restaurants are ideally placed to capitalize on the development projects that are to come with the diversification plan across the country. That being said, with Dubai expo 2020 coming up and food trends shifting in UAE, the time is ripe for you to base your restaurant startup out of Emirates. That being said, you may think, given the complex customer base of the country, which restaurant startup idea would work or not work. While the answer to this question will mostly depend upon your feasibility study, to make your job easier, here we have a list of some restaurant startup ideas that we think the Emirates is moving towards.
Restaurant Startup Ideas You Should Consider
As said earlier, the time is ripe to enter the restaurant space in UAE. 57% of dining operators are investing in new markets by growing their footprints within the UAE and GCC, while 30% are focusing on improving the quality of their operations. This sporadic growth shows the positive effect which the diversification plan is having and how the growth of the hospitality and restaurant industry is not about to stop soon.
Here is a list of some restaurant start-up ideas based on the trends in UAE’s F&B Industry:-
1. A Speciality Restaurant
Following Waqar Ahmed Mirza’s word, narrow offerings are the trend in UAE as of now. By narrow offerings, the commercial director of Mc. Queen’s group does not mean offering less. Instead, he means offering specialties. As customer preferences are shifting toward carefully prepared, exclusive meals, restaurants are responding by specializing in a specific dish type and offering variety within it. You can take advantage of this trend by entering the industry with a specialty restaurant. Your restaurant startup idea can be anything ranging from an Italian joint offering different varieties of pasta to a Biryani restaurant offering different types of biryanis.
2. Locally Developed Concepts
Because of the upsurge of international concepts in UAE in the past decade, there is now a new generation of restaurant owners who have infused the international standard and developed new local restaurant concepts. Going local is thus getting big in the Emirates and could be the restaurant startup idea you have been hunting. Diners are now looking for locally developed concepts that are well executed thus creating a demand for local restaurants to flourish.
At the same time, a localization of restaurant ingredients is taking over the market. Umm Suqeim Fishing Harbour and Waterfront Market are flooded with local and regional sea-food varieties. Farmer markets have grown over the years, and now, UAE even boasts of its oyster farm in Dibba Bay. With home-grown concepts gaining popularity, there is also an increase in the number of both traditional, and modern, Middle Eastern and North African restaurants. Restaurants are going local in both ingredients and concepts which has created market openings which restaurant startups can tap.
3. Hotel Partnered Restaurant
UAE, especially Dubai being exclusive towards hospitality is seeing another trend in the restaurant space where restaurant startups can enter. More and more hotels are working with restaurants to provide a more holistic hospitality experience to their customers. What this means is that while restaurants work independently with the hotels, they bring to the table acumen regarding the food business. The hotel, on the other hand, takes care of guest experience, rooms and stay. You can partner your restaurant with a hotel or base it independently out of a hotel to enter the space while the trend lasts.
4. A Casual Dining Restaurant
Gone are the days of absolute superlatives. As UAE is advancing towards becoming a global destination even for mid-priced tourists, a need for more casual dining restaurants is being created. While fine dining restaurants have their own space, the restaurant industry is expanding, and a higher number of restaurant startups are entering through the casual dining format. One of the major reasons behind the rise in format is that people are accepting that something does not need to cost top Dirham to be of good quality. Both local and tourist demand for restaurant concepts that are affordable but do not cut corners on quality have increased, thus giving a boost to the casual dining format.
5. A Healthy, Vegetarian Or Vegan Offering
People in UAE are getting more and more health conscious. Labels are being scrutinized, and restaurants which offer a healthy meal are being preferred. At the same time, the influx of tourists and globalization is showing its impact as more and more people are turning vegetarians and vegans. The result is a shift in the restaurant industry as consumer preferences change. This has created gaps where restaurant startups can firmly launch themselves. Open a restaurant which will offer more than a handful of vegetarian dishes, keep vegan options in your menu and use recipes which combine health with taste. That is where the consumer is headed. There exists a huge opportunity in the restaurant space of UAE due to this trend and tapping it at the right time could make you a huge success.
Trends keep evolving as the industry evolves. While it is ill-advised to change your format based on a trend, it is also not suitable to not adapt to the trends. As a startup, identifying the correct trend and using it as a launch pad can be your ticket to success. Do consider these five restaurant startup ideas if you wish to enter the restaurant market in UAE.