The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seen its fair share of growth. From sustainable food trends to growing brands, this country is on the move.
Economic Stats in the UAE
Currently, consumers can find 53 percent of global retail brands when shopping in Dubai — and, in 2013, that number should grow. By 2016, the Gulf Coast countries expect to see a compounded annual growth of $270.3 billion USD. For the UAE, that’ll mean five to seven percent growth.
Biggest Players in the UAE
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is set to bring its hotel count to 23 in the UAE by the end of 2014. Other players adding new locations include Four Seasons, Radisson, Crowne Plaza, and InterContinental.
In talking about the biggest players in the UAE though, you can’t forget the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort who allegedly has the largest hotel suite in the UAE: the 2,100m² Royal Suite that boasts four bedrooms, a 12-seater dining room, mini theatre, and games room – complete with billiard table.
Food Spending for Hospitality Industry in the UAE
Unlike Saudi Arabia (where restaurants were reprimanded for unwarranted price increases), restaurants in the UAE saw a 0.24 percent deflation last year. Altogether, food accounts for 11 percent of UAE consumer expenditures. And, with an average 1.7 percent drop in consumer prices, citizens now have a little extra change.
F&B Profits in the UAE?
Last year, the hotels in the UAE (all 137 of them) earned a combined F&B revenue of $491 million USD. That’s a 38 percent increase in three years.
Chinese Travelers Visit Hospitality Industry in UAE
This strong hospitality and retail market is fueled by a healthy influx of tourists. In 2012, over 181,000 Chinese visitors came to Dubai — a 31 percent annual increase. And those numbers don’t include guests traveling to the UAE in February to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
What about the Locals?
While the UAE has the region’s lowest inflation, GDP growth is slowing. 2014’s GDP is expected to rise 2.2 percent. But tourism has a bright outlook, reports the National Bank of Kuwait. To maintain momentum, the UAE is working to improve F&B standards, increasing dining venues’ nightly inspections.
Changing Tastes in the UAE
With an F&B industry largely supported by tourists, the UAE is no stranger to foreign fare. Until recently, however, authentic Emirati eats were scarce. But no longer. Young UAE citizens and visiting expatriates are craving a taste of authentic Emirati food, and the trend is catching.
Green Gourmet Cooking in UAE
At this year’s Gourmet Abu Dhabi — the city’s annual February culinary festival attended by 32,000 foodies — chefs went green in a local-foods menu competition, serving up home-grown produce from the nation’s 24,000 farmers.
Quick Serve Goes Green as Well
UAE McDonald’s is turning 100 percent of their cooking oil into biofuel. At the beginning of 2013, UAE McDonalds delivery trucks clocked 800,000 miles on their fry-grease-turned-fuel.
Restaurant Models That Are Working in the UAE
After serving 50 million customers in 2012 and securing 25 percent of the UAE’s fast food industry (13 percent of the informal dining market), McDonald’s is investing $8 million USD to open 15 new restaurants. Similarly, Johnny Rockets is expanding after a 63 percent rise in last year’s revenue.
Restaurant Technology Innovations in the UAE
How is Johnny Rockets doing it? They’re getting technical. Currently, the UAE supports 6 million internet users (not including those on smartphones); and these folks are hungry. Foodonclick.com is working to feed the tech-savvy masses. To date, they have 35,000 subscribers who are ordering from 750 plus restaurants.
Growing Online Market
Every month, foodonclick.com adds 2,500 customers and 10 restaurants. In 2012, the company completed 147,000 orders (11 percent made via the iPhone app) — an impressive 300 percent increase from 2011. Reportedly, participating restaurants saw a 20 percent increase in orders.
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