Cost not an issue for UAE diners

by Dina Maaty | Published 5 years ago

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  •  66% eat dinner out at least once during the week
  • Average spend on eating out per person in the UAE is AED 120
  • Respondents typically favour casual dining restaurants, QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) and food courts


Anurag Bajpai

Anurag Bajpai

The eating out market continues to be one of the strongest performing sectors in the UAE with many residents now eating out more frequently and spending more than they were a year ago according to KPMG’s 2015 F&B survey.

The survey respondents were drawn from a mix of Emirati and GCC nationals, Arab, Asian and Western expatriates. The Survey revealed that 66% eat dinner out at least once during the week and that the average spend on eating out per person in the UAE is AED 120.

Casual dining restaurants, QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) and food courts, are the most popular F&B choices for UAE residents. Fine dining is still largely associated with special occasions; unsurprisingly as income levels rise, the preference for fine dining increases. Interestingly however, the preference for cafes also increases with higher income levels.

Anurag Bajpai, Partner KPMG said: “There is no lack of eating out options across the UAE and the increase in supply, in some segments of the market, continues to exceed the increase in demand. While the outlook for the sector as a whole has probably never been better, for individual players, the market has become increasingly competitive and thus challenging.”

Respondents noted that the type and quality of cuisine along with level of service were the most important factors when selecting a restaurant. Perhaps surprisingly, respondents indicated that cost was a far less important factor, suggesting consumers are prepared to pay more for the right experience.

“Given increasing competition, it has become important for operators to deliver the right experience and continue to innovate,” noted Bajpai. “While the market is favourable, success is not guaranteed and there are still many examples of failure.”

Over 70% of respondents indicated they were influenced by opinions of friends and family and over 40% read an online review before visiting a restaurant for the first time.

“Increasing internet usage and smart phone penetration is both a risk and an opportunity,” says Bajpai. He adds: “Brands now really need to pay attention to their online presence and have a clear strategy. The operators who are getting this right are really benefiting, as they are not only raising their profile but are also enabling their customers to be advocates for their brand.”

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