As competition in the F&B industry ramps up and demand lulls, Gates Hospitality CEO Naim Maadad offers some tips and tricks for maintaining business this year
This year will see a lot of growth, with independent groups evolving and bringing new culinary products to the marketplace. However, 2016 will also involve a lot of market correction. While business in the first quarter has been reasonable, summer and the holy month of Ramadan will coincide, meaning F&B businesses will have to rise to the challenge of low occupancy, and focus their efforts.
It would make perfect sense to re-evaluate the controllable and variable account heads to see where maximum savings can be made, based on business volumes. Synergised marketing efforts to offer specials to existing and new clients is advisable, and increasing social media engagement is also a must.
Being unique and offering products and services that address client needs will be important. You should focus on your business USP in all promotional activity in order to highlight key strengths and evolve your brand in order to achieve new heights of success. Take your team with you, and make business objectives clear to all stakeholders in a transparent manner.
Do extensive spring cleaning, whether that means cutting out avoidable expenses, reducing wastage, revisiting the manning of your operation, promoting multi-tasking, or investing in training or team development. The entire team effort must be focused on preparing the business to face up to the challenges of the busy season ahead.
Synchronised initiatives should focus on the overall objectives you wish to achieve. There are a lot of small details and unless you are in the game, it can be a real challenge to sustain the success of a restaurant business. The country is going through a steep development curve and as with any sector, there will be growing pains. There are a lot of rules and regulations to be followed and all efforts are being made by the authorities to offer Dubai residents a better quality of life.
Additionally, when it comes to suppliers, preferential rates based on volumes should be negotiated. Dubai is a hub of development and construction, and it is very easy to find precisely what is needed and procure this at the most reasonable price. Suppliers are eager to assist you in bringing you whatever is needed, whether sourced locally or from any corner of the globe. It is up to individual owners and operators to know what is required for the business.
The biggest challenges I foresee are rent aspirations, quality manpower and cost of living, since these have a direct impact on the direction the business moves in. However, as they say: the bigger the challenge, the greater the opportunity.