With 77% smartphone penetration across the GCC, the emergence of a new digital customer has put pressure on the food and beverage sector to stay relevant and for outlets to keep a competitive edge.
From embracing social media to developing apps, the inaugural trade show GulfHost 2017 provided access to industry experts to discover the best technology solutions to stay ahead of competitors.
Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions and events management DWTC, said: “Technology is changing the way restaurants interact with their customers, with apps impacting operators’ topline and becoming an essential contributor to success. It has never been more important to embrace technology, particularly as the region’s digitally savvy population continues to grow.
“The adoption of smart technology, use of mobile apps, and social media to enhance guest experience is vital for long-term business success. GulfHost is the ideal platform to learn how adapting to technology can result in success.”
The dedicated platform for hospitality and catering equipment solutions, GulfHost, took place from 18 – 20 September at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
This year’s show also introduced “The Restaurant Development Conference”, powered by International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai and Middle East Food Forum.
The conference provided practical insights into running a successful F&B business in the region, with core themes including marketing and growth in digital and the emerging role of social media.
Social media is a key driver for restaurant recommendations, with nearly two-thirds of social media users in the Middle East regularly using social networks for recommendations.
Food apps have also been a major catalyst of change, according to KPMG. Consumers use their smartphones and food apps to find new restaurants, and read online reviews, with 40% of respondents also buying meals through their device.
GulfHost showcases a variety of technologies to help F&B owners create more Instagrammable moments within the restaurant – whether the backdrop, on the plate or in the cup – to promote image sharing, enhance the experience along the full customer journey, and develop tech-savvy promotional opportunities to reach new target audiences.
GulfHost 2017 was co-located with five other shows; Speciality Food Festival, Yummex Middle East (jointly organised by DWTC and Kölnmesse) Seafex Middle East (organised by DWTC) and The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show (which are owned and organised by DMG Events).