Hotel & Catering News Middle East has hosted its first webinar, addressing some of the toughest challenges facing operators amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the F&B world gradually re-opens, everyone from owners and marketers, to restaurateurs and staff are finding themselves working under new conditions.
From operating at a reduced capacity, to adjusting to improved health and hygiene measures, this webinar discussed the future of the industry – the good, the bad, and the ugly – as restrictions are eased across the globe.
The speakers in attendance were Abdul Kader Saadi, Founder & Managing Director, Glee Hospitality Solutions, Christian Salloum, Founder & Managing Director, BrandPortunity, Dries Vande Velde, Head of Marketing & PR, Creneau International and SWR Hospitality.
“In the scope of time and the ever-evolving world F&B stage, we have born witness to how the implications of circumstances beyond our control can severely impact our respective industries. The F&B industry is an sector that responds to change whether positive or negative and to adapt needs to be vigilant in how it adapts in light of these precedents,” said Saadi.
Regarding the future of F&B, in terms of projections, I believe landlord and operator relations will improve, as both parties will have to strive to coexist and find a more amiable medium for better dialogues. Aggregators are currently under pressure with regards to their fees and will continue to be so in the future to come.”
Saadi added that innovation will continue to spur future F&B trends and dark kitchens/dark brands will continue to grow as a sustainable and attractive option.
“Technology and the future are almost symbiotic and in the F&B industry it will take a front seat in sector activities. Due to its versatility, in application (i.e. newly developed technology), this could be applied in several formats, whether that be for areas of safety protocol, payment, delivery, management and/or automation of the production line,” he explained.
“In summary, despite all obstacles, we have to believe that all aspects of the F&B industry can and will return to normal at some point. The key is to remain positive and never abandon the search for alternate methods to reinforce the foundations for the future.”
As for Salloum, he highlighted: “The digital transformation happening now is a ‘survival mode’ and not growth for some key players in the market, and for them, it’s going to slow down post-COVID-19 and increase for some others.”
“At the end of the day, people will continue to go back and sit in a nice casual (chic) restaurant and dine. F&B in general, and restaurants in specific, constitute a resilient and entertaining sector. Wherever we go, or travel for business or leisure, we always look at restaurants addresses where we would be interested in dining, or organising our business meetings; important business agreements are signed over business lunch or dinner events. However, things might be different, and we will need to get used to the new norms, temporarily.”