Samer S. Hamadeh, founder & managing partner at Aegis Hospitality says nightlife venues should not be put off by oversaturation or competition.
Nightlife is one of the more interesting businesses born out of the social realm we refer to as the third place. Nightlife venues are some of the most accessible to many people, save for their homes and workplaces and are crucial part of wellbeing for many societies.
The most common comments I hear when people ask me what I do always involve the words competition and oversaturation, often followed by “Oh, we love Stereo Arcade but please do something about that queue!”
While I may not have an immediate solution for the queuing situation for those arriving at the door after midnight, I have over the years developed a few simple responses to the first two comments.
With regards to competition, everything is your competition when you are asking people to spend their hard earned money at your establishment or on your product.
The best example I have is from Republique where we had two regular customers who used to come in and book separate tables at the club. They met, fell in love, got married and had a kid ̶ and now they go to Ripe Market on weekends. They didn’t decide to go to another club, they just did what many people do after they have children. While the threat of losing customers is a normal part of any business, we still try to win them back by any means necessary, while also continuing our never-ending search for new customers.
Another broad term that can apply to many businesses and cities, is oversaturation. Luckily for us, the government restricts where and when you can open a licensed establishment in the UAE, so while it may seem like the market is oversaturated, in many cases a new venue is actually the same but with a name change (meaning the number of available licensed outlets remains the same, but the brands change).
Yes there are dozens upon dozens of new hotels on the horizon, and they’ll bring more licensed venues with them, but it’s not as simple as that. The ratio of unlicensed to licensed hotels in Dubai is approximately 4:1, so with well over 1,100 hotels and serviced apartment buildings (and counting) only around 270 of them have liquor licenses. The nightlife market in Dubai will always have room for good concepts, as long as they are developed and managed by an experienced, passionate and dedicated team that does whatever it needs to make sure customers choose their venue ̶ oversaturation or otherwise. Nightlife is a colossal part of the entertainment world and as long as there are people out there looking to be entertained, there will always be people like us trying to make that happen.
About the author: Samer S. Hamadeh is co-founder & managing partner of Aegis Hospitality, an F&B development and management company based in Dubai. The company’s portfolio includes Stereo Arcade and the soon-to-open French bistro, Couqley with several future projects currently in development.