Premium, fast casual food concepts on the rise in UAE

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Number of F&B outlets in UAE are predicted to go up to 19,000 by 2020 from the current 16,200: Industry Report

Abdul Kader Saadi, Managing Director at Glee Hospitality Solutions
Abdul Kader Saadi, Managing Director at Glee Hospitality Solutions

Dubai: As the UAE continues to become a melting pot of cultures from across the globe, the number of premium, fast casual food concepts in the country is growing at a much faster pace than any other segment in the food sector with exponential growth anticipated over the next four to five years, according to a leading industry player.

Glee Hospitality Solutions, which has carved a niche by creating, developing and operating successful Home Grown restaurant concepts in the Middle East, feels that cuisines from all over the world are increasing in popularity in the UAE as it has become a microcosm of the globe with a multitude of nationalities and culture either residing or travelling to the UAE, thanks to its myriad attractions and advantages.

As the UAE becomes the culinary capital of the world, an industry survey by KPMG states that quick service restaurants and cafes continues to be the most popular formats in the UAE and by 2020 the number of F&B establishments in the country is predicted to go up by 19,000 from the current 16,200 and revenue in the local F&B industry up to 2020 is likely to outstrip growth of outlets by around 30%.

According to Glee Hospitality, the increased focus is on providing a wide variety of healthier eating options in the premium, fast food category, causing health conscious customers to shift to fast casual brands with an added luxury of proper dining in an upscale decor.

“Today’s consumers are shifting their dining preferences and trend is towards more modern, premium, casual and social experiences. Variety is the buzzword – something that the UAE offers through its consumer demography. Then, there is a heavy emphasis on quality, nutrition and ambience. So, a menu designed to appeal to quality-conscious consumers will drive in consumers,” said Abdul Kader Saadi, Managing Director at Glee Hospitality Solutions.

By 2020, the UAE market is bound to grow by leaps and bounds, primarily because of the scale and magnitude of world-class events such as Expo 2020 and Dubai Parks. The need of the hour, hence, is to get the planning right, so that the latest trends in the market are factored in.

“Fast casual restaurants have been modest to keep them competitive but the effort is to raise operational efficiencies to start with. This is where Glee Hospitality comes into the picture, due to the expertise it brings to the table in managing new food concepts and its involvement in auditing, strategy planning and operational support in creating a good business opportunity for the concept,” said Saadi.

Moreover, with phenomenal growth envisaged in the hospitality industry, particularly the room portfolio in the wake of global events such as Expo 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which will bring in over 90,000 rooms across 350 hotels under construction, the demand for premium, fast casual food & beverage outlets cannot be understated.

“As hospitality consultants, one of our most important part of our pre-opening service is the concept development where we have to be up-to-date about the current market surveys, researches and trends in order to develop the concepts. As per the current market trend, Glee’s focus lies towards premium fast casual food concepts offering fascinating menus, fresh components, and modern elements of design,” Saadi summed up.