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Editor-in-chief Nouhad Dammous Managing director Joumana Dammous-SalamĂŠ Editor Annie Keropian-Dilsizian

Hotels and other accommodation providers, restaurants and local businesses must work in unison to develop a wellrounded product

Publication manager Randa Dammous-Pharaon Publication coordinator Rita Ghantous Graphic designers Elias Tufunkji Ibrahim Kastoun Features consultant Rana Freifer Features writer Jad Haidar Sub-editor / writer Miriam Dunn Community manager Lisa Jerejian Sales executives Michel Ajjoub, Maha Hasbani, Josette Hikri, Nancy Mouawad advertise@hospitalityservices.com.lb Subscription coordinators Houayda Haddad-Roumman Mirna Maroun subscribe@hospitalityservices.com.lb Circulation coordinator Rita Nohra News news@hospitalityservices.com.lb Production & printing Arab Printing Press Photographer Pavlos Nikolaou Photography Published by Hospitality Services sarl Lebanon Borghol Building, Dekwaneh P.O.Box 90 155 Jdeidet el Metn 1202 2020 Tel: +961 1 480081 Fax: +961 1 482876 info@hospitalityservices.com.lb hospitalitynewsmag.com Dubai Tel: +971 56 6661718 All the information disclosed in the magazine was provided by the parties concerned by each publication and checked to the highest possible extent by the editors. However, the magazine cannot ensure accuracy at all times of all information published and therefore could in no case be held responsible should any information reveal to be false or insufficient. We welcome views on any subject relevant to the hospitality industry, but request that letters be short and to the point. The editor reserves the right to select and edit letters. Hospitality News ME is distributed to trade professionals in the catering and lodging industry in the Middle East.

Lebanon can rebound by reviving religious tourism It is no longer enough that Lebanon has mountains, sea, sun, ski resorts, culture, a vibrant nightlife and an enviable cuisine; another largely untapped niche also deserves attention. Unfortunately, Religious Tourism has been neglected for years, despite the fact that Lebanon is the most religiously diverse nation in the Middle East, containing 18 recognized religious sects. For centuries, churches, mosques, maqams, monasteries and cathedrals have stood side by side in Lebanon’s beautiful villages and in Beirut, spreading messages of love, peace and unity. This is a nation that has welcomed different beliefs and religious traditions, where people from diverse faiths have shared land and have lived peacefully side by side. It is a place abundant in pilgrimage sites - no less than 83, in fact - boasting a rich tapestry of religious history and one that offers a unique glimpse into multiculturalism. Indeed, religious tourism represents one of the earliest forms of tourism in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and yet it has failed to develop in the same way as other forms of tourism in Lebanon. There has been a severe disconnect between local secondary industries and holy sites business. The responsibility lies with municipalities to bring stakeholders together to create a solid network. Hotels and other accommodation providers, restaurants and local businesses must work in unison to develop a well-rounded product that will be of benefit to tourists. It requires interest, resources and investment. We have also witnessed a high abstention rate when it comes to voting in Lebanon. Many Lebanese have lost confidence in our government, arguing that voting is futile when they already know the outcome. Yet, it is now more critical than ever to unite and support our government and our recently elected President Michel Aoun. For religious tourism to move forward, people, particularly those working in local municipalities and government agencies, must stand together to make it happen. Nouhad Dammous Editor-in-Chief Docteur Honoris Causa

In this issue Dec 2017 - Jan 2018



Lebanon can rebound by reviving religious tourism



RAJA NASRI (1959-2017)

08 Industry Overview 10 Hotels 16 Food & Beverage 20 Chefs 24 Suppliers 26

A triumphant fourth edition of Horeca Jordan Saudi Horeca marks biggest edition to date Horeca Kuwait back for seventh edition Horeca Lebanon set to celebrate incredible 25 years


34 35 36 38



30 32


40 42

Key learning from Gulfhost Dubai The latest from Host Milano A world of whisky comes to Beirut Salon du Chocolat Beirut gets festive with 'Winter Wonderland' A melting pot of great flavors at Beirut Cooking Festival

Hospitality loses a venerable veteran It is with deep sadness that we bid farewell to an icon of the hospitality scene and a member of the Hospitality Services family for decades. Raja Nasri died suddenly on 17 December 2017. The fruit of his labor changed the lives of all who knew him, whether they were mentored by him or worked with him. A larger-than-life personality, Raja was authentic and generous. As a regular contributor to Hospitality News ME, his tenacity will continue to inspire us. Thank you for sharing with us the secret of what hospitality is truly about. You will be missed.

WHERE TO BE SEEN International Coffee & Tea Festival, SIGEP Hospitality Events Calendar 2018


The theme of this year's international festival of culinary photography (FIPC’s) 8th edition was: 'Gastronomy and Haute Couture'. Under the patronage of Franck Sorbier, fashion designer, and Christian Le Squer, three-star chef, the Korean artist YeonJu Sung stood out as the winner of two of the five Gold Lenses. The photos of her three plant dresses made from lotus roots, chives and white eggplant wowed the jury. festivalphotoculinaire.com

INTERVIEW 44 Exclusive: Mohamed Najia

the regional master of hospitality

TOURISM Onwards and upwards 46 50

EYE ON Mumbai

HYGIENE When hygiene embraces tech 52 56 Cleanliness is next to godliness 70

MARKET UPDATE Cyprus: where tourism never sleeps

STRATEGY Price wars: to cut or not to cut 72 L&D 74 L&D in hospitality TECHNOLOGY The growing hunger 76 F&B 78 The world’s most romantic beverage TRENDS 80 Up in smoke





More focus on long-term planning; Shifting sand dunes From the hoteliers’ perspective with Pascal Gauvin, Olivier Harnisch, Omer Kaddouri, Carlos Khneisser and Henk Meyknecht

64 66 68

The region's hospitality landscape


Food and beverage trends Middle East restaurant sector


TRAINING Training that adds real income to the 82

bottom line

MANAGEMENT 84 4 steps to sustainability for profitability in

the UAE



On the market


EQUIPMENT Catering to a changing industry 88 FOOD 98 Dairy delights BEVERAGE 100 Celebrating the spirit of ingenuity


CHOCOMANIA 102 All that glitters is chocolate



Out and about with Hospitality News ME

Coming issue Dec 2017 - Jan 2018

• Special report Franchising • Market update Kuwait & Ras Al Khaimah • Hotels Thirty Rising Stars Under 30 • Food Meat, Organic & Gluten-free food • Equipment Uniforms • Beverage Wine




Clarification: In issue 114 of HN, the Editor's View page mentioned the Master of Hospitality Management, Luxury and Lifestyle and Lebanese and Mediterranean Gastronomy and Lifestyle programs at USJ-IGE in Lebanon. These programs were developed by USJ-IGE and are Lebanese master level degrees. Institut Paul Bocuse has had no involvement in the development and launching of the programs.

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KNIGHT NADA SARDOUK MAKES LEBANON PROUD This year’s National Order of Merit bestowed by the French President was presented to Director General of the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, Nada Sardouk, at a ceremony hosted by the Ambassador of France to Lebanon, Bruno Foucher. Commenting on this great honor, Sardouk, who has been tirelesslypromoting Lebanon to the world as a touristic hub for decades said, “This official title means a lot to me as it recognizes my professional efforts throughout my career in addition to what I have been doing at the Ministry of Tourism. In his speech, the ambassador recognized me as a true ‘francophonie’ ambassadress and a great friend to the French republic, which is a great honor. My kids, relatives and friends now consider me as a role model, a title that could not make me any prouder. It is a privilege and great


HOSPITALITYNEWSMAG.COM A new fund by CNN to boost the travel and tourism sector

CNN International Commercial (CNNIC) has launched the ‘Go There Media Fund’ to provide travel and tourism expertise to struggling destinations and countries recovering from natural disasters. The initiative was announced by Rani Raad, president of CNNIC, at a gala dinner ahead of World Travel Market. Starting in 2018, the fund will work closely with a number of countries every year to draw on CNNIC’s expertise in nation-branding. Its experts will provide pro-bono consultancy, strategic direction and CNN airtime and inventory for campaigns to help in the recovery of national identity with the aim of building the destinations’ tourism brand on the world stage. commercial.cnn.com achievement, not only for me, but for the whole Lebanese tourism sector. It also solidifies the bonds between us and France. Tourism in Lebanon is hopefully back on its feet and we are getting ready for brighter days.”


Founded in 1969 to promote, provide and develop high-quality education and training in wines and spirits, WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) has grown into the foremost global provider of education and examination in the field of wines and spirits. The program is available in 18 different languages and in 62 countries and Château Ksara is the APP (Approved Program Provider) in Lebanon to offer it. Discussing this matter, Zafer Chaoui, president of Château Ksara said, “Château Ksara is offering Levels 1, 2 & 3. Level 1 Award in Wines is USD 200 with 10 wines tasted in one full-day, at the end of which the applicant is assessed by a multiple-choice paper of 30 questions. Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits is for USD 600 with 50 wines and four spirits tasted during three full days, with applicants


assessed by a multiple-choice paper of 50 questions by the end of day three. As for the Level 3 Award in Wines, the five days course costs USD 1,200 with 80 wines tasted and assessed by a multiple-choice paper, short written answers and a blind tasting.” The study materials are sent to the applicants a month in advance. The exam papers, upon completion, are immediately sealed and sent to the WSET offices in UK for evaluation. The results and certificates are then privately sent to the students two weeks later for Levels 1 and 2, and eight weeks for Level 3. When asked to clarify why the fourth and final level of WSET is still unavailable in Lebanon, he explained, “It is not offered because we need a consistently high number of Level 3 graduates and I believe we will in two years. Furthermore, the course spans over a two-year period and requires a team of very highly qualified lecturers. Hopefully, if the initial success of WSET continues, Lebanon could be considered as a potential center for Level 4.” The Level 4, which is a two-year diploma, constitutes the stepping stone to joining the Institute of Masters of Wine, which currently has 318 members. The WSET sessions are organized four times a year. wsetglobal.com, chateauksara.com


The first approved provider of WSET qualifications in the UAE

The Tasting Class has become the first Approved Programme Provider to offer Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses to consumers in the Middle East. WSET is the largest international provider of wines and spirits qualifications, offering globally-recognized qualifications through 750 Approved Programme Providers across the world. Led by international industry expert and experienced sommelier, Lindsay Trivers, The Tasting Class offers a broad range of tasting events. thetastingclass.com New startups mall to open in Lebanon

ECO101 Mall is a new shopping concept slated to open in Antelias in December. The project is owned by Elie Massoud, a Lebanese businessman. It mainly offers affordable retail spaces to F&B and other startups. The mall stretches over two floors and covers 1,600 square meters of space. It includes 18 outlets, 20 F&B concepts, and a 250 square-meter Fizz Zone kids area. The name ECO101, reflects the eco-friendliness of the project, in terms of landscaping, solar panels, and reuse of rain water for cleaning and irrigation. Rents are USD 2,500 per month for F&B and USD 1,250 per month for retail. eco101mall.me Abu Dhabi launches fund to boost events

The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi is launching an incentive scheme to develop content and program collaboration with the private sector. The initial funding set aside for successful applications is USD 2.7 million, with further tranches being made available as the multi-phase scheme evolves and progresses. The new incentive grant is open to all entities involved in the retail and events industry, venues and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) owners. tcaabudhabi.ae





IN BRIEF Starwood Capital invests USD 250 million in YOTEL, a brand for IFA Hotels & Resorts, and other Arab investors

Rotana has been one of the most dynamic hotel chains this year. The chain has been named the Best Employer in Iraq and Lebanon at the 17th edition of Aon Best Employers – Middle East awards, which identifies the top-performing companies. The award coincides with the brand’s completion of 25 successful years in the business, with 56 operating properties in 22 cities across 13 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. The chain also made a bold statement during the Middle East Gala Ceremony of the World Travel Awards (WTA) 2017, sweeping the board with 19 awards, while securing the coveted ‘Middle East’s Leading Hotel Brand’ title for the 11th year in a row. These awards are billed as the

‘Oscars of the travel world’. The chain also signed a strategic partnership with ConnecME Education, an Abu Dhabibased education services provider, to become the company’s regional hotel partner. As part of the partnership, Rotana properties across the region will be the exclusive host of ConnecME Education’s international crew, with room nights from this segment in Rotana hotels expected to exceed 25,000 by end of 2017. In addition, Rotana will also be the UAE’s official test center for ACT, which is a curriculum-based education and career planning tool for high school students that assesses the mastery of college readiness standards. rotana.com


YOTEL announced that a fund affiliated with Starwood Capital Group, a leading global private investment firm, has committed to making a strategic investment of USD 250 million in YOTEL. This includes acquiring a 30 percent stake in the company and investing in real estate acquisitions for new build, hotel conversion and adaptive reuse properties, as YOTEL expands its international scale. Yotel is a hotel concept that takes the essential elements of luxury hotels into smaller, smart spaces and delivers a sense of community with areas for coworking, social gatherings and exercise. YOTEL’s major shareholders include the Jassim Al-Bahar Group, IFA Hotels & Resorts, Starwood Capital Group, United Investment Portugal and Aqarat. yotel.com Small Luxury Hotels of The World launches INVITED, its loyalty program

The free-to-join program replaces The Club of SLH and offers all members access to exclusive rates, guaranteed benefits and ‘Small Luxuries’ from their first stay at any of its 500 small, independently minded hotels worldwide. slh.com/invited Three awards for the Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts

Kempinski Summerland Hotel and Resort, Lebanon

Kempinski Hotels will add two properties to its portfolio in the Middle East and Africa in 2018, as it continues to strengthen its foothold in the region’s luxury segment. The 310-room Kempinski Hotel Muskat will open in Oman in Q1 2018. Along with its different amenities, the property will bring Oman’s only signature PGA standard 18-hole golf course, designed by Greg Norman, as well as the 400-berth Al Mouj Marina, Oman’s largest private yachting hub. Next to the hotel, the Kempinski Residences will feature 77 serviced apartments. Emerald Palace Kempinski Palm Jumeirah Dubai will open in the UAE in Q2 2018. The hotel will feature 389 rooms and suites. Besides the various F&B and leisure activities, the project will bring the largest private cinema on Palm Jumeirah, with a capacity of 80 seats. The



hotel will offer six culinary experiences, including the first by three-Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse in the UAE. In a separate development, Kempinski Summerland Hotel & Resort has been awarded ‘Lebanon’s Hospitality Project of the Year 2017’ during the 14th edition of the annual conference dubbed ‘Business Warriors’, held by Lebanon Opportunities magazine. Daniele Vastolo, general manager at Kempinski Summerland Hotel & Resort, said: “This recognition underscores the hard work, creativity and innovation of our team; an outcome for aiming to exceed our guest expectations at every opportunity. I am proud of our achievement and congratulate all our hardworking talents for their commitment to deliver unique guests experiences.” kempinski.com

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has scored a triple win, with its properties in Beirut, Aqaba and Colombo receiving leading industry awards. Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba has been named ‘Jordan’s Leading Resort’ and Mövenpick Hotel Beirut has been crowned ‘Lebanon's Leading Luxury Hotel’, both at the recent World Travel Awards Middle East Ceremony 2017. movenpick.com InterContinental Jordan Hotel wins 13 HORECA awards

InterContinental Jordan Hotel participated in the HORECA 2017 exhibition that took place recently in Amman, winning a total of 13 golden, silver and bronze medals across several categories. Chef Mahmoud Al Doqos and Chef Amjad Yaseen were each awarded a gold medal for the best plated dessert and in the seafood competition respectively. The HORECA exhibition takes place annually and covers the F&B services and the hospitality sectors in Jordan and across the region. ihg.com

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CENTRO WAHA OPENS IN RIYADH Centro Waha, the first Centro property to open in Riyadh under the ‘Centro by Rotana’ brand, and the second in the kingdom, is adjacent to the developing King Abdullah financial district. Number of rooms: 290 rotana.com


A SECOND CENTRO HOTEL IN KSA Centro Waha Riyadh Hotel is the second hospitality project to be developed, courtesy of the sharia-compliant SHUAA Saudi Hospitality Fund I. Number of rooms: 290 rotana.com, shuaa.com



HOLIDAY INN DEBUTS IN DOHA IHG announced the opening of Holiday Inn Doha - The Business Park, in partnership with the Trans Orient Group. The opening marks the 24th Holiday Inn in the Middle East region, with a further six in the pipeline. Number of rooms: 307 holidayinn.com



MYSK BY SHAZA, AL MOUJ OPEN IN OMAN MYSK by Shaza, part of a multi-location relationship with Taameer Investment, has opened MYSK by Shaza, Al Mouj. Shaza Hotels is a joint venture with Kempinski. Number of rooms: 195 shazahotels.com

MONDRIAN DOHA IS NOW OPEN The property is sbe's first hotel in the Middle East. Additionally, the Mondrian brand has plans to expand in Dubai, UAE, in 2019 and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, by 2020. Number of rooms: 270 sbe.com

DAMAC MAISON ROYALE THE DISTINCTION DEBUTS IN DUBAI DAMAC Hotels & Resorts officially opened DAMAC Maison Royale The Distinction in Dubai’s Downtown district - the latest fivestar property and debut of the luxury brand. Number of rooms: 305 hotel apartments damacmaison.com



FOUR SEASONS TO OPEN SECOND PROPERTY IN KSA Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Jabal Omar Development Company have announced plans for the new Four Seasons Hotel Makkah, with 375 guest rooms and suites, plus approximately 90 Four Seasons private residences. fourseasons.com

RAMADA RIYADH KING FAHD ROAD UNDERWAY Riyada International Hotels & Resorts and Concept Towers Real Estate Limited have agreed to develop a new Ramada property in Riyadh - the 189-room Ramada Riyadh King Fahd Road. Opening 2020 wyndhamhotels.com/ramada



MÖVENPICK HOTELS & RESORTS SIGNS THIRD MUSCAT HOTEL The 370-key Mövenpick Hotel Muscat Airport is part of a new, mixed-use project under development near Muscat International Airport. Opening 2021 movenpick.com

EMAAR HOSPITALITY GROUP PLANNING ‘VIDA HARBOUR POINT’ The seventh upcoming hotel project in the UAE under Vida Hotels and Resorts will be located in the Island District of Dubai Creek Harbour. Vida Harbour Point will have 275 rooms. emaar.com

NAKHEEL AND CENTARA TO BUILD 600-ROOM BEACHFRONT RESORT The resort is the first Centara establishment in the UAE. Features will include a waterpark, multiple restaurants, spa and fitness center. Opening 2020 nakheel.com

SWISS-BELHOTEL INTERNATIONAL GROWS PORTFOLIO Swiss-Belhotel International has signed Swiss-Belhotel and Suites Jazan. Featuring 210 keys, the upscale four-star property is owned by Cardamom International Property Management LLC. Opening 2020 swiss-belhotel.com

NEW COURTYARD AND RESIDENCE INN FOR DUBAI'S JUMEIRAH VILLAGE CIRCLE Courtyard by Marriott JVC will offer 150 rooms and Residence Inn by Marriott JVC will add another 100 rooms to the upcoming development. Opening 2020 marriott.com

WYNDHAM GARDEN AJMAN CORNICHE TO DEBUT IN THE UAE The four-star property will feature 179 rooms and suites and an executive lounge on the top floor with panoramic sea views. Opening Q4 2017 rhotels.ae







Rotana Hotel Management has appointed Ulrike Andorff as general manager of Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa. With a solid background in the hospitality industry, she joined Rotana in 2011 as executive assistant manager for The Cove Rotana Resort in Ras Al Khaimah.

Rotana Hotel Management has promoted Craig Bruce to cluster general manager for Hala Arjaan by Rotana in Abu Dhabi. In his new role, he will be responsible for directing the overall management and operations of the three hotels.

Faiek El Saadani has been promoted to general manager of five-star luxury hotel, The St. Regis Dubai. El Saadani brings a wealth of experience to his new role, with a career that spans over 19 years in the hospitality sector.

Royal Tulip Achrafieh has appointed Kabalan Frangieh as its new general manager. A hotel management graduate, he began his career in hospitality in 1994 with IHG group in Saudi Arabia. Over the years, he has held various managerial positions in reputable hotels across Lebanon, KSA, Eritrea and Qatar.

Hussein Kahil is the new vice president of operations at Middle East and Africa Millennium Hotels and Resorts. With over 20 years’ experience of operational leadership, most recently as senior director of operations MEA for the Wyndham Hotel Group, Kahil brings considerable expertise to his new role.

Ahmed Khalaf has been made general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Tunis, which is set to open in late 2017. A Four Seasons veteran, he joins from Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano, where he held the same position.

IHG has announced the appointment of Carlos Malliaroudakis as general manager of InterContinental Jordan. Malliaroudakis, whose hospitality experience spans close to 30 years, was most recently the general manager of Al Ain Rotana, a five-star hotel in the UAE.

Hospitality Management Holding (HMH) has appointed Rene Vincent-Ernst as the general manager of Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel. Vincent-Ernst has over three decades of experience in the hospitality industry spanning Europe, Africa and the Middle East.





CHEF HUSSEIN HADID’S NEW CONCEPT, UMMI UMMI, is a restaurant of a different order, belonging to a category of places that immediately feels warm and familiar, despite being unique. Describing the kitchen as a place that forever lives in the memory, Chef Hadid told HN: “The space is aptly named, since UMMI is Arabic for mother. It follows the same setup habitually found in the home kitchens of yesteryear. Paying homage to mothers, the restaurant invites guests to try out treats made by applying golden-year recipes using the freshest ingredients sourced from all over Lebanon.” Familiar cooking utensils are strategically scattered all over the kitchen, he continued, and as guests draw closer, their sense of smell automatically registers aromas and scents from times gone by. “These are further magnified due to the open kitchen design that feeds every curiosity and silently suggests an assortment of mouth-watering possibilities,” Hadid added. Similar to all Co. concepts, the cozy environment is also lively as a number of chefs busily prepare the meals with the greatest of care. Every finished item is then brought to rest on a dedicated display counter, rich with a vast selection of home-style cooked meals. To these, an assortment of international picks is added and presented, UMMI style. There are fixed menu items, consisting of

IN BRIEF Burj Al Hamam is Lebanese Cuisine Global Winner

The signature Lebanese restaurant ‘Burj Al Hamam’ has been recognized by the World Luxury Spa and Restaurant Awards. The 2017 edition of these awards took place in Vietnam, where over 100,000 votes came in for the 1,000 nominees from all over the world. ‘Burj Al Hamam’ is the only restaurant in all of Jordan to have received an award during this event as a World Luxury Restaurant Awards Global Winner for the year 2017. Amwaj Rotana, Jumeirah Beach Dubai to launch new restaurant and lounge

Amwaj Rotana, located on the popular Jumeirah Beach Residence stretch, will soon draw back the curtains to unveil its latest concept. Set to launch in the final quarter of 2017, the restaurant will offer a menu of sharing concepts from the kitchens of its signature restaurants, Rosso, Benihana, JB’s and Horizon. The new restaurant will seat approximately 100 guests and also feature a bar area. rotana.com the standard Lebanese ‘mezze’, with some grilled and side dishes and the option to order rotisserie chicken, complemented by oven baked toasties. facebook.com/UMMI


Chez Zakhia debuts in Beirut, partners with Riviera Hotel

Chez Zakhia, a renowned Lebanese seafood restaurant located in Amchit, northern coast of Lebanon, has opened the doors of its first branch in Beirut, located on the seaside of the Riviera Hotel. The restaurant, which is owned by Zakhia Moujahed, was launched in 1984 in Jbeil, and then moved to Amchit in 2001. The investment in the project is over USD 1.5 million. According to Moujahed, Beirut has always been on their checklist, but picking the right seaside location was a challenge. “Riviera is the perfect landmark and our partnership made it the ideal spot for us,” he told HN. facebook.com/chezzakhia Azadea Group to debut New Shanghai in the Middle East

Following The Village Dbayeh and The Backyard Hazmieh, Venture Group opened their third cluster, Restos St. Nicolas, in Ashrafieh. It is managed by Sabbagha Development, a real estate and land development company in Lebanon. Investment in the project is USD 7 million. It covers an area of 1,700 square meters and has provided more than 300 jobs. Designed by architects Fadlallah Dagher and Fouad



Hanna, Restos St. Nicolas is a new dining destination in Beirut that brings together several F&B labels, including Ahwak, Roadster Diner, Bar Tartine, Don and Café Gourmand. The project is presented as a harmonious blend between the existing old Lebanese house that was preserved and restored and the new buildings, conceived to be in tune with the architectural spirit of the old house. venturemea.com

Lifestyle retail company Azadea Group is expanding its F&B portfolio, debuting New Shanghai in Dubai in 2018. The Chinese cuisine restaurant will feature a new dining concept, the ‘Dumpling Theatre’, which brings the kitchen to the customers to view the preparation of their Dim Sum and Dumplings. New Shanghai operates in key cities across Australia and Shanghai. Its expansion into the Middle East begins in Dubai, will spread across the Middle-East over the next five years. azadea.com



Lebanese entrepreneur Maya Bekhazi Noun has launched The Food Studio, a new catering concept. She explained that she had been catering to friends and family, and for small events. “From then on, demand began increasing naturally and our clients’ database expanded on its own,” she said. In catering, she explained, the difference is that every event is a new project, requiring creativity and research, which she also enjoys. The Food Studio’s areas of expertise are: discovery menus, where

tailor-made menus are created for each event; kids’ birthdays with theme parties; and B2B, where solutions and back-up for other F&B retailers are provided. The concept also caters to small weddings upon special requests, food and alcohol pairing menus (single malts, wines and sake), in addition to catering to home dinners and live cooking. Bekhazi Noun, who is also general secretary of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Nightclubs & Pastries in Lebanon, first ventured onto the F&B scene over 15 years ago. She has created, developed and operated a variety of concepts, including Shoots UAE, Spin the Hen and Curli Q. She has worked as a consultant to internationally renowned companies such as the Sheraton in Jeddah and the Beirut Hospitality Company (BHC), a Solidere venture. During that time, she conceived, developed and managed new concepts, including Café M, Relais Foch and GRID Coffee, as well as a 1,200 m2 central production kitchen and catering business. food-gallery.com

BOOK REVIEWS Manger Libanais by Kamal Mouzawak

Hop on a road-trip across Lebanon to discover the land, the people and their cuisine. From Beirut, passing by the South, the Chouf and the North, Manger Libanais brings you up close and personal with authentic Lebanese recipes, passed on from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. These ladies, all Tawlet Souk el Tayeb cooks, open their homes and invite you to dine at their table. Bring your appetite, an open heart and enjoy the ride! Liza à la Libanaise - Ducasse Edition by Ziad Asseily and Liza Asseily

Liza & Ziad Asseily help you discover a contemporary gastronomy, which is comforting, healthy and far from clichéd. Because Lebanese cuisine is to be shared, Liza and Ziad, married in the city as at work, offer you a book in their image: a true way of life imbued with Lebanese culture, Parisian chic and greed. From breakfast to nighttime munchies, all occasions are seen as opportune for feasting, with friends, family or on the go.

Beirut Footsteps by Marie-Noelle Fattal

When she noticed that many things she found beautiful, sad, funny or moving in Beirut were at risk of disappearing, Marie-Noelle Fattal decided to create Beirut Footsteps using social media. This photography book features a selection of her Instagram posts where she shares her pictures of the city, "a city of confusion, contrasts, extremes...". It is also her own personal tribute to simply say: "Beirut, I love you."

MÖVENPICK HOTELS & RESORTS REVAMPS ICONIC SWISS DISHES Thomas Hollenstein, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ Europe F&B director, has reinvented a variety of traditional Swiss dishes, to combine Mövenpick’s rich heritage and guests’ modern palates. The result is a new array of ‘Signature Dishes’ that will become a permanent fixture on restaurant and in-room dining menus at every Mövenpick hotel and resort globally. “We made the recipes for these dishes lighter and fresher, but at the same time, retained the ingredients and flavors that have made them so popular for decades,” Hollenstein said. The four signature dishes are: Beef Tartare; Riz Casimir; Zürich-style Veal; and its famous Carrot Cake. movenpick.com

17 ALSHAYA F&B OUTLETS TO OPEN IN BAHRAIN Alshaya Trading Co. is bringing customers in Bahrain a choice of over 40 leading international brands at The Avenues – Bahrain, which opened its doors early November. The opening includes 15 new brands making their debut in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The mall’s opening saw long-awaited debut of The Cheesecake Factory, organic Belgian restaurant Le Pain Quotidien, and American chocolatier Bridgewater Chocolate, the Naplesinspired Italian restaurant 400 Gradi, gourmet and specialty foods purveyor Dean & Deluca, upmarket Japanese restaurant Katsuya by Starck, and family steakhouse Texas Roadhouse. Three further concepts will follow weeks later, including the American build-your-own pizza Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, and the Lebanese restaurant Babel. alshaya.com

KASR FAKHREDDINE AT MEZE FESTIVAL IN TURKEY Kasr Fakhreddine, a Lebanese restaurant that has been servicing guests for over 40 years, showcased its Lebanese 'mezze' at the first International Meze Festival which took place on Saturday, October 14, at the Akra Hotels in Antalya, Turkey. The restaurant showcased various dishes, including tabbouleh, humus, moutabbal and stuffed vine leaves. The festival brought together 25 different restaurants, each offering unique flavors of different 'mezze' from around the world.







SIGNATURES BY LE CORDON BLEU, LEBANON Signatures by Le Cordon Bleu combines the finest international cuisine with a relaxed, casual ambience. The menu showcases an outstanding selection of seasonal and international ingredients with bold creativity and artistic presentation, reflecting the values and identity of Le Cordon Bleu in every dish. Opened October 2017

Owner Le Cordon Bleu Lebanon Executive chef Christophe Vessaire Covers 160 Average price/person USD 50-60 Typical dishes Almond Soup with Dublin Bay Prawns, Lobster Tagine, Poached Pear Dessert Address 14th floor of the newly open BURJ on BAY Hotel, Lebanon burjonbay.com

Opened September 19, 2017 Owner(s) Mark Mouracade and Karim Bibi Total investment USD 500,000 Executive chef Karim Bibi Covers 80 Average price/person USD 45 Typical dishes Crispy Beef in Soft Bun, House-made Pasta with Squid Ribbons, Umami Burger Address Gemmayze, Lebanon facebook.com/beroe.beirut




Opened October 10, 2017 Owner(s) Ramzi Adada and Nabil Krimmley Executive chef Antoine Bonnet Covers 70 Average price/person USD 45 Typical dishes Beef Saltimbocca, Steak & Frites, Sea Bream Meunière Address Charles Debbas, Saifi, Beirut, Lebanon facebook.com/Brassica

Opened October 28, 2017 Owner Table V or Group of F&B professionals Total investment USD 800,000 Covers 75 Average price/person USD 35-55 Typical dishes Organic Free-range Chicken and Wagyu Beef Steak Hache Address Saifi Village Square, Beirut, Lebanon panamebeirut.com

Opened Rebranded November 23, 2017 Consultant chef Maroun Chedid Covers 118 Typical dishes Baked Rkakat Cheese, Dry Figs and Kebab Karaz Address Al Qasba, Sharjah, UAE shababeek.ae

ATISUTO RESTAURANT & BAKERY, UAE Opened September 29, 2017 Owner Silver Spoon Investments Brand chef Aijiro Shinoda Covers 12 in the bakery and 58 in the restaurant Average price/person AED 135 Typical Dishes Sushi, Sashimi, Robata Grill, Yakitori, Udon and Ramen Soups Address Shop #84A, Persia Court, Ibn Battuta Mall, UAE atisuto.ae



RIVIERA BEACH GRILL, UAE Opened August 31, 2017 Owner Sunset Hospitality Executive chef Richard John Barrett Covers 60 indoors, pergola 56, lounge 45 Average price/person USD 30 Typical dishes Freshly-caught seafood, Roasted Chicken from the in-house rotisserie Address Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR, UAE riviera-grill.com




IN BRIEF A second venture by chef Michael Mina to open at Four Seasons Hotel DIFC

Four Seasons Hotel DIFC will launch a new modern outlet named MINA Brasserie in early 2018, in partnership with award-wining American chef, Michael Mina. This marks the chef’s second venture at the property, following the opening in early 2016 of his Firebird Diner. Mina Group Inc. is a San Francisco-based restaurant management company specializing in creating and operating upscale restaurant concepts. Mina, who is chef and owner, has a wealth of accolades to his name, including James Beard Foundation ‘Who’s Who of Food and Beverage’ inductee in 2013, Bon AppétitChef of the Year, Food Arts Silver Spoon Award Winner and International Food and Beverage Forum’s Restaurateur of the Year. fourseasons.com

Top Chef Middle East judge, chef Maroun Chedid opens his cooking academy and the Ritage pop-up restaurant before the grand opening of the actual Ritage by Maroun Chedid in mid 2018. Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy The Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy opened its doors in November, in collaboration with Miele, the German manufacturer of high quality domestic appliances and machines. It welcomes foodies, chefs and professionals. Shedding light on what he hopes to achieve, Chedid said: “My passion for learning and sharing the beauty of the art of cooking is mirrored in this contemporary, yet nostalgic space. The kitchens boast the latest equipment and each one is designed to make cooking enthusiasts as well as professionals feel at home. It is an interesting mix of warm Mediterranean charm with the required rigor and efficiency.” Classes and workshops for every taste and level help students discover and learn about an array of topics that include: different types of cuisines; professional classes; cooking techniques; children’s classes; introduction to different products and ingredients; and wine and coffee appreciation sessions. Chedid himself, along with other renowned international and local chefs, teach the classes to ensure a certain standard is maintained while providing a memorable culinary experience.

Ritage Pop-Up Restaurant Ritage is a place that not only pays tribute to the culinary richness and traditions of Chedid's homeland, but also embodies a deep-rooted Mediterranean culture of conviviality. “Ritage is the culmination of my culinary journey, where professionals and food lovers alike will be inspired by and invited to be a part of my gastronomic explorations,” he explained. “The space denotes heritage and authenticity. The venue is a Mediterranean wonderland filled with flavor, passion and rigor comprising a restaurant, terrace and boutique.” Inspired by the seasons, the pop-up restaurant will be open for dinner every night as of Monday December 11 and will serve a seasonal set menu that can be paired with wines and spirits. The boutique includes Georgette by Maroun Chedid terroir products, a selection of condiments, culinary books, kitchen accessories and culinary paraphernalia selected by the chef. marounchedid.com

New chef for Signatures by Le Cordon Bleu restaurant at Lebanon’s BURJ on BAY

Chef Christophe Vessaire was appointed as the new executive chef of the French restaurant Signatures by Le Cordon Bleu at Lebanon’s Burj on Bay Hotel. He brings a wealth of experience to the hotel and now leads the cooking team in setting the standards of fine dining. His repertoire includes working at the Hotel Michlifen – Irfane, Morocco, Riad Hotel, La Maison Arabe – Morocco, and Westgate, San Diego, California. burjonbay.com New executive chef at Intercontinental Jordan

InterContinental Jordan appointed Ioannis Kritikos as the hotel’s executive chef. Kritikos brings to his new role around 20 years of experience in the culinary world in various five-star hotels and properties in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. ihg.com RACA hosted HORECA Jordan’s WACS chefs

Jordan’s the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) hosted the World Association of Chefs’ Societies’ (WACS) international judges of the HORECA Salon Culinaire for a short tour at the academy. During the visit, the judges had the opportunity to learn more about the practical and theoretical education delivered at RACA and also see the students in action. raca-lesroches.edu.jo




CHEF GREG MALOUF ON M.E. GASTRONOMY generation of chefs that Lebanese cuisine isn’t just about the routine falafel, baba ganoush and tabbouleh, but is much more.

1. How would you sum up your participation at the Gastronomist Istanbul Summit? My presentation focused on contemporary Middle Eastern food and how positively the Middle Easterners have embraced it. It’s a tough subject, as I’m afraid we’re still a long way from elevating Lebanese food if there is to be any positive change or development. From the time I was quite young and started training as a chef 30 years ago, I always wanted to lift Lebanese food out of its comfort zone and put it on a pedestal. Today, I want to continue reminding the current

2. Do you believe that there is a gastronomic amalgam in the Middle East? It’s slow-going for us Middle Eastern cooks. Truly local (Emirati) food is almost impossible to find in a restaurant setting here and Arab restaurants remain pretty uniform. But I do sense that the barriers are slowly crumbling. In Zahira restaurant, I will keep on doing what I do best, which is to encourage diners to be a little less bound by tradition and to realize that you can modernize dishes without destroying their authenticity. 3. What are the prevailing gastronomy trends that we should take note of? Communal dining is finding its way onto the scene, as well as build-yourown-meal concepts. Turkish, Mexican and South American cuisines have peaked and there are no inspirational Middle Eastern kitchens. gregmalouf.com

MEET THE CHEF: MORENA LEITE BURJ on BAY, the recently opened fivestar property overlooking Jounieh Bay in Lebanon, welcomed Brazilian chef Morena Leite as a guest chef at the hotel’s Signatures by Le Cordon Bleu on November 24. At the age of 19, Chef Leite became the youngest graduate of the Cordon Bleu. Eighteen years later, she sits at the helm of six restaurants and is conducting global culinary research, having already penned seven cookbooks. HN asked her about her experience as a chef and specifically her time with Le Cordon Bleu. 1. What can you tell us about your visit to Le Cordon Bleu’s hotel and restaurant in Lebanon? I am very happy to be here. My parents owned a hotel, so being in one reminds me of my childhood . BURJ on BAY blends all my passions: Lebanese heritage; hotel atmosphere; and culinary arts school. On this first visit, the place brought them all together. 2. What food did you prepare for the night? As a starter, I prepared tapioca ravioli, filled with cheese with herbs sauce. The main course was seafood moqueca (Brazilian traditional stew) served with coconut rice and tapioca crumble (farofa), and the dessert was Gauva lava cake. Brazil is a place that blends so many cultures and flavors, such as Portuguese, African, Lebanese and of course indigenous influences, and being a tropical place, fruits are a key ingredient. I believe the

menu I chose reflects all these cultures and flavors coming together in perfect harmony a perfect portrayal of Brazil. 3. What impact did Le Cordon Bleu school have on your career? I believe the most important thing is to use local ingredients, to understand and explain a culture through a dish - and this is what Le Cordon Bleu teaches you. I learned a lot of self-discipline and about the value of hard work at the school; both essential to succeeding in the culinary world. Also, Le Cordon Bleu offers its students a strong global network to help them succeed, since even the most talented chef needs others to achieve success. burjonbay.com DEC 2017- JAN 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





MEET THE CHEF: CHEF HANNA TAWIL alongside many others. The focal point was enrichment, but I am always looking to improve my technical skills, my knowledge and my professional portfolio.

Chef Hanna Tawil is the name behind the culinary success of Pablo Escobar and several other F&B ventures from MEC Concepts in Lebanon. He talked to HN about the slow, but sure trend toward eating out in pubs and the need for consistency in a kitchen 1. As a chef leading the culinary activity in several outlets, how do you assess your experience to date? Values, interests and skills are the three essential pillars we can use to assess ourselves. As executive chef in several bistros and pubs, I have participated in a huge number of workshops abroad with Paul Bocuse and Alain Ducasse,

2. What are the challenges that you face and what do you do to overcome them? It’s crucial to keep up to date on the latest food trends, customers’ demands and daily interests to sustain a business and be successful. Moreover, product consistency and staffing are very challenging. Consistency is the key to success. Guests always request the same experience in terms of taste, presentation, service and ambiance. This is difficult to achieve and maintain, as supply chains and product availability are not always themselves consistent. Training your staff is the key to maintaining consistency and sustainability. Being able to maintain high morale, an environment of development and advancement, and a strong team culture are big asks in any restaurant. It’s difficult to keep staff engaged, as there is usually little to no room for creativity and building skillsets around a static menu that will last for many months. mec-concepts.com

BARBARA MASSAAD’S LATEST TRIP TO CHINA Barbara Massaad of Slow Food Lebanon was recently in China to participate in the Slow Food Congress in Chengdu. The congress, which brought together 400 delegates from 90 countries, met primarily to define the path of Slow Food for the years to come. What are the latest food trends in China that could take off in the Middle East? The area that I visited in Chengdu is famous for Szechuan cuisine, typically very spicy Chinese food. Many Szechuan dishes incorporate a lot of garlic and chili peppers. The eating experience has an impact on all your senses. The hotpot concept would, I think, do very well in the Middle East. Hotpot is a Chinese soup containing a variety of East Asian foodstuffs and ingredients, prepared with a simmering pot of soup stock at the dining table. While the hotpot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hotpot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leaves, vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, tofu and seafood. The cooked food is usually served with a dipping sauce. The experience is convivial, theatrical and can last for hours, thus would be attractive to Middle Eastern customers. slowfoodbeirut.com

20 - 23 March 2018 3 - 9 pm, Seaside arena, Lebanon (Previously known as BIEL area)










CONTACT US Events Department +961 1 480081 ext.114 or events@hospitalityservices.com.lb VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR REGULAR UPDATES





WITH THE FLAVOURS O F T H E SHANK Cuts like the Australian lamb shank have become increasingly popular on menus across the globe thanks to their affordable price point, rich texture and taste. Being a full flavoured cut, the Australian lamb shank can take strong flavours such as a curry, fiery chilli and strong leafy herbs such as coriander and basil.



Shank The shank is the section of meat and bone that sits above the knee joint and below the leg. Shanks are prepared from a forequarter and from a leg by a cut through the joint that connects it to either the shoulder bone or the leg bone. Braising this cut brings out the best in the meat with the connective tissue melting down through the sauce, thickening it and adding incredible flavour. Slow cook lamb shanks until the meat is literally falling off the bone.

Braised lamb shanks with sichuan & orange Scan barcode to view this recipe.


Drumstick Drumsticks or frenched shanks are trimmed lamb shanks wherein the bone portion of the shank is scraped clean of meat. Drumsticks are easy to prepare, need simple, slow and gentle cooking to release their succulence and show off a culinary elegance. A slow cooker is an ideal way to cook them, or by simmering them in the oven.



A TOAST TO AN ANCIENT ART “Today, Château Ksara can claim 40 percent of local market share and 27 percent of the total market, if you include foreign wines,” Ghazal said. “Abroad, Château Ksara has consistently taken the lion’s share of Lebanese wine exports. Bear in mind that the company is present in over 35 countries.”

Dikran Ghazal General Manager

Château Ksara

In an interview with Ksara’s new general manager, Dikran Ghazal, HN discussed how far the company has come since inception, where it stands in terms of market share/exports, the strategies it employs and its tactics for catering to Millennials As the country’s oldest winery, Château Ksara remains committed to continuing the unique, centuries-old practice of winemaking and implementing the newest and most innovative processes, with the aim of leading the local market for generations to come.

To further strengthen its ties with the community and retailers, and to obtain the status of premium brand in the minds of consumers, the company has gone to great lengths to ensure that its offerings and services are the best possible quality. On that note and in a bid to further raise awareness, Ghazal said, “We have always sought to strengthen relations with our retailers and end users. With our finger always on the pulse, we sensed that despite the enthusiasm for wine in the Lebanese market, there was also a lack of knowledge.” He went on to explain that to counter this, Château Ksara introduced an internationally recognized Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) program of qualifications through a partnership to provide and develop high-quality education and training in wines and spirits to hospitality students and wine lovers from all backgrounds. With a focus on catering to a diverse audience, especially given the growing number of local and international players entering the market, Château Ksara works to maintain an edge and keep interest high through innovation. “We have invested significant time and money into researching and understanding different marketing segments based on lifestyle, tastes, age and income, in order to accurately develop and market our

products,” he said. “Another key factor that supports the brand’s vision is its ability to customize products to meet the needs of individual markets and to cater to all tastes and budgets. Château Ksara will continue to tailor its product line to meet the needs of the younger consumer through innovation.”

Abroad, Château Ksara has consistently taken the lion’s share of Lebanese wine exports. Bear in mind that the company is present in over 35 countries Getting the right product into the right hands in timely fashion is the foundation of any successful company, something Château Ksara is well aware of. “Our competitive advantage is built on product, service and brand attributes,” Ghazal said. “We embed the company’s culture in the market and ensure that high standards for customer service and product quality are maintained at each new and established local store.” Another strategy employed by Château Ksara that has boosted traffic to its scenic headquarters in the Bekaa valley and is helping to drive it forward is its digital presence. “In 2016, Château Ksara was ranked the third-most visited site by the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, notching up 16,500 foreigners out of a total of 66,000 visitors, rising to 75,000 in the first 10 months of 2017,” he explained. “With annual growth in double digits, we are highly optimistic about what the future holds.” chateauksara.com

BOECKER LAUNCHES NEW CERTIFICATION PROGRAM Boecker, one of the region’s largest pest management, food safety and biosecurity companies, has launched the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Lite certification program, which has been approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health – UK. The program aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) implement the highest standards in occupational health and safety and to protect institutions, employees and workers from any harm or danger at work, by applying preventive and risk control measures. Michel Bayoud, CEO of Boecker, told HN that the program extends beyond the industrial sector to cater to any SME that is willing to grow within a challenging environment. “This certification offers an



annual program to train employees on the basis of occupational health and safety and to create the adequate conditions in the institution,” said Bayoud. He explained that this is achieved “through efficient

and simple measures that can help in the adoption of the basic standards of health and safety, in order to guarantee their implementation”. boecker.com





With over 100 years of chocolate expertise, Belgian chocolate-maker Callebaut is introducing new flavors and colors to its Finest Belgian Chocolate range. The brand new caramel chocolate ‘Gold’ will join the ranks of the classic dark, milk and white chocolate. In an interview with HN, Maurice Feghali, CEO of EMF Middle East Coordination for Barry Callebaut, said caramel was not only a long-lasting flavor, but consumer surveys also showed that it was also one of the preferred top five dessert flavors. “It is trendy for Millennials and nostalgic for higher age groups,” he explained. He noted that for professionals and chefs, it represented a new tool which allowed them to play around the Symphony of Caramel and to deliver an astonishing golden color with their creations. emf-me.com

Casafekra, which specializes in furnishing hospitality projects in the region, focuses on designing ‘user-experiences’. The company has already garnered over 100 projects throughout eight Middle Eastern countries and was recently awarded two contracts in the Ivory Coast and Cameroon. Celebrating the launch of the company’s new ‘human-centric positioning’, founder and CEO Assaad Boujawdeh said, “The human being has always been at the center of everything that Casafekra stands for and does, but we’ve never put this strength forward in our communication.” It was only this year, he added, that the company decided to put forward its human-centric core essence and further invest in it. The idea was so fulfilling that the company is in the process of recruiting an in-house sociologist for a more in-depth interpretation aimed at consciously instilling a human interactive layer into all its projects. casafekra.com

Elie Ramia, managing director of MindSet Solutions, is convinced negative customer experiences will eventually slash revenues. The company offers a system of tailormade solutions that ensures the growth and higher profit margins for any business, especially those in the hospitality industry. “The brand performance management (BPM) system allows any business of any size to collect, analyze and retrieve all the vital information associated with its customer base,” he said. “Despite being the newest technology in the market, the system is easy to understand, intuitive to use and helps generate straightforward reports accessible from anywhere at any time. The goal is to contribute to the success of any business by supporting its growth at every stage in every aspect through creative ideas and practical solutions,” he explained. mindset.solutions





A TRIUMPHANT FOURTH EDITION OF HORECA JORDAN HORECA Jordan, the country’s leading hospitality and foodservice exhibition, closed on 12 October, delivering another successful edition The three-day event drew in a crowd of more than 7,000 trade professionals from around the region who took advantage of the fair’s networking opportunities to do business. Hosted over 2,700 square meters at the Zara Expo in Amman, the show welcomed over 150 exhibitors, including well-known brands. Part of the HORECA network, a regional web encompassing Lebanon, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, HORECA Jordan boasted a number of exciting competitions which highlighted the skills of more than 170 young, talented chefs, baristas and hospitality professionals. At the Hospitality Salon Culinaire, more than 10 international judges were present to evaluate the skills of the country’s best chefs. Elsewhere, the Bed Making Competition, the Art of Service Competition and the Al Ameed Barista Competition also returned to the program. horeca-jordan.com

Opening in the presence of HE Lina Annab, Minister of Tourism & Antiquities

Al Ameed Barista Competition

Hospitality Salon Culinaire closing

Art of Service Competition HE Lina Annab presented with award

Hospitality Salon Culinaire awards ceremony



Hospitality Salon Culinaire Winners Categories


Best Eclair

Gold medalists

Rotana Hotel Amman

Sultan Ali

Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa

Bahaa Al Qaisi

Grand Hyatt Amman

Osama Alaqabani

Best Macaron

Four Seasons Hotel Amman

Aya Al Qour

Bread Creation (Baguette)

Rotana Hotel Amman

Abdullah Abu Obaid


Tipsy Cow

Osama Al Baz

Contemporary Jordanian    

Four Seasons Hotel Amman

Yousef Saber

Cold Sandwiches

Grand Hyatt Amman

Ayah Al Obeid

Junior Chef Competition

Four Seasons Hotel Amman

Sara Aqel


Royal Academy Of Culinary Arts

Dala Fayoumi

Pasta Or Hot Appetizer

Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa

Dya'a Al Asmar

Corp Amman Hotel

Abedallah Fodeh

Plated Desserts

Intercontinental Jordan Hotel

Mahmoud Al Deqes


Ikea - SYH Jordan

Ali Al-Zeq

Show Platter Meat, Poultry or Fish (Terrine)

Crowne Plaza Dead Sea

Suliman Rezeq

Sugar & Chocolate Showpiece

Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea

Perera Hettiarachchie

Tapas & Canapes

Grand Hyatt Amman

Yahia Jadeeti


Manar Haddad

The Cake Shop

Ali Abu Ayash

Theme Celebration Cake Wedding Cake


Diana Qamar


Manar Haddad

Bed Making Grand Hyatt Amman

Ali Niaf Alkelani (first gold)

Landmark Amman Hotel & Conference center

Mohammad Jamal (second gold)

Four Seasons Hotel Amman

Mohammad Abu Alsoundos (third gold) Barista

Masa Restaurant & Cafe

Ahmad Abu Fannouneh Art of Service

Four Seasons Hotel Amman   

Ibrahim Kotna (silver)

Judging of the display competition

Al Ameed Barista Competition

Grand Hyatt Amman's GM, Harun Darsun, receiving award

International judges at the Hospitality Salon Culinaire





SAUDI HORECA MARKS BIGGEST EDITION TO DATE Spread across 15,000 square meters of exhibition space, Saudi HORECA celebrated the end of its seventh edition on 29 November after three exceptional days at Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center Welcoming more than 26,000 local and international visitors, the country’s premier hospitality and foodservice trade fair gathered over 270 exhibitors representing in excess of 10,500 brands. Despite the regional uncertainties, Saudi HORECA was successful in executing the largest show in its history, taking over all four halls of the exhibition center in Riyadh and gathering exhibitors from 32 countries. “The fact that we were sold out months before the event proves the significance of this event for those seeking to tap into new markets and do business,” said Jad Taktak, general manager of Semark, the organizer of the show. “Not only did we gather the top industry players, we also highlighted the talents of more than 150 chefs in 22 categories. It was an excellent show all round.” saudihoreca.com

Hospitality Salon Culinaire Winners Categories


Gold medalists

Arabic Sweets

Shamel Food Company

Mahmoud Selim

Best Burger

Al Faisaliah Hotel

Rajesh Arumugam


Waleed Ismaeel

Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh

Ziad Al Khateeb

Cold Canapes & Tapas

Makarem Riyadh Hotel

Shamsudeen Kamaludeen

Fresh Pasta

Nirvana Restaurant

Marwan Abdelhamid

Saudi Dish


Hind Shdokhe

Seafood Dish


Rakan Aloraifi

Jacks Creek Perfect Steak Challenge 1st Round

Al Zaizafun

Badriah Al Jaafari

Chicken Dish








HORECA Kuwait, the country’s largest dedicated foodservice and hospitality trade event, is set to celebrate its seventh edition from 15-17 January 2018 As Kuwait’s premier hospitality and foodservice exhibition, the event promises to gather more than 100 exhibitors including a number of international exhibitors as well as over 7,000 visitors. Considered a key business meeting place, trade professionals will be able to take advantage of networking opportunities with industry heavyweights, and discover the latest products and innovations. The three-day show, held at Kuwait International Fair, will also host a number of exciting events. New for 2018, the Bed Making Competition will highlight the skills of housekeepers, while the Barista Competition (sponsored by Mohamed N. Al Hajery & Sons Ltd.) will crown the best barista in the country. A series of forums and roundtables will also take place at HORECA, focusing on key industry topics. Furthermore, the popular Hospitality Salon Culinaire welcomes more than 300 chefs who will participate in a number of live cooking and display challenges to impress an international jury. Judges include: Charles Azar (Lebanon), Thierry Bamas (France), Cynthia Bitar (Lebanon), Eric Briffard (France), Maroun Chedid (Lebanon), Thomas Gugler (Germany), Paul Hage (UAE), Tarek Ibrahim (UAE), Martin Kobald (South Africa), Faisal Al Nashmi (Kuwait), Soundarjan Palaniappan (India) and Jacques Rossel (Jordan). horeca-kuwait.com



The increasing importance of HORECA Kuwait as a platform to exhibit the latest food products and non-food technologies is granting our exhibitors maximum exposure and an access point to top industry stakeholders Mohamed Najia, Executive Director, HORECA Kuwait




A special anniversary is on the horizon for HORECA Lebanon. Returning to Beirut from 20-23 March 2018, the key hospitality and foodservice trade event is set to celebrate its 25th edition. We take a look at what’s in store HORECA Lebanon has become an essential destination for firms looking to explore new markets, pursue lucrative business opportunities and stay one step ahead of the latest innovations and trends in the hospitality and foodservice industries. Indeed, the four-day exhibition is nothing short of a who’s who in the industry. More than 18,000 visitors will attend the show, comprising owners of the leading hotels, the top food and beverage companies, top level management, key decision makers and professionals from across the Middle East. A host of networking sessions, including those taking place at the Annual Hospitality Forum, will provide a platform for valuable business interchange. “Over the past 25 years, the exhibition has grown in leaps and bounds and we are delighted to have over 350 exhibitors showcasing more than 2,500 brands today,” says Joumana Dammous-Salame, managing director of Hospitality Services, the event organizer. “We are determined to make the 25th edition an exceptional one and show how robust our hospitality and foodservice sectors are, despite the regional circumstances.” Over 60 international experts from the world of food, drink and hospitality will attend the 2018 show to conduct demonstrations and judge a number of competitions including the renowned Hospitality Salon Culinaire, the Junior Chef Competition, the Atelier Gourmand, the Lebanese Bartenders Competition, the Lebanese Barista Competition, the Art of Service Competition, the Bed Making Competition, the National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Contest and the Wine & Beverage Lab. horecashow.com






GULFHOST INNOVATION AWARDS GulfHost Innovation Awards celebrate pioneering excellence in the Middle East food and beverage industry. Organized by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the awards were judged by an independent panel of industry leaders and experts, and endorsed by GulfHost’s strategic partner, the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA). Winners included: • Best Back of House Equipment Innovation (Hot) – RATIONAL Kitchen and Catering Equipment Trading FZCO – for Connected Cooking, a solution to connect and control kitchen appliances remotely • Best Back of House Equipment Innovation (Other) – Gebr. Echtermann GmbH & Co. KG – for Stainless Steel Sensor Tap, allowing kitchen users to wash their hands without a need to touch the tap

The Beirut-based branding and interactive agency, WonderEight was an exhibitor, panel speaker and silver sponsor of the first edition of GulfHost, with Boudy Nasrala, CEO and co-founder of WonderEight discussing ‘The trends of Social Media in 2018’ Launched during Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW), GulfHost 2017 is the new hospitality and food services expo in the Middle East, co-located with four other shows - The Speciality Food Festival, Seafex Middle East, and Yummex Middle East - and The Hotel Show. Showcasing the A-Z of restaurant, bar and café solutions in one place, more than 2,000 exhibitors participated across DIHW, with GulfHost hosting 16 country pavilions. Here are the key pearls of wisdom Nasrala shared: People are the power: Millennials and Gen Z trust people rather than brands. This makes social media the best medium to showcase your F&B or hospitality business since people engage and share.



Online interaction has a big bite: 49 percent of dine-in and in-store purchases actually come from at least one online interaction. This is huge and growing year on year. The best recipe to maximize ROI: Measurement and attribution are more than buzzwords. They should be focused on if you wish to identify your real return on investment (ROI) and quantify the value of your social media efforts. Content with a purpose: While the temptation to post ‘Hello Friday’ and similar messages can be hard to resist, they don’t actually help your brand. Your posts should be about awareness, sales, loyalty, customer relationship management (CRM), feedback and customer care. Likes and followers aren’t the icing on the cake: Focus on ROI, not on likes. Make engagement your central goal, not followers. The kings of the new era: Social media commerce, influencers, live video and messaging apps will rule supreme in advertising in 2018. Gamification plays for winning results: Gamification has the potential to increase marketing effectiveness by 400 percent and many leading brands are turning to it to maximize

• Best Bar or Coffee Equipment Innovation – SANTOS – for The NUTRISANTOS™ #65, an easy-touse cold press juicer • Best Front of House Equipment Innovation – La Marquise International – for GELATO POPAPP, an innovative gelato dispenser • Best Green or Eco-Friendly Equipment Innovation – HEKO – for Energy Manager, a smart kitchen solution to manage energy efficiencies gulfhost.ae

loyalty, increase engagement and more. WonderEight launched WonderGames which helps companies grow their customer base through games customized to meet specific marketing needs and objectives. While many F&B concepts’ sales continue to fall, this year restaurateurs are more prepared for the recession, ready to take action and can see the edge that marketing can deliver. The underlying takeaway is that the market may seem saturated, but a lot of opportunity exists for good concepts that are well planned and properly conceived from branding to design, food, pricing, location and overall experience.


THE LATEST FROM HOST MILANO Host Milano, the biennial trade show with vendors from across the food and hospitality industries, took place from 20-24 October in Milan, Italy. Over 2,000 businesses encompassing various fields of hospitality equipment, food and coffee, food service, retail and mass retail were on display, many of which presented new products and technological innovations to an international audience of retailers. Annie Keropian-Dilsizian, the editor of HN, combed the 24 halls that made up the exhibition to bring you the latest products and equipment that will change the industry in the coming year.





The first professional machine to introduce the innovative technique of induced maturation© in the food industry. The machine increases the softness of food through ultrasound massage and prolongs its shelf-life, thanks to the reduction of bacterial charge. This innovation is also ideal for those looking to save time and electricity, and reduce food costs. GOURMET SERVICES waveco.it

Ripples is a marketing platform for the hospitality and F&B industries, founded on the simple but powerful idea that a cup of coffee could be a compelling way to engage with consumers. The award-winning Ripple Maker creates inspiring ripples from any image or text atop the foam layer of coffee beverages with the touch of a button. RIPPLES drinkripples.com

A new innovation in the field of eco-friendly coffee capsules, vegecaps are made from 100 percent bio-based agro material; cereals-based; 100% biodegradable and compostable. The capsules contain up to 5.8 grams, depending on the individual coffee grind and roast, are hot water resistant and closed for a better coffee shelf life. VEGEPLAST vegeplast.com

Long gone are the days when the doner had to be cut manually! Just one simple push of the button and der Gerät provides ready-cut meat. Intelligent sensors optically integrated into the doner robot ensure userfriendly operation. Thus, any thickness desired can be cut for a portion of doner meat. ALKADUR ROBOTSYSTEMS GMBH alkadur.de



The DX 1000 is the first dry aging fridge worldwide that combines an activated carbon filter with an active UVC-ventilateddisinfection system, which sterilizes all of the air in the fridge every minute. Beef loses 7 – 8 percent after four weeks on the bone and after six weeks, approximately 12 percent. DRY AGER dry-ager.com

Never before has the ‘fire effect’ burned as realistically as with the new fire from the Flame. All you need is electricity, bio-fluid (distilled water) and special lamps, an ultrasonic vaporizer and a water tank to make this exquisitely authentic magic play of flames. The Flame releases an ultra-fine water mist that helps to make the atmosphere even warmer and more comfortable. THE FLAME | RAINER BIEMANN theflame.at



The new FAEMA E71 is a topof-the-range professional espresso machine. An extraordinary blend of iconic design from Giugiaro Design, cutting-edge technology and traditional features, it was especially built to provide baristas absolute freedom to express their art. GRUPPO CIMBALI S.P.A. faema.com

The Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II is the official espresso machine of the World Barista Championships. The Aurelia II 3 Group Volumetric Espresso Coffee Machine is praised for its technology, maximum practicality and easy use. NUOVA SIMONELLI nuovasimonelli.it





A WORLD OF WHISKY COMES TO BEIRUT The second edition of the world-renowned tasting event for whisky, Whisky Live Beirut, drew to a close on 21 October, after three successful days at Le Yacht Club – Beirut, Zaitunay Bay. Hosting more than 50 top whisky brands, the show attracted a crowd of more than 3,000 enthusiasts, eager to sample top-quality international whiskies in the company of over 20 brand ambassadors and experts “Somebody I knew once said that when you add water to your whisky you should add it slowly so not to bruise it. This thing is 64 percent alcohol; nothing is going to hurt it,” joked Rob Allanson, the youngest and longest serving editor of Whisky Magazine and global ambassador of Whisky Live. “But do add water, because it unlocks all the long-chain esters, the flavor chains, so you’re getting the full effect.” Allanson hosted a number of tastings, workshops and classes with unique bottles and brands at Whisky Live Beirut. “It allows you to taste an incredibly vast array of different whiskies under one roof and talk to the people that make them and explore,” he said. “If you’ve never tasted a Japanese whisky and can’t afford one, where else are you going to taste it? Whisky Live gives you that option and it has done across the world.” With a number of the whiskies sampled having no age statements, Allanson said the belief that older whisky are better is rapidly disappearing internationally. “Older and darker does not mean better whisky,” he said. “A lot of whisky is being used and drunk; it depletes your stocks. It also allows you to play with your whiskies a bit more and create something where you’re not bound by an age statement because young whisky is quite fresh and exciting, particularly if you’re making a blend. You’re not bound by having to use really expensive, old whisky so it’s a trend we’ll see for a little while longer.” The whisky scene is picking up globally and becoming more experimental, with a market for new and interesting creations. Over the next five years, the industry is set to grow exponentially, with Irish distilleries taking the lead. “We’ll continue to see Irish whisky grow phenomenally; it’s the fastest growing sector in the whisky world right now,” Allanson explained. “We’ll see American bourbon and



rye continue to grow, they are ramping up production as we speak and are making a lot more whisky, so I think we’ll see the interest in that continue to grow, particularly as they push into new markets.” With the market always looking for the next new hit, non-Scottish producers are carving a niche for themselves. “You’ll also see whiskies from non-traditional producing nations,” Allanson continued. “Sweden and India are producing some great whiskies at the moment and so is Australia, we’re only just discovering what they’re up to. I think in America there are five new distilleries opening every hour. People are learning more, drinking more and looking for different flavors and the next big thing.” While the future of its success is still uncertain, barley terroir is rumored to be the next big thing in the industry, based on the idea that the climate, soil and environment of the region where the hops are grown will affect the taste of the alcohol. “The jury is still out because Bruichladdich is still

experimenting with it; Mark Reynier, who used to own Bruichladdich, is now at Waterford in Ireland and he’s still just starting to experiment,” Allanson said. “What I can tell you is that in the bourbon world, there’s a company called Jebfore Creek and it’s making corn whisky out of red Bloody Butcher Corn that’s bright red and looks like a joke, but it really does change the taste of the whisky. It will be great to see it going forward, considering the terroir of where it comes from.” In another development, a new law calling for stricter and more transparent labeling is currently being debated in the UK Parliament that could affect the market. “I think it’s great if you’re a producer, like Compass Box, that can pinpoint exactly what has gone into your blend, but if you’re like Johnnie Walker, with 52-60 different blends in there that might change on a regular basis, it’s not practical,” Allanson explained. “Apart from anything else, the costs of having to change labels almost week by week would be astronomical.” whiskylivebeirut.com




Beirut proved once again that it is a capital of taste by celebrating the fourth edition of the popular Salon du Chocolat Beirut. Taking place from 16-18 November at BIEL, the event brought the sweetest flavors to the city to the delight of 16,000 visitors Held concurrently with the Beirut Cooking Festival, the public exhibition hosted more than 60 exhibitors specializing in chocolate and confectionery items. Apart from the extensive exhibition area, a number of exciting activities took place during the 'Winter Wonderland' themed three-day event. The chocolate Fashion Show showcased 13 dresses created by Lebanese designers who worked hand in hand with renowned pastry chefs. The Fashion Show’s special guest was designer to the stars Jean Louis Sabaji, who collaborated with the Lebanese pastry chef and consultant Charles Azar to create a stunning white chocolate gown. “As a designer I think about dimensions and texture and working with chocolate was a challenge as it melts on the body. It was a great experience though and Charles [Azar] understood exactly what I wanted to create,” said Sabaji. Another highlight was an incredible 'Fire Dance' chocolate sculpture created especially for the salon by acclaimed, Lebanese artist Rudy Rahme and chef Azar. The intricate work of art depicting figures dancing, was made from a 350kg block of chocolate. Rahme and Azar also judged the first-ever Chocolate Sculpture Competition, which showcased the talent of 10 students from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-arts (Alba). Carlo Seropian was awarded the first prize for his interpretation of the theme 'Musical Ear.' salonduchocolatbeirut.com




BEIRUT COOKING FESTIVAL Beirut Cooking Festival’s seventh edition marked a week of success for Lebanon’s culinary scene. Held concurrently with the Salon du Chocolat Beirut, the event celebrated the best local and international flavors, drawing in an audience of over 16,000 food lovers over the course of three days Held at BIEL from 16-18 November, visitors were able to explore more than 100 stands showcasing the latest food and beverage products as well as kitchenware and cooking equipment. More than 20 wellknown chefs took part in the Chefs’ Theater and entertained the crowd with a selection of exquisite dishes including succulent seared foie gras and beef Wellington. Elsewhere, the Librairie Gourmande invited visitors to browse a vast selection of cookbooks and attend book signings with well-known authors such as Kamal Mouzawak, Viviane Zoghbi and Zeina Akiki. A musical program and a food court topped off the exhibition, offering visitors an area to enjoy food from popular vendors and food trucks. "The success of this festival, despite the current circumstances, is a testament to the spirit of our people who love to celebrate our food culture,” said Joumana Dammous-Salame, managing director of Hospitality Services, the festival organizer. Beirut Cooking Festival rounded off Gourmet Week, an initiative by Hospitality Services to promote the best restaurants in and around Beirut. More than 30 popular establishments took part in the fourth edition, from 13-17 November, where diners were able to take advantage of special set menus and discounts. beirutcookingfestival.com





The Dubai International Coffee & Tea Festival (DICTF), Middle East’s only exhibition dedicated to coffee and tea, is set for this December. More than 7,000 visitors are expected to attend the event, which will be hosted for the first time, at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. DICTF is raising the stakes this year by launching the Dubai International Coffee Championships with winners getting a chance to


take home part of the prize pool of USD 25,000, the largest in the history of barista competitions across the world. Certified Professional Coffee Championship judges from around the world will form part of the judging panel. They will evaluate the performances on the basis of the taste of the served beverages, cleanliness, creativity, technical skill, and overall presentation. coffeeteafest.com


SIGEP JANUARY 20-24, 2018 FIERA DI RIMINI SIGEP, the world’s most important artisan confectionery expo, organized by the Italian Exhibition Group, will take place from Saturday 20 to Wednesday 24 January, 2018, at Rimini Expo Centre. Now in its 39th edition, the event is firmly established as a popular platform for professional operators from all over the world to share ideas across the supply chains of: artisan gelato; pastry; baking; and the coffee sectors. Last year, over 161,000 people visited the show which was held across 118,000 square meters of space and included 16 halls, bringing together collaborators from over 40 countries. International contests, technical demos, seminars and conferences are an integral part of what

SIGEP brings to the event, providing ideal opportunities for communication and exchange between companies, trade members, media and trade associations representing the entire production chains and the sector’s opinion leaders. A series of contests staged during SIGEP and around the world during the year ensure that artisan gelato is a key player every season and at all latitudes, namely: The Gelato World Cup, the selections of the teams held in each continent, the Gelato World Tour. The line-up of the 12 teams who will compete at SIGEP 2018 is: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Japan, Morocco, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States. sigep.it



HOSPITALITY EVENTS CALENDAR 2018 JANUARY SIRHA GENÈVE When 21 - 23 Jan. Where Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland Organizer GL Events Exhibitions sirha-geneve.com HORECA KUWAIT When 15 - 17 Jan. Where Kuwait International Fair, Kuwait City Organizers Leaders Group & Hospitality Services s.a.r.l. horeca-kuwait.com FITUR When 17 - 21 Jan. Where International Tourism Trade Fair, Madrid, Spain Organizer IFEMA ifema.es SIGEP When 20 - 24 Jan. Where Fiera di Rimini, Expo Centre, Rimini, Italy Organizer Italian Exhibition Group sigep.it ISM When 28 - 31 Jan. Where Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany Organizer Koelnmesse GmbH ism-cologne.com

FEBRUARY INTERGASTRA When 03 - 07 Feb. Where New Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre, Stuttgart, Germany Organizer Landesmesse Stuttgart GmbH intergastra.de IBTM ARABIA When 05 - 07 Feb. Where Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE Organizer Reed Travel Exhibitions ibtmarabia.com FRUIT LOGISTICA When 07 - 09 Feb. Where Messedamm 22, 14055 Berlin, Germany Organizer Messe Berlin GmbH fruitlogistica.de GULFOOD When 18 - 22 Feb. Where Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, UAE Organizer Dubai World Trade Centre gulfood.com

MARCH HOTELYMPIA When 05 - 08 Mar. Where ExCeL Exhibition Centre, London, UK Organizer Fresh Montgomery hotelympia.com



Your reference point for the leading industry events, globally

ITB When 07 - 11 Mar. Where Messedamm 22, 14055 Berlin, Germany Organizer Messe Berlin GmbH itb-berlin.de INTERNORGA When 9 - 13 Mar. Where Hamburg, Germany Organizer Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH internorga.com

MAY NRA SHOW When 19 - 22 May Where McCormick Place, Chicago, IL, USA Organizer National Restaurant Association show.restaurant.org


GLOBAL RESTAURANT INVESTMENT FORUM When 12 - 14 Mar. Where The Fairmont Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE Organizer Bench Events restaurant-invest.com

FISPAL FOOD SERVICE, When 12 - 15 Jun. Where Expo Center Norte, São Paulo, Brazil Organizer Informa Exhibitions fispalfoodservice.com.br/en

PROWEIN When 18 - 20 Mar. Where Stockumer Kirchstrasse 61, Dusseldorf, Germany Organizer Messe Düsseldorf GmbH prowein.de


HORECA When 20 - 23 Mar. Where Seaside Arena, Beirut, Lebanon Organizer Hospitality Services s.a.r.l. horecashow.com

APRIL THE HOTEL SHOW SAUDI ARABIA When 10 - 12 Apr. Where Jeddah Center for Forums & Events, Jeddah, KSA Organizer Dmg: Events Middle East & Asia thehotelshowsaudiarabia.com ALIMENTARIA When 16 - 19 Apr. Where Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain Organizer Alimentaria Exhibitions, S.A. alimentaria-bcn.com AHIC When 17 - 19 Apr. Where AHIC Village, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE Organizer MEED Events arabianconference.com SEAFOOD EXPO GLOBAL When 24 - 26 Apr. Where Brussels Exhibition Centre, Brussels, Belgium Organizer Diversified Business Communications seafoodexpo.com/global FHA When 24 - 27 Apr. Where Singapore Expo, Central Singapore, Singapore Organizer UBM /Allworld Exhibitions foodnhotelasia.com

HAWAII LODGING, HOSPITALITY AND FOODSERVICE EXPO When 11 - 12 Jul. Where Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA Organizer Douglas Trade Shows douglastradeshows.com/expos

SEPTEMBER FINE FOOD QUEENSLAND When 10 - 13 Sep. Where Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia Organizer Diversified Communications Australia finefoodaustralia.com.au DUBAI INTERNATIONAL HOSPITALITY WEEK (THE HOTEL SHOW & GULFHOST) When 16 - 18 Sep. Where Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, UAE Organizer Dmg events and Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) thehotelshow.com dwtc.com INTERNATIONAL FOODTEC INDIA: ANUTEC When 27 - 29 Sep. Where Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC), Mumbai, India Organizers Koelnmesse GmbH & Koelnmesse YA Tradefair Pvt. Ltd. foodtecindia.com BEIRUT RESTAURANTS FESTIVAL When 28 - 30 Sep. Where Train Station, Beirut, Lebanon Organizers The Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs & Pastries in Lebanon and Hospitality Services s.a.r.l. hospitalityservices.com.lb

OCTOBER HACE When 01 - 04 Oct. Where Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo City, Egypt Organizer EGM (Egyptian Group for Marketing) hace.com.eg HORECA JORDAN When 09 - 11 Oct. Where Zara Expo - Grand Hyatt Amman, Jordan Organizers Lawrence & Husseini Consult, Expo Jordan & Hospitality Services s.a.r.l. horeca-jordan.com SIA GUEST When 10 - 12 Oct. Where Rimini Fiera, Expo Centre, Rimini, Italy Organizer Italian Exhibition Group S.p.A Siaguest.it FOOD AND HOSPITALITY OMAN When 15 - 17 Oct. Where Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sultanate of Oman Organizer Omanexpo LLC foodandhospitalityoman.com

SIAL PARIS When 21 - 25 Oct. Where Paris, France Organizer Comexposium sialparis.com

NOVEMBER CAKE INTERNATIONAL When 02 - 04 Nov. Where NEC Birmingham, UK Organizer ICHF Events cakeinternational.co.uk/birmingham2018 GULFOOD MANUFACTURING When 6 - 8 Nov. Where DWTC - Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, UAE Organizer Dubai World Trade Centre gulfoodmanufacturing.com FHC CHINA When 13 - 15 Nov. Where Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), China Organizer CIE - China International Exhibitions Ltd. fhcchina.com 8TH BEIRUT COOKING FESTIVAL When 15 - 17 Nov. Where Seaside Arena, Beirut, Lebanon

Organizer Hospitality Services s.a.r.l. beirutcookingfestival.com 5th SALON DU CHOCOLAT When 15 - 17 Nov. Where Seaside Arena, Beirut, Lebanon Organizer Hospitality Services s.a.r.l. salonduchocolatbeirut.com ANUFOOD China Powered by Anuga When 21 - 23 Nov. Where China International Convention Center, Beijing, China Organizer Koelnmesse Co., Ltd. anufoodchina.com SAUDI HORECA When 27 - 29 Nov. Where Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center (RICEC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Organizer SEMARK & Hospitality Services s.a.r.l. saudihoreca.com

DECEMBER SIAL ME When 04 - 06 Dec. Where Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Abu Dhabi, UAE Organizer SIAL Middle East FZ LLC sialme.com






THE REGIONAL MASTER OF HOSPITALITY 1. As a hospitality and food industry veteran, how do you assess the F&B and hotel market in the Middle East?

4. How important is the role HORECA Kuwait plays as a key economic driver in the F&B and hospitality industry?

There are a few ways we measure the F&B and hotels market. One is to check hotels’ occupancy rates, which, at the moment, are pretty average. Another is to measure the number of hotels that have opened in the past few years, and that is currently increasing. The political status of a market is also taken into consideration when it is being assessed: the more stable the government is, the better the market, and vice versa. The number of companies in the F&B sector is increasing every year, showing us that this sector is performing much better when compared to others. The expansion of HORECA Kuwait over the years, which has seen the number of participating companies double, is further proof of the growth in F&B and the hotel sector in the country.

The inaugural edition of HORECA Kuwait in 2012 featured only 20 companies. Just six years later, that number has quadrupled, while the participation of chefs in the Culinary Art show has tripled from 100 to 300. Almost all of the top hospitality companies in Kuwait now participate and new participants continue to join us, driven by the success of the show and the business opportunities it offers. The increasing importance of HORECA Kuwait as a platform to exhibit the latest food products and nonfood technologies is granting participants maximum exposure and access to top industry stakeholders.

Besides being my career choice, hospitality has been my lifetime passion

An industry leader in Kuwait and in the MENA region, with over three decades of experience, Mohamed Najia has a repertoire that includes a variety of successes recognized on a regional and global scale

2. What have been the milestones along your career path that proved to be turning points? One of the biggest milestones of my career was the idea of setting up HORECA Kuwait, a franchise taken from Hospitality Services in Lebanon. Over time, HORECA Kuwait has become the biggest B2B hospitality exhibition in the country, with over 80 brands exhibiting their latest products, 300 chefs participating in exciting culinary art shows and well over 6,000 ‘strictly’ hospitality visitors.

3. Tell us more about your key role with Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in Kuwait. Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an organization dedicated to fine cuisine, gastronomy and table arts. Headquartered in Paris, it is present in 70 countries with over 25,000 members. What distinguishes our association from others is the fact that we bring together amateurs and professionals from all over the world, whether they are hoteliers, restaurateurs, executive chefs or sommeliers, just to celebrate the appreciation of fine cuisine. As Conseil Magistral at the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, I make sure its activities are well organized, in addition to overseeing the invitations to its selected personnel. Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was established in 1982 in Kuwait and is slowly, but steadily becoming a recognized community. At its helm, it is gathering various top notables, including ambassadors, leaders and Class A personalities.



5. What are your plans for the future? I plan to continue highlighting and promoting the hospitality sector in Kuwait. Many hotels and openings are in the pipeline, in addition to remarkable chains that have just launched, including Four Seasons. Additionally, plans to further HORECA Kuwait’s growth with every new edition are on track. Our other new plans include organizing the Kuwaiti version of Salon du Chocolat. We aim to attract all the companies in Kuwait involved in chocolate, while also enticing chocolate lovers from all over the country.

About Mohamed Najia • General Secretary of the Kuwait Hotel Owners Association, an active board member of the International Hotels & Restaurants Association and hospitality arbitrator at the Arbitration Center in Bahrain • The industry veteran is the coorganizer of the HORECA exhibition in Kuwait and has been the Bailli Délégué of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in Kuwait for the past 32 years. • He was also the hospitality advisor for the Kuwaiti government and the project coordinator in charge of the Kuwait Tourism Strategy with the UNWTO and UNDP. • Najia's accolades include the Kuwait government’s Tourism Excellence Award, the Academie Française de Cuisine’s Hospitality Award and Hospitality Services’ Hospitality Award.



ONWARDS AND UPWARDS Last year was one of varied fortunes for the region’s tourism industry, with visitor numbers up significantly in some destinations, but down or flat in others. However, with characteristic resilience and supported by a wealth of diverse attractions, MENA countries are on track to deliver a stronger overall performance in 2017 and boost their market share of the global industry longer term While 2016 brought mixed results for tourism in the Middle East and North Africa, with the average number of arrivals down slightly in a year-on-year (y-o-y) comparison, the longerterm outlook for the region remains bright, according to several industry reports.

but is expected to continue. “The growth is still part of recovery, with declines recorded in 2011, 2013 and 2014. However, we expect 2017 to be a third successive year of growth,” the council’s representative told HN.

Ups and downs

Martin Berlin, Global Deals real estate leader at PwC, believes that aside from “increased political stabilisation”, Lebanon has also benefited from a “rediscovery”. This gradual but solid recovery has been put down, in part, to the country’s high-profile marketing campaign of the past four years, titled ‘Live Love Lebanon’, which was created by M&C Saatchi. A recent addition to the broader campaign is a video, named ‘Rise Above Lebanon’ which gives a bird’s eye view of the country’s attractions.

Arrivals were up in 2016 across several of the Middle East’s destinations, according to the 2017 edition of the UNWTO Tourism Highlights, with increases in visitor numbers noted in: Oman (+11 percent); Lebanon (+11 percent); UAE (5 percent); and, showing signs of recovery, Jordan (three percent). However, a significant drop of 42 percent in the number of tourists traveling to Egypt pushed the regional average down by four percent y-o-y. Analysts put the positive performance from key destinations and signs of recovery among others down to several contributory factors, including improved security and effective marketing campaigns. The region also delivered a robust performance in the first half of 2017, boding well for full-year results.

Resilience rules While the Middle East has been plagued by a raft of challenges in recent years, the region’s travel and tourism offering has shown the same resilience that characterizes the global industry. “Going on holiday or travelling for business is embedded in many people’s way of life or a business’s way of operating,” a representative for the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) told HN. “Therefore, despite threats, people will not give up going on holiday and neither will businesses stop sending their employees overseas.” However, improved stability has undoubtedly benefited key destinations across the region, such as Lebanon, which posted double-digit growth in 2016. According to the WTTC, which recently published its Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2017 Middle East report, Lebanon’s impressive performance forms part of a turnaround that remains at an early stage,



Martin Berlin Global Deals Real Estate Leader


Something to shout about

Marketing campaigns have a key part to play in raising a destination’s profile on the global stage and helping it to stand out in a competitive market. The WTTC noted Jordan’s efforts to highlight its attractions and the positive results that the country has recently witnessed. “Promoting and marketing a destination is key to attracting

Sandra Carvão Chief of Communications and Spokesperson

UNWTO international visitors,” the council said. “Jordan is known for its extensive and innovative marketing of the country.” Oman, which also recorded impressive, double-digit industry growth in 2016, is a prime example of a country reaping the rewards of a high-profile marketing campaign. Like Lebanon, the sultanate has several cultural advantages, which the authorities relayed to a targeted audience via a high-profile campaign, titled ‘Beauty has an address ~ Oman’.

In September, the sultanate launched a new film for television and other digital platforms as part of its latest global advertising campaign which showcases Oman’s scenery and several places of interest. The advert will have a global distribution; however, its story of an Indian man who discovers Oman’s attractions while visiting the sultanate to attend a friend’s wedding will also help it to specifically target the Indian market. Recent studies have identified both India and China as offering plenty of potential for tourism growth, while analysts have also encouraged destinations to diversify their source markets.

Spreading the news While campaigns are crucial for showcasing a country’s attractions, they have an additional role to play in keeping would-be tourists informed of positive developments which can be overlooked. According to the WTTC, providing potential visitors with reassurance by communicating information on safety and security measures that have been implemented is highly advisable. “Start marketing and promoting destinations as they re-open for business,” the council advised. “Work with governments of key source markets to communicate changes and get support where feasible, such as on travel advisory updates.” Ensuring key messages are relayed quickly is also recommended. According to analysts, new platforms of communication, especially social media,

are ideal as a way of helping industry players reach these goals. Sandra Carvão, chief of communications and spokesperson for the UNWTO, said the Middle East had made “good progress” when it came to adapting to the digital era. “Destinations in the Middle East are very advanced in using innovation and new technologies in marketing, as well as in product development and service,” she told HN. Capitalizing on the interaction and participation opportunities that social media presents is a prime example. In the ‘Live Love Lebanon’ campaign, the public were urged to take photos or videos of the country’s attractions and upload them to the campaign’s official Facebook page, complete with the hashtag #LiveLoveLebanon. New technology has also enabled markets to introduce new services that can facilitate travel arrangements for travelers. In July, Oman launched an eVisa service, enabling visitors from the GCC markets and 67 additional countries to apply online for non-sponsored visas. The importance of using acquired knowledge prudently to present and modify the offering when necessary was highlighted by Berlin. “In order to serve the Millennials and, even more, Generation Z, the tourism industry needs to adapt to their requirements and changed behaviors in traveling,” he told HN. Much has been made of the rising demand for mid-market facilities,

fueled by younger tourists looking for more modest accommodation and an emphasis on experiential travel. Berlin said there was undoubtedly a gap in the market for such facilities across destinations that had, until now, focused on the high-end segment. “It is important for Dubai and other major cities in the region to address the skew of its hotel supply towards the luxury hotel sector and open its doors to welcome more budget-friendly mid-market, as in three and four-star hotels,” he said.

TOURISM CAMPAIGNS IN THE M.E. 2017 • EGYPT - #ThisIsEgypt ‘This is Egypt’ promotional campaign wins best tourism promo video in the Middle East at the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization. • QATAR - #qatarwelcomestheworld QTA launches Qatar Welcomes the World, which capitalizes on the country’s new visa facilitation measures. • OMAN - #secretsofoman Sultanate of Oman Tourism invites Australians to ‘Unlock the Door to Oman’ launching the second phase of its ‘Secrets of Oman’ digital campaign. • UAE - #BeMyGuest #BeMyGuest, a promotional film produced by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing stars Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.





Boosting the offering Whether modest or otherwise, the region has certainly been channeling funds into properties and related facilities, with data in the WTTC report showing the Middle East leading the way when it came to capital investments in tourism infrastructure and development. According to the report, the Middle East ranked 8th globally in 2016 for the direct contribution made by travel and tourism to GDP (USD 814 billion). However, the region took the number one spot for the increase in both the industry’s contribution to capital expenditure (7.2 percent) and its contribution to capital investments (6.4 perent).


Berlin told HN that efforts to increase the offering were already driving industry expansion in some countries, with others expected to follow. “In fact, all Middle East markets are working on the key enablers for the tourism industry, such as airports, hotel capacity, leisure and entertainment offerings,” he said. “Some markets like the UAE are more advanced and some other markets, like Saudi Arabia, are making a big effort to enter this industry.” Cooperating with other regional markets could prove beneficial to both localized and broader growth. Analysts acknowledged that hurdles, such as political and social difficulties, remained a challenge when it comes to fostering links. However, they were also confident that joint initiatives would help to strengthen regional tourism. “Cooperation in areas such as visa facilitations, product development, infrastructure and marketing will surely help not only the countries which are still recovering, but all countries in the region,” Carvão told HN. There is evidence that such initiatives are already reaping rewards. Carvão noted that a move by Jordan and Egypt to combine tours may well have been instrumental in supporting a recovery in both countries. While Egypt experienced a difficult 2016, with challenges such as political stability and security weighing heavily on its tourism industry, the year 2017 is looking positive, with visitor numbers for the first six months up 52 percent y-o-y. “Egypt is and will surely continue to be a leading tourism destination worldwide,” Carvão told HN. “This is clear by the recovery that the destination is showing this year, reflecting the major efforts made in communicating about the real situation on the ground and increasing consumer confidence.” The Middle East’s global market share is forecast to grow from 6 to 8 percent by 2030, according to the UNWTO report. Asked what countries can do to ensure they capitalise on these projected trends, Carvão said, “Invest in product development, human capital and sustainability so to ensure that the sector creates wealth and jobs, while contributing to cultural and environmental preservation.”



How do destinations facing challenges, but with a lot to offer, such as Egypt, win back tourists? Egypt has many important factors that position it as one of the most attractive tourism destinations in the region and the world. The government is working relentlessly towards the full recovery of the Egyptian tourism sector. From our part, we are continuing to promote Egypt as a destination. We have in place a strong commercial plan which includes participating in Hilton initiatives worldwide to market the destination. On the regional front, last summer, we launched our Karam wa Diyafa campaign geared towards our GCC clients. The team is adopting impressive synergies across the Middle East and Africa and we cover the region through a series of activities. Locally, we extend all possible support to the tourism promotion authorities and we design our own packages to provide unique experiences to our local clients in target markets.

Emerging economies are expected to overtake developed markets as tourism and hospitality destinations. What can countries in the region do to capitalise on these projected trends? When it comes to China, we work on two parallel fronts. First, responding to the needs of our Chinese clients by introducing required

additions to the current products. Among many enhancements, we are hiring Chinese speaking team members, introducing a Chinese dimension to our culinary offering, adding Chinese TV channels, and, most importantly, introducing our teams to the Chinese culture. Second, on the commercial side, we are strengthening our presence through increased sales and marketing activities, while coordinating with our sales office in the destination to host familiarization trips for industry leaders from both leisure and business markets.

Much has been written about changing demands as new generations of tourists emerge seeking experiential travel in more modest accommodation. Is the Middle East doing enough to adapt to these trends? We are adapting our portfolio across the region to offer travelers more choice in an affordable price range. In Egypt, we recently signed agreements to introduce our midscale Hilton Garden Inn brand to the country at two sites. One, located inside a residential compound in Damietta, is going to offer 130 midscale hotel rooms over 8800 sqm, and the other, in New Cairo, featuring 120 guestrooms, will offer quality accommodation at affordable prices. This approach is also reflected in Morocco, where we have followed up the recent opening of Hilton Garden Inn Tanger with a second HGI hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Casablanca Sidi Maarouf, which we plan to open in 2021. This hotel will offer 155 midscale rooms.



MUMBAI As India’s financial and entertainment capital, Mumbai boasts one of the largest and busiest ports in the country, extensive foreign trade activity, a thriving film industry and a worldleading stock exchange. Roopa George, assistant vice president, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, and associate, Shirat Mathur, tell us what keeps the city’s hospitality industry ticking Mumbai, known as India’s ‘maximum city’, is a dynamic metropolis which makes a standalone contribution of over 6 percent to India’s total GDP. While the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector is the major driver of growth in the city, the shipping, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, media and entertainment industries are also prominent contributors to Mumbai’s diverse economic base.

The hospitality sector Mumbai has consistently been one of India’s strongest hospitality markets, with a citywide occupancy of over 70 percent over the last three-year period. As per data from supply and demand tracker STR, 2016 saw occupancy levels remain strong at 74 percent, while average daily rates (ADRs) displayed a healthy 5.2 percent growth, driven by a balance of commercial, meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE), and leisure demand growth. The first half of 2017 has also witnessed a strong revenue-peravailable-room (RevPAR) growth of 7.5 percent over the previous year, according to STR. Along with growth in the corporate sector, the contribution from the MICE segment has grown tremendously, with the city playing host to a number of national and international events. New hotel openings are increasing the city’s ability to hold larger events. Over the last few years, Mumbai has seen the emergence of separate hospitality micro markets and a significant shift in demand trends, with the traditional central business district (CBD) witnessing a shift in activity from South Mumbai to the North. The regions of Andheri East, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Malad, Powai and Lower Parel are now emerging as the city’s newest commercial districts. North Mumbai boasts top quality



office space, modern infrastructure, retail and F&B facilities comparable to some of the best Asian cities, as well as some of the city’s most prominent hotels, including the St. Regis, the Trident BKC and the Sofitel. Mumbai’s total branded inventory stands at 13,700 keys, with most of the larger domestic and international brands having a presence in the city, including ITC, Taj, Leela, Oberoi, St. Regis, Renaissance and the Four Seasons. Scarce land availability and high land costs have limited supply additions in Mumbai, and the next concentration of development is likely to be in the upcoming Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) zone, with land being allotted for a dedicated hotel district. The active future pipeline that JLL is monitoring comprises approximately 2,500 keys, which will enter the market over the coming three-year period at a steady pace.

Initiatives planned for the market The Maharashtra government has an estimated INR 53,000 crore (USD 8.2 billion) worth of projects under construction, including metro-line extensions and highway expansions, along with an expansion of the Mumbai port. A new tourism policy is also underway, providing various incentives for large-scale projects, a cruise tourism

2016 OPENINGS: • Taj Santacruz (297 keys) • Fern Hotel Goregaon (89 keys)

YTD JULY 2017 OPENINGS: • Urban Pod Hotel Andheri East (140 keys) • Ginger Hotel (140 keys)

policy and simplified approval processes. Incentives to encourage growth in cruise tourism include discounted port charges and an e-landing card system to secure landing permits of cruise vessels, along with an e-visa extension to cruise passengers. Another major infrastructure initiative is the development of the 7 million sq. ft Dhirubhai Ambani Convention and Exhibition Centre in BandraKurla Complex, which is expected to open in 2018. This development will provide a huge boost to the MICE and hospitality sector in Mumbai and open the city up to large-scale international conventions and exhibitions. While investor interest in the Mumbai hospitality market is strong, the high real estate prices and limited transaction opportunities have restricted activity in the hotel space. The year 2017 did, however, see the Mozambiquebased Masa group purchase a 300-room, under-construction hotel project, located in close proximity to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Hotel players continue to scout for an entry into the Mumbai market, with the city being the ideal entry point for an investor looking to establish a presence in the Indian market. www.jll.com

• Chedi Mumbai (316 keys) • Lemon Tree Premier Andheri (298 keys) • Taj Navi Mumbai (150 keys) • Ritz Carlton Worli (238 keys) • Lemon Tree Premier Airport (438 keys)

Source: JLL Research


Rakhee Lalvani Global Vice President – Corporate Communications & Public Relations

Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris


PARUL SINGH Associate Director- Branding & Communication

IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation) As the commercial capital of India, Mumbai is the country’s largest hospitality market. The trend today, however, shows a shift in hotel projects toward micro markets rather than the central business district (CBD) of South Mumbai. In line with a wave of development, emerging localities, like North Mumbai, Central Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, have evolved to meet the demands of an expanding population and address the limitations of a traditional market. The past decade has seen exponential room growth, with around 4,000 additional rooms entering the city’s hotel market. Many luxury hotel chains have emerged in the city, including Grand Hyatt, ITC Grand Central, Trident and the Sofitel in BKC, Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn and The Leela in Andheri, Ibis Mumbai Airport, Westin in Goregaon, the Four Seasons and, more recently, the Palladium Hotel in Central Mumbai. Currently, the city has 9,400 premium rooms, of which approximately 75 percent are located in North Mumbai.

Challenges facing the hospitality sector and future roadmap Growth across the hospitality sector and its contributions to GDP will continue to be substantially higher than other sectors of the

economy, thanks to the huge potential that tourism holds for the country. However, the hospitality sector is one of the most heavily taxed industries and is saddled with multiple layers of tax, such as VAT, service tax and luxury tax, among others, ranging from 20 - 30 percent. Multiple taxation adds to operational costs and reduces profitability. The implementation of the long-awaited goods and service tax (GST) regime is expected to rationalize the taxation structure and generate a positive outcome by streamlining taxes, enhancing ease of doing business and lowering costs for consumers. However, there is an urgent need for levied taxes to be reduced to incentivize and attract more investments to the sector.

Prospects for India’s hospitality sector The mid-hotel segment in India is expected to receive investments of INR 6,600 crore (USD 102 million) excluding land over the next five years, with major hotel chains like Marriott, Carlson Rezidor and ITC planning to set up upscale, budget hotels in state capitals and tier-II cities. Hyatt Hotels Corporation has outlined plans to bring its Hyatt Centric brand to India soon, while also establishing three new hotels in Kochi, Rameswaram and Hyderabad by 2017. Vatika Hotels Pvt Ltd has raised INR 495 crore (USD 76.6 million) from Axis Bank Ltd to expand its hotels and quick-service restaurant chain, alongside its business centers. AccorHotels, plans to expand its footprint in Guwahati and Kolkata by adding 550 more rooms to its portfolio of hotels in the next three years. Yellow Tie Hospitality Management, specializing in franchise management of food and beverage firms, is looking to invest up to USD 15-20 million in five restaurant ventures for celebrity chef Harpal Singh Sokhi, targeting 250 outlets under the brand by 2020. JW Marriott, meanwhile, plans to bring the number of hotels it operates in India to between 175 and 200 over the next four years.

What are the key hospitality trends in the Indian market? We firmly believe that the future of travel, tourism and hospitality is digital and we are focused on building and expanding our own robust digital infrastructure in line with that. The traveler experience of our brand starts with our digital touch points—the new multilingual tajhotels.com and the mobile app. These are the frontline tools to deliver an experience to guests and we see them as building the bridge between the virtual and the physical stay at a Taj hotel. Eventually we plan to do away with the physical front desk and the check-in/checkout process entirely, and instead to mix this person-to-person and digital experience of Tajness to welcome guests. Lobbies will be transformed into cozy living rooms where guests are greeted by an associate who is able to seamlessly drive the check-in process from a tablet and guide the guest to their room without the hassle of documentation.

How many hotels do you currently have in Mumbai and do you plan on any more to accommodate need? Currently Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris has six hotels in Mumbai – • The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai • Taj Mahal Tower, Mumbai • Vivanta by Taj – President, Mumbai • Taj Wellington Mews, Mumbai • Taj Santacruz, Mumbai • Taj Lands End, Mumbai Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris has one hotel in the pipeline in Mumbai for 2018-2019, which will be located in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, and will have 146 keys.





WHEN HYGIENE EMBRACES TECH Ryan Fleming General Manager

Rentokil Initial

Said to account for two thirds of health, hygiene is highly valuable to the sustainability and financial success of all hospitality establishments. The hygiene standards of a hotel are one of the main factors that would-be guests consider when deciding where to stay, whether for business or leisure. In summary, good standards of hygiene are pivotal to ensure that a trip to a hotel is a pleasurable experience, or at the very least, an inoffensive one Hygiene is garnering a sharper focus within the hospitality industry. HN spoke to Ryan Fleming, general manager of pest control and hygiene leader Rentokil Initial and regional operations manager – Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, to discover more.

Social media is reflecting customer satisfaction Through the rising use of social media and



online review communities, the hospitality industry is under constant scrutiny, as digital channels encourage greater transparency in customer responses and a bigger audience with which to share them. Figures show that 42 percent of customers share a negative experience online and it takes 12 positive reviews to make up for every one negative experience. This, coupled with generally high customer expectations, increasing competition and more stringent global legislation, makes ensuring good hygiene absolutely critical.

Standards are country-specific When it comes to standards, food establishments must adopt the hygiene and food safety legislation standards of the country in which they operate. Despite common legislation within the EU there are still in-country differences, which present a challenge for multinational operators who need to ensure they are compliant within each country, while also trying to adopt a consistent process. Regardless of varying standards however, the overarching principle of good hygiene as a crucial factor in creating the right environment and brand experience for a customer, must always be respected. As standards vary, and to ensure compliance and high standards are met however, developing and following a robust hygiene plan based on clear Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles is critical. Employing a professional independent auditing company will also ensure that plans are followed and best practice is undertaken by workers.

Tech-hygiene is here Connected technology is starting to have a real impact on improving hygiene levels and mitigating risk. For example, Initial’s HygieneConnect was the first wireless monitoring and display system which has been trialed in multiple sectors across Europe, offering a precise and objective measurement of hand hygiene within an organization. Similar innovative technical solutions have also enabled 24/7 integrated pest control across businesses, meaning hygiene standards can be further monitored and protected on a continual basis, both effectively and efficiently. Connected technology means data is now both instant and constant, enabling targeted mitigation measures and timely intervention of hygiene issues. Coupled with autosensing and auditing programs, technology can boost hygiene statistics significantly. Again, when looking at HygieneConnect, our trials have seen a 50 percent decrease in handwashing non-compliance. The hospitality industry is turning to technological innovation to help meet the challenges of growing customer expectation, from utilizing it as a tool to enable differentiation through more personalized customer experiences, to improving hygiene standards and operational efficiencies. This is why Rentokil Initial is heavily investing in innovative solutions, so we can enable our customers to adapt to these changing environments and expectations, and ultimately overcome the challenges these present.




Three food safety tips to keep in mind To successfully execute food safety measures and develop a culture of food safety in your restaurant, your entire team must diligently participate. One mistake, such as using a contaminated utensil to handle ready-to-eat food, can lead to foodborne illness and a tarnished business reputation. According to the Center for Disease Control, roughly one in six Americans gets sick from a foodborne illness annually. Just like you promote your latest and greatest menu items to your customers, take time to share how much your restaurant focuses on serving food safely.

Photo credit: ASSAAD DAOUI

1. Scents will help you boost first impressions Initial impressions are crucial, setting the tone for the experience that will follow, with negative encounters near impossible to reverse. Research shows that smell is the most powerful sense in relation to memory, meaning we are 100 times more likely to remember something that we smell than something that we see, hear or touch.

2. Scents drive emotions, thus branding

Paul Wonnacott Managing Director and President

Vectair Systems Hospitality News ME talked to Paul Wonnacott, managing director and president of Vectair Systems, a global ‘away from home’ hygiene company that specializes in washroom and air care systems, to get the lowdown on next year’s hygiene trends that hospitality stakeholders should be looking out for, which include a big drive on scent technology. “We see scent technology as a huge driver in the hotel and hospitality sector for 2018. Cleaning isn’t necessarily glamorous, but it is imperative,” Wonnacott said. In November 2012, LateRooms reported that 90 percent of travelers avoided booking hotels labelled as ‘dirty’ in online reviews. Reaffirming these findings, a new study by Hotels.com revealed that respondents put cleanliness top of their list of criteria, making it 35 times more important than free internet. The research was based on 148 million sentences pulled from customer reviews written by travelers all over the world. “So, cleanliness is clearly important in order to enhance the guest experience and boost positive online reviews,” Wonnacott said. “But cleanliness doesn’t just mean the facility being clean – it is just as much about the perception of overall freshness.”



According to branding expert Lindstrom, 75 percent of the emotions we generate on a daily basis are affected by smell, which is why scent technology is taking the hotel industry by storm. This concept is enabling venues to create a ‘multi-sensory branding experience’.

3. Tech making it affordable While some hotels are already providing signature scents with great success, technologies have traditionally been costly or unreliable. New innovations, however, are changing that, with the result that smaller boutique hotels can now explore these opportunities, alongside larger chains.

4. Fragrancing multiple areas While historically, hotels would choose to fragrance their washrooms as a solution to mask unpleasant smells, today entire networks of decision-makers can be found discussing the merits of fragrancing areas both inside and outside of washrooms for a variety of reasons. In the modern set-up, it’s no longer solely about the perception of a clean and fresh washroom, but rather creating an entire user ‘experience’. New scent technology, such as vibrating mesh, is producing solutions that are consistent and more effective and efficient, creating much smaller and lighter fragrance particles that remain airborne for hours longer than traditional systems. Refills are lasting much longer, meaning less servicing. Moreover, the fragrance doesn’t weaken over time.

Here are three tips that will help to communicate your food safety commitment to customers: 1. Teach employees the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. When showing employees how to prepare food, clean and sanitize surfaces, and dispose of any waste, share the reasons why following through every time is important. This applies to top-level management and front-of-house staff, not only backof-house staff. Help keep each other accountable and informed, so if a customer or employee has a question, you’ll know how to respond. 2. Show and tell. Develop a front-ofhouse cleaning schedule and stick to it. To help reduce the spread of pathogens on a daily basis, incorporate the cleaning of front-of-house, hightouch items, which could include laminated menus, condiment bottles, and salt and pepper shakers, into your cleaning schedule. If a customer asks an employee a food-safety question front of house, team members should feel sufficiently confident in their food safety knowledge to respond. However, if this is not the case, the next step is reaching out to a team member who can answer their questions and requesting a training refresher. 3. Stay polished. If an employee’s clothing gets dirty, it should be replaced with a clean garment. Failing to do so can not only affect customer perception but also lead to crosscontamination. Dress for success! Nonverbal cues matter. When leaving a food prep area, remove aprons and single-use gloves. Food handlers must also keep their fingernails trimmed and hair covered by a hat or hairnet. Source: National Restaurant Association.





To learn more about what is being done to tackle the issues related to hygiene within the hospitality sector, HN talked to companies that are helping to keep the world as healthy a place as possible

CLEAN AS A WHISTLE and a leading producer of high quality products and systems. With a satisfied client list of over 15,000 hotels and establishments throughout the Middle East and the GCC region, it is the world’s first company to be assured by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), UK, for providing world-class Public Health services in both the commercial and residential sectors.

Boecker® Public Health is the Middle East’s largest public health company and a globally acclaimed environmental health service enterprise that is continuously raising the bar for the hospitality and F&B industries. With over two decades of experience, Boecker® has grown into a global player, cultivating strong strategic partnerships with the world’s most renowned research and excellence centers,

Bana Kobrosly, Lebanon Country Manager at Boecker®, talks to HN about the company’s most recent offerings. “We are constantly adding new products and introducing new services to fully accommodate the thriving hospitality industry. For instance, our Infection Control Plan™ (ICP™) tackles the health risks commonly found in hotel rooms, gyms, spas, restaurants and playgrounds, all of which are considered high-risk areas. It is an on-site service that safely and effectively eliminates all microorganisms and provides a sanitized and protected environment,” said Kobrosly.

Introducing a new powerful disinfectant from Boecker®, Kobrosly added, “Microbecs™ molecule is a new patented technology with many unique properties that enable it to act against all types of microorganisms as of at least 30 seconds. Microbecs™ is available in different ranges that cater to different environments. It disinfects surfaces and items present in various sectors, including restaurants, schools, clinics, dispensaries and many others.”

MEASURED AND MANAGED As the hospitality industry expands to serve more people, emphasis on hygiene is taking on added importance. To discuss the newest trends driving this industry that have been in evidence this year, we talk to Nabil Rizkallah, CEO of GWR Consulting, the leaders in quality control and training who partner with some of the best-known brands in the region. “In relation to the newest offerings, data analytics and professional advice play a big part in leveraging the business operation process. At GWR Consulting, we acknowledge the importance of quantifiable outcomes and trends as ‘What is not Measured is not Managed’,” Rizkallah says. The consultancy’s data analysis technology highlights weaknesses and strengths in any company and provides appropriate datatailored actions. Furthermore, in May 2017,



GWR launched SafeSpa™ SafeSalon™, a new quality assurance program and certification for spas, hair and beauty-care outlets in Lebanon. It offers high levels of protection designed to protect human life and preserve health. This unique program was accredited in February 2016 by the awarding body Highfield and received attention from regional agencies and municipalities. The program is fast gaining momentum, to the satisfaction of Rizkallah who is a firm believer in the advantages it offers. “The institutions we work with are predominantly in the hospitality, banking, automotive and retail sectors,” he continues. “The multidisciplinary, cross-sector services we offer provide clients with objective, quantifiable data analytics on staff performance, customer experience and food safety key performance indicators,

rendering our consultancy unique for accurate monitoring and fast intervention. Thanks to our methodology, many of our clients have grown their businesses and earned national awards.”

Business excellence through analytics and advice HIGHLIGHT YOUR STRENGTH





CUSTOMER SERVICE | FOOD SAFETY | HEALTH & SAFETY Through our comprehensive services including food safety shield, SafeSpa, mystery shopping, ProactiveCx, CxMeter and customer satisfaction surveys, we, at GWR Consulting, provide our clients with the expertise and technology to quantify and enhance their performance, safety, service attributes, and customer experience. WWW.GWRCONSULTING.COM

Portugal | UAE | Lebanon




Diversey Corporation was founded nearly 100 years ago and is today a leading global provider of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions for 800 million people in markets that include hospitality, food service, healthcare and retail. The company transforms sustainable solutions into businessenhancing results, based on increased productivity, reduced operating costs and increased customer profitability. Commenting on the latest innovations,

Nader A. Srouji, general manager of Raed S. Khoury & Partners Co., Diversey’s sole distributor in Jordan, says, “We have numerous innovations throughout the year. However, our latest product is the TASKI Aero high-efficiency vacuum cleaner, which consists of four streamlined and agile models that satisfy the most rigorous requirements of frequent professional cleaning at any time and in any environment.”While the distributor always has new offerings in the pipeline, one of its latest innovations is the Internet of Clean, a platform, which remotely monitors equipment, machines and operations through sensor-generated data, allowing complete insight into, dosing, compliance and machine performance. The IntelliDish, a smarter way of dishwashing, measures every drop of dishwashing efficiency.The IntelliTrail is a dashboard that shows what a facility’s machines are doing and how these could be put to better use. IntelliCare, is the

first hybrid touch-less dispenser that shifts from automatic to manual mode to deliver an un-interrupted, hand hygiene experience across a number of facilities.

Joseph Karam, general manager of the J. Medic. Group S.A.R.L., the exclusive distributor of Hydrachem in Lebanon, sheds light on the merits of the range available, saying, “We supply these products to almost all reputable restaurants, caterers and hotels throughout the country/region. The Foodsaf Salad Wash tablets are used to disinfect vegetables and nonpeelable fruit, as well as food preparation surfaces and equipment. These tablets are recognized and proven effective for removing escherichia (e.) coli, salmonella, listeria, monocytogenes, campylobacter and staphylococcus aureus. It is a highly convenient and safe food disinfectant than can also be used to clean floors, surfaces, tiles and cloths.” Karam acknowledges that this is a matter of huge importance, given the ever-increasing number of new diseases that continue to surface. To ensure that everything that can be done is being done, he notes, water, the planet’s most

consumed resource, needs to be as clean as possible. “Oasis Water Purification Tablets eliminate microorganisms to prevent dysentery, diarrhea, cholera and other water borne diseases such salmonella, typhoid, shigella sonnei, e. coli, vibro cholerae, streptococcus faecalis and schistosomiasis. This product makes water safe for drinking by killing bacteria, bacterial spores, cysts, algae, fungi, protozoa, various types of viruses and is especially lethal to E. histolytica,” Karam concludes.

“These are top-of-the-line machines that have been adopted by some of the biggest multinational chains operating throughout the Middle East’s hospitality as well as F&B sectors,” Srouji notes. “These include, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, the Americana Group, Carrefour, Nabil Foods, Nestle Waters and Al-Youm Food to name just a few.”


When it comes to safe food consumption, Hydrachem, the UK’s leading manufacturer of effervescent chlorine tablets used in a wide range of services, from hospital disinfection to water purification and sterilization, sets out to provide the required level of cleanliness and more. Aware of the hospitality industry’s concerns on this topical issue, the company’s Hydrachem range constitutes the most trusted products in this sector.





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Despite volatility, the MENA region is expected to welcome over 195 million tourists by 2030, above the world average. As such, rising need will lead to the creation of 20 - 50 million new jobs in the region over the next 10 years. Experts are crafting long-term strategies in a bid to gain a broader vision of anticipated changes, allowing them to set development targets and goals. Explore tomorrow today with HN




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Philip Wooller Area Director

Middle East & Africa, STR We’re seeing initiatives throughout the region to drive greater tourism attractions, as lower oil prices continue to weigh on the GCC’s economy and, as a result, on corporate travel. As hotel supply continues to grow, it’s becoming increasingly important for these markets to expand their offerings for leisure travelers to compensate for this

decline in corporate travel, and there are currently many promising developments. By 2030, the region is expected to have further transitioned from its established commoditydriven nature into more of a service economy, with tourism playing a key role. This diversification should further improve the region’s fiscal stability and sustainability. Early adopters that have already invested more in the tourism sector should already be seeing results in their local economies and general business environments, likely setting them up for success by 2030. Looking at KSA, the Red Sea beach resort project could help balance the market’s seasonality and stimulate leisure arrivals, helping the kingdom benefit from some of the same types of inbound tourism the UAE has seen in Dubai. Turning to other long-term investments, Makkah is also going through a major supply expansion, which should help further develop the market’s infrastructure to better accommodate the millions of visitors it receives each year. As part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, these

initiatives should open KSA to more foreign investment and help the country’s tourism and hotel industries continue growing. In Dubai, the massive supply build-up to the Expo 2020 and beyond continues to weigh on the market’s performance, although demand remains quite strong. Despite the recent supply growth, Dubai’s occupancy was up slightly (+0.3 percent) for the yearto-date September period. Average daily rate (ADR), however, was down 4.6 percent, showing how the market’s landscape has reacted to the additional rooms available. It’s interesting to note that the market is not just growing larger in size, but also in types of offerings available. Much of the new supply to come online over the past two years has been in the midscale segment, while historically, the upper-tier hotel classes were the norm. Although we’ve seen rates come down a bit, this addition of rooms at varying price points appears to be helping the market attract a wider range of visitors on different travel budgets.


Hala Matar Choufany President

Middle East and Africa, HVS While the Middle East has routinely been engulfed in some sort of turmoil for decades, more recent events, notably those of the last five years, have introduced new dynamics and a change in the landscape of its key characters. Taking account of the economic and political challenges that are constraining growth in the tourism industry, the IMF forecast for 2018 in its MENA regional economic outlook is 1.7 percent. Understandably, an imbalanced relationship in supply and demand is expected to result in lower yields and values in the short to midterm. Notably, the reality of lower oil prices has become a new constant, as governments grapple with the challenges of finding alternative ways to ensure future sustainability and growth across their economies. It is refreshing to see that governments are continuing to invest strategically in infrastructure which is supportive of tourism growth, which on average makes up between five and 10 percent of a country’s GDP. While

Dubai Expo 2020

there is improved connectivity with the rest of the world throughout the region, coupled with ongoing real estate developments, notably in hospitality, the region captures only five percent of global tourism, which suggests plenty of opportunities for regional tourism growth. Despite the mid-term challenges, increased development and operational costs, reduced profitability, lack of financing, oversupply, terrorism and instability, the long-term outlook remains positive for the region. The economic reforms in Egypt have already shown visible positive results on the economy. The hospitality market in Egypt is making a recovery and attracting more foreign direct investment. The Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 is expected to attract significant investment in a variety of industries, with a focus on improving both religious and conventional tourism. The most recent announcements of mega recreational and hospitality developments are a testament to the planned

diversification of the market offering. Expo 2020 and the ongoing commitment of the UAE government to further strengthen the non-oil sector continues to drive growth, albeit at a slower pace. Airport arrivals and hotel guests’ data suggest year on year, growth coupled with solid and varied tourism infrastructure. The remaining cities in the Arab world are also experiencing increased levels of investment, although the growth of the tourism sector has historically been slower than the more established and mature economies. Long-term tourism indicators and forecasts support further investment and development of the hospitality sector. Investors eyeing the hospitality space are being advised to undertake proper financial assessments to evaluate risks associated with such investments and that governments monitor closely the development of this sector in order to ensure a well-balanced offering supported by diversified demand drivers. DEC 2017- JAN 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





Pascal Gauvin COO for IMEA

IHG, India, Middle East and Africa IHG continues to seize opportunities in this diverse region, with its immense growth potential in both mature and emerging markets. As of September 30, the Middle East (GCC, Levant and Egypt) represents close to 35 percent of our current system size (by number of rooms) in AMEA with 81 hotels (29,227 rooms). We will grow by 25 percent (by number

Olivier Harnisch CEO

Emaar Hospitality Group The hospitality market in the UAE and in the region at large is robust. In Dubai, while supply is growing strongly, demand is increasing too, especially from relatively new markets, such as China and Russia. For us, we are focused on expanding our footprint and creating new market niches. This is underpinned by the launch of Rove Hotels, a contemporary lifestyle hotel brand for the new generation of travelers. We also opened another Address property – Address Boulevard – strengthening our portfolio in Dubai. Today, we offer a comprehensive suite of hotels that meet the requirements of the market. With four Rove Hotels – Rove Downtown Dubai, Rove City Centre, Rove Healthcare City and Rove Trade



HN spoke to hoteliers and leading hospitality experts in the region to learn more about their development strategies and pipelines of rooms) in the next three to five years as we open the 28 hotels (7,218 rooms) in our pipeline in the Middle East. In the near to mid-term in the Middle East, we expect to have a continued focus on mid-scale and our established brands. We are still focused on the mid-market segment, given direct demand for midmarket pricing in branded hotels across the region. This means that we see great potential for our Holiday Inn brand family in the region, having signed Holiday Inn Science Park and Holiday Inn & Suites Business Bay this year. We also expect to open Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City in Q1 2018. Simultaneously, we continue to cater to demand for InterContinental hotels as culturally, there is a high demand for personalized luxury in the region and we expect this demand to remain strong. As the Middle East, especially cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah and Riyadh, continue to play a role as business hubs for the region, we will continue to drive the Crowne Plaza brand, as it addresses

the needs of business travelers and MICE requirements. Lastly, we expect to bring new luxury and lifestyle brands to the region. We brought Hotel Indigo to the UAE and KSA in 2012 and we are happy with its progress in the lifestyle space. We now have the ambition to debut Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in key city and resort locations, which is a luxury, boutique brand, based on a high level of guest personalization. Geopolitical volatility and economic uncertainty continue in the region. However, being a global company with scale, we are used to operating and growing within this context. Our portfolio of preferred brands and our global distribution networks, in tandem with our investment in talent and technology, keep us positive for the downward cycle and ready for the upward cycle. Our expectation is that mid- to long-term indicators for the region, specifically UAE and KSA, will remain strong and in response, we will continue with our plans for these priority markets.

Centre – we have created a new value proposition that complements market demand from a growing number of young travelers. The definitive trend is the rise in the number of Millennial travelers, who demand digital, socialsavvy spaces, such as what we offer at Rove Hotels. The second key trend is the continued growth in MICE tourism, a segment that we cater to through the central location of our hotels under all three of our brands – Address Hotels + Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts and Rove Hotels. A third key trend is the rise in the number of tourists from markets such as China and Russia. We have identified 58 markets in which we want to expand proactively. Our focus continues to be the GCC, but we have also added China and India, which are strong source markets for our hotels in Dubai, the Indian Ocean, the countries surrounding the Mediterranean and 20 key cities in Europe. In fact, we now have a development pipeline of 30 hotel projects in markets such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Maldives. We will announce

projects in other markets when they are finalized. With our growing footprint of hotels and upcoming openings in Dubai, we have a robust outlook for 2018. This will be underpinned by Dubai’s focus on promoting the destination as a yearround tourism hub, and the consistent growth of MICE and events tourism. The ongoing preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai are another key driver of growth.

Omer Kaddouri President and CEO

Rotana Hotel Management Corporation

Henk Meyknecht COO

Middle East & Africa, Kempinski We remain optimistic about the longterm outlook for hospitality in the region. As an operator focused exclusively on the luxury segment, we are well positioned to serve these well-traveled, discerning guests across MENA. Looking ahead, we expect to see even more activity in this segment as a result of the expanding strategic interests and global business outreach efforts of many markets in the region where we currently operate or have projects in development. We welcome tourism initiatives in locations such as Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, which are supported by strong airlines and a commitment to invest in top quality leisure infrastructure. The

The MENA is on the cusp of a tremendous economic transformation, with nearly all the countries in the region launching their respective blueprints for securing an enormously bright future which is away from oil, their traditional source of revenue, and driven by technology and innovation. The anticipated massive investments that are set to scale up the region’s infrastructure, coupled with new commercial, tourism and entertainment initiatives planned and underway, such as the EXPO 2020, 2022 FIFA World Cup and Saudi Arabia’s USD 500 billion Red Sea Coastline project among many others, are expected to open up new opportunities across industries and the hospitality sector in particular. At Rotana, we will aggressively continue expanding

Middle East is a dynamic region, where demand patterns and the competitive landscape are rapidly changing. We anticipate growth to continue well into the future from key feeder markets of Central Asia, India and China, where Kempinski benefits from strong brand recognition. We also anticipate strong demand in the leisure segment across the Middle East, as a result of the long-term investment from key markets into the tourism sector. From a product point of view, we project an increasing demand for multi-bedroom units; apartments and suites catering to families as part of the regional GCC growth of leisure traffic. Also, for specific corporate destinations, we anticipate increasing demand for luxurious onebedroom accommodation. For Kempinski, we are actively pursuing selective growth opportunities, in line with our brand, in key destinations across the region, building on our existing presence in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon. Our aim is to operate luxury hotels in each key city within the GCC and key hubs in Africa, starting with the opening of Kempinski Hotel Muscat and Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai in 2018. As we think about where the business is going, you need to consider both the individual guest profile, as well as macro travel patterns. The industry has never been more global, with guests increasingly on the lookout for unique experiences to match their personal tastes and preferences. Kempinski is perfectly positioned, as an independent luxury hotel company with a long-term view, to deliver this exceptional experience – or ‘beautiful performance’, as we call it – to the guests of today and tomorrow. Our renewed Kempinski Discovery guest loyalty program is just one way we are catering to this trend of experience over points.

our footprint to enable us to capitalize on burgeoning economic growth and the promising aspirations of the Millennial travelers. We are also keen on tapping into the emerging markets in Africa, as we continue to strive toward our goal of operating 200 hotels by 2030. We believe that the way forward is the diversification of product offerings to meet different needs of the market, with mid-market hotels being a key focus. Aimed at catering to this fast-growing segment of the hospitality sector, Rotana has launched a number of properties under ‘Centro’, our affordable lifestyle brand, and a number of these properties are already in the pipeline. In addition, we will continue to expand and grow our product offering, in line with market trends and the needs of the industry in the years to come.

Carlos Khneisser Vice President

Development, MENA & Turkey, Hilton Hilton has a pipeline of around 80 hotels in MENA, so we are going to be more than doubling in size in the region and by 2030 it’s fair to expect this number to have increased further still. There are a number of opportunities for us to build on our impressive rate of growth as the market begins to mature. Most specifically, in the midscale segment, which is absent in some markets and underrepresented in many others. We have two brands - Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton - both of which have several hundred properties globally, but are only just beginning to be introduced to MENA. We can expect a much larger proportion of our growth to come from this sector, particularly in more developed markets, such as Dubai, Makkah and Jeddah which are looking to diversify their visitor demographic. At Hilton, we also believe in the longterm potential of tourism in North Africa and are firmly targeting expansion in this area. Morocco is an increasingly attractive destination for international travelers and we are looking at immediate opportunities there, but Tunisia and Algeria also have potential in the longer term. DEC 2017- JAN 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





LANDSCAPE With geopolitical concerns and decreasing oil revenues leading to a slowdown in economic growth, expansion of hospitality and tourism continues to play an important role in efforts to diversify the regional economy. Exclusively for HN, EY’s Nehme Ayoub, Qatar director, and Rohit Dhawan, Dubai’s manager, paint the region’s investments and developments patterns for the coming years Bahrain The tourism sector is considered to be a strategic driver of the country’s non-oil economy. In 2016, Bahrain unveiled the Manama Gulf Capital of Tourism initiative, a collaboration between Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority, Tamkeen, Bahrain International Circuit and the Economic Development Board. This initiative is aimed at strengthening the development of two-way tourism between the GCC countries. Manama was selected as the ‘Capital of Gulf Tourism’, following a decision made by the GCC Ministers of Tourism last year. The initiative serves as the starting point for the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism to revitalize the tourism sector in the kingdom, hence paving the way for year-round events and activities. Historically, a majority of government tourism spending has been centered on hotels, restaurants and the nightlife of Hoora, Juffair and Adliya. Efforts are now being made to promote Bahrain as a family-friendly tourist destination. The government has been involved in promoting the development of

several islands and resorts, such as Durrat Al Bahrain, Diyar Al Muharraq and Reef Island Development, in order to enhance the country’s lifestyle, seafront and cultural offering. To that end, the market is expected to see an influx of new hospitality supply, with 16 hotels, offering over 3,000 keys, in the development pipeline. Of the 16 hotels, six are slated to be resort destinations, including the One & Only Resort in Seef District, as well as the Fairmont Resort in Zallaq.

Egypt After years of decline due to political unrest and warnings by European governments to its citizens restricting travel to the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt’s hospitality market has seen an upswing. Earlier in 2017, the Central Bank of Egypt announced an initiative to invest in capital improvements of hospitality assets, in which owners have been unable to invest over the past six years due to a persistent decline in tourist arrivals. Over this period, the Ministry of Tourism estimated that 50 percent of hotel facilities were closed, with the remaining operating at half capacity. According to a recent report by Industry Networks, there are approximately USD 5.3 billion worth of hospitality projects currently underway in Egypt, 70 percent of which are in the concept and design stage. Prominent projects include two properties from Emaar — The Address Hotel and Resorts in Cairo and Matrouh — as well as a Four Seasons Hotel in New Cairo. While key perdormance indicators (KPIs) across the key cities of Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Alexandria and Cairo continue to struggle, an improvement in security, the opening of new airports — Sphinx International and Katameya International — and continued government efforts to improve bilateral relations should help lead the recovery of Egypt’s hospitality and tourism market.

Qatar In response to the embargo, Qatar granted visas upon arrival to 80 nationalities, in order to counter the loss of visitors from KSA and the UAE, which represented 46 percent of arrivals in 2016. It remains unclear whether some or all of these feeder markets will compensate for the loss of the two high-yielding source markets. Prior to the embargo, revenue per available room (RevPAR) across Qatar hotels was on the decline, on account of an oversupply of hotels; sustained downward pressure on occupancy caused a further reduction in average daily rate (ADR). This can also partly be explained by the reduction in ADR witnessed among five-star properties, the lion’s share of market keys, as the premium they command over their four-star counterparts becomes less and less palpable for guests. Extending alcohol permits to four-star properties exacerbated the effect,

Without additional hospitality and tourism products breaking ground soon, we could find a market that is easy to travel to, but which lacks critical mass in terms of attractions to drive and sustain demand albeit to the benefit of diversifying the hotel offering in the market. The strategy was to establish Qatar as a culture, heritage, sports and MICE destination, although current economics will likely make the strategy’s implementation challenging in the short term. With a proposed 60,000 hotel keys required by FIFA for the World Cup, a post-FIFA legacy strategy will be critical to ensuring the sustained success of this substantial new hospitality infrastructure.

UAE Dubai is leading the way in terms of arrivals, reaching 14.9 million visitors in 2016, well on the way to its target of attracting 20 million visitors by 2020. Growth in hospitality supply will continue to put downward pressure on rates; however, an increase in occupancy through demand from existing, as well as new source markets, will support the delivery of new products. Furthermore, declining RevPAR can, in part, be attributed to the increase in midscale products, with performance of luxury products still maintaining healthy, albeit moderated, profitability. In the coming years, northern emirates, including Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, are likely to witness growth in visitor arrivals, as the quality and diversity of hospitality supply increase.





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FOOD AND BEVERAGE TRENDS in Pinterest comfort food searches rose 336 percent in the last year, while lasagna, macaroni and stroganoff were at 69 percent, 55 percent and 50 percent respectively. Vegetables are undoubtedly taking center stage, sometimes enlivened by proteins. If you haven’t yet tasted the ‘Cauliflower with Shawarma’ at Baron in Beirut, make a booking today!

Toufic Akl, partner at Hodema consulting services, predicts what will be hot in F&B in 2018 First let’s take a look at this year’s fads. We witnessed an upsurge in protein dishes against carbs, an increased focus on quality ingredients and the boom of kale. We also saw the success of a more unlikely trend, that of blue drinks. Inspired by cocktails made with curaçao, fans of blue hues took it to another level by adding blue wine to the menu. We salute their efforts, although we doubt the trend will last. So what does 2018 have in store for us?

Breakfast redefined Let’s start with what comes first: the morning meal. With its key ingredients of avocados, toasts, yogurt, fruits and granolas, among others, hitting an all-time high in popularity, breakfast is well and truly enjoying the limelight, to the extent that its serving times have been extended to pretty much anytime. Bakeries and cafés are thus diversifying their offerings, with greater use of eggs, fruits and cereals, and incorporating more protein-based ingredients on their menus to offer us breakfast at any time of the day. IHOP in the US and Paul in France were the pioneers for concepts across our region such as Dubai’s The Sum of Us, Kuwait’s The Breakfast Club and Beirut’s newest creative concept, The Sage Parlour, which will open in early 2018.

On the veg of glory The ever-growing demand for healthier food is also fueling our love for vegetables. An analysis of Pinterest users’ habits suggests that people’s ideas of traditional comfort food have shifted from dishes such as fried chicken or a combo of burger and fries toward vegetarian and vegan dishes. The word ‘veggies’



People now want to know what has gone into a dish, and how the food was processed ‘Free from’ temptation Our plates are going green, and, while not new, the trend is getting greener by the day. Smoothies, bread made with ancient grains, cereal bars with seeds, plant milks… natural ingredients are on a roll! So ‘free’ will definitely be 2018’s key trend. Alongside free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and conservatives, people are now also asking for gluten-free, dairy-free and refined-sugar-free meals. While diners with allergies have long been hardcore supporters of these trends, a growing number of people are converting to the ‘free from’ diet. Almond, coconut and rice are becoming substitutes for traditional flours and milk-based produces. Raw honey and brown rice syrup are slowly replacing refined sugar. In this quest for health, newbies are joining the superfood club. Today is all about turmeric, an ancient Indian spice with a powerful and bioactive medicinal compound called curcuma that aids the digestive system. There’s also a newcomer in the baking hood - cassava flour, widely used in parts of Asia and South America, is both gluten and grain-free. And let’s not forget the chaga mushroom, currently considered the most nutrient-dense mushrooms on the planet. Their antioxidant components make them the ultimate immuneboosting superfood, while additional properties help normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels. When it comes to beverages, in the coming year, we’ll be raising our glasses to charcoal-infused drinks, which help the body get rid of unwanted substances and toxins. Charcoal also gives hot and cold drinks a darker twist, as can be seen in creations such as the Black lemonade or Goth latte, which are sure to be talking points at the bar or around the table.

Responsible sourcing Ethical eating is also playing a part in improving our health. While we never really used to think about the former life of that steak on our plate, our attitude toward the origins of what we eat has changed drastically. People now want to know what has gone into a dish, and how the food was processed. These demands come with growing social awareness. For example, customers are asking what a restaurant is doing to help the local community when procuring its ingredients or whether the supplier is respecting the products used and the environment.

A taste of Hawaii Alongside growing requests for healthy options in restaurants and supermarkets, there are also some exciting new trends on the horizon for 2018, including the poke bowl. Fans of Hawaii will already be in the know about this concept, but for

us amateurs, the poke is a raw fish salad, traditionally served with salmon, tuna or octopus. Sushi outlets have claimed ownership of the dish, but poke bowls can also be found in restaurants serving international cuisine. Poke bowls are an easy alternative to meat, come in various flavors and are fast to prepare, all of which contribute to their growing popularity.

over. Home chefs are usually individuals with a passion for cooking and often specialize in a specific ethnic cuisine or cakes and pastries, like ‘Petites choses’ by Yasmine Idriss Tannir in Dubai. No-seat restaurants, otherwise known as catering businesses, benefit from reduced occupational costs, including low or no rent, a smaller payroll since there is no service personnel, and don’t require large, upfront investments.

The latest fad is going to come Apps on the menu from above, in the form of drones For those who don’t have the time or that are set to become your new inclination to cook every now and then, an increasingly wide array of mobile deliveryman applications (apps) means that satisfying Eating out at home The wave of ‘no-seat’ restaurants is also being ridden by caterers and home chefs. Caterers such as Nicolas Audi Catering in Beirut offer full meals that can be delivered to offices or homes, whether you’re hosting a big reception or just having a few friends

those hunger pangs is easier than ever before. Zomato, Ubereats, Zaatar W Zeit and more are now just a click away, whether you’re on your sofa or at your desk. However, the latest fad is going to come from above, in the form of drones that are set to become your new deliveryman. Google is teaming up with

Chipotle to test burrito deliveries and Domino's pizza drones have already started operating in New Zealand. The question of who will be handling the drone traffic control center has yet to be answered.

Instagrammable And finally, one last word for trend lovers. Whatever you eat and wherever you eat it, don’t forget to share it on social media. Instagram is now where everything happens. Customers are posting their best eating and drinking experiences there, thus challenging restaurants to not only offer a great taste, but to also have an ‘Instagram worthy’ presentation for their meals, drinks and venue. On top of being an efficient advertising and reviewing tool, Instagram enables us to learn about new trends in the blink of an eye.

hodema.net DEC 2017- JAN 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




MIDDLE EAST RESTAURANT SECTOR which include: volatility and decline of oil prices; OPEC futures remaining uncertain; and Saudization and the additional cost of labor in the KSA on the back of its ongoing diversification and the growing part played by non-oil activity in pushing the overall economy forward. Yet since the regional economy’s cornerstone is still highly reliant on oil revenues, gaining positive momentum will not come easily.

Weak oil prices meant that last year was a daunting one for the region’s economy. However, fortunately for restaurant operators who’ve had to adapt to increased saturation caused by tougher competition and poor sales, 2017 still brought glimmers of hope. Chadi Chidiac, managing partner of PROTOCOL, tells HN what the region’s macroeconomic indices reveal for the Middle East restaurant industry Diverse sectors are feeling the fall-out Uncertainty has prompted high-net-worth individuals (those with USD 2 million and above in investable assets) to protect their wealth through more careful and prudent investments. Numbers at the end of 2016 reveal a continued trend toward more liquid assets, such as cash and deposits. Meanwhile, appetite for investments is waning across all assets for the near future, year-on-year. Considerably fewer high-net-worth individuals are looking to increase their portfolio through direct investment and private equity.

Lower demand Demand is undoubtedly weaker than ever. Big retailers will continue to exhibit growth, while smaller ones will struggle, given the number of potential risks that need to be considered,

Adjusting to the ‘NEW NORMAL’ In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that it had cut its forecast this year for GCC oil producers’ economic growth, on the back of the group’s deal to reduce output, which is expected to wipe out gains in terms of government revenue from higher oil prices. Growth rates for the period 2017 to 2021 have been revised downwards in all countries, except for Bahrain and Qatar, with those for 2018 following this pattern. The trend is being dubbed by some ‘The New Normal’ for the region, marked by lower oil revenues, but stable oil prices and greater levels of economic diversification, including a stronger tourism industry. Restaurant operators will see food prices stand still or fall, in part due to the stronger US dollar, yielding a lower food cost for both restaurants operators and Food at Home. Oil prices hit rock bottom last year and are still leveling off, remaining unstable due to question marks surrounding the future of supply from OPEC. Another challenge, at least for GCC restaurant operators, is the imminent implementation of the bloc’s value-added tax (VAT). A 5 percent VAT will be imposed on most products starting January 2018, though it remains unclear if the levy will be applied to food. Even if it transpires that food in restaurants is exempt from VAT, consumers may decide to tighten their broader spending, since they will be facing a 5 percent tax on most other purchases. Both the KSA and the UAE have ratified the agreement. The new taxation strategy is expected to enable GCC nations to boost their GDP by around one percent.

Retail will continue to surge Grow rate forecasts for the retail sector remain high, with projections indicating they will rise 25

percent in square meters over the upcoming three years. Restaurants will need to stabilize demand to balance with occupancy costs. Bearing in mind that 139 hotel projects are in the pipeline in Dubai alone (all of which will include F&B operations), F&B operators will be facing both fierce competition and higher risks of possible market saturation. Longer term, the appeal and quality of concepts will determine success. Tourism growth will boost the restaurant industry in the Middle East. Around USD 79 billion is planned for airport projects in the region, with the aim of transporting 400 million passengers per year over the next decade. More inbound tourism will mean greater demand for food and new opportunities for operators to differentiate themselves with homegrown unique concepts.

Growth expected to pick up in 2018 A regional commitment to economic diversification deserves praise. Structural reforms and spending cuts, as well as higher oil prices, are helping states to reduce some of the world’s highest budget deficits. The IMF has acknowledged the steps taken and noted the region’s progress in its bid to transform economies which have relied on hydrocarbons for more than five decades. Most of the six GCC members have made substantial fiscal adjustments. Salary increases, which mean higher levels of disposable income, signal further good news for restaurant operators. Wages are expected to rise by an average of four percent across the region in 2017 and 2018, supported by forecasts of higher GDP growth for the year ahead. The IMF expects the cumulative budget shortfall of the six countries through 2021 to total around USD 240 billion, down from approximately USD 350 billion in 2016. protocollb.com

Where Consumers Spent in 2016 Category

Percent of




















100% Source: PROTOCOL Study 2017



A TOAST TO A GROWING INDUSTRY In 2016 and for several years in a row, Eastern Europe accounted for the highest pure alcohol consumption in the world, whereas the Middle East and South Asia recorded a total intake that was less than 5 percent of the international average. In the Arab world, where alcohol consumption is limited, the UAE was ranked #1 last year in alcohol consumption due to the continuously rising number of expatriates there, which reached around eight million in 2016.

75th Annual Convention & Exposition April 30 – May 3, 2018, Las Vegas, Nevada


TRENDS DIGEST 2018 Whiskey Cigar Experience


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Czech Rep.





























In 2016, men were responsible for 62% of total alcohol consumption in Lebanon.

Liquor Whipped Cream

2018 Gin Based On Botanicals



The Rosé Era



Whiskey is the most consumed alcoholic drink on the Lebanese Coast followed by arak.

Major Players Go Artisanal

4 Lagers Come Back








INFOGRAPHICS BY LUMEN www.lumenhospitality.com

A BUBBLY CONSUMPTION The UAE is leading the regional spirits market in consumption and market value. The country is expected to maintain its #1 position for the next 5 years





The tourism market is one of the largest economic sectors in Cyprus and has experienced substantial growth over the last five years, with visitor numbers averaging around 2.5 million annually. In a major boost for the Mediterranean nation, CNN named Cyprus among the hottest destinations on the planet. The country saw tourist spending shoot up by 17 percent last year to nearly USD 2.8 billion. Visitors also flocked to the country, in part due to its reputation as a relatively safe haven compared to other European destinations

A growing number of tourists Cyprus’ tourism industry has experienced substantial growth over the last decade. According to the latest figures released by the Statistical Service of Cyprus (CYSTAT), arrivals reached almost 407,000 in October 2017 compared to 357,000 one year earlier, marking an increase of almost 14 percent. October 2017 also had the highest volume of tourist arrivals ever recorded in Cyprus for that particular month. The number of arrivals totaled 3.4 million for the period January –




NEVER SLEEPS October 2017, up from 3 million in the same period last year, representing an increase of 15 percent and surpassing the total number of arrivals recorded in Cyprus for any first 10-month period in a year.

Cyprus tourists arrivals in millions Year






Where to invest?



Enhancing the tourism product is one of the primary objectives of the government. The country is working toward further developing the industry and highlighting the untapped potential for investments in specialized subsectors, such as health and wellness, sports, luxury and lifestyle. Other areas that offer attractive and mature investment opportunities are largescale development projects, such as leisure and theme parks, luxury real estate projects, mixed-use developments, marinas, tourism resorts and golf courses. To enhance the hospitality sector further, the government is proceeding with the development of a single Integrated Casino Resort through a tender process. This new landmark attraction will add value to Cyprus’ tourism product. The country’s famous beaches have been awarded 53 Blue Flags and hold three records: The most Blue Flags per capita in the world, the densest concentration of Blue Flag beaches and the most Blue Flag beaches per coastline.











Source: Statistical Service of Cyprus

Top spenders per nationality ($) Ranking


Amount spent per person


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KEY TOURISM AREAS Cyprus has five main tourist districts, namely: Famagusta; Paphos; Limassol; Larnaca; and Nicosia. Each district offers a wide range of tourist products, attracting different types of visitors. 1. The Famagusta region consists of Ayia Napa, the south-east coast of Cyprus and Protaras, and the coastal area of Paralimni. It has a wider variety of beaches than other cities. Ayia Napa is a reputable party town and prime site for nightlife.

With Lebanese among the top-spending tourists in Cyprus, HN spoke to Mark Chehade, managing partner of MEC Concepts, the company behind Pablo Escobar bar-restaurant, which has been operating in Larnaca since last May. Here’s what he said:

1. The political stability the country enjoys is leading to a great flow of tourists, whereas all the neighboring Arab countries and Turkey are struggling. 2. Cheap flight tickets, hotels and restaurants all contribute to making the country affordable for everyone. 3. Being only 20 minutes away by plane, with more than five flights a day in summer, facilitates business operations. mec-concepts.com


Annita Demetriadou Papageorgi Director of Tourism Quality Assurance Department

Cyprus Tourism Organisation

Cyprus is one of the safest and most hospitable countries in the world to live in and invest in, having enjoyed political stability for decades. Since 2004, it has been a country member of the European Union, with full access to all European markets. The euro has been the official currency of the country since 2008. International direct airline routes connect Cyprus with all major European and Middle Eastern cities, while the country enjoys excellent telecommunications and shipping facilities.

1. A one-stop shop for tourists

3. Governmental support

Cyprus’s strategic location at the crossroads of three continents gives it a rich and diversified tourism product. Due to the island’s archaeological and cultural wealth, originating from its 11,000 years history, it attracts quality tourists seeking historic and cultural trips year-round. The island also offers openings for tourists interested in sun and sea. In addition, there are opportunities for specialinterest tourism, such as the nature, sports, conference and incentives, golf, nautical, rural and cycling segments, as well as wellbeing and leisure niches, among others.

The tourism sector is a high priority for the Cypriot government. To this end, all stakeholders work hard for the continuous enrichment and improvement of the island’s infrastructure, in close cooperation with the private sector. The road network and airports in Larnaca and Paphos are modern, while new projects for nautical tourism and a casino will be launched soon. Cyprus’ ideal climate, especially during winter, makes the island attractive to special-interest segments. The government has adopted a policy of encouraging investment in 14 golf courses, with the aim of boosting the quality of Cyprus as touristic destination. visitcyprus.com

2. Paphos is a popular coastal town in the southwest of Cyprus. Visitors can enjoy spectacular scenery and some of Cyprus’ finest beaches. Paphos offers ancient historical sites, some classified as world heritage sites by Unesco, and an attractive harbor. It is expected that Paphos will be the focus of intensified cultural activity as it has been selected by the EU to be a European Capital of Culture for 2017. 3. Limassol is the second-largest city in Cyprus and is situated on the southern coast of the island. It has developed significantly in recent years, emerging as a business hub. Limassol has the largest port in Cyprus, while its marinas help the city to attract high-wealth tourists. 4. Larnaca is the third largest city in Cyprus and is known for its palmtree seafront. It is home to the country’s primary airport, a seaport and a marina. 5. Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus and the main commercial and business center, with a world-famous archaeological museum, Venetian walls and Laiki Yitonia, which is a labyrinth of traditional streets.

Facts and figures • The direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was USD 1.4 billion in 2016, forecast to rise to USD 6.2 billion in 2027. • In 2016, the sector directly supported 26,500 jobs (7.2 percent of total employment). This is expected to reach 32,000 jobs in 2027. • Travel and tourism investment is forecast to reach over 407 million in 2027. Source: Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2017- Cyprus – WTTC




When looking at the F&B market in the region, it’s clear to see that the sector will always be a competitive one for businesses and that the days of monopolies are long gone. Ralph Nader, ‎CEO at hospitality consultancy firm Amber Consulting, weighs up the age-old question: to cut or not to cut prices Regardless of how original the concept is or how rare the offerings and products are, restaurateurs will have to tackle the challenges that competition brings, if not today, then in the near future. So what’s the best approach in this situation? The classic scenario of battling competitors was particularly evident early on within the fast food industry, before extending its reach over the years to various concepts and eventually becoming known as the Price War.

What exactly is a price war? A price war describes the situation in the F&B market when existing competitors are battling to gain the largest market share by cutting their prices through the adoption of various strategies.

A special focus on the Lebanese market

soon apparent that some restaurants have embarked on a price war. Competitors have innovated in terms of strategies adopted to enter this initiated battle. While such strategies are being implemented by diners and fast food chains, fine dining outlets are also opting to adopt plans to regain and sustain their clientele. A close examination of the market reveals several examples of the strategies chosen: Special discounts and offers: A study of the famous sushi market reveals that some restaurants have created a new trend instantly adopted by other competitors. Ichiban Express initiated its ‘Crazy Offer’, comprising 44 pieces of sushi, a crazy salad and two soft drinks for just USD 29.04 (LBP 44,000). This offer was available from Monday to Wednesday, allowing Ichiban to attract customers during slower service days. The offer quickly had a domino effect, with competitors like Sushi Ko launching the ‘Sushi Promo’ offer, comprising 20 pieces at USD 19.14 (LBP 29,000). Likewise, OBI produced an open sushi package, available from Monday to Wednesday, which included a crab salad, temaki and drinks for LBP 44,000. At cost: Society Bistro is the ultimate example in Lebanon of the ‘at cost’ pricing strategy. Located in the Saifi Suites Hotel, Society Bistro is a French restaurant that has existed for several years, but became a serious hotspot in 2016, after dramatically reducing the prices on all of the items on its menu.

In order to attract more clients and primarily to survive in a particularly small and highly competitive market, restaurateurs seem to have experimented with different competing models over the years. Historically, Lebanese restaurants focused on offering the best food quality and services to their clients. Today, this ‘quality war’ appears to have evolved into another battle.

Offers: Recently, Roadster Diner, followed by Classic Burger Joint, adopted a strategy based on proposing seasonal or conditional offers. Roadster Diner’s newest offer, ‘The Spicy Meal’, consists of a USD 20 meal for two people, available for delivery only. Classic Burger Joint’s most recent promotion is the ‘Classic Burger Winner Combo’, offering a chicken or beef-burger with a soft drink and French fries for USD 8.

Quality war vs. price war

A different situation in the UAE

Looking at the Lebanese F&B scene, it’s



Rather than entering a price war, restaurants

in the UAE focus more on differentiating their positioning. The branding of restaurants is a core focus of players in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which place the emphasis on creating a special combination of unique qualities peculiar to their outlet. Tailored concepts and renowned brands are what interest clients in the UAE. Some examples include celebrity chefs’ restaurants in the most prestigious hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, like Nobu or Jamie’s Italian, and recognized brand franchises, like Hakkasan.

An alternative approach to discounts UAE restaurants, unlike those in Lebanon, rarely provide offers or discounts. Instead, these deals and other initiatives are implemented by the search and delivery engines themselves, such as Zomato, Deliveroo and UberEats, or The Entertainer. A study conducted by KPMG on the UAE’s F&B market revealed that 20 percent of respondents look for deals when choosing a new restaurant. This trend is driving several restaurants in the UAE to offer an increasingly larger number of online deals and promotions. Circle Café, for example, which sells freshly tossed salads and handcrafted sandwiches, launched a deal offering a 50 percent discount on delivery orders during summer’s low season through Zomato to encourage clients to place orders online.

How effective are promotions? Some restaurants see deals as something of a double-edged sword. They can be very effective in getting people through the door, which is useful for a new outlet or one that’s fighting to attract customers. However, restaurants don’t want consumers to expect a deal or a promotion every time they eat out. What does this imply? Winning by cutting prices is more of a risk to a business than coming out on top by offering superior value and building a base of loyal customers.




L&D IN HOSPITALITY Raja Nasri, managing partner of N4TC, along with Mayssa Rizkallah from the learning and development field, tackle this vital subject Learning and development (L&D). How familiar is that term to you? Ideally, extremely. Realistically, not very to most hospitality professionals. The fact that the hospitality industry plays a crucial role in tourism heightens the need to invest in people, since team members are an important part of the assets. This industry struggles to keep up with worldwide standards if it fails to develop a proper L&D culture. Hospitality always requires a human touch to give it extra value, regardless of the establishment’s other attractions and beauty. In fact, one of the most customercentric hotel chains, Ritz Carlton, call their employees ‘Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen’ to reflect the fact that they are considered quality providers, not just personnel. President of the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company Herve Humler stated in an interview with ASQ TV: “I spent the night yesterday in Central Park New York. Don’t ask me about the color of the carpet; I will not remember. But I remember this morning when I woke up, when I went around the hotel, and lived that interaction with the Ladies and Gentlemen. And you, as a customer, that is what you are going to take back home.”




to have displayed an aggressive attitude in multiple contexts when dealing with customers’ complaints. At the end of a two-hour meeting with her, you feel that Sara has totally gotten it and you’re confident that from now on, she will improve her behavior with customers. Two months later, you realize you are still receiving complaints about her. Why so after you invested two hours of your time talking to her? This is the point at which professionals should hand over the job to an L&D specialist. Their function is to take responsibility for bridging the gap between current and desired performance through various structured learning channels. In such a competitive industry that is so closely tied to degrees of customer satisfaction and relationships with people, training employees is no longer an option, but rather a necessity to stay in business. Training also has to be

Investment in Learning & Development

Upgraded revenues

Case study Sara, your esteemed restaurant’s assistant manager, is a designated high potential (HIPO). She constantly implements innovative ideas and always achieves high targets. You want to promote Sara to become the next restaurant manager, but you have some doubts. She appears

Raja Nasri Managing Partner

Upgraded Customer satisfaction

Mayssa Rizkallah Learning and Development Specialist

viewed not so much as another expense, but as an investment. However, in today’s business world, you cannot simply expect employees to live by your values, represent your corporate identity, treat customers in the best way possible and excel on all levels if you don’t give them the opportunity to learn how to do so. Nowadays, while guests expect well-trained employees, millennial employees themselves expect professional development of life and technical skills within an entity.

Upgraded skills

Upgraded productivty & performance

Upgraded motivation


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HUNGER For a more extensive review of who is doing what when it comes to feeding the region, HN explores the services, apps and restaurants that are whetting appetites locally and regionally

Food Delivery Apps KSA • hellofood.sa (app) • HungerStation.com (website) Lebanon • Onlivery.com (app) • eddress.co (app) • totersapp.com (app) • Bitfood.me (app) UAE • Pinza.com (website) • sugarmoo.com (app)

THE MADE-TO-ORDER ITALIAN the public. So, having considered the available options, we chose to be listed on Deliveroo, thereby making full use of their extensive and already established network and service. Less than two years later, we have four locations, one of which is in partnership with Deliveroo. This all happened when they approached me and offered to expand our delivery radius. It was a proposition I simply couldn’t refuse, especially when they are known to only invest in prime sites throughout Dubai.”

International (only in UAE) • UberEats.com (app) • detox-delight.ae (website) • Plateculture.com (app) • Deliveroo.ae (app) • Order by Zomato (app) Focus on Health (UAE) • lovefoodme.com (website) • essentially.ae (website) • kcalextra.com (website) • tidjoorirestaurant.com (website) Regional • Talabat.com (Jordan, Oman, KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE/app) • Foodonclick.com (UAE and operates in Lebanon/app) • Hungerstation.com (KSA and operates in Bahrain/website) • Trycarriage.com (Kuwait and operates in UAE, Bahrain, Qatar/app) • Otlob.com (Egypt, to be acquired by Delivery Hero/app) Rocket Internet, is a German based company that incubates and invests in technology firms with proven business models. It currently owns: • ifood (Jordan /powered by Talabat) • 24h (UAE /powered by Talabat) • Hunger Station (KSA /website) • Otlob (Egypt /app)



In December 2015, the UAE became home to a new food delivery concept store destined to become one of the country’s top-ranking, go-to sources for foodies with a weak spot for pizza. HN talked to Tamer Elkhayat, managing director and co-founder of Pinza! about his savvy business acumen and the doubts that initially haunted his vision. Reflecting on the concerns he felt prior to launch, Elkhayat recalls, “Despite the fact that we knew we had a very good product, we were uncertain as to how to communicate that offering to

As he began his preparations for the future, Elkhayat saw the need to revisit his existing expansion plan and took some major decisions. “We decided to be listed on Zomato and Talabat for optimal exposure,” he explains. “And, in the blink of an eye, we began to grow at an accelerated rate. Today, Pinza! is the highest-rated restaurant on every ordering platform, making it easier to serve existing customers, as well as win over new ones. After garnering such exposure, I was approached by many app developers with various propositions, which in my opinion were pointless. I mean, why invest in a special app for Pinza! when I have the backing of Deliveroo, which is spending millions, Talabat, the biggest ordering platform in the GCC, and Zomato, growing by the day and constantly reaching new highs?”



The local and regional markets are seeing new contenders entering the food app delivery space at a fast rate. While many are creating interfaces to aggregate restaurants and facilitate mobile ordering, the complexity lies in providing exceptional end-to-end delivery experiences, while creating value for merchant partners. That is what makes the toters’ app and service unique, explains Tamim Khalfa, founder and CEO. The following, is an HN exclusive with the man behind this interface. “Food delivery’s quite popular and widely available in Lebanon, however, delivery consistency and quality greatly vary,” Khalfa reveals. “To avoid falling into that trap, some restaurants refused to join such a service. We felt that was a shame, considering the great food that could be had. Simply put, there was a gap and we decided to fill it.”

If you live in the UAE, or just happen to be visiting, and get a craving for something sweet , SugarMoo is the ideal delivery app. Raki Phillips, one of the co-founders of the company, describes his journey saying, “SugarMoo was founded in 2014, when the owners identified a gap in the UAE’s booming market. What we noticed was that while the annual F&B delivery business was worth USD 750 million, surprisingly it didn’t offer anything in the dessert category. So, we sought to capitalize on that market with first-mover advantage, offering and delivering freshlyoven-baked, homemade style desserts in under 90 minutes in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. We were also the first online dessert delivery service with an iOS and Android app in the UAE.” The trio continue to go from strength to strength, having revamped the website twice since the launch and are now planning to introduce extra features to the app, such as a chat bot, bilingual customer support and a quicker user experience. Elaborating, Phillips explains, “It’s important for us to remain connected and engaged with our customers by providing them with user reviews, better descriptions of products and more photos. The more consumers know, the less reluctant they’ll be to purchase our desserts online. Although delivery apps are being used solely for functional purposes, there’s a great deal of potential for social engagement to help us retain our loyal customers and attract new ones. To ensure such growth, and taking account of the fact that delivering desserts is an entirely different ballgame to any other type of food delivery service, the company has also developed and designed special packaging. In addition, the drivers making the rounds have undergone stringent training to guarantee the best results every time and with every bite.”

Explaining what makes this elaborate symphony of man and machine work well, he outlines the simple founding principles of the initiative: create value for both customers and restaurants. “On the one hand, all of this is orchestrated through technology, sophisticated algorithms and streamlined processes,” Khalfa explains. “On the other, our operation managers use tools we've built to monitor orders and intervene when necessary. Moreover, the service provides our partner restaurants with tangible cost-savings, while also expanding their reach. As a result, many of those who partnered with toters experienced immediate double-digit profitability growth.” This set them apart, especially since they’re the only company offering such a service in Lebanon. In terms of future plans, Khalfa, highlighted the benefits of having a flexible operational model when considering further expansion and tapping into markets where gaps exist, and that is exactly what they plan to do.

In the absence of any official consensus, it’s difficult to ascertain the value of the Lebanese online food delivery industry. However, Onlivery seems to be the country’s leader, connecting more than 700 restaurants across the nation. The app, available for both iOS and Android, is designed so customers never have to call a restaurant again. Discussing this approach, HN caught up with Daniel Kofdrali, Onlivery’s founder and CEO. “Being the only online food delivery platform that has been in Lebanon since 2014 gives us an edge,” he says. “We see no direct market competitor, except for the traditional way of ordering, namely users still calling restaurants. Everyone employing an online platform only raises awareness about the features we offer and the network of partner restaurants we work with, which is unparalleled.” He goes on to explain that their main unique selling proposition is the first-class customer service they have worked hard to build, which has created a solid bond between the company’s employees and their customers. With a solid grip on the Lebanese market, Kofdrali reveals the company’s expansion plans. “Onlivery's business structure is a globally proven model in online food delivery. Thankfully, we have arrived at a selfsustainable work environment in Lebanon that has allowed us to now seriously consider branching out to include additional deliverycentered industries, local places and new countries in the region.” He adds that although they’re very happy with what they've achieved thus far, there's much more to be done and challenges to still overcome. “Changing customers’ habits from ordering over the phone to online was and still is our toughest challenge,” he notes. “It’s still very hard to get people to move out of their comfort zone.” DEC 2017- JAN 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME






A native of Lebanon, Amine Ghanem is a man whose passion and skills landed him on Moët & Chandon’s 10-member committee in charge of creating the wines and champagnes enjoyed by millions every year. During his last visit to Lebanon, HN seized the opportunity to discuss matters related to taste, character and quality of this much-loved drink 78


What are the most relevant characteristics a winemaker should have? To be a winemaker, you should have passion, gumption and technical know-how. The last element is very important because wine can be made in so many different ways, depending on strategy and climate conditions. In addition, it involves exhaustive tasting, hanging around vineyards and plenty of patience. The process begins in the vineyard and ends in a glass and everything in between is hard work.

Is it difficult for you to know when the time is exactly right to harvest? It is, but every decision is taken in a committee after many tasting sessions. The decision is based on a harmony between the sensation of the wine and the mood of the winemaker. Keep in mind that we don’t want to produce a complicated wine, rather a fresh one that suits everybody who is in a festive mood.

What are the most rewarding elements for a winemaker? To see the wine appreciated by the consumer. It also feels like nursing a newborn to maturity. Yet the best part is seeing that creation shared with joy, and love is instrumental in reaching that conclusion. Think about it, if you want to surprise the person you love, you think about either wine or champagne, otherwise the experience will remain incomplete. Also, the color is very important. For instance, if the wine is dark red, then the interaction is about intensity and this is at the forefront of our mind when making the wine. In other words, winemaking is a love story as old as time.

What is the most challenging part of winemaking? I would have to say it is the physical aspect of the entire process, coupled with plenty of preparation prior to the harvest. Furthermore, a winemaker needs to be committed and driven by love of the craft, which is why, in this trade, especially for Moët & Chandon, it is not about offering the end consumer a high-end product, rather an unforgettable experience.

small growers have a clear identity and are not copying other bigger, and more established, wineries.

What are some of your favorite Lebanese wines? I like the style of Château Musar. It is voluptuously harmonious and very well structured. I am not saying it is the best, rather it sits well with my expectations. Another wine I also enjoyed recently during my last visit to Lebanon is called iXSiR. Nonetheless, my advice, when it comes to tasting wine, is to always go straight to the source, as that will guarantee the intended flavor of the brand.

Where do you see the Lebanese wine industry headed in the coming years? It is on an incline, especially when it comes to quality, communication and marketing. Keep in mind that Lebanese wine is well known. Though some of those brands have won many international awards, the wineries should, nonetheless, focus more on the local market, since I’ve found more Lebanese wines in France than in Lebanon. Ironically, on New Year’s Eve 2016 in London on Vivino's app, one of the best-selling wines was a Lebanese brand! By concentrating on the local market, the wines produced could gain more personality and more value for

the Lebanese consumers. Another puzzling matter I discovered is that in Lebanon, people only drink red wine in winter, which I found weird. However, I think that the most important thing for local wines is to try and pair them with Lebanese food. I don’t know if that would work, but we should at least give it a shot.

What advice do you have for local winemakers? Stop trying to copy other wine styles, because only then will each of these local names acquire a unique personality that is distinctly in-line with the wineries themselves. Another matter I would like to caution against is planting vineyards in deep soil in the plain of the Beqaa Valley as opposed to planting on slopes. Simply put, by doing so, the growers increase the annual yield, but decrease the concentration of the wine itself. It is a matter of quantity versus quality. On that note, I would like to conclude by saying that all wine lovers seek authenticity. So if you taste a Lebanese Bordeaux wine, you will discover that it is not a big deal. On the other hand, Saint George, which is a Jordanian wine, tastes truly authentic. Sadly, only 30 percent of Lebanese wines belong in that category, yet I am happy to say that most of these are quite special.

What are your thoughts on the Lebanese wine industry? Historically, inhabitants of the Middle East were one of the world’s first winemakers benefiting from an interesting climate that afforded the wineries many exciting opportunities. As a result, Lebanon developed this industry carefully and gradually, based on age-old traditions and techniques. Furthermore, the local ‘terroirs’ are especially good for making red wine. Being Lebanese, I am proud to say we have many reputed wine houses. However, I would like to point out that the biggest ones are not the best. In the past couple of years, new cellars have emerged in the market and have been producing beautiful wines. These DEC 2017- JAN 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




UP IN SMOKE Shisha, also referred to as a waterpipe, is said to have first been used in ancient Persia and India. Though the invention dates back many centuries, it is only in the past decade that the shisha has begun gaining widespread popularity elsewhere, notably in the UK, France, Russia and the US, with the opening of specialty shisha cafes Ironically, as more countries continue to enforce increasingly stringent laws banning smoking, establishment owners are making full use of existing loopholes, including in some cases the use of waterpipes. As a result, demand for this age-old apparatus is accelerating and spreading throughout the world. In the Middle East region, according to a Euromonitor report, legislation passed by the Egyptian parliament in 2015 led to cigarette prices rising by 50 percent, resulting in increased demand for shisha smoking. A trend in Australia, meanwhile, has seen smokers in increasing numbers move from the traditional shisha to an electronic version in recent years. In fact, it has become so popular that Europe has turned it into a global industry with more than 20,000 visitors from 74 countries gathering at HookahFair, the world´s biggest annual, three-day trade fair specializing primarily in waterpipes and electronic shishas. There, merchants, wholesalers and purchasers of shishas and shisha tobacco gather to discover the newest and most interesting novelties on offer. The event first took place in Frankfurt, expanding over the years to Berlin and Spain, with New York getting in on the action this year.

Significantly, Social Smoke, an online retail concept launched in 2003 by an Iranian family, had become the largest manufacturer of shisha tobacco in the US by 2015. The company’s profile was raised considerably in 2009, when an article on its operations was published in Fortune Small Business magazine. The story prompted so much interest that CNN Money aired a segment on it, marking the first time in American history that a shisha company was depicted in a positive light. Years later, this recognition still earns Social Smoke respect around the world as an industry leader and innovator.

Global appeal Shining a spotlight on another successful venture, HN interviewed Mohammad Rabah, CEO of Royal Tobacco Group S.A.R.L. the sole distributor for Al Fakher, a UAE company offering the world’s finest shisha tobacco worldwide. “We operate in all Arab countries throughout the region and are present in Germany, Austria, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, the US, Brazil and are the only brand in China,” he explained. While there is global interest in shisha smoking, its appeal varies greatly from one continent to another. “The shisha has been an intricate part of the Arab world’s cultural fabric and a very important social vehicle central to human interaction,” Rabah said. “This is cemented in the fact that if you see a fully booked restaurant or café, you can rest assured they offer shisha as opposed to the empty ones that do not.” While this may not apply elsewhere, primarily due to stringent antismoking laws and hefty fines, it’s evident that in the last couple of years, Europeans have become increasingly accustomed to the idea that ordering a shisha, either in public or private, can be compared to ordering food. “The irony is, in some countries, smoking a shisha in F&B establishments is permitted, while smoking cigarettes is not,” Rabah



noted. “While this may strike some as bizarre, the reason is simple and makes perfect business sense. Customers bring their cigarettes with them and therefore the café or restaurant makes no money from them. On the other hand, ordering a shisha is a great money-maker and is only available from the establishment itself.” What remains of paramount importance, however, and also gives the shisha its great appeal, is the choice it offers of hundreds of flavors, a concept that has only existed since the Turks came up with the idea in the 1980s. Around that time, Nakhla, the Egyptian competing tobacco brand, also emerged on the scene and, by the mid-1990s had created its appleflavored tobacco, which remains a good seller today.

A Lebanese staple “In 1999, Al Fakher was the first to set up shop in the Lebanese market, producing everything a shisha smoker requires, while also creatiing and offering five new flavors,” Rabah said. “Since then, the company has continued to create new offerings to remain internationally competitive.” Local clients, he said, include: Al Falamanki; Kahwet Beirut; Babel; Abdul Wahab; Shams Restaurant; and Anjar, which is the biggest in the Bekaa Valley. Rabah added that another major selling point is its premium quality tobacco. “Al Fakher is the only company that harvests the first batch of Virginia tobacco that industry professionals concede is the best,” he said. “For the flavors, we get the ingredients from Germany and develop them before exporting them. For Arabs, the preferred

flavors are lemon, grape, mint and apple. Europeans ask for bubblegum and just about anything that is sweet, while Americans like unusual flavors, such as volcano, funny bunny and pie to name a few. In other

If you see a fully booked restaurant or café, you can rest assured they offer shisha as opposed to the empty ones that do not words, when it comes to accommodating demand, the Arab region is fairly straightforward, unlike international markets which constantly keep us wondering.” Despite the fact that Lebanon is a small market compared to some others, it nevertheless plays a major role as the

company’s testbed for newly created flavors for the region and farther afield. Outlining the setup, Rabah explained that Al Fakher has top of the line, fullycomputerized Italian and German machines that allow the highest forms of accuracy and therefore guaranteed quality and consistency. “We have strategically positioned factories in the UAE to serve Asia, Egypt to serve Africa and Turkey to serve Europe and America. Combined, they can produce 120 tons of tobacco per day or 42,000 tons a year, all of which is sold,” he added. With demand doubling year on year, according to Rabah, the USD 2 billion company is set to turn a substantial profit and, in return, introduce the world to a host of additional innovative flavors in the near future. alfakher.com DEC 2017- JAN 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




TRAINING THAT ADDS REAL INCOME TO THE BOTTOM LINE before the dreaded dead period of January comes along. It’s all so wrong, but believe it or not, this scene is repeated the world over.

PPPPP: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance • What needs to be done?

Holiday seasons come along at various intervals throughout the year. As we approach the Christmas period, the food industry gears up for one final blast of massive sales over a six-week period. Master trainer Mark Dickinson discusses why proper preparation, in terms of forecasting and planning, is critical to success There’s no margin for error in the supply chain, because production takes a long time. When it comes to the restaurant business and the consumer end of the chain, however, we find a rather different approach. Seasonal decorations are rarely planned, for example, and often not by professionals who have taste and style. Instead, the restaurant manager is tasked with getting a tree, lights and creating some kind of snow, be it spray or cotton wool. The menu for the season also comes at the last minute. Usually, around December 10, someone suddenly thinks that it’s a good idea to have some seasonal dishes for diners to choose from. And so, a dubious process is put in motion which sees everyone rushing around, feeling important, to throw together a menu and a flyer. Eventually, someone else remembers that New Year’s Eve follows straight after Christmas and suggests that it may be a good idea to have a menu and a special price for that night too. And so the scene repeats itself. Finally, the festive season rolls along, tables fill up and service staff are under massive pressure to get as many customers in and out of the restaurant as quickly as possible. Forget the refined service that the businesses are known for - no one really cares. They say that customers just want to eat. And the owners want to make as many bucks as possible



Plan the approach to the season as early as possible, before November 15. • Plan the menu - research what fits with local taste. • Review the previous year’s sales figures and menu and see what customers ordered then. • Plan a great visual and share it on social media and in the restaurant. • Share the message about the menu with all of your clients via your contact list. • Create a special sequence of service with your team that helps customers to enjoy their experience. • Make sure that the focus of every team member is: 100 percent of customers happy, 100 percent of the time. This all takes time and planning.

How to maximize revenue throughout the holiday season Share the menu with all of your team members. Get them to memorize the contents. Ensure that everyone has tasted the items on the menu, and that they know the ingredients and how the dish is prepared. They can then describe the tastes. Use recipe cards. Make sure special drinks have been tasted and a selection of wines is chosen to accompany the food. Use pictures and tasters. Team members should be prepared, through careful training, to be cheerful, friendly and kind, practicing care before the service starts and learning the festive sequence of service. Set a target for every single employee to sell one special item on every table.

Create a reward system that works, such as instant daily rewards for those who sell. Not those who sell the most, just those that sell. It’s not a competition between team members, it is an effort to grow the profits of the business. Be generous with your team - set a party date for them to celebrate together too.

Advice for a great January • In the Christmas and New Year rush, serve every customer as though they are the only customer in the world. • Give every customer your highest level of care, and serve with kindness and attention. • Let the waiting customers wait, giving them an honest assessment of the real waiting time. • Never push customers along to finish while they are enjoying themselves. • Protect servers from undue pressure, helping them to deliver great, memorable experiences. • Expect every employee to fulfill your sales target of one special item per table, on every table. • Give your team the rewards that you promised.

Outcome • Customers will be very happy. • Customers will share their positive experience with their friends.

• Customers that were in the waiting line will want to come earlier next time.

• Servers will have increased the average purchase per table.

• Customers will come back, bringing their friends. In January, all your happy customers will love your ‘January Blues’ menu promotion and come back to “relive their beautiful memories of the season” in a place that made them feel special amongst the commercial madness. done.fyi





TO SUSTAINABILITY FOR PROFITABILITY IN THE UAE corporate social responsibility aspect of developing and operating their assets in a sustainable manner.

How to drive sustainable profitability

There is a general trend across the UAE hospitality sector towards giving sustainability greater levels of consideration. Zander Muego, partner at Thomas & Adamson, tells us how sustainable practices can add to the financial bottom line Sustainability is becoming increasingly government driven, with the most recent example being the announcement that Dubai Municipality will implement the Al Saafat, new green building rating system in 2018. Such initiatives are resulting in a requirement for all those involved in the construction and operation of built assets to adopt best practice within their design and comply with certain sustainable criteria. This trend is leading to the design, construction, operations and maintenance of resourceefficient, high-performing, cost-effective buildings throughout the UAE. The Al Saafat project, for example, aims to achieve a 20 percent reduction in electricity consumption, 15 percent reduction in water consumption, 50 percent reduction in waste and an overall 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions. There is also a growing trend for guests’ expectations to act as a major driver for hotels introducing sustainability initiatives. A recent report by Greenview found, through a survey of 2,093 hotels across 46 countries, that 44 percent implemented sustainability improvements as a result of guest comments. However, there is a practical challenge for many of our hospitality clients, which is the pressure that exists to minimize capital expenditure wherever possible. Hospitality businesses therefore need to look at the economic justification, in addition to the



1. Through appropriate design, planning and procedural development, environmental sustainability can also contribute to financial sustainability for those in the hospitality industry. To achieve this, those leading the business need to drive these initiatives as comprehensive transformational programs that involve all aspects of the business and avoid the temptation to address such

Hospitality businesses need to look at the economic justification, in addition to the corporate social responsibility aspect of developing and operating their assets in a sustainable manner initiatives as corporate social responsibility (CSR) related side-programs. It is essential that the business case be developed and the correct analysis run, to establish the related internal rate of return on any additional expenditure required. 2. There are many examples of ongoing or long-term savings across operations being achieved from investing in sustainable best practice or related technology. Enhanced energy monitoring, which can be done as a standalone system or, ideally, integrated into the wider Building Management System, is being increasingly deployed to manage and control energy consumption within hospitality assets. With most energy monitoring platforms, the property management and engineering team can obtain real-time data relating to

energy consumption and generate regular reports that detail how consumption compares to targets. While the specifics will vary depending on the many variables involved in the design and construction of a particular property, we have seen a return on investment (measured by IRR) of between 5-7 percent associated with this, when implementing such solutions on a retro-fit basis. 3. Other popular measures for existing buildings include the replacement of lighting with LED. This is a quickfire way to reduce energy consumption and related utility bills; for a 300-key property, the 20-25 percent difference in energy consumption can make a significant difference. Low-flow shower systems and flow restrictors on faucets can also result in significant water savings, with minimum capital investment required. 4. However, the inclusion of good design practices prior to construction of the asset is where particularly attractive rates of return can be achieved. Simple design modifications, such as the use of solar water heaters, are now a given, and while the use of other renewable energy sources need careful consideration and project specific analysis of economic viability, clever design of building elements, such as ensuring appropriate shading to façades or refinement of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system design, can have significant long-term benefits. As the importance of taking environmental considerations seriously within the hospitality industry is becoming increasingly well documented, it is for business leaders to drive the initiatives forward in a way that will ensure sustainability converts into profitability. thomasandadamson.com

Where Comfort & Quality come hand in hand Our products are reputed in major hotels in the MENA & GCC region, for their high quality and refined finishing. Throughout the years, we accumulated a vast experience in the hospitality market which allows us to understand the end-customers finest needs and improve our products accordingly. Our in-house design department ensures to offer hotels customized designs that fit their image and branding.

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Invest in the right products and equipment to make cooking easier. Here’s a good place to start

Kusmi Tea Le Thé Blanc Alain Ducasse

Nestlé Pure Life

The collaboration between Alain Ducasse and Sylvain Orebi, the owner and nose of Kusmi Tea, for Kusmi Tea’s 150th anniversary. RETAIL INC. retail-inc.com

The new 0.6L and 6L water bottles from Nestlé Pure Life aim to elevate healthy hydration by offering 20 percent more water for the same price as the 0.5L and 5L respectively. NESTLÉ WATERS NESTLÉ PURE LIFE nestle-family.com/pure-life


Hitachino Nest Beer

Refreshingly zesty with a spicy undertone, EGB ginger beer has a traditional base of all natural Sri Lankan ginger. G. VINCENTI & SONS S.A.L. g-vincenti.com elephanthouse.lk

A 'vin' that offers the authentic taste of Lebanon. Sept aims to become an ambassador for Lebanon’s heritage and an inspiring model of biodynamic agriculture in the region and the world. SEPT WINERY levinsept.com

A premium artisanal Japanese beer, with a variety of brews: the White Ale, Espresso Stout, Weizen, Ginger Ale, Japanese Classic, Red Ale Rice, XH, etc. GENERAL PROMOTION gp-me.com


Otto: Smoker

SPIN MAGIC, The new cotton candy machine with a high performance head, heavyduty motor. TOMADO tomado.net

Place a few soaked wood chips in the drawer and plug it in. Food can be smoked in 45 minutes. FURNART (ISOTOP GROUP isotop-group.com

Prestigio Espresso Machine


An Italian, built-to-last espresso machine, currently available in the market in limited quantities. SMART LOGISTICS SAL smartlogisticssal.com cafeabinasr.com



CATERING TO A CHANGING INDUSTRY In an era when more is being demanded of large-scale kitchen equipment than ever before, manufacturers are proving themselves highly capable of rising to the challenges they face by producing a wealth of innovative, cutting edge solutions that meet a raft of requirements

With catering operators under increasing pressure to use space effectively, conserve energy, manage waste responsibly and satisfy today’s discerning diners, the equipment rolling off the production lines and into commercial kitchens is more tailored than ever before to the industry’s demands.

Ken Winch International Foodservice Consultant

Buoyed by new technology and extensive research and development, today’s innovations are enabling kitchens to become cleverer, more joined up, more efficient and increasingly ergonomic, reflecting both broader industry trends and the specific requirements of individual businesses. However, the need to optimize space inevitably presents challenges for kitchens and consequently, their designers, with the cook-line under mounting pressure in both large-scale venues and busy, smaller outlets.

Glen Roberts Chair

Catering Equipment Suppliers Association

According to international foodservice consultant Ken Winch, the days when kitchen space and dining areas in hotels were divided equally are long gone. “In years past, hotels would have ratios of 50 percent kitchen and 50 percent dining area,” he said. “However, we’re now seeing the ratios shifting to the point where kitchens have a maximum of 40 percent of the allocated space, and, in some cases, it’s nearer 25 percent.” With space at a premium, manufacturers are adapting to the changing requirements



of slimmed-down kitchens in several ways, with the emergence of multi-function equipment that enables users to obtain maximum output from the area available. “For example, we’re seeing increased take-up of equipment like turbo-chef ovens that provide both convection and microwave functions, water baths/vacuum packs and more sophisticated combiovens,” Winch said.

In years past, hotels would have ratios of 50 percent kitchen and 50 percent dining area Over the years, design has also risen to the challenge of space constraints by rethinking the traditional positioning of equipment and finding new homes for key pieces. “Rather than having equipment taking up space along the walls, we’re now witnessing under-counter refrigeration as standard, including prep-counter fridges, and more wall refrigerators that make use of vertical space,” Winch noted. Many of these items are now being offered in modular options, giving buyers and operators more flexibility. Several variations of refrigerator drawers also have a multi-temperature function, as Glen Roberts, chair of the UK-based Catering Equipment Suppliers Association explained. “Users can set a draw to zero degrees one day and then to plus two or plus four on another, so there’s much more versatility when it comes to storing

products and working with constant menu changes,” he said. With more focus than ever before on the bottom line, energy efficiency is another priority for today’s kitchens, as businesses look for appliances that deliver an excellent performance while using less power. Many operators are exploring alternative methods of cooking that are quick and energy efficient, such as induction and pressure cooking. While looking to conserve energy, operators also want to obtain detailed information on where their energy is going; something that smart technology is enabling them to do. “Businesses are very keen to find out how much it costs to run a kitchen,” Roberts said. “Given that this technology is already making a big difference in other industries, we expect to see it applied increasingly to our sector.” Roberts pointed out that smart technology is already playing a key role in the coffee segment by providing readings to ensure a balanced dosage that maximizes flavor finds it way from machine to cup. “I’m sure this will expand to reach other areas of the industry,” he said. Smart technology is also enabling data

to be accessed and analyzed remotely. “Analysts are able to find out how much energy is being used from a door being open, for example,” Roberts said. “This technology will help operators in their efforts to maximize efficiency and reduce costs as we move toward using energy on demand, rather than leaving refrigerators, for example, chugging away. There’s lots of development going that way.”

This technology will help operators in their efforts to maximize efficiency and reduce costs as we move toward using energy on demand Innovative developments in this field are also proving useful for repair work, as Winch explained, citing a design in which 15 cold rooms and 35 refrigerators were all piped back to a central control system which the engineer could look at and connect to remotely from his smartphone, enabling him to begin addressing issues if need be. In addition, a move to make appliances self-diagnostic, with the ability to tell people when there’s a problem, is also evident. “Manufacturers have become savvy when it comes to helping users get

the best out of equipment,” Roberts said. “There’s more support and guidance on looking after it under pressure and making it more operationally effective in the form of ‘how to’ smart phone videos, for example. They’re also building in simplicity when possible, producing equipment without too many knobs or bands.” New technology is also driving waste management development, which is a key priority for the industry. “There are now a number of systems which convert organic waste to water as opposed to the more traditional methods of grinding or removal to land fill or incineration,” Winch said. He also highlighted the inclusion of reverse osmosis water treatment in dish and glass-washing appliances, which reduces the use of chemicals and detergents and also removes the need to hand-polish table ware and glasses. “I believe the trends are all associated with the green issues of energy conservation and sustainability, flexibility, multi-functionality and the reduction in space,” Winch noted. “Good design will also impact on the energy that is too often ignored, which is that of the kitchen staff who work unsociable hours in a highly stressed environment.”

The art of great cooking The german specialist in professional cooking technology

MKN Middle East & Africa Phone: +97 150 5 58 74 77 E-Mail: rac@mkn-middle-east.com






MEET THE SUPPLIERS Every passing year brings a host of innovations that significantly deliver better results to the world’s various industries. To discover the latest innovations in the ‘Heavy Kitchen Equipment’ category, HN spoke to some of the region’s most prominent suppliers who shared their most innovative offerings

MKN: THE ALL-IN-ONE CULINARY WONDER combi steamer represents another milestone in the company’s arsenal.

For the past 70 years, in collaboration with the world’s most skilled chefs, MKN has been hard at work developing some of the most avant-garde kitchen equipment used by the hospitality industry. The FlexiCombi MagicPilot

Highlighting the merits of so said technology, Elias Rached, regional director Middle East and Africa said, “With MagicPilot to go, the MKN combi steamer comes with an app that allows chefs to monitor the appliance even when they aren’t anywhere near to it.” Aside from its ability to automatically detect food quantity and continuously adjust various settings to ensure optimal results, the system also has a self-diagnostic program running in the background to detect and prevent mechanical failure. In addition, it has a built-in automatic cleaning system, a triple-glazed hygienic cooking chamber

door and integrated steam condensation abilities. Also, the MagigHood option has a multi-level filter system to remove odors, vapor, steam and fat. Rached enthusiastically elaborated, “Most impressive is that the app informs the user about the appliance status and gives an acoustic or vibration signal when action needs to be taken.” Not only does this leave room for the user to tend to other more pressing matters, but also provides some welcome breathing space in the busy daily routine of professionals looking to make better use of their time by offering guests a better eating-out experience. MKN mkn.de

HOBART: SPARKLING SOLUTION to the ever-increasing operational costs,” he said. “Our dishwashers directly address this matter, while also consuming significantly less energy, water and detergent than similar models in this category.”

Shifting the focus from cooking to cleaning, HN talked to Markus Bau, sales director, HOBART, a leading brand in the professional dishwasher market, about new innovations and how they are changing the face of the industry. The first machine designed for cleaning large volumes of tableware employs the C-Line conveyor dishwasher system, Bau explained. “Kitchen managers are under pressure due



The PREMAX CP sports the highly efficient ‘Rack-Flow’ system, which unites the various operations previously conducted by several people into a single machine operated by one. The machine can be loaded along its entire length without interruption, eliminating unnecessary spaces between the bins. The ‘Infotronic Control’ system offers all the important information relating to the mode and the operating states, such as temperature and electricity consumption. Lastly, the ‘Dynamic Dry’ feature uses state-of-the-art ventilation technology, delivering higher airflow rates and ensuring irreproachable deep-drying results, eliminating the need for manual wiping. This entire process also reduces detergent

consumption by up to 70 percent. PREMAX FP, a machine designed for smaller venues, uses 60 percent less water than conventional machines, employs VAPOSTOP technology in the drying process and, in turn, guarantees fully hygienic wash results. “The two-in-one double rack system can process up to 90 racks/h (45 plate racks + 45 glass/cup racks), due to its optimum use,” Bau said. HOBART hobart-export.com




Armobel is a Lebanese-based company that provides the local and international markets with a wide range of high quality food service and laundry equipment. As exclusive agents and distributors for many reputable manufacturers, Armobel this year introduced Naboo by Italian company Lainox, offering

real cooking technology. The oven’s In Cloud feature enables the machine to suggest and redefine everything needed for excellent and uniform quality results. All content is made permanently available, including the individual settings, content sharing on multiple appliances and round-the-clock technical assistance. “The real marvel, however, is that Naboo is the first professional oven allowing smoke-grill cooking that replicates the benefits of using wood, flavor, taste and smell without the inherent disadvantages,” Karim Mougharbel, project manager of Armobel said. “Better still, when it comes to preparing meat that requires prolonged lengthy cooking times, the oven’s low temperature, night cooking and maturation features negate the need for any human monitoring.” After the meal is served, Naboo’s new automatic washing system

utilizes multiple dose detergent capsules that are managed autonomously, eliminating possible dosage errors or contact with potentially harmful substances. ARMOBEL armobel.net


Revealing the latest trends in heavy-duty equipment technologies, Carine Faissal Boustani, managing director of EQUIP’HOTEL, showcases the company’s new refrigerator line, which in today’s ever-demanding hospitality industry, has become more central to the success of any establishment than ever before. The X-Cel line refrigerator from Italian brand Angelo Po delivers Class A cold storage, unbeatable energy efficiency and


Introducing the latest innovations in the heavy kitchen equipment sector, Fadi Rizk, managing partner of HICE SAL, reveals the machines that are enhancing the cooking experience for even better results, explaining, “Restaurants and hotels at times



are burdened with requests for certain types of foods that need defrosting and therefore require time to cook. Not so anymore, with the introduction of the new, high-capacity deep fryer, capable of processing 40 kilos of frozen French fries in a single hour.” He added that even more importantly, once the fries are loaded, issuing specific commands has become much easier, due to the machine’s high-definition panel loaded with preset recipes. “The entire operation is then automated,” he noted. “And once the result is achieved, the basket automatically lifts, the oil is drained, the container is washed, rinsed and refilled in preparation for a new batch of crunchy goodness all at the touch of an icon!” HICE SAL hice-lb.com

an unmatched cost-saving scheme of up to USD 375 a year. “This equipment has multiple benefits and is ideal when operated in various different environments, where the temperatures tend to vary greatly,” Boustani remarked. Aside from being ideal for operations even at room temperatures of +40°C, it ensures uniform storage crucial for conserving the food’s freshness. The stainless-steel shelves are able to take up to 60 kilos of weight and, with the appliance’s HACCP alarm control system, users can rest assured that they’ll always know what’s happening. “It truly is a unique machine that was created with the highest possible attention to detail,” she said. “Furthermore, the cabinets can be remotely programmed and guarantee high quality standards that are sure to delight and impress. All in all, it is probably one of the best, if not the best, of what is available out there.” EQUIP'HOTEL Kitchen and Laundry Equipment equiphotel-lb.com




A well-established company in Kuwait, chartered to supply and service all kinds of heavy duty kitchen equipment and sell small wares and uniforms to hotels, restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, catering companies and various types of institutions, Mabrook

Hotel Supplies Co. is a one-stop-shop for all foodservice requirements. Mahmoud Maghnie, managing director, who makes it a point to keep on top of the latest innovations in the industry, shared his thoughts with HN. “The latest machines we’re selling exclusively are Unox MIND.Maps™ ovens with built-in features that allow the user to carry out even the most elaborate cooking processes with few on-screen, simple illustrations/gestures,” he said. “To facilitate the process, which at times can be quite detailed, the kitchen staff can use the Master. Touch Pen to clearlydocument a specific cooking process by hand and save it in a dedicated program called My MIND.Maps™ for later/repeated use.” MABROOK HOTEL SUPPLIES CO. mabrookco.com


Founded in 1977 as a small family run business in one of Beirut’s thriving industrial suburbs, SALTEK has been able to position itself as a global leader in the manufacturing pita bread machinery. Thanks to its uncompromising commitment to quality, it has grown in

both breadth and reach, providing bakeries, hotels, restaurants and NGOs with fully integrated and customized solutions to meet their needs. Saltek relocated in 2011 to its current 15,000m2 facility in Mazraat Yashouh-Lebanon, where it employs around 170 full-time workers. It plans to expand the facility by another 4,000m2, due to open by summer 2018. With a global presence in over five continents and successful implementation of over 3,000 projects worldwide, Saltek has been associated with pita bread wherever the pita or flat bread is present. Greg Nercessian, marketing manager, clarified, “We have been in the art of manufacturing pita and flatbread lines for 40 years. Our Automated Tannour-Bread Production Line represents the company’s latest offering. It can process

up to 2,800 bread/hr for bread size up to 28cm and 1,500 bread/hr for bread size up to 38cm. Lastly, these machines are compliant with the European Union’s food safety, hygiene and protection standards, better known as CE Norms. SALTEK saltek.com.lb


In 1942, Vresso entered the food service industry when it began manufacturing custom, handmade refrigerators and freezers in a small shop in Beirut. Since then, the company has been highlyinvolved in the hospitality industry throughout the region, while also representing a multitude of brands in the foodservice industry. Arthur



Dekermendjian, business development manager of Vresso said, “This year, we introduced the Excalibur 2-Zone NSF Commercial Dehydrator series, which promises to deliver an all-in one solution, regardless of the food items that require processing.” These include fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat and fruit purée. The two-zone dehydrator unit has a full stainless-steel body, with separate computerized digital readouts and temperature controls that give operators the ability to set different temperatures in each zone and increase the versatility of the unit. “With a 21-82ºC temperature control, 99-hour timer system and automatic cool-down and shut-off features, you can rest assured that whatever goes in will come out beautifully dehydrated,” Dekermendjian said. “Furthermore, the dehydrator’s patented hyperwave technology and horizontal parallax drying remove water from food with a continuous circulation

of thermostatically-controlled warm air guaranteeing optimal results and full flavor.” VRESSO vresso.com

GRIF 2018

12-14 March 2018 Palazzo Versace, Dubai, UAE





FACILITATING INVESTMENT DECISION-MAKING WITHIN THE RESTAURANT SPACE The Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) facilitates investment decision-making within the restaurant space. The forum showcases the hottest restaurant concepts from around the globe and gives attendees a place of focus where they can connect with investors, owners, franchisors and senior hospitality professionals; assess the state of the hospitality industry and secure deals for the coming year. GRIF 2018 is proud to once again be powered by Michelin, enriching the event with its extensive network and world class chefs.


REGISTER NOW! www.restaurant-invest.com/register


www.restaurant-invest.com #GRIF, @GRIF_news | GRIFsocial




ON THE MARKET Rational Selfcookingcenter® Having achieved several industry firsts and recognized as the only manufacturer to have met the stringent Energy Star standards on all of its appliances, Rational recently reached another milestone with the launch of its SelfCookingCenter® and CombiMaster® Plus models, and ConnectedCooking feature, the first professional compact appliances range with a fresh steam generator. The SelfCookingCenter® represents the first and, so far, the only cooking system with real intelligence, revolutionizing the way food is prepared and negating the need to set temperatures, moisture levels or air circulation speeds and continually adjust them. Simply specify the results you want and grill, roast, bake, steam, stew, blanch and poach food, all within a space of less than 1 m², irrespective of whether you’re cooking for 30 or for thousands. The ConnectedCooking feature, meanwhile, enables users to make best use of what is available by browsing through thousands of international recipes and downloading selected options onto their units.

Hice Prime-Combi Oven The new generation, prime combi-oven from HICE is loaded with over 90 pre-set recipes, something which its manufacturers say is revolutionary, not only because it can cook the food automatically based on set parameters, but also due to its ability to deliver complicated dishes thanks to its multi-level cooking features. The oven is able to process each ingredient individually, simultaneously.

MKN Flexicombi Magicpilot Combi Steamer This avant-garde appliance comes with an app that allows chefs to monitor it remotely. Smart features include an ability to automatically detect food quantity and continuously adjust settings to ensure optimal results. The system also has a self-diagnostic program running in the background. Other benefits include a built-in automatic cleaning system, a triple glazed hygienic cooking chamber door and integrated steam condensation abilities.



Gio, Meiko’s Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Meiko dishwashers can be supplied with the tried-and-tested GiO module which efficiently prepares the rinse water based on the principle of reverse osmosis. GiO can be built into the dishwasher and removes 99 percent of minerals from the water, including bacteria and viruses, to produce ultraclean water for final rinsing. The result for the customer is sparkling clean results, minimal water consumption and no need for hand polishing.

Adande Modular Drawers Already the recipient of several accolades, Adande’s A+ Fridge (0°C- +15°C) won a Smartlabel at Milan this year. Its modular drawer series includes a blast chiller and a full range of +15°C to -22°C units. A pioneer of drawer refrigeration, Adande’s technology helps to deliver dramatic food quality preservation. Other priorities include operational efficiency, reliability, robustness and ergonomics.

Salsamat Automatic Braising Pan, Nilma With more emphasis on automation than ever before, NILMA’s Salsamat round braising pan with automatic cooking, tilting and mixing is fast becoming an industry talking point. Thanks to its round shape, the unit can be equipped with an automatic agitation, thus avoiding the need for human intervention, while tilting and working complete the process.

Williams Chef’s Drawer This drawer unit maximises refrigerated storage in any kitchen where space is limited. Available as either a fridge or a freezer, the drawer accepts 2/1GN pans, up to 150mm deep, and offers a capacity of up to 94 litres. The fridge version can be adjusted between 1 and 4°C, while the freezer offers a temperature range of -18 to -21°.

Therma Prothermetic Boiling And Braising Pans The Thermaline ProThermetic range of pressure cooking boiling and braising pans is especially designed for heavy-duty requirements. Its one-of-a-kind technology optimizes cooking processes and offers maximum flexibility, simplicity, hygiene, efficiency, precision and profitability. Reduced cooking times ensure higher productivity, while saving energy. The pan comes equipped with a touch screen control panel for easy and precise setting of temperature and power level.

Liebherr Smart Solution

Falcon F900 Series

The German brand recently launched a solution for connecting its commercial refrigeration appliances to external software applications. The web-based solution allows easy access from mobile devices and can cover appliances in any number of locations internationally. Features include a SmartAlarm and Remote Service, while basic temperature monitoring of non-Liebherr appliances is also part of the concept.

This complete 900mm-deep cookline uses a specially developed, dynamic linking system between appliances, giving modular system flexibility and cost effectiveness, with one-piece suite looks and hygiene. Energy-efficiency and lower running costs are built into the F900 Series, through features like the ultra-fast induction hobs and the deep fat fryers’ sophisticated filtration.





DAIRY DELIGHTS While some cheeses resemble other types in shape and taste, many distinctive varieties unique to their country of origin are constantly being developed to accommodate continuously changing consumer tastes

Ambarees: a taste of home Considered by some as one of the world’s oldest cheeses still being produced, this traditional caprine dairy product, also known as ‘yogurt in a jar’ and unique to the Bekaa Valley, has for the past year gradually been migrating to the capital. It is, however, something of an acquired taste; most who taste it and are not native to the region rarely try it again and, some may say, for good reason. This fermented ‘yogurt’, which goes by many other names, is made from raw, full-fat goat’s milk, originally stored in elongated 40-liter clay jars. It is worked into a sour, off-white, dry paste that has a distinct and somewhat uninviting odor. At a time when the only type of communication was in person and transportation was subject to the elements, Ambarees constituted one of the central ingredients stored for

TAANAYEL LES FERMES KEEPS IT REAL From its beginnings, Taanayel Les Fermes was founded to serve the Lebanese consumers with the purest dairy products made from the freshest 100 per cent natural milk, free from additives and preservatives. To ensure quality, the company, in parallel with their farm in the Bekaa valley supports independent local farmers in order to secure an uninterrupted supply of fresh milk, which it then has quality assurance professionals test, using the industry’s most stringent processes. Taanayel Les Fermes revealed, “The white cheeses, such as Halloum and Akkaoui, which are also available in a light and regular versions as well as double crème, baladi and helwi varieties, have been part of our core portfolio’s traditional offerings for some years now. More importantly, trends will come and go, but these will continue to be part of home prepared meals for generations.”



consumption and nourishment during the cold, hard winters. The creamy texture, complete with pungent acidic flavor, takes six months to mature into its edible form and, for every kilo of Ambarees, seven kilos of milk are needed. Aside from the arduous process, the clay jars required for its making are one of the reasons that supply has outstripped demand. These specifically designed vessels were originally handed down from one generation to another. The potters of that era were master craftsmen who knew how to fashion jars that allowed a precise amount of air to seep in, while ensuring they remained sound enough to let the milk ferment, thereby giving the paste its signature acidity without damaging the jars themselves in the process.

a solution of water and rock salt for an entire month. At the end of that time, the first batch of fresh milk is poured, the jar is sealed and left to ferment until a curd becomes visible. Like wine, the process is time sensitive and requires constant supervision. About a week to 10 days later, the liquid at the bottom is drained through a small hole, carefully made during the manufacturing process of the jar. At this point, another batch of unprocessed goat’s milk and salt are added, with the liquid drained twice a week until the jar is full to the brim. By this time, the opening at the top is dressed with a moderately thick cotton cloth to allow the contents to breathe.

At the beginning of March, prior to introducing the milk into the containers, the jars are cleaned, then left to soak in

Six months later, the Ambarees reaches maturity, the jars are emptied and traditionally sold in one-kilogram plastic buckets, some of which were previously yogurt buckets.

Taanayel Les Fermes voiced concern at the trend among local and global brands to target the next generation of young consumers with visually appealing, but unhealthy offerings. Alluring and sometimes very cheap price points add to the appeal these hold for consumers, while parents leading a fast-paced lifestyle can limit the time to prepare healthy snacks for children to take away and eat. “Generations were born and raised eating our products, which we’ve always strived to ensure are clean, healthy and nourishing. With the technologies available to us today, we want to pay-forward our customers’ trust and loyalty by offering them something special in return. Taanayel Les Fermes' range of Kidiz flavored yogurt, available in apple and mango, strawberry and banana, peach and apricot, raspberry and strawberry constitute our continued commitment to our customers, while further strengthening our market

presence as a healthy, modern and innovative company,” Taanayel Les Fermes affirmed. The company has always been firm on the topical issue of clear labeling and authenticity. Giving an example to further illustrate Taanayel Les Fermes explained, “We recently introduced an extensive line of mozzarella cheese that comes in a two-piece pack, an eight-mini-piece pack, a block or shredded. All these are made from fresh milk, a fact clearly stated on the packaging. Unfortunately, there are plenty of products sold on the market that are very misleading in that respect. This not only affects brands like ours, but also misleads consumers, especially since plenty of these are priced lower and therefore are more appealing. These so-called ‘cheese alternatives’ are products used as culinary replacements for cheese and as such should be properly labeled.”




Walking into the ‘liquid library’ of Beirut's Malt Gallery, it quickly becomes clear that every element there has a story to tell that’s well worth hearing. Though much could be said about the majesty of whisky craftsmanship, few are as qualified to make such assessments as Master Distiller Richard Paterson, aptly nicknamed The Nose who, as luck would have it, paid a firsttime visit to the gallery Everyone present could feel the change in atmosphere when this world-leading authority on Scotch whisky struck up a conversation with his admirers. “It is not about how old you are, rather how you applied what you learned throughout your travels,” he commented, sipping green Earl Grey tea from a glass cup. “To that end, my journey, rather the love affair, began at the age of eight. My father, a distiller by profession, took me to his bonded warehouse in the heart of Glasgow to show me his world. He slid open the big doors and as soon as I walked in, the smell of whisky engulfed my nostrils and I thought, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ It was then and there that something just sparked inside me. Looking back, I realize that what started as an interest developed into a relentless lifelong passion.”

Origin and identity However, Paterson’s journey was not always straightforward, with the first five years marked by uncertainty and challenges as he sought to create his own path in the industry. This was until an alternative



perspective presented itself, bringing with it the clarity that had until then evaded him. It was following that landmark moment that Paterson decided to change his approach to his whiskies, treating them as a genderless creation and of course, there was also the famous dialog. “The only way for me to get to know whisky is to strike up a conversation with it,” he explained. “I want to see what it is going to tell me, so I start asking it questions, which is when the spirit begins to open up. Age also plays a major role in the conversation, as does the region of origin. For instance, whisky made in the Speyside valley in Scotland looks like a beautiful, elegant and sensually-refined woman. On the other hand, whisky made in The Dalmore, resembles a well-dressed muscular Daniel Craig. However, what is more important is the way these develop when they eventually take on a life of their own.”

Form versus function As appetite for whisky grows, brands have found themselves faced with the quandary of how best to feed curiosity and meet demand. The Dalmore chose to adopt a variety of strategies that were in line with the company’s broader vision. “The Dalmore has been in the business since 1839 and many of its whiskies are up to 64 years old, which is something very rare and therefore justifies why we can command high prices for our whiskies,” Paterson noted. “For example, we sold The Dalmore Paterson Collection, comprising 12 bottles, for almost GBP one million. The Dalmore 64, consisting of three bottles, each sold for GBP 100,000. These are one-offs and therefore unique in their own right.” Though once-in-a-lifetime offerings like these appeal to a select few with deep pockets and generate plenty of media buzz,

they don’t necessarily draw in the crowd of Scotch whisky connoisseurs who truly appreciate quality, which is a predicament Paterson recognizes. “Sadly, most people knock down whisky without giving it time to divulge its story and therefore the proverbial ‘conversation’ never takes place, as their focus is on the shape and price of the bottle more than what is in it,” he acknowledged. “You need to keep in mind that the goal is not to have something extravagantly expensive, but something that reflects the rich taste that went into the whisky’s making. After all, it is not a painting, rather something meant to be shared with people you love. This will bring out the invisible elements swimming inside for a truly unforgettable memory.”

No age statement unraveled His reasoning helps those followers keen to better understand the famous No-Age Statement, long a subject of industry debate and on which Paterson is happy to elaborate. “What matters is not what is written on the label, but what goes into the bottle,” he explained. “After all, the majority of blended whiskies have no age on them. On the other hand, the aged whiskies have taken a long time to create and that says something about the brand itself. Then again, just because a certain whisky is 12 years old does not automatically make it good, just like in the case of wine and other aged spirits.” Paterson frequently visits The Dalmore Distillery and many other warehouses to evaluate his whiskies. Oftentimes, he notices that a certain single malt or even a blend that he has created still needs tine to rest for a couple of years before reaching maturity. “Others taste as if they are in a bad mood and need to relax,” he admitted. “Still, you get a blend that comes across as too dominant and needs to cool down. Yet once a new whisky tastes as good as it looks and smells, it then is ready to find a home.”


ON THE MARKET • Boisé Used in the cognac/Armagnac industry, Boisé is essentially an ‘oak syrup’. It’s produced by boiling oak-wood chips to extract the ‘wood flavor’. The aim is to trick the consumer into believing that the spirit has interacted with the wood for longer and that the beverage is therefore older. • Chill-filtration This is the practice of bringing the spirit down to a temperature of approximately - 2 degrees temperature and then putting it through a filtration process to remove congeners that are rich in flavor, esters and fatty acids. Chill-filtration is carried out to stabilize a spirit and prevent it from going cloudy in the bottle when there is temperature variation.

Chivas Mizunara Inspired by Japan, Chivas Regal Mizunara is a unique signature blend and the world’s first Scotch whisky to be finished in Japanese Mizunara oak Cask.

Chivas Ultis Capturing the true essence of Chivas Regal, Chivas Regal Ultis uses only five of Chivas Regal’s most precious, signature single malts from Speyside, Scotland.

2. Terroir

Trending issues in the spirits industry that will reshape consumer perceptions, by Makram Salha, beverage and tobacco curator at Vinium Ltd and Lebanon's authority on whisky at Phoenicia Hotel Beirut 1. Additives • Color The most commonly used additive is spirit caramel for coloring. The technical name for this is E150a (E150d is used as coloring in the soft drinks industry for beverages such as Pepsi or Coke). This additive is not sweet in the way the name suggests, but is supposedly a flavorless liquid meant to add just color. However, having tasted E150a, I found it to be bitter, so feel it does have something of a flavor, although admittedly, it’s used in miniscule quantities. E150a is used in whisky, cognac/Armagnac, rum and aged tequila. It’s been suggested that the practice of adding color to an aged spirit is misleading to the consumer, since it can give the perception that the drink is older. However, the industry counters this by saying the aim is to achieve consistency. • Sugar syrup Frequently added to rum, cognac/ Armagnac and champagne (except in the case of extra Brut champagne). Recent studies show surprisingly high levels of sugar content in these products (measured in grams per liter) which is not a natural by-product. The most commonly used term for adding sugar syrup is ‘dosage’.

We've all heard of terroir in wine, but this term is now being applied to spirits as well. Terroir translates into ‘micro-climate’ and its effect on the final product. Many small-scale whisky producers claim that terroir makes a difference to their final product. Having tasted two identical products from two different locations, I can personally vouch for their claims, despite being highly skeptical initially, since I certainly noticed the difference.

3. Barley Varieties and Yeast Strains Specific to single malts, these are currently huge talking points. Traditionally, barley varieties have been chosen for their efficiency in terms of alcohol yield. Today, smaller-scale producers are experimenting with barley varieties for flavor rather than for yields. Different barley varieties produce a range of flavor profiles. An example is a 2,000year old barley variety, which originates from Egypt and is called Obsidian, due to the grain’s black color. Yeast strains vary in a similar way to barley varieties. Producers have started experimenting with different strains of yeast to gauge the effect on flavor. There are rumors of positive results.

4. Phenol Content Traditionally Phenol content measured in PPM (parts per million) for peated whiskies have always been tested in the barley rather than in the final whisky. This is very misleading and there has been a campaign to try and change this. Phenol content in the barley is misleading because varying processes as well as ageing will change (lower) the phenol content tremendously. In the bottle phenol content will give you a more accurate understanding of what to expect in peatiness levels.


Glen Scotia 16-year-old Quite syrupy with a toffee sweetness, creamy oak vanilla, slightly tangy orange peel leading to a spicy note of ground ginger at the end.

Glen Scotia 26-year-old The sweet peat fire flavors come through, then some peppery notes and juicy fleshy fruits, followed by ripe vanilla and ending on a subtle warm spiciness.

Jim Beam Black Extra Aged Jim Beam Black Extra Aged: Our premium 86-proof, extra-aged bourbon ages years longer in white oak barrels than original Jim Beam®. G. VINCENTI & SONS S.A.L. g-vincenti.com





ALL THAT GLITTERS IS CHOCOLATE When life needs more caramel, spoil yourself with GOLD. The finest Belgian chocolate gets the Midas touch for the ultimate in luxury confectionary this season


SAO TOMÉ CHOCOLATE MOUSSE Ingredients • 196g whole milk • 35g invert sugar • 204g Callebaut - Single Origin Chocolate - Sao Thomé • 350g whipping 35.2% EVEN cream Preparation • Heat up to 60°C. • Pour previous mixture over the

chocolate. Emulsify with a stick blender. • Mix in the previous mixture when its temperature is at 40°C. • Pipe into half-sphere molds of 7 cm Ø to ¾ of the height and press a frozen half-sphere of iced coffee ganache in the center. • Finish with a layer of chocolate sponge and freeze.

CARAMEL GLAZE CITRUS JELLY Ingredients • 132g sugar • 14g NH pectin • 230g lemon puree Cap’fruit • 395g orange puree Cap’fruit • 148g water • 82g invert sugar • 181g melted butter

Preparation • Mix together. • Mix in and bring to a boil. • Allow to cool down for a few minutes and spread out evenly onto the almond-hazelnut sponge cake. • Leave to cool in the refrigerator.

ALMOND-HAZELNUT SPONGE CAKE Ingredients • 132g egg white • 132g sugar • 82g egg yolks • 214g eggs • 297g sugar • 181g almond powder • 165g hazelnut powder • 33g Cocoa Powder – 22/24 Van Houten • 82g flour

• 181g melted butter Preparation • Make a meringue. • Mix together. • Add to the egg mixture and mix in the meringue. • Spread on a 2cm-high silicone mat. • Bake for 20 minutes at 160°C.

ICED COFFEE GANACHE Ingredients • 25g powdered milk 1% fat • 110g espresso coffee • 110g 3,25% full fat milk • 2g vanilla • 25g gelatin mass • 30g Callebaut - Caramels Caramel Fill • 326g Callebaut - Finest Belgian Gold Chocolate - Gold • 10g Callebaut - Power Milk Chocolate - Power 41 • 1g salt

• 3g orange zest Cap’fruit • 365g 35.2% EVEN cream Preparation • Mix together and heat up to 70°C. • Combine all ingredients in a recipient. • Pour the previous hot mixture onto the mixture to melt. • Add and emulsify. • Add, cover and leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients • 282g sugar • 141g water • 282g glucose • 188g sweetened concentrated milk • 103g gelatin mass • 282g Callebaut - Finest Belgian Gold Chocolate - Gold • 100g Callebaut - Finest Belgian Milk Chocolate - Recipe N° 823 • 100g Callebaut - Caramels Caramel Fill

Preparation • Heat up to 103°C. • Combine the ingredients in a high recipient. • Pour the previous hot mixture over the ingredients and emulsify. • Leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight. • Glaze the Sao Thomé chocolate mousse at 28-30°C.

GOLD CINNAMON & SPECULOOS TABLET Ingredients • 1000g Callebaut - Finest Belgian Gold Chocolate Gold • 1g cinnamon powder • 80g crushed speculoos • Q.S. Callebaut - Crispearls™ - Crispearls™ Salted Caramel Preparation • Melt • Mix in and pre-crystallise at 28°C.

• Sprinkle speculoos pieces and salted caramel Crispearls Callebaut CEF CCCARAME0-W97 in a tablet mold. Pour the mixture on top. Tap well to avoid air bubbles. • Leave to crystallize in a refrigerator for a few hours at 14-18°C. Remove the tablets from the mould and decorate with gold leaf.

EMF Middle East t. +961 9 938732 | info@emf-me.com www.emf-me.com





October 25 September 15

U.S. beef masterclass and customer appreciation dinner Leading buyers and hoteliers explored the novelty of American beef cuts with the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s beef ambassador and certified chef de cuisine John Cadieux at Beirut Hilton Metropolitan Palace.

SFHM hosts the EHL Conference October 3

Rotana Hotels Lebanon cocktail party at Gefinor Rotana As part of its ongoing activities and to highlight the important role it plays linking hotels in the region, Rotana Hotels Lebanon held a cocktail party at Gefinor Rotana for its corporate partners, including associations, travel agencies and embassies, as well as sales managers based at Rotana hotels in Qatar, Jordan and Turkey.

September 19

October 29

MKN 70-year celebration during Gulfhost MKN was present at the World Trade Center in Dubai for the Gulfhost exhibition 2017, where its comprehensive thermal product range from the modular equipment to the multifunctional FlexiChef and FlexiCombi were on display. During the show, MKN celebrated its 70 year anniversary with partners, consultants and end-users, thanking them all for their continuous support and commitment.

The Sagesse Faculty of Hospitality Management hosted the Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne certified university delegates for their fifth biennial conference for the first time in Beirut, Lebanon. Participants from the EHL schools gathered to discuss a variety of topics, including how to stimulate the learning environment for the new generation.

Sysco Foods promotes innovation Sysco Foods sponsored the second annual Global Restaurant Leadership Conference (GRLC) at the JW Marquis, Dubai, UAE. October 16

ACT NGO celebrates World Food Day In line with world international organizations’ goals and in collaboration with Spinneys, Tawlet restaurant and international chef Hussein Hadid, the NGO Active Advocacy of Communities for Tomorrow celebrated World Food Day at Tawlet, Mar Mikhael, Lebanon.

Oct 31-Nov 5

French Gastronomy Festival

September 27

Angostura’s World Famous Global Cocktail Challenge G. Vincenti & Sons organized for the first time in the country the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge (AGCC) at the Cask & Barrel boutique in the presence of the finalists, prominent members of the jury, media representatives and bloggers. The lucky Lebanese winner, John Mansour, was selected to compete against other finalists from Africa and the Middle East in Cape Town where he won again. John is now qualified to the AGCC 2018 finals at Trinidad & Tobago in February.



October 17-19

Italian Cooking Masterclass at IGE -USJ The Italian Trade Agency (ITA), Beirut office, in collaboration with ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine and Institut de Gestion des Entreprises (IGE) - Université Saint Joseph, hosted a two-day full immersion Masterclass with the Italian chef Paolo Amadori.

The Hotel Albergo Relais & Châteaux recently organized the French Gastronomy Festival for a 16th consecutive year under the patronage of Monsieur Bruno Foucher, French Ambassador of France in Lebanon. The event was held from October 31 to November 5 at the Al Dente Restaurant over the course of six dinners. The hotel’s restaurant thanked its starred chefs who came over from France specially for the occasion and prepared an exceptionally refined gourmet menu. Participating chefs were: Jean Jacques Noguier – Bossey; Jean Christophe Lebascle- Issy-les-Moulineaux; Georges Paccard- Annecy; Jérôme GangneuxParis; Eric Delerue- Laventie; and Guillaume Sourrieu- Marseille. albergobeirut.com

18 - 22 February 2018 Dubai World Trade Centre









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Le Cordon Bleu offers world-class programmes for aspiring chefs, hospitality professionals, managers and entrepreneurs. Providing the finest culinary and hospitality education, Le Cordon Bleu Lebanon offers a wide range of programmes from gourmet workshops, certificates and comprehensive Diplomas in cuisine and pâtisserie. All programmes are taught by experts in their field, equipping students with the skill sets to fulfil their ambitions and succeed in a large number of careers within the food and beverage industry.

Your culinary adventure begins here.

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Profile for Hospitality Services

Hospitality News Middle East - Dec/Jan 2017/2018 (Issue 115)  

The go-to source for the latest news, trends and developments in the hospitality and foodservice industries throughout the MENA and beyond....

Hospitality News Middle East - Dec/Jan 2017/2018 (Issue 115)  

The go-to source for the latest news, trends and developments in the hospitality and foodservice industries throughout the MENA and beyond....


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