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Editor-in-chief Nouhad Dammous

The private sector again needs to be part of the push, and the people must want to make it a target destination once more

Managing director Joumana Dammous-Salamé Editor Annie Keropian-Dilsizian 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

The rebirth of Downtown Beirut Under the patronage of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and organized by Beirut Municipality, the closed-off area of Downtown was opened on New Year’s Eve for people to come and enjoy a special, celebratory night. Accordingly, thousands of Lebanese from different parts of the country came to Nijmeh Square to mark the evening, delighted with the chance to eat and enjoy themselves against a backdrop of entertainers, singers and DJs. A few days later, and following the great success of the December 31 event, a political decision was taken to reopen Nijmeh Square to pedestrians. Many believe that the rebuilding of Beirut Central District in the heart of the city is key to positioning Beirut as a financial and a touristic hub linking the East and West. Consequently, after the reconstruction, the city has begun to take its first steps forward in the recovery phase. The private sector was encouraged to step in and begin investing in its development. Restaurants, coffee shops and small stores are reopening there to bring the heart of Beirut back to life. So, will the removal of the barriers and the opening of the roads that lead to Nijmeh Square reinvigorate the city?

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According to the 2016 World Bank report, “The rejuvenation of large, decaying areas in the fast growing cities of the developing world cannot be achieved by governments alone and private sector participation is paramount.” Thus, the government’s decision to revive the area will not be enough on its own; the private sector again needs to be part of the push, and the people must want to make it a target destination once more.

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But how can the government gain the trust of the private sector after its huge loss? And how can it engage with the people to persuade them to return to the area? The first initiative taken by policymakers to hold a huge party there on New Year’s Eve was definitely a step toward breaking down the wall between the people and the area, but it’s not enough to incentivize the private sector to come and open for business again.

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.

Downtown Beirut needs ongoing events for it to return to life. Why not give the closed shops in the area to ‘pop-up stores’ with minimal costs? Why not organize concerts for the younger generation and regular events in the area? Why not encourage deputies attending meetings to use the restaurants and coffee shops before and after their events, thus providing the outlets with coverage on television and encouraging others to visit too? These are just some examples of many possible small initiatives that will help to rebuild the trust between the location, the government, the people and the private sector and pave the way for the city’s revival. Nouhad Dammous Editor-in-Chief Docteur Honoris Causa

In this issue Feb - March 2018



The rebirth of Downtown Beirut


08 Industry Overview 10 Hotels 20 Food & Beverage 24 Chefs 26 Cover story: Top Chef


Mostafa Seif El Din Mortada

28 Suppliers


30 32

New heights for Horeca Kuwait What’s hot at Horeca Lebanon?





Dubai International Coffee and Tea Festival 2017 The World Chocolate Masters



Gulfood 2018 and The Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference The Culinary Edge II at GRIF 2018




MARKET UPDATE Kuwait: a destination in the making

EYE ON Tunis hospitality market

PROCUREMENT 42 If O is for opening, then P is for


TECHNOLOGY 44 How artificial intelligence (AI) will

change the industry

F&B 46 Hakkasan extends Middle East pipeline 48 Katsuya takes over the Middle East

39 @Hospitality_Mag



Franchising: do. your. homework Leveraging the franchise lifecycle model Franchise tips from the advisors Franchisor learning curve may be tougher than expected 66 New president for the Lebanese Franchise Association 68 F&B in Egypt: a market full of opportunities 70 Hospitality News 100: the ones to watch



MARKETING 84 Influencer marketing for hotels and restaurants

MANAGEMENT 86 Your ultimate resource is you



NEW PRODUCTS On the market

EQUIPMENT 90 Dressed for success: uniforms 92 Upwardly mobile: mobile bars FOOD 94 Plenty at steak: meat trends and more 98 Going gluten-free BEVERAGE 102 A more spirited wine industry


CHOCOMANIA 106 Golden confectionary



Out and about with Hospitality News ME

Coming issue Apr - May 2018

• Special report Education & Careers • Hotels Regional Domestic Tourism • Market update Egypt & Tehran • Food Bread • Equipment Bakery and Pastry Equipment • Beverage Healthy Drinks





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USD 43.5 million The Dubai Frame opens

Designed by award-winning architect Fernando Donis, who also came up with Dubai’s Porsche Design Towers and the Dubai Renaissance Tower, the 150-meter-high and 93-meter-high structure is expected to become a new destination in the city. The project was built to resemble a huge picture frame, through which landmarks representing modern Dubai, such as Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa, can be seen on one side. Oman will have its first snow park this year

Le Cordon Bleu recognized its continuous cooperation with Université Saint Esprit Du Kaslik (USEK) in Lebanon and launched its Culinary Arts Institute on January 25. The celebration was hosted by André Cointreau, President of Le Cordon Bleu International and Father Georges Hobeika, the President of USEK. The new institute gives students the opportunity to follow Le Cordon Bleu culinary training programs such as Le Grand Diplôme®, Cuisine and Pastry Diplomas and also has a range of culinary workshops for the general public. The new Beirut campus is fitted out with ultramodern equipment and

the latest technology, providing students with the perfect environment in which to achieve excellence. The institute has three demonstration rooms, one of which has the capacity to seat 80 people, and three practical classrooms for cuisine and pastry lessons. During the celebration, Cointreau honored Nouhad Dammous, partner of Hospitality Services - the organizer of HORECA Lebanon, KSA, Kuwait and Jordan, and publisher of Hospitality News ME, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler magazines - by naming one of the demonstration rooms after him. cordonbleu.edu


The first snow park in Oman is expected to open at the Mall of Muscat in Q4 2018. The park is developed by the Al Jarwani Group, in partnership with the Tamani Entertainment and Dutch company, 'Unlimited Snow'. The project covers a space of 5,600 square meters. Construction started in 2015. The park will include snow carvings, terraces, alpine cottages and chalets, and a souvenir gift shop. Chemicalfree snow and ice will be produced after visiting hours, and the park will have a fully automated melt-water recycling system, providing a fresh layer of snow daily. There will also be an artificial snow fall (the snow shower feature) during visiting hours, for people to enjoy an unprecedented snow experience in the sultanate. Topgolf to open a venue in Dubai

Following its Australia, Canada and Mexico expansion announcements, Dallas-based Topgolf revealed its new partnership with Dubai Golf to open a venue in the UAE, which will be the first in the Middle East. Set out over three levels and spanning 5,700 square meters on approximately 48,500 m2 of land, the venue is scheduled to open in 2019. Topgolf Dubai will closely resemble the Topgolf venues in the US, with a rooftop terrace offering views of the city skyline and over the marina. New mall by Majid Al Futtaim planned for Abu Dhabi

The project is a joint venture with privately owned Al Jazira Sports & Cultural Club, Abu Dhabi. “The financing will be a combination of debt and equity equally by both partners,” said Ghaith Shocair, chief executive, Shopping Malls, Majid Al Futtaim. City Centre Abu Dhabi will have 153 retail outlets, including a Carrefour hypermarket and Vox cinemas, and is expected to open in 2021. Emirates Park Zoo and Resort opens at Heritage Village

Adjacent to Beirut airport, this dream project, which meets the highest international standards, has been implemented in two phases: the first phase, comprising the pilot training division and a section focused on simulation training. November 1, 2017, marked the center's official launch, under the patronage of Prime Minister Hariri. The training center


is divided into the following sections: Pilots and cadets training division accommodating four simulators bays and a training facility for cadets, cabin crew training division, technical aircraft maintenance division, extending with the latest virtual simulation equipment, ground and administrative crew training division and library. mea.com.lb


The venue showcases a grand balloon-arch display, giving way to a world of fun and games. Sample stalls comprising festival foods include popcorn, slush, baked potatoes, nachos, candy and cake. Heritage Village will also present the opportunity to pose with falcons and other birds of prey after an impressive demonstration show. First Dilmah Silver Jubilee Gourmet in a Middle East Hotel opens

Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre has opened a brand new Dilmah Silver Jubilee Gourmet, in partnership with Dilmah Tea founder, Merrill J. Fernando, who set up and built one of the finest tea companies in the world. Stocking premium teas from Dilmah, the lounge will be open daily from 6am to 11pm.




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IN BRIEF Kempinski Hotel Ajman rebranded to Blazon Hotels

Hospitality veterans Reto Wittwer and Ulrich Eckhardt announced the successful management takeover of the Ajman Hotel, formerly known as Kempinski Hotel Ajman, as of January 1, 2018. The hotel, which has 168 rooms and 14 suites, now carries the Blazon Hotels brand and premium service philosophy, as part of its newly established hotel management company, Smart Hospitality Solutions. hotelajman.com Abu Dhabi-based investor buys Edinburgh's Waldorf Astoria

Marriott International has teamed with two leading companies – Samsung and Legrand – to launch the hospitality industry’s Internet of Things (IoT) hotel room to inspire the ultimate hotel experience of the future. The IoT Guestroom Lab explores concepts that have the potential to elevate the guest experience, create more efficient hotel room design and construction, and contribute to Marriott’s global sustainability efforts and goals. As the hospitality industry’s ‘smart’ hotel room, the Lab allows multiple responsive IoT systems, devices and applications to communicate

with one another to serve guests and optimize hotel operations. The technology inside the IoT Guestroom Lab allows, for instance, a user to ask a virtual assistant for a 6:30am wake-up alarm, to start a yoga routine on a full-length mirror, request additional housekeeping services and start the shower at the desired temperature stored in their customer profile, all by voice or app. Following the threemonth-long IoT Guestroom Lab, Marriott, Samsung and Legrand will analyze feedback to continue innovating with IoT technology. marriott.com

Twenty14 Holdings, a Lulu Group International subsidiary, has purchased Edinburgh's Waldorf Astoria-The Caledonian for £85 million (USD 117 million). The deal is considered the biggest hotel sale in Scotland since 2015, and the largest in the UK over the past year. waldorfastoriaedinburgh.com


JUMEIRAH GROUP LAUNCHES ZABEEL HOUSE BY JUMEIRAH Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding, announced the launch of Zabeel House by Jumeirah. The new brand was created in response to the continuing and growing travel trend for exploration and enrichment through travel experiences. With five management agreements already signed in the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom, and a number under discussion, Jumeirah Group is creating a collection of hotels under the Zabeel House by Jumeirah brand, with a focus on locations at the heart of interesting and exciting neighborhoods. Hotels under the new brand will offer brilliant basics and unexpected extras set in an upscale, casual environment. The core target market for the brand will be both business and leisure travelers who want a lively base from which to explore: therefore each property will be conveniently located to help guests experience the city they’re in. jumeirah.com



Five-star Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut has partnered with Swiss skincare brand Valmont to distribute its special products at the hotel’s spa, making it the second hotel in the region to offer these ‘time magician’ products as they are called, after Dubai’s Waldorf Astoria. Agnes Teffaud, international press and spa consultant at Valmont Group Holding, told HN that the brand is not new to the Lebanese market as it has been sold at some niche boutiques. “Valmont is present in the most beautiful palaces in the world, and it is normal to be in a luxurious place, and a place with history, such as the Phoenicia,” she said. She explained that trainers from Switzerland had visited the hotel to coach therapists on the best protocols for applying the product in order to guarantee top results. Teffaud also explained that with a presence in the best hotel spas in the world, Valmont is able to develop signature treatments for each hotel, defining what each market needs. phoeniciabeirut.com





Elie Younes

The Rezidor Hotel Group has signed three new hotels in the region, expanding its growth in strategic locations in KSA and Lebanon. These comprise: Park Inn by Radisson Hotel & Apartments, Riyadh Olaya North, Saudi Arabia; Park Inn by Radisson Hotel & Apartments, Dammam West Avenue, Saudi Arabia; and the Radisson Blu Hotel, Beirut Verdun, Lebanon. “We are delighted to have signed new hotels in a

Radisson Blu Hotel, Beirut Verdun

number of our key target regions, signaling our commitment to delivering a renewed asset-right strategy with a strategic mix of emerging and mature markets. Radisson Blu continues to go from strength to strength, while our mid-market champion, Park Inn by Radisson, is rising too, to become a leader in its own segment across Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” Elie Younes, executive vice president and chief development officer of

The Rezidor Hotel Group said. The signing of a management agreement with Les Dunes Hospitality marks the introduction of the group’s second Radisson Blu hotel in Beirut. The Radisson Blu Hotel in Beirut’s Verdun district opened early December 2017, following extensive upgrade works. Radisson Blu Hotel, Beirut Verdun, has 127 rooms and suites. rezidor.com

THE KEY APARTHOTEL: A NEW LODGING DESTINATION IN BEIRUT major player on Beirut’s hospitality scene. This is no accident of course and there are several reasons behind our success. Chief among these are our high-end product offering and unique location in a business and residential hub in inner city Beirut which provides excellent transport links to all major business and leisure attractions, all of which has been well received by our guests. However, if I were to pinpoint one factor behind the hotel’s success then, without a doubt, it would have to be our dedicated team, all of whom have tirelessly devoted their efforts to delivering the most professional and personable service to all our guests.

Walid Baroudi

The relatively new ‘The Key Aparthotel’ is causing a stir within Beirut’s hospitality sector. HN sat down with JRW Hospitality CEO Walid Baroudi to find out more The Key Aparthotel project has been operating for almost a year now. What is your assessment of the hotel’s performance? We’re extremely satisfied so far. The Key’s performance has been positive during its first year, which means we have quickly become a



So have there been any challenges? We have faced challenges, of course. We are a new hotel and there was a lot of work to be completed before we opened. These included completing interior decoration and ensuring that all equipment and machinery was installed and working. There was also staff training, which is ongoing, to ensure they delivered the services for which The Key is now known. Then there is the dreaded paperwork, such as legal documents and contracts. We didn’t mind facing such challenges, as we wanted to make sure that The Key meets high international hospitality standards, which is an ongoing journey. Tell us about your clientele… We cater to a wide range of guests who are diverse in that they include foreign business travelers, Lebanese expats and international leisure guests, all of whom are either

short or long-term staying guests. Apart from our accommodation offering, The Key Beirut is now a reference in Beirut’s meeting and events sector. We believe this is due to our modular, spacious meeting and conference facilities that can accommodate up to 150 guests. Do you compete with regular hotels or furnished apartments? We compete with both. The Key Beirut is more than just a hotel, since our rooms are much more elegant and spacious than those of a regular hotel and provide that ‘feel at home’ privacy. There is also a 24/7 in-house mini-market that replaces the traditional hotel minibar. All our rooms and apartments have functional kitchens with state-of-the-art electrical equipment, such as an induction heating system, silent fridges and so on. Guests also have access to our all-day dining restaurant facilities, with its diverse menu serving all rooms, not to mention a restaurant that includes European, Oriental and Japanese cuisine. Today’s economic climate has seen the local hospitality sector having to focus primarily on domestic tourism. Has this had a negative impact on your business? No, not at all. We don’t focus on just one segment of the hospitality sector, since our clientele is divided into different segments that include domestic tourism. All customer segments are given the same importance in equal measure since our strategy at The Key’s is a long-term one. thekeybeirut.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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WORLD'S LARGEST WYNDHAM GARDEN HOTEL OPENS IN MANAMA The Wyndham Garden Manama has 171 square meters of event space, including three meeting rooms for up to 180 conference or 200 banquet guests. Number of suites: 441 wyndhamhotels.com

ACCORHOTELS’ LE GRAND AMMAN OPENS AccorHotels announced the rebranding of a landmark hotel in Jordan to Le Grand Amman. The luxury property is set to become Sofitel Amman, following the first phase of refurbishment toward the end of 2019. Number of rooms: 298-rooms accorhotels.com

FAIRMONT AMMAN LAUNCHED IN AMMAN The five-star hotel features a contemporary design from award-winning Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo (WATG) design. The property has Fairmont’s signature 2,200 square meter Willow Stream spa. Number of rooms: 317 fairmont.com




RADISSON BLU LAUNCHES ITS FIRST RESORT IN AL KHOBAR Radisson Blu Resort Al Khobar, Half Moon Bay, features health clubs for men and women, an outdoor swimming pool, bicycle rental services and a kids’ playing area. Number of rooms: 137 radissonblu.com

CROWNE PLAZA MUSCAT OCEC HOTEL OPENS The Crowne Plaza Muscat hotel at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC), was inaugurated by Omran. The four-star hotel is the first of three to open within OCEC. Number of rooms: 296 crowneplaza.com/Muscat‎

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL TUNIS INAUGURATED The new property has five food and beverage options, overseen by executive chef Omar Mallen. The Hotel’s Spa has 11 treatment rooms. Number of rooms: 203 fourseasons.com

RADISSON BLU DEBUTS IN AJMAN Located just a few minutes from the city center and close to the Hamriyah Free Zone the hotel includes an impressive 25m swimming pool and the Natura Wellbeing Spa. Number of rooms: 148 radissonblu.com

FAIRMONT DEBUTS IN FUJAIRAH Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has opened its Lava Beach Club project in Fujairah. The new project spans over 2,600 square meters and features an 840 m2 free-form pool. Number of rooms: 180 fairmont.com


THE RITZ-CARLTON RAS AL KHAIMAH, AL WADI DESERT LAUNCHED The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert was officially flagged, marking the brand’s entry into the northern emirate. Number of villas: 101 ritzcarlton.com









JUMEIRAH GROUP DEBUTS IN BAHRAIN The Jumeirah Royal Saray, which is located on the Bahrain shoreline in a premium beachfront position, marks Jumeirah Group’s entry into the Bahrain hospitality market. Opening date: February 27, 2018 Number of rooms: 167 jumeirah.com, dubaiholding.com

TWO REZIDOR PROPERTIES IN KSA Rezidor will open and operate Park Inn by Radisson Hotel & Apartments, Riyadh Olaya North, and Park Inn by Radisson Hotel & Apartments, Dammam West Avenue. Opening date: Q4 2019 Number of rooms: 200 per hotel rezidor.com

SHAZA HOTELS SIGN THEIR FIRST MYSK IN KUWAIT The new property, situated opposite the Messilah beach district on the south coast of Kuwait City, is already under construction. Opening date: Early 2020 Number of rooms: 200 shazahotels.com



MINOR HOTELS TO DEBUT IN LEBANON THIS YEAR Minor Hotels, a hotel owner, operator and investor, will debut its Oaks brand in Lebanon. The group signed a management agreement with Allied Investment Group to operate Oaks Beirut. Opening date: Mid 2018 Number of rooms: 110 minor.com

DUBAI WORLD TRADE CENTRE AND ACCORHOTELS DEBUT 25HOURS HOTELS AccorHotels and Dubai World Trade Centre LLC (DWTC) announced the first 25hours Hotels property outside of Europe, with 25hours Dubai Hotel. The property will become the largest 25hours Hotel worldwide. Opening date: 2020 Number of rooms: 434 accorhotels.com



MÖVENPICK HOTELS & RESORTS TAPS INTO IRAQ Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts will launch a new property in Basra early this year. The global hospitality firm has signed a deal with Akeel Ibraheem Al-Khalidy to manage the five-star Mövenpick Hotel Basra. Opening date: Q1 2018 Number of rooms: 152 movenpick.com





Jumeirah has announced the appointment of Jose Silva as the new chief executive officer. Silva was previously the regional vice president of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts as well as general manager of Hotel George V in Paris. Silva managed to take this iconic landmark hotel to even greater heights by introducing the first five-Michelin-star European Hotel, including a complete reinvention of the Hotel’s architectural identity. Silva was awarded ‘Hotelier of Year’ in 2016 by Virtuoso – ‘Best of the Best’.

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has appointed Tim Cordon as the new area senior vice president for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. Cordon has been with Carlson Rezidor since 2003 and began his progressive career in the UK.

AccorHotels has appointed Ayman Gharib as managing director of Raffles Dubai and Sofitel Dubai Wafi. In his new role, Gharib will continue to lead Raffles Dubai, in addition to being tasked with the opening of Sofitel Dubai Wafi, Sofitel’s largest property in the Middle East, which is scheduled to open in 2019.

Millennium Al Aqeeq and Millennium Taiba Hotels have appointed Jamal Abdulla as their new cluster general manager of the two properties in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. The hospitality veteran will be responsible for guiding the overall direction and strategic priorities of the hotels.

Soha Atallah, Director of the Lebanese Packaging Center LibanPack, affiliated to the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, has been appointed VP of the World Packaging Organization. This is the first time that this position has been held by an Arab national.

Swiss-Belhotel International has appointed Bartlomiej Mart as the hotel manager for Swiss-Belresidences Juffair in Bahrain, expected to open its doors in April. Bartlomiej brings over 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry to his new post.

Mohamad Maan Yassine is the GM of the newly flagged Radisson Blu Hotel, Beirut Verdun. He joins from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Oman, where he served as the cluster general manager for the Radisson Blu Muscat and Radisson Blu Sohar.





A few years after graduating from the Lebanese American University with an MA, Houssam Chouman found himself in Jeddah working for a reputed car company that also owned many restaurant and café franchises. In less than a year, he became the country manager of the famous American casual dining chain, Ruby Tuesday The following year, while on a family visit to Beirut, he received a hard-to-refuse job offer. That was in 2008, and his new employer was Doha-based Business Trading Company (BTC), which focuses on creating a diverse atmosphere in shopping, dining and entertainment throughout Qatar. Recalling that time, Chouman said, “Back then, BTC had not yet launched its F&B division and top management thought I could help. After a grueling meet and greet, it was decided I’d run the group’s newly-formed F&B operations as general manager.” His main task was to find and acquire the right franchising for a regionally home-grown brand that would prove of interest to the Qatari market. “I stumbled upon a recentlyopened Bahraini chocolate store called Maya. A year later, the store was selling chocolate to the tune of USD 300,000 a month and generating USD 100,000 net profit, which was unheard of,” he revealed. With five new stores in Qatar, Jordan and the UAE, he felt that the time to push himself further had arrived. By 2012, and despite the fact that the chocolate store now had a combined nine branches operating in Qatar, Jordan, the UAE and now also Oman, generating a total monthly sales revenue of USD 2 million, Chouman was toying with a different kind of idea. “I felt the time to start creating my own concepts had arrived, which was when I established Bahamas, Qatar’s first multi-discipline



provider offering consultation, development, creation and management services,” he explained with pride. His mind was racing with ideas and the first to see the light of day was the country’s only Cupcake Factory kiosk, in addition to more than 30 newly created and sold brands he and his team had come up with by 2014. Yet the one lingering feeling eating away at Chouman was the fact that while he’d gained celebrity status within the regional hospitality industry, he was virtually unknown in his home country of Lebanon. As a consequence, Hospitality Development Company opened its doors in Beirut early that year, offering unique

turn-around solutions, which Chouman claims will literally shake things up. “I spent the past decade competing with regional and multinational companies and have done quite well for myself. The real challenge for me, at this point, is to test my abilities on home soil, which has become saturated by both international franchises and slightly modified preexisting concepts. That is why I am fairly certain local investors are thirsty for new concepts they can call their own and HDC was designed to serve that purpose,” he said with his inimitable smile. “So why go through the hassle of imitating, when you can become one of the people to introduce the next eating-out experience?”














IN BRIEF Mayrig takes Armenian cuisine to the Maldives

In its endeavor to spread the Armenian culture, Mayrig has just put Armenian cuisine on the map in the Maldives. Teaming up with Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Mayrig restaurant offered a training session to the Maldivian chef, enabling him to learn some of Mayrig’s most delicious Armenian and Lebanese recipes. Aline Kamakian, Mayrig’s founder and CEO, traveled to Laanda for the launch of the new menu concept and the implementation of the Armenian recipes in Four Seasons Male, leaving a touch of Grandma Manouchag - Mayrig’s inspiration, behind in the Maldives. mayrigbeirut.com Le Flocon Artisan Glacier broke new ground when it opened its doors in August 2017 in Naccache, as Lebanon’s first 100 percent artisanal ice cream parlor. In an interview with the trio behind the trailblazing concept shop, Chef Charles Azar, Yasmina Rizk and Thea Makhoul explained that, “The conception was a major challenge, as a successful ice cream parlor should have the best of both worlds; a solid profitable business model and a happy customer base.” They added that to achieve both goals, they took time to really think what flavors would satisfy, surprise and delight their guests. “After all, people go to ice cream shops to enjoy treats and have a good time. To that end, and only after careful study and experimentation, was Le Flocon Artisan Glacier’s menu created.” The menu includes a highly eclectic assortment of flavors, such as single malt, coconut Malibu, rum-raisin and caramel toffee, with other iced desserts served on plates or in carefully designed jars available, to meet everyone’s tastes. Asked what makes Le Flocon truly unique, their reply

was instant. “The ice cream is 100 percent natural, with no chemicals or flavoring, and only the best quality ingredients are used in each creation to ensure excellence in both taste and presentation. We also went a step further, by providing our guests with an exclusive impeccably clean, welcoming and friendly environment. Furthermore, the staff is well informed and trained to explain every taste available, to help visitors make the most suitable choice when pairing flavors.” The trio added that the team of dedicated chefs work in an open kitchen space in plain sight to all customers, a design which has become the concept’s trademark. “We believe in transparency and value the full trust of our guests,” they said. “We also pride ourselves on building a one-on-one relationship with our clients to further improve the experience. That’s why Le Flocon Artisan Glacier is much more than just an upscale ice cream parlor; rather it’s a place where people can meet, socialize and feel at home.” Instagram/lefloconartisanglacier

30 YEARS OF SUCCESS FOR BLUE NOTE Having first opened its doors in 1987, the Beirut-based Blue Note Café has carved a niche as the most popular go-to-spot three decades on from its debut, frequented by celebrities, business leaders, politicians, and local and foreign diplomats for drinks, a diverse range of Lebanese and international cuisine and authentic jazz, blues and live oriental music. One of Blue Note’s five founders, Khaled Nazha, who is also VP of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-clubs and Pastries in Lebanon, revealed to HN on the evening of the venue’s 30th anniversary celebrations, that the idea behind the creation of the club was based on the close-knit



Dickey’s Barbecue Pit taps the M.E.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, the largest barbecue chain in the world, which offers Texas-style barbecue, has partnered with Middle Eastern hospitality group Serenity Hospitality LLC, to bring 45 Dickey’s locations to the Middle East. The eateries will be tapping seven countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Lebanon. The first locations are scheduled to open in 2018 in the UAE. dickeys.com First 400 Gradi restaurant launches outside of Australia

Award-winning Australian chef Johnny Di Francesco debuted his first 400 Gradi Italian restaurant brand in the Middle East, with the opening of a restaurant at The Avenues Bahrain. The venture is a partnership with international retail franchise operator, M.H. Alshaya Co. 400 Gradi is a Naples-inspired Italian restaurant that was created by Chef Di Francesco, the first Australian ever trained in Naples to the Associazione Verace (AVPN) and president of AVPN Australia. There are also plans to expand to Kuwait, Dubai and other locations in the GCC. alshaya.com The opening of the first STK in Dubai

Khaled Nazha

relationships he shared with four longtime friends. “At that time, we were looking for a place we could get together and enjoy ourselves,” he explained. “That very idea then developed into a venture built on a passion we had for music.” bluenotecafe.com

The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. has announced the opening of STK at the Rixos Premium Dubai. The restaurant incorporates both STK menu staples, as well as new offerings that are more suitable for the beach location, with seating for 175 guests in the restaurant and on the outdoor patio. The restaurant in Dubai is operated by Horizon Hospitality. togrp.com



NEW OPENINGS LEBANON KORUS LOUNGE Korus Lounge is an all-inclusive experience of Japanese and Italian fine dining, live musical performances, specialty live stations along with a unique cigar lounge. Opened December 22, 2017 Owner(s) Blueberry Capital Inc. chaired by Pierre Abou Jaber Total investment USD 4 million Head chefs Koishiro Kawakami (Japanese) Gabriele Castellanza (Italian) Covers 170 Average price/person USD 65-120 Typical dishes Fiorentina Toscane Meat, Live Lobster Yuzu, Petrossian King Crab Truffle Miso Address Monot Street, Achrafieh koruslounge.com


Opened December 14, 2017 Owner(s) BeyBQ and Rafic Bazerji Executive chefs Richard Rostom, Fadi el Hout Covers 40 Average price/person USD 70 Typical dishes Smoked and grilled meat Location Bouyouti, Maasser Beit Din




Opened November 23, 2017 Owners Cuccina dela Nonna SAL Chef George Chartouni - part of Top Chef 2017, in the top three finals Average price/person USD 25 Typical dish Steak Frites, Beef Wellington, Tuna Tataki, Pizza Nonna, Shrimp Tacos Address Restos St Nicolas, Achrafieh facebook/cafegourmandlb

Opened November 24, 2017 Owner Mario Jr. Haddad Total investment USD 500,000 Co-head chefs Son and Quang Covers 40 indoors, 30 outdoors Average price/person USD 18 Typical dishes Ramens, Baos, Donburis Address Restos St Nicolas, Achrafieh doneatery.com

Opened December 15, 2017 Owner Abi Saab Brothers Executive chefs Rony Roukoz, Gloria Abi Saab Covers 85 indoors and 25 on the patio Average price/person USD 30 - 40 Typical dishes Quiche Lorraine, Foie de Volaille au Porto Wne, Côtelettes D’agneau Address Voie 13, St. Charbel Crosroad, Byblos abisaabbrothers.com, finfaimlb.com


Opened December 26, 2017 Owner Mindset Group Total investment USD 350,000 Executive chef Nizar al Ali Covers 110 Average price/person USD 35 Typical dishes Jerk Chicken, Lobster and Shrimp sandwich Address Port Side, Saifi mindsetgroup.me



LA MEZCALERIA An introduction to the rich and diverse Mexican culture full of new flavors, mixes and colors to a curious crowd always in search of different experiences. Opened December 27, 2017 Owner Addmind Group Executive chef Fady Hanna Head chef Hassan Chakaron Covers 100 Average price/person USD 50 Typical dishes Burguesa de la Mezcaleria, Costillas, Camarones, Pork Carnitas, Chocolate Tacos Address Avenue Charles Helou, Saifi lamezcaleriabeirut.com


MATTO MATTO offers a modern take on traditional cooking methods, presenting an exceptional dining experience without breaking the bank. Opened December 19, 2017 Owner Addmind Group Head chef Fadi Hanna Covers 100 indoors, 100 outdoors Average price/person USD 40 Typical dishes Cotoletta Alla Milanese, Ravioli Porcini e Tartufo, Tortino di Carciofi Address Aishti by the Sea, Antelias mattobeirut.com


Opened December 2017 Covers 130 Average price/person USD 20 Typical dishes Three formulas; beef, chicken or salmon with your choice of sauce, served with bread, salad and French fries. Address Strand Building, Hamra Main Street facebook.com/thestrandgrillleb


MADISON & HEIG A locally created concept characterized by an open kitchen. Indoor and outdoor seating, with food focused on homemade ingredients. Opened November 2017 Executive chef Basmah Marouf Pastry chef Fay AlKharafi Typical dishes Skirt Steak, Spiced Shrimp Tacos, Stracciatella served with seasonal fruit, basil oil and pistachio Address Bneid Al Qar Instagram @madisonandheig

Opened December 2017 Typical dishes 48 hours sous vide Wagyu ribs, Smoked Miso Brisket Hirata Bun Address Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre whiterobata.com




Opened November 13, 2017 Owner(s) Ahmed Ramadan Executive chef Luigi Margoni Covers 70 Average price/person USD 25 Typical dishes Lobster Linguine, Ziti Ragu Address Building 10, Dubai Design District larte.ae

Opened January 20, 2018 Executive chef Monserrato Marini Covers 130 Typical dishes Spaghetti Lobster, Grilled Langoustines, Veal Milanese, Risotto di Mare and Tiramisu Address Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah scalini-dubai.com

Opened January 1, 2018 Owner Al Tawfeeq Hospitality Executive chef Omar Rodriguez Covers 60 Average price/person USD 20 Typical dishes Sandwiches Address North Side, La Mer, Dubai facebook.com/SLAB FEB-MAR 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




LEBANESE CULINARY SENSATION ON TOP CHEF FRANCE Tara Khattar, a master of Gastronomy and Restaurant Management from the Institut Paul Bocuse, is the first Lebanese to compete in France’s coveted Top Chef contest. HN talks to this young culinary creative to find out how she managed to set an industry first What do you think is the secret to your success? The right attitude is key to achieving any goal and removing your ego from the equation is central. It takes ambition, determination and perseverance to succeed. Being a dreamer really helps, especially when pursuing what may seem impossible. I keep my eye on the outcome and solve problems as they arise, which is why I don’t think about what could go wrong and in so doing, keep moving forward.

Where do you see the culinary industry heading? It will change completely in the coming years, because more than ever, people are demanding transparency when it comes to their food. As a result, the industry’s dominant food players who continue to use a mass production system will disappear, thereby making room for new companies that truly care about the health of the planet and their consumers. What are the challenges/advantages of being a woman in the industry? It certainly has been an amusing challenge. Being a woman has made me stronger because it pushed me to work harder, making me a better chef much faster. Working in a male-dominant industry is physically and mentally challenging. Women are still judged on their looks more than their work. As such, going that extra mile to look my best is my way of addressing the problem in an amusing way. I am a woman first, chef second and that doesn't make me any less of a professional. tarakhattar.com



Karim Ghassan Bourgi

In an exclusive interview, HN spoke to Karim Ghassan Bourgi, executive pastry chef of Almana Group’s GCC operations and creator of KB Gourmandises, a boutique F&B company, who proudly professed that his dream is to create the world’s best bakery. While that remains a work in progress, winning the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie in 2021 in Lyon, France, is his other dream, which he hopes will come true. Acclaimed for his technical prowess and distinct style of fusing traditional dishes with more modern creations, he admitted that having studied and worked for some time in the West, moving back



Tara Khattar

to the Middle East was challenging. “At the beginning, it wasn’t easy to understand the local taste and flavors as I came from a completely different culture. Luckily, because I am Lebanese, this allowed me to quickly adapt my creations to suit the local markets,” Bourgi explained. Looking at his marvelous creations, it’s difficult to decide whether to take pictures of them and place them behind glass or to simply enjoy them. What is evident, however, is Bourgi’s whole-hearted passion for what he does, clearly displayed by the tender care and planning that goes into the entire process, including the added complexities, when inspired to introduce novelties. His sources of inspiration are varied, as he explained. “Cooking is about more than taste and presentation,” he said. “I personally draw inspiration from architecture and nature. Certain pieces, like the structures and angles of a skyscraper, are at times a great way to go about thinking what shapes to give my creations.” As a pastry chef catering to a diverse range of clientele, Bourgi acknowledged the constant need to expand the range on offer in a bid to retain loyal customers, while also winning over a new following. “I always keep creating, because I believe therein lies the solution,” he admitted. “After all, we are in a such trendy market here, which is why we have to keep surprising our guests every single day!” almana.com

VOX Cinemas launches a new fine-dining menu by Chef Gary Rhodes

Majid Al Futtaim is extending its partnership with Michelin-starred chef, restaurateur and author, Gary Rhodes, with a new menu available in the just rebranded GOLD by Rhodes theaters. The menu features 34 new items, offering a full three-course meal for movie-lovers who appreciate good food with their blockbuster films. Starters include Kamikaze Prawns and Peppered Beef Fillet Sticks with sweet chili and pomegranate jam. GOLD by Rhodes is available in City Centre Deira, City Centre Mirdif and BurJuman. voxcinemas.com Michelin star Chef Giancarlo Perbellini to debut in Bahrain

The Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention & Spa has signed a partnership agreement with Michelin star Chef Giancarlo Perbellini who will take control of the hotel’s renowned Italian restaurant La Pergola. The restaurant will be rebranded ‘La Pergola by Perbellini’ and is scheduled to reopen in the second half of 2018. This will be the Gulf Hotel’s second venture with a Michelin-star chef, following the introduction of Rasoi by Vineet in 2015, which was voted best restaurant in Bahrain in 2017. gulfhotelbahrain.com


60 SECONDS WITH CHEF TAREK ALAMEDDINE Working with Danish chef Rene Redzepi, co-owner of the twoMichelin star restaurant Noma, chef Tarek Alameddine spoke to HN about his passion for cooking and his experience with an international culinary star 1- Cooking for you is... Cooking is my passion in life. I know it may seem a little clichĂŠ to say so, but when cooking, we are literally providing a plated nourishment with our own hands and creativity. The fragrance of food, the irresistible smell and the authentic colors of the ingredients, topped with the rich and overwhelming tastes, add joy and a sense of satisfaction. When we work in the kitchen, I forget about the time, the long working hours, the stress of serving high quality plates; nothing can stand in the way of serving guests with an unforgettable experience. I see cooking as a form of expressing myself. 2- If not a chef, you would be... If not a chef, I would be a professional rally driver. I like the adrenaline provided by driving fast cars taking into consideration all the safety measures of course. Actually, driving cars is a hobby I perform to reduce stress and enjoy myself.

3- The international chef who inspired your cooking style... The chef who inspired me is luckily the chef I have been working with for the past two years; the well-known Chef Rene Redzepi. I admire his ability to use his cultural heritage to offer an innovative, international gastronomic reinvention of Nordic cuisine. 4- When not cooking, you'll be most likely‌ When not cooking, I run the family business. Although I juggle all of this with my social life, I find time to read culinary books that enhance my knowledge. When in Lebanon, I make time for foraging. I am constantly searching for authentic Lebanese flavors and ingredients. The more I search, the more I am astonished by the variability of ingredients we have in Lebanon and yet we fail to highlight these ingredients and present them in a gastronomic culinary wunderkind.





MEET MOSTAFA SEIF EL DIN MORTADA Egyptian Chef Mostafa Seif El Din Mortada has emerged as the winner of the second edition of MBC’s Top Chef, winning a cash prize of USD 100,000 in the process. He will also be participating in HORECA 2018 and will receive a trip to the UK from Boecker, where he will be presented in London with the Science and Knowledge Award from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health The show debuted its new season in October, during which 15 chefs from the Arab World competed in a variety of challenges, showing their culinary skills over 13 episodes. Chefs were evaluated and assessed by a jury consisting of the famous Chinese-Egyptian chef Bobby Shin, Saudi chef Mona Moussali and Lebanese chef Maroun Chedid. A young, but determined chef-preneur Chef Mortada graduated from the Culinary Arts Academy in 2013. His first experience was in street food with a cart concept called ‘Kebda w Sogoa’, traditional Egyptian food which translates as ‘Liver and Sausages’. This entrepreneurial approach to cooking, which is his greatest passion, was a key driver in his enthusiasm and determination. However, his career path was not an easy one, as he explained to HN. “I struggled a lot in my career and persevered until I reached where I am today, a head chef at ESCA restaurant,” he said. During his career, he worked with Chef Wessam Masoud in Chef's Market restaurant from 2013 till 2015, and also had a spell at Flambé restaurant. Asked for his



favorite quote, he replied: “I love the kitchen more than Mostafa himself.” These words, he believes, sum up the passion he has for the culinary arts, which eventually earned him the Top Chef title. A title for Egypt “Watch out, the Egyptians are coming!” This was Chef Mortada’s warning to the others, albeit issued with a smile, when describing the impetus that winning the Top Chef title had given him, and the positive impact he expects it to have on his career, as the first Egyptian to bring home the accolade. Describing professional cooking as a competitive field, he said there was no doubt that more Egyptian chefs will now be pushing themselves harder, which will help to boost the broader national culinary experience. A nurturing experience He believes that participating in and winning Top Chef marks a truly prestigious milestone in his career. “Top Chef is what it is because of the level of the participants,” he noted. “This year was especially tough, with strong competitors like Chef Aseel, Chef Mehdi and Chef Salma. To be judged as the best out of all of them is an honor.” Throughout the episodes, Chef Mortada had the opportunity to build strong relationships with each of his fellow competitors. He believes the fact that they were close in age made the experience an even more enjoyable one. “We laughed together, cried together and cooked together,” he said. “I think the viewers at home saw this side of things too.” When it comes to cooking expertise and finesse, the show helped Chef Mortada to realize that simplicity can be very difficult to achieve, and that while adding ingredients to a dish might seem like an easier route to success, it’s not necessarily the answer. “I’ve learned to edit myself, to be more focused on the food I present to my customers,” he noted. His pipeline includes more learning and development, higher expectations and bigger plans. “I will be in my kitchen, constantly refining my skills and food philosophy,” he told HN. “Perhaps I can apprentice with international cooking legends now that my skills are well known!” mbc.net



NESPRESSO BRINGS ADDED VALUE TO THE INDUSTRY With the hospitality sector under increasing scrutiny regarding environmental responsibility and waste management, Nespresso, the pioneer in premium-portioned coffee, is lending a helping hand to simplify the process. While each cup of Nespresso has the potential to deliver great pleasure to customers in the hospitality industry, it can go beyond its remit and boost the environmental standing of the establishment itself. With its recycling program, Nespresso provides benefit to its business partners, especially in the hospitality sector, by helping them expand their green footprint thru recycling their used coffee capsules. These days, as the consumption of portioned coffee grows in the region, and exponentially so in the hospitality business, Nespresso, is actively encouraging its business partners in the F&B industry to recycle their used coffee capsules to do their bit for the environment. To make the process as convenient as possible, Nespresso

even offers a pick-up service to collect used capsules from the premises of the establishment. The pick-up service for the professional partners of Nespresso in the Hospitality industry uses biodegradable eco bags to collect used capsules from the HORECA and office addresses of the partners when a new order is delivered. Upon collection, Nespresso sends them to its local recycling partners in the UAE, Lebanon and Qatar, who then recycle the used capsules efficiently along with other items of household waste. This year, the recycling program will also be made available to the Club Members and Business partners in Saudi Arabia. Launched in 2003, the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program is a unique green coffee sourcing approach that combines a focus on quality, sustainability and productivity. It is now bringing unprecedented value to the company’s professional partners, when it comes to environmental responsibility.


Mustafa Almasri

Sysco is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities and lodging establishments. With over 65,000 associates, Sysco operates approximately 300 distribution facilities worldwide and serves more than 500,000 customer locations.



International Food Group (IFG) is part of the company’s network, exporting to over 90 countries around the world via a number of distribution partners. Commenting on IFG’s competitive advantages, Mustafa Almasri, director of regional sales and business development for the Middle East/Asia Pacific explained, “We focus on the power of partnership by understanding our customers’ business needs, then offering powerful solutions. Whether they’re looking for training, food cost advantages, service ideas or new additions to the menu, we have the services and expertise to fulfil their needs.”In terms of regional growth opportunities in the near future, Almasri said, “There are several key developments happening in the region. We recently sponsored the 2nd Global Restaurant Leadership Conference in Dubai. We offered many insights and trends in the industry, including the advancement of technology in the sector, the empowerment of the customer through social media and embracing healthy ingredients, including clean labels. Additionally, the development of innovative homegrown concepts expanding internationally will continue to drive growth, providing unique eating experiences.” ifoodgroup.com

As the hospitality industry continues to turn its attention to responsible waste management and CSR initiatives, Nespresso intends to reinforce its commitment and assist its business partners in achieving its targets and green footprint. https://ae.buynespresso.com/ae_en/ positive-cup.html

IN BRIEF Château Ksara for Human Rights Watch in London

Château Ksara highlighted its heritage in the UK recently, when a bottle of its Vin D’Or 1942 sold for Stg 1,500 (USD 2,000) in an auction at the Human Rights Watch annual dinner at the Tower of London on November 20. There are only a few hundred bottles left, all of which are stored in the Chateau Ksara’s 2km-long Roman caves, which were discovered at the end of the 19th century at the back of the winery. chateauksara.com Chef Middle East partners with Lactalis

Steve Pyle, CEO at Chef Middle East said, “Lactalis has an extensive dairy range with exceptional and globally recognized brands like Président and Galbani, and as such, we believe we will leverage on each other’s strengths in the markets we operate in.” According to Pyle, this new range addition will also position Chef Middle East’s pastry and bakery range as ‘the one stop solution’ for pastry professionals with the French Président cream and butter range, while complementing the strong and developing Italian range with Galbani cheeses. chefmiddleeast.com



NEW HEIGHTS FOR HORECA KUWAIT With the conclusion of HORECA Kuwait’s seventh edition, the country’s premier food and hospitality platform and all-inone meeting place for industry players attracted thousands of visitors eager to leverage its networking opportunities The 2018 HORECA Kuwait exhibition, which took place from 15-17 January 2018 at Kuwait International Fair, attracted a staggering 7,000 visitors and gathered more than 100 exhibitors, shining a bright light on the nation’s food and hospitality industries through countless competitions and events. At the Hospitality Salon Culinaire, more than 300 talented chefs showed off their skills to a jury of international expert chefs. Sheraton Kuwait received the 'Golden Award' for achieving the highest number of gold medals during three days of intense competitions. Elsewhere, the Hospitality Forum invited top industry experts from across the region for a series of debates tackling hot topics. In addition, seminars were conducted by Boecker on food safety and an educational food presentation by the South African embassy was also delivered.

Opening ceremony in the presence of Sheikh Nimr Malek AlSabah

THE FIRST EDITION OF THE HOSPITALITY FORUM In front of a packed audience, the first Hospitality Forum took place at HORECA Kuwait. A panel debate was held addressing the impact of foodies and bloggers on the restaurant industry with guest experts, including Karim Bitar (CEO of Views Dentsu Aegis Network), Mohammed Soueidan (vice GM of Omedia), Tarek Ibrahim (celebrity chef) and Abdulla Boftain (managing partner for Local Flavor). The topic of the second day was, 'Franchise versus home-grown concepts,' where Ahmed Al-Bader (chef and restaurateur of Groupsix United Co.), Mustafa Almasri (regional sales director of Sysco Foods), Mohamed Farrag (CEO of Al Thiqa restaurants) and Sanjay Madhok (director of Al-Fozan Enterprises) were key speakers. The talks were moderated by Iqbal Al Haddad (professor at the American University of Kuwait).



Horeca organizers with the International Women's League

Hospitality Salon Culinaire

Horeca awards ceremony

Horeca organizers with the South African Ambassador and embassy delegation

Horeca VIP lounge

Barista Competition by Illy and Nuova Simonelli

Official exhibition tour

Hospitality Salon Culinaire jury

Bed Making Competition


Kuwaiti chef Faisal Al Nashmi

Kuwaiti Dish Competition





WHAT’S HOT AT HORECA LEBANON? The show everyone’s talking about is due to celebrate its 25th edition. Taking place at Beirut’s Seaside Arena (formerly known as BIEL area) from 20-23 March 2018, we discover why HORECA Lebanon is an absolute must for hospitality and foodservice professionals Over a 25-year history, HORECA Lebanon has solidified its role as the premier networking venue for the hospitality and foodservice industries as well as being a platform for discovering the latest trends, products and services. “We have been part of HORECA for many years, where we have been supporting junior chefs to hone their skills and share with them our products.” Bassem Chartouni, General Operations Manager – Nestle Professional “HORECA is a beautiful, professional platform for the hospitality industry in Lebanon and worldwide.” Dagmar Symes, General Manager – Phoenicia Hotel Beirut “HORECA is an occasion to meet peers and clients in a professional and friendly atmosphere.” Roger Zaknoun, General Manager – Sofil Catering

FIGURES AT A GLANCE * 18,000+ trade professionals * 350+ exhibitors * 2,500+ brands * 25+ daily competitions, forums and workshops * 60+ local and international food, drink and hospitality experts * 500+ new products

KEY EVENTS TO ATTEND * Hospitality Salon Culinaire * Junior Chef Competition * Art of Service Competition * Lebanese Bartenders Competition * Lebanese Barista Competition * National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Contest * Bed Making Competition * Atelier Gourmand * Wine & Beverage Lab * Annual Hospitality Forum

NEW FOR 2018 * Artisanal cheese section * Ice-cream space * New producers area

SPECIAL CONFERENCES * Healthy, organic, gluten-free and lactose-free restaurants * Guesthouses in Beirut vs. outside Beirut * Decentralization of food and beverage, food festivals and markets * New trends in food and beverage: how and where to invest * Hotel GM debate horecashow.com





DUBAI INTERNATIONAL COFFEE AND TEA FESTIVAL 2017 The ninth edition of the Dubai International Coffee and Tea Festival (DICTF), the region’s dedicated trade event for the specialty coffee and tea industry, enjoyed overwhelming success, attracting over 10,200 visitors during its three-day run. The exhibition showcased all facets of coffee, tea, bar and café products, and equipment and services, providing a focused, industry-recognized platform for the region. DICTF 2017 culminated in the declaration of the winners of the Dubai International Coffee Championships, which was held as part of the festival. Saeed Abdinasab from Iran topped the international category of the Barista competition, while Richell Olmedo was adjudged the national champion. The international and national levels of the Brewers Cup contest were won by Sergey Mitrofanov from Russia and Michaela Anne Ruazol, respectively. Nima Dorjee Bhutia won the Tea Mixology segment, while Ricardo Dekker was adjudged the winner of Tea Preparation. A total of USD 25,000 was given away to the winners of the competitions in awards. icedxb.com

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




THE WORLD CHOCOLATE MASTERS For the first time in its history, the Middle East region hosted the World Chocolate Master National Selection to choose a candidate that will take part in the world final in Paris this year On December 6, 2017, after an intense day of competition and sensory excitement at the Chocolate Academy Center, Dubai, created by the Middle East’s new generation of talented chocolatiers and pastry chefs, Chef Aravinda Leelarathna was awarded the title of Middle East Chocolate Master. The jury which made the decision included: the president of the jury Chef Emmanuel Ryon (France); Corporate Executive Chef Philippe Morbelli (UAE); Master Consultant Chef Charles Azar (Lebanon); Senior Director of Culinary and Concept Development MEA at the Marriott Hotel Viktor Stampfer (UAE); and Architect Associate and Director of Hospitality David Lessard (UAE). Having won the title, Leelarathna, from Al

Aravinda Leelarathna wins the Middle East Selection of the World Chocolate Masters

Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre Dubai, will represent the region during the International World Chocolate Master Final, which takes place in October 2018. A total of 21 countries will be represented by their most talented chocolate chefs at the final, where entrants will compete for three days, while pushing the limits of culinary creativity with Cacao Barry’s chocolate couvertures and vying for the title of World Chocolate Master. The first edition of the National Selection of the World Chocolate Master brought together seven talented candidates in Dubai to compete for the regional title. The diverse candidate selection for the Middle East included: the winner, Leelarathna (UAE); Akeed Ahmed (KSA) from the Fairmont Hotel and Makkah Clock Royal Tower; Alannah Doe (UAE) from the SavarinImdad Foodstuff Catering L.L.C; Adrian Gan (UAE) from Emirates Flight Catering in Dubai; Chadi Karam (Lebanon) from Lily’s; Ashwani Pathania (UAE) from the Radisson Blu Hotel and Park Inn by Radisson in Dubai; and Manish Thakur (UAE) from the Intercontinental in Dubai Marina. This year’s theme was ‘Futropolis’, which, Leelarathna explained, provided the participants with plenty of potential. “The theme of ‘Futropolis’ gave a lot of scope for imagination and an opportunity for us all to show the innovation behind our art, and living in the UAE there can be no better place to express how we feel about cities of the future,” he said. Second and third places went to Chef Chadi Karam, from Lily’s in Lebanon, and Chef Ashwani Pathania, from the Radisson Blu Hotel and Park Inn in Dubai, respectively.

Best Showpiece "The Futropolitan" by Chadi Karam

Chefs Charles Azar, Philippe Marand and Emmanuel Ryon

Aravinda Leelarathna and Chadi Karam

explained. “There will be high-rise floating buildings designed to accommodate the growing population and increase space. All this information I took into consideration when making my chocolate showpiece creation.”

Karam also won ‘The Futropolitan’ best showpiece award for work that was described as both inspiring and highly aesthetic due to its delicate structure.

An enriching journey among peers, the World Chocolate Masters is much more than just a ‘battle’. Unlike most other culinary competitions, it offers an open invitation for individual chefs, chocolatiers and pastry chefs to develop their individual talent, with each contestant able to count on personal coaching from Cacao Barry’s chefs and former World Chocolate Masters finalists in the Chocolate Academy™ center in Dubai to develop the skills they want to improve.

“My inspiration for this competition was the wonderful city of Singapore and a strategy report from Singapore of 80 percent of buildings going green by 2030,” Karam

The World Chocolate Masters is an initiative of Cacao Barry®, one of the gourmet brands of the Barry Callebaut Group. worldchocolatemasters.com FEB-MAR 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





The 23rd edition of Gulfood will further strengthen the UAE’s lead role in setting the global food agenda, according to the exhibition organisers, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Citing the long-established reputation of Gulfood as a key driver in fostering innovation across the local, regional and global food and beverage supply chain, DWTC officials revealed on-site sales generated by 95,000-plus buyers and visitors at Gulfood 2018 will contribute heavily to a global food market expected to generate revenues of USD 3.03 trillion by 2020, according to Research and Markets, a Dublinbased market research company. Following a successful debut in 2017, Gulfood 2018 will continue its sectorised approach to further increase accessibility and trading potential. Tens of thousands of finished food and beverages will be featured in halls dedicated to eight of the biggest commodity trading sectors: Beverages; Dairy; Fats & Oils; Health, Wellness & Free-From; Pulses, Grains & Cereals; Meat & Poultry; Power Brands and World Food. New to the 2018 event is the Gulfood Discover Zone, where exhibitors will be able to apply for recently-launched products to be showcased in an exclusive and interactive lounge. The Gulfood Discover Zone will

also feature a dedicated area for companies that have never conducted business in the MENA region before and are using Gulfood as a market-entry opportunity. Finalists for the Gulfood Innovation Awards, which also return in 2018, will be showcased in the Gulfood Discover Zone. Gulfood 2018 will also co-host Halal World Food, the world’s largest annual Halal food-sourcing trade

show; the annual Emirates Culinary Guild International Salon Culinaire; the world’s largest single-entry chef competition; the Speciality Coffee Association endorsed World Cevze/Ibrik Championships and the Gulfood Innovation Awards, which recognise best-inclass excellence and innovation across the region’s F&B industry. gulfood.com


His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Under the theme of ‘Focus on the Future’, the Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) will present industry insights into how to capitalize on the multitude of hospitality investment opportunities arising in the Kingdom. Organised by Saudi Event Management and Marketing (SEMARK), coorganised by Bench Events and MEED and hosted by strategic partner DUR Hospitality at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel, SHIC will bring together around 300 hotel investors, owners, developers and operators to help further the growth of the hospitality industry in the Kingdom. The inaugural event will be



Her Royal Highness Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

headlined by His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President, Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage and Her Royal Highness Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairwoman, Global United Centre for Research and Analysis, who will deliver an address on ‘The Future of Saudi Tourism – Transitioning to Tomorrow’, sharing insights into Vision 2030 and opportunities for hospitality investment and development in line with the government’s vision. Dr Badr Al Badr, CEO of Dur Hospitality and strategic partner of SHIC, believes that the

Dr Badr Al Badr

Saudi economy will witness a positive shift in the coming years when the government executes the recently announced initiatives bolstering confidence in tourism investments. “The Public Private Partnerships drive in Saudi Arabia is presenting new opportunities to attract investment into hospitality,” said Al Badr. “Following the announcement of the KSA Vision 2030, a more attractive investment environment is opening the doors for private investors into new areas of the Saudi Arabian economy. This creates significant opportunities for hotel investors,” Al Badr said. arabianconference.com/shic




12 – 14 MARCH

Ahead of his presentation at Global Restaurant Investment Forum at Palazzo Versace Dubai, Aaron Noveshen, founder and president, The Culinary Edge, shares key takeaways on emerging trends in the US and what this means for the rest of the world As an innovation agency, The Culinary Edge is often at the center of conversations involving trends. We like to start at the highest level, examining the macro-level consumer behaviors and societal drivers that are influencing all industries, beyond food and beverage. This approach allows us to sift through the micro trends to uncover the macro movements. So with that, we present four macro movements that are influencing all industries, and particularly, how they’re impacting restaurants and food brands across the US.

Convenience: instant gratification In America we are convenience-obsessed. Time is arguably our most valuable resource and we don’t want to waste a moment of it. Our need for immediacy is insatiable and companies across our industry aren’t sparing a moment when it comes to launching unique ways to satisfy our demands. Don’t have time to go grocery shopping? Instacart can dispatch a personal shopper to procure and deliver your order in just a few hours. Have a 3pm bubble tea craving but are stuck in a meeting? No problem. UberEATS will deliver it direct to you in under 30 minutes. You’re thinking about starting a new fast casual brand? Make sure you have an app. We recommend downloading sweetgreen’s for inspiration. Its empathetically-designed - not to mention visually beautiful - app makes for a totally seamless in-store experience.

Health & Wellness: holistic health Health, in some form or another, will never not be a trend. Food and beverage consumption and individuals’ health are inextricably linked, so it’s only natural that we find ourselves discussing the state of the state on health and wellness annually. When it comes to the

topic, the one constant is that it’s a constantly moving target. Consumers today are more engaged and more knowledgeable than ever, and companies that are perceived as healthy are ones that are just as agile. These companies, like their guests, are thinking about health in a holistic sense. In this current political and environment climate, consumers are making decisions around eating as it relates to the health of their bodies, their consciences and the planet. Our fascination with plant-based proteins exemplifies this intersection of ethnical, environmental and physiological health. We are seeking to consume less animal proteins, and companies from Impossible Foods, whose burger is entirely plant-based, to Ripple Foods, whose pea milk is not only dairy-free but also offers eight grams of plant-based protein per serving, are winning. Our advice for how companies can stay “healthy”? Stay informed.

Media: food, the new social media Welcome to the age of camera-first food, an age where #eatingfortheinsta drives decisions around where to eat and what to order. Today, eating and drinking is a form of social currency. Companies are designing dishes as much for their guests’ cameras as they are for their palates. These days, having avocado toast on your menu doesn’t cut it. It needs to be artfully plated too. Check out @avocadotoast on Instagram to see what we mean. Food and beverage brands that are winning in this arena are triple threats — they’ve got a compelling brand story, a delicious and highly photogenic food offering and a clear design perspective that carries across their in-store and online presence. Need inspiration? We recommend following @diginn, @alfred and @blacktapnyc (who has 296,000 Instagram followers despite having only five restaurants).

Design: new luxury The economy is booming, people are making a fortune from cryptocurrency investments and, not surprisingly, we’re seeing a rise in the number of fine dining restaurants landing on the dining scene. Opulent, immersive, theatrical shrines that harken to the restaurant institutions of yesteryear are back. These palatial establishments aren’t sparing a dime on the build out, the design and the ingredients that are used to create the extravagant dishes that define the ethos of this trend. These restaurants are offering diners a chance to get swept up in the grandeur of eras past, and diners are taking the bait, and swooning for it. If you’re feeling like a high roller, don’t miss the USD 98 Caviar Vichyssoise at The Grill in New York City, where mahogany panels line the space and Tom Ford tuxedoed servers attend to your every need. Noveshen will be speaking on 13 March at 9:45am in the session titled “Market Spotlight: USA”. theculinaryedge.com, restaurant-invest.com

FEBRUARY 18 - 22 DUBAI GULFOOD Dubai World Trade Center gulfood.com 26 RIYADH Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) Meed arabianconference.com/shic

MARCH 5 - 8 LONDON HOTELYMPIA Fresh Montgomery hotelympia.com 7 - 11 GERMANY ITB BERLIN Messe Berlin GmbH itb-berlin.de 9 - 13 GERMANY INTERNORGA Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH internorga.com 12 - 14 DUBAI Global Restaurant Investment Forum Meed restaurant-invest.com 18 - 20 GERMANY PROWEIN Messe Düsseldorf GmbH prowein.de 20 - 23 LEBANON HORECA Hospitality Services s.a.rl. horecashow.com

APRIL 10 – 12 KSA THE HOTEL SHOW SAUDI ARABIA Dmg: Events Middle East & Asia thehotelshowsaudiarabia.com 18 – 19 LEBANON BIFEX Lebanese franchise association lfalebanon.com 16 – 19 SPAIN ALIMENTARIA Alimentaria Exhibitions alimentaria-bcn.com 17 – 19 DUBAI AHIC Meed arabianconference.com 24 – 26 BELGIUM SEAFOOD EXPO GLOBAL Diversified Communications seafoodexpo.com/global







With ambitions to welcome 440,000 visitors a year by 2024, the government of Kuwait is pressing ahead with multiple plans that will see billions of dollars invested in projects and a further USD 1 billion budget earmarked for promoting the Gulf state over the same period Vision 2035 In 2016, The Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP) set the nation’s long-term development priorities to bring Vision 2035 to fruition. The far-reaching initiative is organized around five themes, or desired outcomes, and seven pillars, or areas of focus for investment and improvement. Each pillar has a number of strategic programs and projects that are designed to drive forward the vision for a new Kuwait. Under this new plan, various infrastructure projects and larger development projects will be executed in a way that boosts several key economic components, including tourism and hospitality.

Boosting the airports To increase the capacity of Kuwait International Airport (KIA), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the operator of KIA, has proposed the development of a new terminal building constructed in stages. The project, which kicked off in May 2017, is slated to be completed within four years. A new terminal for Kuwait's Jazeera Airways is also expected to be complete in March 2018. The USD 46.3 million project should help to reduce congestion at KIA.



Mega cities underway With the new vision come new projects. Madinat Al Hareer (Silk City), a project by Tamdeen Group currently under development, will be one of the largest mixed-use project concepts in the world once finished. Located in the Subiya area, northern Kuwait, and covering approximately 250 square kilometers, the project reflects the Group’s vision for the country. Tamdeen is also working on several other initiatives, including the USD 407 million Al Kout project, the largest waterfront retail, hospitality and entertainment destination in the country, which has now entered the final stages of construction. Occupying a plot of 300,000 square meters, the Al Kout project offers six diverse experiences, the most modern of which is Al Kout Mall, expected to open during the first quarter of 2018. Sabah Al Ahmad City is another ongoing multi-billion-dollar project. Located in AlAhmadi governorate 50 kilometers south of Kuwait City, the project occupies 35 million square meters of space and is expected to accommodate a total of 9,000 housing units. The city will include plenty of investment opportunities, from those in the commercial malls and hotels to other openings in apartments, commercial, health, sports, tourism and educational ventures, alongside a technology village. In a separate development, work is also underway on Al Mutlaa City. Kuwait hopes that the mega-project, which includes plans to develop five islands at an investment cost of USD 160 billion, will eventually generate around USD 40 billion dollars a year, in addition to providing about 200,000 jobs, according to a government study. The project, which includes the islands of Boubyan, Warbah, Failaka, Maskan and Aouha, will boast tourist and leisure areas with Venetian-like waterways, shopping centers, a world-class travel center and treatment

centers. It will house some 400,000 people and will take a period of 20 years to complete.

Hotels and restaurants According to data compiled by the country’s Central Statistical Bureau for 2017, the number of hotels in Kuwait had doubled from a maximum of 60 a decade ago to more than 120 hotels offering 13,600 beds last year. Currently, 3,000 hotel rooms are in the pipeline and will be available by 2020. Major hotel chains will be debuting new properties. These include: Grand Hyatt (260 rooms); two hotels at The Avenues; Conrad (158 rooms); Garden Inn (430 rooms); and Mandarin Oriental (250 rooms). With Kuwait home to 2.2 million foreigners and annual spending at restaurants reaching USD 3.5 billion, savvy restaurateurs from around the world are flocking to the country, according to industry consultancy, Aaron Allen & Associates. The firm’s figures reveal that there are over 4,700 restaurants in the country, equating to almost one eatery for every 230 people, many of which form part of international chains, such as IHOP, Chili’s and KFC.

Quick facts • The direct contribution of travel and tourism to Kuwait’s GDP was USD 3 billion in 2016, with forecasts indicating this will reach USD 5 billion in 2027. • In 2016, the number of direct jobs in the sector stood at 63,500, projected to reach 72,000 in 2027. • Investment in the sector will grow from USD 374 million in 2016 to USD 450 million in 2027. Source: Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2017 – World Travel & Tourism Council



Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is the latest five-star hospitality addition to the Kuwaiti market. HN spoke to Didier Jardin, the property’s general manager, to learn more about Kuwait as a destination and about the new hotel 1. How do you perceive the hospitality scene in Kuwait? The hotel sector in Kuwait blends the traditions of Kuwaiti hospitality with contemporary style. While the sector continues to support a high proportion of business travelers coming from the Gulf and internationally, leisure tourism is on the rise; in fact, leisure travel spending is expected to increase by 4.1 percent per year through to 2027, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s 2017 report. In terms of its offerings, Kuwait has so much to offer to both business and leisure tourists: from a diverse array of traditional attractions to extraordinary shopping and a muchadmired food scene, championed by local chefs with great talent. In the years to come, Kuwait will only strengthen its position as a leading tourism destination with something for everyone. Through Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, we are excited to showcase the destination in a new light and draw attention to the essence of Kuwaiti hospitality.

2. Where do you position the Four Seasons’ brand, and what are your competitive advantages? Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya brings exceptional Four Seasons service to the heart of Kuwait City. We pride ourselves on our ability to consistently deliver a highly personalized type of service excellence that is attuned to guests’ needs. The people who deliver this service are what make it special, and our passion for our people ensures that we can continue to surpass guest expectations. In terms of the property itself, we have been honored by the tremendous reception that

the look and feel of the hotel has received. Defined by a new standard of innovative modern architecture and high-style design, Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya offers a treat for the eyes at every turn – from the extraordinary floating spiral staircase in the lobby, to the striking mashrabiya windows with traditional Arabic latticework overlooking the pool. In addition, we plan to promote the MICE segment, which we believe is a huge opportunity for Kuwait. We have two ballrooms at our property, as well as a range of conference and banqueting rooms able to welcome up to 2,000 people for conferences, weddings and entertainment events.

3. What more can you tell us about the new property? Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is the stylish new centrepiece of Kuwait City, positioned in a prime central location and offering a new experience in luxury. The property’s 284 rooms, including 67 suites, feature cutting-edge interiors with a warm color palette and carefully chosen textures and touches of Kuwaiti style and ambiance. The beautiful architecture of the building was conceived by Gensler Architects, while

We are excited to showcase the destination in a new light and draw attention to the essence of Kuwaiti hospitality the striking contemporary interior design is thanks to the work of Yabu Puschelburg. Our beautiful outdoor pool creates an urban resort oasis, complete with a poolside waterfall, lush greenery and outdoor cabanas, while our ethereal indoor pool invites meditative relaxation, set among signature green marble of our world-class spa. Our hotel also features a yoga studio and state-of-the-art fitness center. Kuwait City is a food-lovers’ paradise and our hotel is no exception; five dynamic food and beverage offerings provide ample choice for local and international gourmands. On the 21st floor, our rooftop space offers two restaurants: Sintoho, serving pan-Asian cuisine in an ultra-chic setting; and Dai Forni, an open-kitchen Italian concept set around three wood-fired ovens that create the theater of noise, smoke, fire and technique. Complementing these delectable offerings are Elements, where Chef Fabio Quarta serves an international marketplace breakfast and lunch, our lobby lounge, Al Soor and our poolside restaurant, Al Bandar.

4. What are your market expectations? Since opening our doors in late August this year, the reception to the hotel has been

Four Seasons in Kuwait

overwhelmingly positive and it is a great source of pride to me and the whole team here at the property to find local residents embracing Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya as their new home-away-from-home. Kuwaitis have long awaited the opening of their own Four Seasons address and the launch of this hotel is our way of responding to their wishes. We are delighted with the warm welcome we have received and have every confidence in building on this success in the coming years among both local and international travelers.

5. Where do you see the industry heading in Kuwait? We believe Kuwait is on the cusp of a surge in tourism to the market, fueled by local investment and international trends, and driven by the government’s efforts to transform the country into a regional financial and cultural hub by 2035, as outlined in the Kuwait National Development Plan. In terms of infrastructure, the construction of a new 708,000-square-metre terminal will enable the airport to handle more passenger traffic, specifically up to 25 million travelers when completed. This capacity increase is expected to provide a great boost for the hospitality industry from both a business and leisure perspective. At the same time, there are a number of increasingly popular travel preferences that we anticipate will see more people eager to experience Kuwait. One such trend is the rise in gastronomic tourism, as travelers from the Middle East and beyond start making decisions on destinations to visit based on food they can try there – particularly unusual dishes and fresh combinations by up-and-coming chefs. Kuwait’s buzzing scene of local markets and must-visit restaurants is driving a movement among entrepreneurs to make Kuwait City the World’s Food Capital by 2030, which will continue to entice foodies from far-and-wide. All this, and much more besides, fuels our excitement for the development of the hospitality industry in Kuwait over the coming years and we are thrilled to be a part of this story. FEB-MAR 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





The tourism and hospitality landscape of Tunisia’s capital city is reemerging from the downturn witnessed in 2015. New hotel openings, such as the Four Seasons Tunis, which marks the first luxury property in the city, is an indicator of changes to come. Filippo Sona, director, Head of Hotels MENA Region for Colliers tells us more Aware that to sustain growth, they can no longer rely solely on traditional European source markets, hoteliers are, instead, looking to diversify the guest mix by targeting domestic demand and new markets.

Hospitality supply At present, total hospitality supply in Tunis comprises around 7,500 keys (excluding guest houses and B&Bs). Just over half (56 percent) of the hospitality supply is within the 4-star and 5-star segment, while the remainder of supply consists of smaller, owner-operated properties. Following the events of 2011 and again, after the incidents of 2015, a number of these smaller properties ceased operations due to the sharp decline in tourist arrivals. In contrast, branded supply remained relatively resilient during the downturn. Key international hotel operators in the market include Marriott International, Movenpick, Accor, Wyndham and Louvre Hotels, although only 26 percent of hotel supply is internationally branded. There is only one branded hotel within the economy/midscale segment: the Ibis Tunis, which opened in 2012.



Changing source markets

Hospitality market outlook

After events in 2015, travel restrictions and flight cancellations severely impacted the leisure segment, in particular arrivals from Europe which was a key source market. As a result, hotels in Tunis are now heavily reliant on corporate and government demand, which represents over 80 percent of room nights.

Inbound tourism demand is sensitive to the situation in the greater region, as seen from the sharp decline in occupancy performance in 2011 and again in 2015.

To counter the drop in European leisure demand, hotels began targeting domestic and regional demand, in particular visitors from Algeria, Libya and the GCC. The change in source markets resulted in a shift in pricing strategy, with hotels having to lower rates in order to maintain demand. This led to the opening of new markets, with hoteliers witnessing an increase in demand from new markets such as Russia and China.

Confidence on the up Arrivals increased by 23.2 percent in 2017 to reach 7.051 million, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts, the highest number since 2014 and exceeding pre-revolution figures. Visitor numbers from Europe and the Maghreb countries increased by 20 percent and 31 percent respectively. Similarly, hotels in Tunis recorded a 35 percent growth in occupancy in the year to date (YTD) to August 2017 on the same period the previous year and 41 percent growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR). The improved performance has been attributed to the return of several key European source markets, following decisions by the UK, Netherlands, Poland and Belgium to lift travel restrictions in 2017. Additionally, flights by Air Malta, Brussel Airlines, Thomas Cook and TUIfly have resumed to certain cities within Tunisia. TUI UK & Ireland has reintroduced packages to Tunisia for the summer, with departures available from May 2018. Additionally, in December 2017, Tunisia signed an open-skies preliminary agreement with the EU, which is expected to generate further confidence in the Tunisian tourism industry.

The Tunis hotel market will undoubtedly benefit from the lifting of travel restrictions, opening of new flight routes, such as Emirates from Dubai, and the opening of new 5-star luxury hotels in the city - the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, for example. All of these factors are expected to improve the image of the city as a more upmarket destination and will, in turn, boost demand and improve the overall market performance in the mid to long-term.
















Serviced Apartments




IF O IS FOR OPENING, THEN P IS FOR PRE-OPENING remit, he added, covers furniture, fixture and equipment (FF&E), and operating, supplies and equipment (OSE) with added advantage if the same procurement consultant is qualified to undertake the designs and specifications for the kitchens, bars, laundry and waste management, which should result in a fully operational property ready to receive guests.

The procurement process ahead of a hotel launch is not one to be underestimated or undertaken lightly. Emile Jouzy, chairman of H.C.I JLT - Hotelequip Consultants International, takes us through the A-Z of this pivotal procedure If would-be hotel owners wanted a lesson in the importance of getting the procurement process right ahead of an opening, they need look no further than Bahrain and a project that was delayed because hundreds of beds were ordered by a turnkey contractor in the wrong size. Emile Jouzy, chairman of H.C.I JLT Hotelequip Consultants International, explained what triggered the crisis. “The beds in question were 5ft in length, a size that was common in the turnkey contractor’s country of origin, but significantly shorter than the 6ft beds considered the international norm,” he told HN. “The required specifications were something that was overlooked when placing the order.” The beds were eventually shipped back to the source market and replaced, resulting in significant loss of profits for the owner and heft penalties to the contractor – all in all, something of a disaster.

Target a fully operational property This cautionary tale is one that Jouzy believes highlights how easy it is to underestimate what’s involved in the procurement process. He explained that the procurement process involves five major players: owners or their representatives; architects and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) consultants; management companies; interior designers; and procurement consultants or procurement sub-contractors. Their



Jouzy noted that in his 50 years of business, he’d witnessed a variety of players take on the task of procurement thinking, mistakenly, that it was a manageable exercise. “Common mistakes stem from a lack of experience when it comes to detail, differences between domestic and industrial standards, specifications and pricings,” he said.

Common mistakes stem from a lack of experience when it comes to detail, differences between domestic and industrial standards, specifications and pricings Aim for peace of mind Entering into a sub-contract with a turnkey contractor can reveal a lack of experience on their side when too late, while agreements with non-experienced experts can produce a host of different problems, such as scenarios where high overheads and profits are given a priority over the major issues. Jouzy believes that appointing an FFEOSE procurement consultant who is also fully qualified to offer the design and specifications of the kitchens, laundry and waste management inhouse for a defined fixed consultancy fee of around 2.5 percent - 3 percent of the total installed costs can provide reassurance. A procurement consultant’s first steps are to secure: the architect’s drawings; the project programme; the interior designers design books; the management company books of standards and list of operators, preferred suppliers, including their non-negotiable manufacturers’ products, like the beds. They should also ensure that the project data is entered onto their procurement process electronic system, which should be always accessible to all involved parties.

Pilot a room to identify potential problems The process of mobilising and preparing a mock-up room can then begin. Key steps include the issuing of the tenders, then analysing them and creating initial mock-up rooms based on these decisions for the five

players to snag. Jouzy explained that this stage provides a critical opportunity to eliminate design errors and problems at the initial stage, rather than duplicating them throughout the guest rooms later on. “Most of these issues relate to interior design, construction errors or operational hitches, such as discovering that the wardrobe doors are designed to open in the wrong direction or a column appearing from nowhere, for example,” he said. “The mock-up phase gives all parties the opportunity to see the guest room as it will eventually appear.” For Jouzy, it’s essential that the purchasing process must be based on fully detailed specifications and that approvals are obtained from the five decision-makers each step of the way. “We always buy to fully detailed specifications, no ifs or buts,” he said. Jouzy explained that this process involves issuing an up to 72-field-line specification sheet electronically to the five or six leading approved manufacturers, covering all aspects of the products in question, but also other essential details, like delivery numbers of containers involved and customs information, method of payment and shipping costs,” he added.

Eliminate back and forths Obtaining this information negates the need to keep returning to the suppliers, allowing the owners and management to focus on examining and comparing the quotations. “It also means everything is transparent, nothing under the table and no hidden surprises,” he noted. Jouzy pointed out that other parts of the hotel, such as the kitchens, laundry, if one is included, and waste management strategy, will have additional requirements that make careful planning and meticulous timing essential.

Keep procurement in-house

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Things to know about procurement costs

Remember these three things

Sirajudeen Peerukannu, purchasing manager of Golden Tulip Sharjah Hotel Apartments, says procurement plays a pivotal role in most organizations due to the major influence it has on the overall costs of the business. Procurement costs can be of two kinds: those that are adding to the cost of the product or service being acquired and the costs of running the procurement function. Procurement costs that are added to the cost of products and services are all those costs that are incurred to bring the items to the place of use. This includes transportation, freight, insurance customs duties and so forth. In a way, these costs are part of the procurement process. The key criterion here is that these costs are directly identifiable with the goods or services being acquired. The other kind of procurement cost is that of running the procurement function itself. These are salaries, wages and benefits of employees working in the department, their bonuses, increments, cost of supplies and others. The purchasing system (electronic) is normally part of the inventory and receiving functions. All these cannot be identified as individual items of procurement and hence are considered administrative costs and grouped under administrative and general in the profit and loss (or also known as income) statement.

According to Ashley Lobo, director of procurement, InterContinental Abu Dhabi, there are three important drivers for cost efficiency in procurement, namely: product knowledge; collaborative work; and ambition to have drive for results. “First, we need to understand the product, to have a complete understanding of its usages and its importance to the operation,” Lobo said. “This is done though working collaboratively with your operation team.” He added that understanding the brand requirements was also important. “Similarly, if bed mattresses are needed, I need to involve the housekeeper and the finance department, and understand the brand requirements before approaching any vendor,” Lobo noted. “Secondly we need to have good market knowledge and understand and know the new market trends. To do this, we need to have good communication with vendors and build a good relationship with businesses and suppliers.”

Hussain Abdullah, director of materials for Dubai’s Amwaj Rotana says, given the nature of the hospitality business and its rapid change in Dubai, it makes sense to keep the function of procurement in-house. “While employment costs will have to be borne by the company, the value in hiring someone solely responsible for procurement is unmatched when running a business of such levels of diversification, namely rooms, F&B and recreation,” he said. Abdullah added that besides ensuring price, quality and longevity, the procurement manager has to identify ways in which the hotel can benefit from a certain level of integration between one product or service and another. “The purchasing team understands the changing nature of the business more than an external company,” he noted. “An in-house purchasing team will also be able to react quicker when changes may be required.” Abdullah explained that the nature of the business mix at Amwaj Rotana changed in recent years, with the facility shifting more to the leisure segment from being primarily a business destination. “The hotel also started to welcome more families with young children,” he said. “Given the difference in the usage of the rooms, there was a rise in the amount of linen to be laundered on a more frequent basis. The purchasing team was tasked with exploring innovative products and more eco-friendly chemical products to be used to better manage costs without affecting the quality of the linen washing.” In line with Rotana’s sustainability program, Rotana Earth, the purchasing team worked together with a key chemical supplier to streamline laundry processes to shorten the wash cycle duration and to introduce new products that would reduce chemical and water usage,“ Abdullah explained.






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Serge Chamlian, managing partner of h-hotelier, looks at how businesses in hospitality can gain a deeper understanding of the customer experience through the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) AI refers to the performance of seemingly intelligent behaviors by computers or machines and is associated with concepts of automation and big data. Today, the collection of customer data, combined with improvements to computer technology, means that AI can be utilized for a huge range of functions, from basic customer service to personalization tasks, more advanced problem-solving, and even sales processes and direct messaging. Companies in the hospitality industry have been able to increase the efficiency of data analysis to improve customer service, increase customer expectations and adapt to market and other unforeseen changes. Several hospitality companies are using AI robots and programs to improve the guest experience. Here are some standout examples: • Avvio, a hotel technology provider, recently launched Allora, the world’s first direct booking platform powered by AI. Allora’s job is to drive direct bookings and guest loyalty by orchestrating better online experiences. The technology relies on learning models to analyze



• Connie, The Concierge, is employed by Hilton and can give guests a range of tips on what attractions, restaurants and activities to explore. The technology learns from each interaction with customers and is constantly improving the knowledge and service it can impart. • Rose, The Personal Assistant, is boosted by the presence of a distinct personality. Customers are first made aware of this by a calling card, which they receive at check-in. It reads: “Know my secrets. Text me”, and “I am the answer to the question that you never asked”. • Mario at Marriott welcomes guests and a dinosaur robot checks in guests at Henn-na Hotel in Japan. • Hyatt and Starwood have recently implemented chatbots (an automated messaging service, consisting of a computer program, which sets out to generate a conversation with clients) as a new customer channel service. Even giant online travel aggregators like Expedia, Skyscanner and Booking.com have implemented the chatbot technology to assist their clients. • Holiday Inn has become the first major hotel chain in Japan to adopt the latest AI chatbot concierge, Bebot. Chatbots represent an innovative frontier in customer experience and new type of

digitalized communication. They will replace humans in assisting customers online, but only up to a certain point; any complex queries will be passed on to physical staff. As technology becomes even more sophisticated, however, chatbots may well take on increasingly complex tasks. An entire generation of guests now prefer not to pick up the phone to reception or talk to a human being. They are also not accustomed to waiting for someone to answer a simple question or to wait for something to be distributed. Chatbots can provide a singleproduct solution which meets the needs of this type of guest across multiple different scenarios in multiple languages. It requires very limited resources, thereby delivering a better experience whilst saving on staff costs. Hospitality companies are using AI to automate many aspects of booking, recommendations and customer service. AI is able to handle as many as 65 percent of customer requests. The automation of customer engagement means clients are able to receive the immediate feedback they are looking for, leading to an increase in retention rates. Personalization options are endless, meaning hospitality companies can deliver tailor-made offers or options instantly and directly to the guest via chat at any point before, during or after their stay. Customer loyalty can be increased with a mixture of personalized, relevant content, delivered by the AI bot, in conjunction with integrations to the best communication platforms. h-hotelier.com


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HAKKASAN EXTENDS MIDDLE EAST PIPELINE 1. As a global brand with multiple accolades, how does Hakkasan ensure it stands out from the crowd? Hakkasan is much more than simply a restaurant: it’s an experience. Every detail is carefully considered, from the signature jasmine incense that greets customers, through to the stunning interiors, creative interpretations of authentic Cantonese dishes and the personalized service. Music and lighting are another focus. Some restaurants are able to offer great cooking or beautiful interiors, but very few can offer design, sound, service and cuisine to such high standards. This puts Hakkasan in a class of just a few.

Michelin-star and multi-award winner Hakkasan restaurant has extended its reach across the world, heightening its fame and allowing it to share its specialty Chinese cuisine and ambiance on a global platform. HN chatted with Gert Kopera, executive vice-president, Restaurants Global, of Hakkasan Group, to discover more about the brand’s distinguishing traits, its business in the region and its future development plans

2. How do you assess gastronomy in the MENA and how has Hakkasan contributed to its development? The MENA region is continually evolving and expanding its gastronomy. Destinations such as Dubai have long ensured the region is on the world culinary map. Visitors and residents alike are able to choose from a significant variety of well executed world cuisines. It’s no secret that Michelin is looking closely at Dubai and rumors are rife that Michelin stars could soon be awarded. As a global brand with a number of awards to its name, there’s no doubt that Hakkasan has played a role in helping to establish this reputation. Other brands have witnessed our pioneering success in MENA, creating confidence that culinary art at the highest level has its place and can therefore attract further investment.

3. What are the top regional markets you are planning to tap? We already have a presence in several markets, including Hakkasan in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha. We are actively looking to grow our business, with openings planned in 2018 for KSA, including Hakkasan and several other brands in our portfolio. 4. Tell us more about the Organic Mixology (OM) cocktails initiative… This is a partnership that took place at Hakkasan Las Vegas in honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. During the month of November, for every OM Liqueurs’ cocktail purchased from select Hakkasan Group locations in Las Vegas, one dollar was donated to ‘Keep Memory Alive’. These signature cocktails were created by Hakkasan chief mixologist Tim Weigel specifically for this worthy cause. The cocktails feature two of OM Liqueurs' signature flavors, which include: Cranberry & Blood Orange; Coconut & Lychee; Meyer Lemon & Ginger; Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt. 5. What upcoming F&B trends do you think the region is likely to embrace and how is Hakkasan incorporating them? We live in an increasingly visual, image-led world and no one should underestimate the influence of Instagram and social media on dining. People of all ages are starting to use Instagram as a research tool in deciding where to eat. We’re fortunate that our restaurants and our culinary offers are visually stunning and photographed beautifully! The dishes at Hakkasan are also very ‘instagenic’ and, most importantly, taste amazing. They are literally ‘art on a plate’ . . . and on your palate! 6. How are your regional outlets different from those farther afield? Hakkasan is a strongly defined concept and every opening is based around this core DNA, so that guests who love Hakkasan in Mayfair or Hakkasan Hanway in London will be equally delighted by dinner at Hakkasan in Abu Dhabi. However, we are sensitive to each restaurant’s location and seek to creatively incorporate subtle touches to reflect the destination. For example, each Hakkasan offers a special ‘Only At’ menu composed of dishes, desserts and cocktails that are exclusive to that specific location. 7. What future openings do you have planned for the region? We are planning several openings in KSA in 2018. Hakkasan will be opening in Riyadh, along with some of our other brands that we’re bringing to the MENA region for the first time.





KATSUYA TAKES OVER THE MIDDLE EAST 1. What is unique and differentiates the Katsuya brand? Katsuya is the pairing of Chef Katsuya’s fresh and innovative takes on Japanese classics, with Philippe Starck’s bold and sleek design. Together, they create and deliver an original dining experience, with more than 100 menu selections, that is both glamorous yet approachable. Our first location opened in Brentwood, CA over 10 years ago. From opening our first location and expanding throughout the US, to opening internationally in the Middle East and beyond, Katsuya’s momentum is not slowing down. Just in the past few months we have opened four new locations in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, The Avenues, Manama, Villagio Mall, Doha and Baha Mar, Bahamas. 2. What does the MENA region represent for Katsuya, and which markets appeal to the brand the most? Opening two new locations emphasizes the strong appeal of our brand, which is something we are extremely proud of, and our ability to provide diners on an international level, a unique and one of a kind dining experience. With Katsuya being an international brand, our goal is to become a dining destination for both locals and visitors in all locations, providing an all-inclusive dining experience. We will continue to grow our presence throughout the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar as our primary growth markets and will explore launching in Saudi Arabia in the near future as well.

Last September, sbe, one of the leading lifestyle hospitality companies whose portfolio includes modern Japanese brand Katsuya, Mediterranean brand Cleo, Michael Schwartz's Fi'lia, Hyde, SKYBAR and others, appointed Daniel del Olmo as CEO of Disruptive Restaurant Group and Umami Burger. HN caught up with him to find out what's in Katsuya's Middle Eastern pipeline, his plans for the star F&B labels under his wing and how the company plans to develop the other sbe brands 48


3. Why did you pick Doha and Manama to be your third and fourth openings in the region? Following the success of Katsuya’s openings in Kuwait City and Dubai, it was the natural next step to continue to grow our footprint in the Middle East, at the Villaggio Mall in Doha, Qatar and The Avenues in Manama, Bahrain, two of the largest and most desirable luxury retail locations in the world. The new additions and locations are the perfect place to expand our brand and add to the Middle East’s vibrant and growing dining scene.

4. Do you rely on your local partners when expanding in new markets? What can you tell us about your partnership with Alshaya? We are very proud of our long-standing partnership with Alshaya. They have been outstanding business partners and have represented our Katsuya brand exceptionally well, so much that we have agreed to launch our modern Mediterranean brand, Cleo, next with Alshaya at the Avenues Mall in Kuwait during Spring next year. Alshaya is one of the strongest partners any brand can have, given their strong local market expertise and deep operational bench that ensures a consistent execution across our growing portfolio. 5. Is the MENA region a challenging market to penetrate and to operate in? What policies and strategies are you adopting? We rely on our partner, Alshaya, to expertly guide us through all of the market dynamics. We believe that the most powerful brands understand the importance to be locally relevant, while remaining true to the DNA of the brand. 6. Do you think the region is more into casual or fine dining, and how do you benchmark gastronomy? We believe that we offer guests the opportunity of enjoying a lifestyle dining experience, which is rooted in our company’s deep history in creating distinctive lifestyle experiences across hotels, restaurants, residences and nightlife venues. Lifestyle dining offers guests the combination of noteworthy culinary discoveries along with a sensual 360-degree experience like Katsuya, Cleo or The Bazaar by Jose Andres to name a few of our brands. 7. What are your future plans for the region, and which markets are likely to be next? We intend to double our presence in size over the next five years, and will continue to grow in the markets we are currently present in, with our Katsuya brand as well as introducing our Cleo modern Mediterranean brand. We also believe Saudi Arabia holds promise as a new market.


Since 1965

Made in Italy











REPORT 2018 The franchise industry has had a remarkable year, especially in the F&B sector, with the Middle East still focused on the development of this key segment, 40 years after the first US burger concepts entered the region.

The growth in F&B franchising in 2017 was mainly from emerging brands that embraced changing consumer habits and millennial tastes. These sought out innovation — new technologies, marketing tactics and menu items — to set them apart. With more markets added to the report this year, we take a look at the changes in the restaurant industry as a whole and offer an in-depth analysis of the Middle Eastern F&B franchises in particular, to provide clues as to where the industry is headed. To give an example, it’s evident that the cookie cutter franchise is a thing of the past, with even chain restaurants opting for more localization in both menu and design. Forward-thinkers are looking for original concepts with at least one ‘crave-able’ item on the menu to attract repeat customers. Our analysis also shows that more investment is being placed in the high-growth, fast-casual category, with less emphasis on traditional fast food and full-service restaurants. Dated concepts that haven’t incorporated a proper ‘hook’ will struggle to find a buyer. Health and technology are two buzzwords that seem to be here to stay. Vegetable-forward and farm-to-table concepts are popping up everywhere, with one restaurant on our Hospitality News 100 list featuring an actual miniature farm on the table. And, if you don’t have online ordering, a mobile app or convenient takeout and delivery options, whatever the restaurant category, it’s time to play catch-up. One thing is certain; the franchising sector in the MENA region represents a significant opportunity for global investors, and Middle Eastern franchises in Europe and the US are faring well, with Mediterranean fast-casual restaurants leading the way in 2018.








FRANCHISING: DO. YOUR. HOMEWORK With the new year come new resolutions, such as: why don’t we finally buy into the franchise dream we’ve had for a while? For some, that wish has become a reality, producing many success stories in and out of the Middle East. Nagi Morkos, managing partner at Hodema consulting services, talks us through the dos and don’ts to consider before expanding business. On the other side of the spectrum, franchising can be seen as a survival solution in the event of a market slowdown.

The Holy Grail, aka the operations manual

Franchising has been at the top of the region’s savvy investors’ list for some time, bringing with it the promise of a relatively safe route to expansion and success. But the path is not always a smooth one. Three words to keep in mind, whether you own a brand or want to become a franchisee: Do. Your. Homework. And proceed with caution, otherwise you risk falling into fatal traps.

Franchisors, bespoke your brand So you own a food and beverage (F&B) brand which is quite successful locally and you’d like to replicate it elsewhere. Remember that being a business owner doesn’t mean you know how to franchise it, and making that shift can be critical for ensuring its success. The franchising set-up stages are crucial. Your concept needs to be tailored to fit franchising requirements and there are many. The key three are: finance and control; human resources and product consistency. These all need to be standardized as efficiently as possible. Finance and control means that all procedures must be detailed, from purchases to cost calculations and menu modifications. Human resources is also pivotal; recruitment and management need to meet the company’s standards. Product consistency, meanwhile, covers everything from purchasing ingredients and cooking specifications to corporate identity and interior design. If you’re new in the business and already considering franchising your concept as you’re developing it, seize the opportunity to build a brand already ‘franchise-ready’. This will save you money when the time comes to expand your



Once you’ve met the criteria required just to consider franchising your brand, keep in mind that what makes your business successful will not suffice elsewhere. Why? Because if you rely on the presence of your chef in the kitchen, they won’t be able to work in both venues simultaneously. The only way to bypass this dilemma is to provide detailed guidelines, instructions and procedures to your franchisee in the operations manual. So sit down and identify your concept’s key assets, which could be the F&B offering or the signature elements in the design. Then find a way to reproduce it without losing quality or consistency. The weaker sides of the brand need to be addressed as well, since nothing should be left to chance. The operations manual establishes the rules, standards and specifications that the franchisee will need to adhere to if they are to operate the business according to your wishes. It is basically the backbone of the brand that can be read and implemented anywhere in the world.

Finding the right match Once the business is ready to go out to the world, all you need is to find the right person to purchase your franchise. The successful candidate will need a strong understanding of what a franchise entitles them to and its requirements, as well as enough money to develop it. But it takes two to tango; the aspiring franchisee also needs to watch his/ her step before committing. Franchising is almost like entering a marriage: read the contract carefully because the honeymoon won’t last. And that’s when long-term commitment needs to kick in. The ideal scenario is a deal that benefits both parties. However, sometimes franchisors are simply looking for a quick sale, over-promising and under-delivering.

Franchisees, make due diligence a must Many see franchising as a turnkey business, when in truth, it’s anything but a walk in the park. There is an emotional feel to it that comes with the excitement of starting a business ‘for yourself, not by yourself’, as they say. The franchisor provides the stabilizer wheels until you know how to cycle on your own. This translates into lower failure rates, although there are still many deadfalls. First, if you think you’ll be your own boss, you’ll be disillusioned, so have the right expectations. Second, don’t underestimate the funds needed; undercapitalization can nip your business in the bud. And third, trusting the brand owner blindly can lead to disappointment, so due diligence is essential. This pre-acquisition investigation is key to calculating your risks and knowing where you’re going when investing in a business. On top of analyzing the facts and figures provided by the franchisor, contact former or current franchisees to gauge their experiences. Don’t rely on average revenue figures from other outlets, since they will be driven, in part, by their location and customer base, each of which is different. And look out for hidden fees and additional costs in the contract.

The limits of standardization To reiterate, consistency in both product and image is essential for success. But as locations differ, the customer base, its culture and habits vary as well, which will affect the menu, ambiance and even marketing strategies. The franchisor thus needs to identify the right level of freedom to give the franchisee in order to adapt the concept according to local specifications, while protecting the integrity of the brand. A failure-proof operations manual can almost always guide you through a franchising decision. However, franchisors and franchisees should also find out exactly what they’re getting into before taking the plunge, by dipping their toe in the water.


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LEVERAGING THE FRANCHISE LIFECYCLE MODEL The traditional franchisor-franchisee relationship is evolving in response to an active legal and regulatory environment. So how can franchisors prepare for this new reality? Deloitte Advisory Leaders, Rebecca Chasen, US advisory leader for travel hospitality & leisure; James Cascone, US and global leader for strategic & reputation risk sensing; and Kevin Lane, franchise advisory services leader, share their thoughts on the franchise lifecycle model The franchisor-franchisee relationship is a model most people understand, and it has historically led to mutually beneficial success. The franchisor owns the brand and related intangibles, such as recipes, processes and technology. It sets the standards, provides support services, and takes a fee in return.

Rebecca Chasen

The franchisee owns and operates the assets, employs the staff, puts in the hours and earns a return as an entrepreneur. But this traditional model is evolving, in response to an increasingly changing legal and regulatory environment. As the contractual agreements and division of responsibilities become more complex, the landscape is fraught with additional pressure and risk.

Emerging trends In addition, franchisors are facing increased pressure from evolving consumer, business and regulatory trends, including:

James Cascone

Kevin Lane

• Brand innovation: In satisfying consumer attitudes, attracting the best franchisee operators, and even in the never-ending challenge of drawing the best talent to store teams, expectations surrounding innovation and refreshing the brand have never been higher. Having an innovative and exciting brand isn’t an option any more, it’s a musthave. Ultimately, franchisees and team members want to be part of a brand that inspires the customer through a unique customer experience. A variety of factors drive that including culture, menu innovation, digital experience, personalization and many others. With brand innovation serving as the compass for the franchise system, the organization can align to exceed the customer’s expectations and reinforce the brand in the marketplace. • Maintaining consistency in customer experience: Guest expectations for service, environment, and safety are changing rapidly. Franchisors need to maintain a consistent brand and experience across increasingly complex franchise systems.



• Advertising spend: Often a point of contention between the franchisor and franchisee, the efficient and effective deployment of advertising spend remains a key topic for franchisors. Regional versus national priorities and the voice of the franchisee in allocating spend are key dimensions of the issue. • Managing dated and complex contracts that define the relationships between franchisors and franchisees: Many of the franchisor/ franchisee relationships are longstanding and go back decades. As a result many of the contracts that were entered into do not reflect today’s environment. • Addressing guest privacy: Customer interactions involve more digital/social tools. This leads to an increased need for franchisors to reassess their compliance program to incorporate franchisee and thirdparty responsibilities regarding data capture, protection and disclosure. • Evolving accounting standards: Recent accounting standard changes impacting the franchise model include revenue recognition and lease accounting, but there are likely more to come. • Regulatory rulings: Recent co-employment and/or joint employer status rulings also represent a substantial shift in the traditional franchisor-franchisee model, with increased risks for the franchisor. The confluence of these trends results in franchisors being more responsible for managing complex relationships with the end consumer and for the risks associated with those interactions. Franchisors face potential risks that they haven’t encountered before, such as being included in legal actions against their franchisees. At the same time, franchisors can’t employ too much oversight or be so prescriptive that they run the risk of being labeled a joint employer. They have to strike a balance.



Key areas of focus within each phase of the lifecycle 1. Plan and attract Start with a plan based on your overall franchise strategy. This can serve as a yardstick for identifying and vetting the right type of potential franchisees from those who own two franchises or fewer and may require more oversight and guidance, to those who are truly in the ‘franchise business’ and who own multitudes of locations and are likely to require very little involvement from the franchisor. Attract potential franchisees that meet the designated profile and perform due diligence prior to entering into agreements with them, particularly if you are considering working with a franchisee who owns hundreds of stores. Then build a risk-balanced model that uses valuation and analytics to measure how well these decisions map to the master franchising strategy. Moving ahead without these steps could carry increased risk and other potential implications. 2. Optimize onboard Get franchisees onboard and train them to help increase their alignment, not only with specific policies and requirements, but also with the main franchise strategy they are responsible for putting into practice. A careful effort to get franchisees on

board can help alleviate the cost and risk pressures that are influencing the industry today.

and to seek better clarifications in the agreement language to better protect both the franchisor and franchisee.

3. Operate, grow and retain Fuel growth, retain customers and operate effectively following the store’s launch by providing technical and financial support and opportunities for innovation and expansion. A key component of growth is a focus on monitoring franchisee health, allocating costs transparently to the franchisees, fine-tuning ongoing operations and providing consistent brand support. From a retention perspective, franchisee relationship management is paramount. A program needs to be put in place to help the franchisee fully understand the agreement and embrace it which leads to less conflict over the longer term. Moreover, brand and operational compliance is essential to running effective operations across multiple stores.

In a less frequent, but more challenging scenario, the franchisor needs to be prepared to part ways with an offbrand or under-performing franchisee. This may be a mutual process, or it may involve a contract breach. If the latter is the case, the franchisor will need to identify how the franchisee is noncompliant and manage that breach of contract. Doing so ineffectively can result in significant challenges for the franchisor.

4. Renew, expire, or divest Renew, expire or divest as the franchise agreement period comes to an end. In the majority of cases, franchisors will renew agreements with well-performing franchisees with little difficulty. Still, sometimes the evolution of the business environment can require the franchisor to revisit the terms of the franchise agreement

Preparing for this new reality Franchisors clearly understand the franchise model and have operated in it successfully for decades. That said, the modern business environment has evolved around franchisors, and now is the time for a fresh look and an enterprise-wide approach. A new way of thinking, planning and operating that gives franchisors the potential to break out of old patterns and overcome rising cost and risk challenges can yield the edge that franchisors need to succeed in today’s environment. deloitte.com

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22/01/2018 12:15




With franchising becoming a crucial business model for the F&B industry, Imad Charaf Eddine, chairman of Francorp, a franchise development firm, reveals several key industry issues 1. What’s your assessment of the franchising industry in the MENA? Within North Africa, the Egyptian franchise sector grew from 25 international brands in 1999 to 360 in 2010 and had reached 430 by 2012. In terms of the GCC countries, fast food is expected to account for 40 percent of the franchising market, as eating out is part of the region’s culture and tourism practices. In addition, the popularity of US quick-service restaurants (QSR) has further helped drive the entry and growth of international fast food joints in the region, such as the established McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks and Espresso, and the more recent Five guys and Shake Shack, alongside others. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a big part of franchising, and the development of governmental services and laws in the region has ensured their continuous growth over the past decade. Compared to the global market, the MENA region is still falling behind North America, Europe and the UK, not only in terms of the size of the franchise economy, but more importantly, franchising services and regulations. In terms of financial services, we have only recently begun seeing governmental incentives given to SMEs and regulations being developed to better protect the local franchisee and franchisor.

2. What are franchisors doing wrong? Under-capitalization: Asking the right question: How do I launch a franchise system and what does it cost? What does it take to sustain an organization on royalties and advertising fees? Poor operations, training and support: Underdeveloped training and operating systems



and lack of support from the franchisor will lead to breakdowns and low profit margins for franchisees, rendering the business unsustainable. Choosing the right franchisees: Not setting a proper franchisee profile which leads to poor recruiting choices, accepting unsound franchisees, leading to the disruption of the brand image and diminishing the success of the franchisor. A ‘Get rich quick’ mindset: When a franchisor isn’t concerned about the franchisee’s profitability or about the long-term viability of the brand. This will only lead to the failure of the brand. Relying on bad, outdated or incomplete legal advice: A common issue we see is clients who believe any lawyer could develop a franchise, agreement only for the loopholes to be exposed at a later stage, which leads to a costly rectification. Having a scattered and unclear brand identity, franchising without well-developed operational manuals (OM): A lack of a fully developed OM will lead to chaos and inconsistency in the franchisee’s offering, hence negatively affecting the brand and potentially leading to its demise. Franchise fee: Inexperienced franchisors are using the perceived value approach to decide the franchise fee, which has no basis in its calculation. It will be reflected as a barrier when selling franchises. Legal company structure: Another common mistake when people begin franchising without proper consultation. The franchisor owning the trademark is required to establish a separate entity that will sign the legal agreement with all franchisees. This has numerous advantages, mainly to create a legal barrier with the trademark owner along with tax benefits and others.

3. How can businesses improve their franchise offering? They should understand and build the

partnership between the franchisor and franchisee, and obtain the right counseling for their business, depending on their needs, to minimize potential mistakes which could prove costly. Franchisors should also select the right franchisees. Setting the right franchisee profile for your business will have a big impact on the performance of these franchises and your relationship with them. Select a bad profile as a franchisee and you are sure to encounter countless issues. Document your business experience, transferring your know-how in running your operations to a fully developed and integrated OM. It’s also important to be flexible to franchisees’ insight, suggestions and improvements.

4. What do you advise homegrown concept creators? My advice would be to look further than the local market and think global. Once your goals exceed the capacity of your local market, you will naturally look to franchising, as it is the fastest, least costly and most effective way to grow your brand exponentially and stay ahead of the competition. However, that does not mean that franchising is a guaranteed road to success. A lot of concepts have attempted that before, setting themselves up, and that will only lead to a chaotic and inconsistent franchise. We at Francorp stress on that, and require that our clients go through a lengthy consulting process (six months) that covers all aspects of the business (strategic and financial, legal, operations and marketing). Only once we’ve developed these for our clients do we declare them ready to franchise.


Key Individual

Number of Stores

Broccoli Pizza & Pasta

Nasser Talib Ibrahim Nasser

310 (99 operating – 65 opening soon)

Dip N Dip

Amer Al-haffar



Toufic Khouiery


Black Tap

Joe Isidori


Jones the Grocer

Yunib Siddiqui


Pain D’Or

Malco Group


Filli Café

Rafi filli





Lebanese restaurateurs share one thing in common: they are risk-takers who dream big and are keen to enter new markets nationally and regionally to expand their brand. Franchising has proved to be a popular way of reaching these goals. Ralph Nader, ‎CEO of Amber Consulting, tells us why this thirst for expansion is not always destined to succeed In interviews with several Lebanese franchisors, the majority stated that different challenges were encountered during their franchising experience. Here are some of their pitfalls::

1. Bringing the right franchisees on board. Signing with a franchisee is seen as a full partnership between both parties, thus, making the wrong choice might have a direct effect on the brand’s success.

2. Implementation of the franchise agreement. When franchising abroad,

A recipe for success 1. Franchisors’ obligations:

all agreements should be effectively implemented when a contractual breach takes place. In this way, franchisees will think twice before stepping outside of the perimeters.

a. Building and protecting the fundamentals Three products shall be provided by any franchise: a brand, a system and support. The commitment to these three fundamentals will guarantee the success of the business.

3. Franchisor becoming a franchisee.

b. Creating and innovating a system When franchisees were asked how they succeeded in their franchises, the answer was simple: “Follow the system.” Thus, franchisors that create, maintain and control their systems will eventually become a success story.

Some franchisors ended up partnering with their franchisees, which led to conflicts of interest and lack of objective decisions from both parties.

4. Having sufficient capital. Many franchise agreements were terminated before the opening of their first outlet, due to undercapitalization from the franchisee’s side, with some franchisees signing agreements to raise their initial capital at a later stage. 5. Unrealistic development plan. When both franchisees and franchisors set impractical development plans, they can be one of two extremes: too optimistic or too pessimistic. If too optimistic, franchisees will end up being incapable of implementing the plan and if too pessimistic, franchisors will perceive their brands as being abused.

6. Choosing a suitable location. Often local competition and the brand target market are either not well identified or not given sufficient consideration, leading to the selection of the wrong location. 7. Mixed-up roles. Most franchisors and franchisees are unaware of their exact roles and end up interfering in each other’s operations and responsibilities.

2. Franchisees’ commitment: a. Understanding their new business Franchisees must treat the franchise as their own business; the benefits that come are balanced with risks and challenges. b. Protecting and following the system No need for the franchisees to reinvent the wheel, but rather manage their businesses based on the guidelines in the franchise system and simply “Follow the system.”

3. Combined responsibilities: a. Establishing the foundation of culture Franchisors must create the culture (i.e., values, ethics, beliefs and purpose) that provides a fair place to conduct business, while the franchisees should nurture it through all possible opportunities and means. b. Communicating Both parties must be willing to listen and talk under the following rules: communicate on a regular basis, share experiences and be willing and available to listen to each other about the challenges they face, with a view to overcoming them together.

Untapped markets



Common Approach

New Approach

Franchise Fee

Fixed fee: covering the area/ country for a duration of 7 to 10 years

Reduced fee to initiate the approved agreement

Royalty Fee

Ranging from 4% to 6% of the total revenue based on the franchisor’s services and franchisee’s eagerness to get the brand into a specific area/country

Descending system: based on the number of new outlets openings, which will push the franchisee to implement the development plan

Outlet Fee

Fixed Fee: for each additional outlet (higher than the number of outlets previously included in the initial franchise fee)

In order to motivate franchisees to expand the business, some franchisors waive these fees once the new outlet is operational


Having said that, most Lebanese franchisors have targeted the Middle East region and mainly the Gulf countries for obvious proximity reasons. Some have realized the greater potential that other areas such as Iran, South East Asia and North Africa offer, revealing new horizons and markets. Most of these new, untapped regions are more populated and eager to discover Lebanese food, which is seen as an exotic delicacy. Africa is another region to bear in mind, recognized as a future tourism destination and poised for an influx of large investments in the near term. This will give all franchisors the opportunity to expand their business in even more untapped territories.






High ROI


LEBANON Ashrafieh Hamra Rabieh Sin El Fil Jounieh Hazmieh Kfardebian

IRAQ Baghdad Mall




NEW PRESIDENT FOR THE LEBANESE FRANCHISE ASSOCIATION I firmly believe that our potential for growth and innovation is still largely untapped

Yahya Kassaa, CEO of Colortek, an international paint brand with a retail decorative concept, has become the new president of the Lebanese Franchise Association (LFA). HN chatted with him about the economic value of franchising and his plans for steering the LFA forward What does becoming the president of the LFA mean to you? As president of the LFA, I have been given the opportunity to collaborate with a team of highly professional and knowledgeable individuals who, despite a challenging socioeconomic environment, have played a substantial role in the growth and stability of franchising in Lebanon and of the Lebanese economy overall. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that our potential for growth and innovation is still largely untapped, which is why I look forward to leading and leveraging our affiliates’ and members’ passion, dedication and keen business sense to address the challenges ahead and to propel the franchise community forward.

How do you assess what the LFA has achieved to date in terms of putting Lebanese brands at the forefront across the sectors? The LFA’s initiatives have allowed us to serve as a vehicle for informing the public, policymakers and employees about a business model



perfectly adapted to the Lebanese entrepreneurial spirit and that is a key point that we must stress upon. Beyond numbers and policy, the LFA plays a role in promoting and positively reinforcing Lebanon’s cultural role in the region and throughout the world. Many of our brands are inspired by our Lebanese heritage or created by our ability to absorb, adapt and add to the influences of foreign cultures. This unique trait is a soft power through which we can expand globally, just as our ancestors did, all the way back to Phoenician times. Today, the LFA’s dynamism, innovation and drive for excellence allow us to act as ambassadors for the Lebanese culture. This fact, coupled with the economic weight of our industry, has made successive governments and officials increasingly aware of the economic value of franchising as a vehicle for innovation, modernity, job creation and export promotion. That is both a tremendous privilege and responsibility for all our members and board of directors, who will require as much support as possible from partners, as well as governmental

agencies, to ensure that the LFA is more effective in promoting our brands and way of life.

What are your future goals? We will focus on bringing more benefits to our members, while building a bridge to connect young entrepreneurs to the world of franchising and to the LFA. If we want to ensure the future of our association as the ‘Home of Brands’, we must bring added value and create a talent pipeline of future franchisees, franchisors and partners. We can do so by sharing the knowledge, experience and stories of current franchisees, those who are finding success and creating opportunity in Lebanon and abroad. These success stories and this shared knowledge are keys to helping young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams in franchising, as we have. To reach this goal, we are planning an expanded social media and marketing campaign, an upgraded website, and generating valuable content and publications, such as the Retail Activity Indicators Report, for all our members and stakeholders. lfalebanon.com




Despite adverse global economic headwinds, Egypt has proved to be resilient and is now positioned as the number one country on the African continent in terms of investment attractiveness. Its improved standing has been generated in part by the implementation of significant macroeconomic reforms, which have helped set the country on a path to economic growth and dynamism. This, in addition to the construction of a number of new hubs, including an administrative capital on the outskirts of Cairo. However, additional efforts are needed to relieve the social pressures, especially high inflation which is due mainly to the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, and accelerate growth.

A foodservice industry worth investing in Due to increased regulations and customs, restaurants have shifted to serving food using local products and ingredients to avoid expensive imports. Recent years have brought the highest number of mainly Egyptian street food concept openings to date, as well as the emergence of food trucks and vans. BMI Research recently gave an optimistic forecast for Egypt’s F&B industry stating, “Continued investment by multinational corporations into Egypt’s food and drinks industry bolsters our view that the country presents robust growth opportunities.” Egypt’s USD 15 billion foodservice industry is expected to surpass USD 18 billion with ease over the next five years, driven forward by an expanding economy, rise in tourism and an exploding population of young people. Egypt’s population reached 104 million in 2017 with 40 percent under 18 years, putting it within the top 60 youngest countries worldwide. Demographic and lifestyle changes contributed to the rise in foodservice sales, with dining out emerging as one of life’s



essentials in Egypt. Changing shopping habits and the growth of ‘experience retailing’ also played a part, reflecting consumers’ desire to enhance their shopping trips with social/ leisure experiences. Consequently, there has been an increase in restaurant hubs across Cairo and the opening of new mega malls, including Mall of Egypt, Cairo Festival City, Arkan, Galleria 40, Americana Plaza, Waterway and Point 90. Additional projects are under development with Amer Group and other developers. However the growth isn’t only in size/ volume, the future growth comes from the appetite and thirst of the Egyptian consumer to try new food concepts, original specialties dishes, a great awareness in healthy eating/ dieting with the constant rise of health related activities, organic and gourmet products. Restaurateurs will need to demonstrate ongoing agility and adaptability through constant change and innovation. y2consulting.com

Regardless of the political instability, the Egyptian market has witnessed a remarkable increase in F&B providers, from ethnic restaurants, cafés and bakeries to international specialties. Karim Khalife, partner at Y2 Consulting for hotels, restaurants and retail tells us more

Recommendation from Y2 Consulting for Lebanese and Arab investors looking to penetrate/ gain entry to the Egyptian market: 1. Study Egypt’s new investment law, which aims to revitalize foreign investment 2. Invest in Egyptian startups; plenty of food-related startups have emerged over the past years 3. Consider mergers and acquisitions to facilitate entry 4. Look also at joint ventures with local established groups

About Y2 Consulting Y2 Consulting, a pool of like-minded, interdisciplinary and innovative entrepreneurs, comes to light as a boutique hotel, restaurant and retail consultant company. With combined years of exceptional experience in leading diverse operations in the hospitality industry, the team has pre-opened and launched several hotels and restaurants in the Middle East & Africa region. Y2 Consulting designs solutions and manages your investments across cycles with utmost care in order to transform opportunities into real achievements. With a hands-on approach, they are actively involved in your success through a spectrum of management control (strategic, operational and financial) and well-defined method to track progress. The culture is based on diversity, as well as on an empowering, inspiring and engaging team. Capitalizing on its assets, Y2 Consulting supports existing businesses as well as startups in developing their business strategies, successfully penetrating new markets and prospering while unlocking new market trends and sources of future growth.





THE ONES TO WATCH The annual list begins with noteworthy concepts in the US, Europe and Asia, followed by a comprehensive list of the Middle East. The right franchise is out there… deciding which franchise is right for you begins with HN 1. &PIZZA Origin U.S. Type Build-your-own trend with customizable pizzas that are cooked in 600 degree ovens for 90 seconds. andpizza.com

2. 800 DEGREES PIZZA Origin U.S. Type Neapolitan pizza. eighthundreddegreespizza.squarespace.com


8. BLAZE PIZZA Origin U.S. Type Fast-casual pizza.



9. BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE Origin U.S. Type A coffee roaster and retailer. A majority stake in the company was acquired by Nestlé. bluebottlecoffee.com

10. BOSTANI CHOCOLATIER Origin U.S. Type Chef-driven 100% vegan and plantbased menu. eatbychloe.com

14. CAFÉ PANS Origin Spain Type Spain's leading chain in the fast food industry, which bases its sales on the traditional sandwich. pansandcompany.com

Origin Taiwan Type Known for its iced sea salt coffee and Asian sweets; has more than 900 units globally. 85cbakerycafe.com

4. ASIAN BOX Origin U.S. Type All-natural, sustainable and 100% gluten-free Asian street-food.

Origin Belgium Type Ready-made, semi and fully customized gourmet chocolate, already present in KSA.

15. CAVA Origin U.S. Type Fast casual Mediterranean. cava.com

11. BRUT BUTCHER Origin France Type Burgers in a butcher shop.

16. CHEDDAR’S SCRATC KITCHEN Origin U.S. Type An American restaurant brand that serves made-from-scratch goodness.





Origin Spain Type Artisan pastry with charming tea room.

Origin Australia Type Espresso coffee & contemporary café concept.





5. AU BON PAIN Origin U.S. Type Au Bon Pain is an American fast-casual bakery and café chain. aubonpain.com

6. BAREBURGER Origin U.S. Type Organic and all-natural burgers, snacks and shakes. bareburger.com

7. BLACK TAP Origin U.S. Type Craft burgers and beer. blacktapnyc.com





39. RISE BISCUITS & DONUTS Origin U.S. Type Chef-driven biscuits and fun donuts. risebiscuitsdonuts.com

40. SKOOP BY NEKTER Origin U.S. Type Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free handcrafted frozen treats. nekterjuicebar.com/pages/skoop

Origin France Type Brasserie, wine bar and bakery headed by Chef Thierry Marx. letoiledenord.fr

Origin U.S. Type A fast casual restaurant chain which sells bowls of quinoa using an automat-style self-serve ordering process. eatsa.com

19. GRK Origin U.S. Type fast casual Greek food. grkfresh.com

20. HALAL GUYS Origin U.S. Type A halal fast casual restaurant franchise that began as a food cart in New York City. thehalalguys.com

21. HONEYGROW Origin U.S. Type Fast casual healthy eating. honeygrow.com


27. LA BOUCHERIE Origin France Type Traditional French bistro-style food, specializing in meat-based cuisine. la-boucherie.fr

28. MAD MEX Origin Australia Type Australia's leading fresh and healthy fast casual Mexican brand.

30. MERSEA Origin France Type Fast, accessible seafood. merseaparis.com

31. MEXCLA Origin Brazil Type Fast casual Mexican style eatery.

33. PAAVO'S PIZZA Origin U.S. Type Customized artisan-style pizza. orionfoods.com


24. KATSUYA Origin U.S. Type Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi’s take on Japanese classics with design Icon Philippe Starck. sbe.com

25. KODAWARI RAMEN Origin France Type Ramen restaurant replicating a Tokyo eatery. kodawari-ramen.com





23. JUNZI KITCHEN Origin U.S. Type Northern style bings and noodles.

42. SWEETGREEN Origin U.S. Type Simple, seasonal, healthy salads and grain bowls made in-house from scratch.

29. MANKO Origin France Type Peruvian restaurant and bar in Paris by chef Gaston Acurio.

32. OAKBERRY Origin Brazil Type Acai bowls.





Origin Germany Type A luxury fashion and lifestyle coffee concept; already present in UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and KSA.

41. SLAPFISH Origin U.S. Type Relaxed restaurant with stylish decor serving American seafood dishes.

34. PAN POLPETTA Origin Italy Type Italian bread pocket sandwiches. kalamarogroup.it

35. PEZZO Origin Singapore Type Pizza slices to the masses. pezzo.com.sg

36. PI PIZZERIA Origin U.S. Type Award-winning deep and thin pizza in upscale environment. pi-pizza.com

37. PROJECT PIE Origin U.S. Type Fast casual, artisan pizza, one size, one price.

Origin U.S. Type Tasting menu featuring an in house hydroponic garden on each table. temporischicago.com

44. THE LITTLE BEET Origin U.S. Type Inspired by local, seasonal and natural ingredients. thelittlebeet.com

45. UMAMI BURGER Origin U.S. Type Gourmet burgers, truffle fries and craft beers. umamiburger.com

46. VEDGE Origin U.S. Type 'Vegetable-forward' restaurant. vedgerestaurant.com

47. WHICH WICH Origin U.S. Type Fast casual restaurant chain specializing in sandwiches and salads; already present in Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and UAE. whichwichfranchising.com

48. WOW BAO Origin U.S. Type Asian fast casual menu focusing on hot Asian steamed buns, potstickers, and rice and noodle bowls. wowbao.com

49. WRAP IT UP Origin U.K. Type Wraps Inspired by food from around the world. wrapitup.co.uk


38. R TACO Origin U.S. Type Street style tacos. rtacos.com

*The Hospitality News 100 is a compilation of award winning restaurants, suggestions from leading F&B consultants and the staff's own research and discretion. FEB-MAR 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





KUWAIT 55. OVIO A European casual restaurant that provides quality artisan food and a get-away for its customers. Number of franchises 3 locations in Cairo + 2 locations to be opened in 2018 Contact information info@ovio.eu

50. ABOU EL SID The quintessential authentic Egyptian cuisine experience. Royalty fees 5% Cost to establish each outlet USD 2,000/sqm Corporate support and marketing fees 1.5% Number of franchises 10 locations in Egypt, 2 in KSA and 1 in Kuwait Contact information development@ abouelsid.com

56. SACHI A fine-dining venue, inspired by traditional recipes of the Mediterranean world whilst creating modern and inventive culinary remixes. Cost to establish each outlet USD 550,000 Number of franchises 1 + Sachi by the Sea Contact information marketing@ bakyhospitality.com 57. TAMARA LEBANESE BISTRO (MORICO) Tamara has made its mark on the local market and become the most popular destination for a traditional Lebanese cuisine experience. Cost to establish each outlet USD 285,000 Number of franchises 8 homegrown branches

51. CRAVE A hub of global cuisines, where taste, innovation and top quality meet to make casual dining feel like home. Cost to establish each outlet USD 350,000 Number of franchises 7 homegrown branches Contact information roba@ticoeg.com 52. MOBISTRO A stylish authentic European-style eatery that captures the mood and cuisine with the right élan. Cost to establish each outlet USD 280,000 Number of franchises 3 branches in Cairo Contact information mo@mobistroegypt.com

58. TBS (THE BAKERY SHOP) The "It's so fresh, it's baked in front of you!" slogan has now become embedded in the minds of Egyptians. TBS is now one of the most successful Egyptian business ventures. Current number of franchises 41 branches Contact information tbsfresh.com 59. THE FOUR FAT LADIES An all-American gourmet bakery that offers a wide range of products, free from preservatives, artificial fats, sugar substitutes and other additives. Cost to establish each outlet USD 65,000 Number of franchises 7 outlets Contact information tbsfresh.com 60. ZOOBA A celebration of Egyptian street food culture, Zooba offers beloved traditional versions of street dishes with innovations Current number of franchises 6 branches Contact information ahmedfahmy@ zoobaeats.com

53. MORI SUSHI (MORICO) Conceptualized and born in Sao Paulo, Mori Sushi made its way to the fine-food cravers of Egypt and Dubai, and is now going global. Cost to establish each outlet USD 200,000 Number of franchises 14 branches in Egypt, 1 in Dubai 54. NOLA BAKERY A family-run business leading the first cupcake store in Egypt. Today, Nola has expanded into a full-fledged bakery shop. Cost to establish each outlet USD 60,000 Number of franchises 19 branches in Egypt Contact information franchise@nolabkery.com



Contact information for Morico restaurants in Egypt hossam.fahmy@mori-sushi.com

KSA 61. DIPIT CHOCOLATE Franchise fee USD 50,000 Royalties 6% from sales Corporate support and marketing fees 2% from sales Number of franchises 4 branches in 3 cities in KSA and 5 outlets will be opened in 2018 Contact information hassan_teto100 @yahoo.com

62. AYAM ZAMAN Developed to promote and spread vibrant authentic Lebanese cuisine with its oriental rituals in a “home away from home” atmosphere. Royalty fees 5% of total gross sales Cost to establish each outlet Up to USD 375,000 Corporate support & marketing fees 1% Number of franchises 3 locations in Kuwait 63. JAMAWAR Jamawar, meaning a special traditional shawl, captures the true essence of Indian subcontinent cuisine with a modern flare and touch of theater. Royalty fees 5% of total gross sales Cost to establish each outlet Up to USD 350,000 Corporate support & marketing fees 1% Number of franchises 2 locations in Kuwait 64. SAKURA Sakura has established itself among the leading Japanese dining experiences in the Gulf by focusing on quality of ingredients and presentation. Royalty fees 5% of total gross sales Cost to establish each outlet Up to USD 400,000 Corporate support & marketing fees 1% Number of franchises 1 franchise in UAE, 6 locations in Kuwait 65. SHABESTAN Epitomizes the true taste of authentic and refined Persian cuisine in a luxurious, vibrant and warm royal ambiance. Royalty fees 5% of total gross sales Cost to establish each outlet Up to USD 400,000 Corporate support & marketing fees 1% Number of franchises 3 locations in Kuwait, 1 franchise in Oman 66. YUBA An upscale fusion Japanese concept, with its diverse selection of high-quality sushi and robata specialties, given a Kuwaiti twist. Royalty fees 5% of total gross sales Cost to establish each outlet Up to USD 300,000 Corporate support & marketing fees 1% Number of franchises 1 location in Kuwait Franchise fee for all five outlets USD 100,000 per brand Contact information for all five Kuwait restaurants Mahmoud Mousavi, mahmoud@gourmania.com.kw



LEBANON 67. ABD EL WAHAB/AHWAK Founding date 1997 Specialty Authentic Lebanese restaurant and café Number of outlets 28 (Abd El Wahab & Ahwak) List four traits that make partnering with your company a successful venture • Strong brand Identity (logo, theme, concept, decor, etc) • Has clear vision with development skills • Sharing key people, product and market knowledge with franchisee • Unlimited support Two reasons why your business is profitable • Leading brands in Lebanese cuisine that are highly in demand • Great return on investment which makes it appealing for investors Contact franchise@ghiaholding.com 68. AL SULTAN BRAHIM Founding date 1961 Specialty Lebanese fish, seafood and grills Number of outlets 5 Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • History Established since 1961 • Quality of food and service according to the highest industry standards • Reputation Renowned in Lebanon and in the region and winner of 'The Best Restaurant in the Arab World' in 2016 • Esthetics We combine the beauty of our food with the beauty of the surroundings Two reasons why your business is profitable • Front and back office structure providing full control and follow up to maximize profit • The long term is our target Contact connect@al-sultanbrahim.com

69. BATCHIG Founding date June 2013 Initial franchise fee USD 200,000 Specialty Fast casual Armenian/Lebanese restaurant Number of outlets 1 local Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Authentic food portraying the Armenian and Lebanese cuisines • Original concept with our delights bar • Delicious homemade food cooked by Lebanese mothers with Armenian roots • Adaptability to all customers’ tastes, ages and budgets Two reasons why your business is profitable • Unique and tested concept for five years • Fully dedicated team ready to offer what it takes to expand the Batchig flagship through comprehensive manuals for franchisees Contact Aline Kamakian, info@figholding.com 70. BOU MELHEM A progressive Lebanese dining experience with an international menu. Royalty fees 3% on yearly revenue Cost to establish each outlet Medium size USD 750,000, Large size USD 1,400 including delivery Contact mtawk@boumelhem.com



71. BAYRUT STREET FOOD Founding date 2015 Specialty Authentic Lebanese food Number of outlets Bayrut Street Food the restaurant (Saifi, Dbayeh, Hazmieh) Sub-franchise Bayrut Street Food Bites (Citymall Dora Dbayeh, Spot Mall) Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • The brand name itself, Bayrut Street Food • The authenticity of Lebanese food • The interior design that is SOHO style • The wholesome, healthy, genuine food Bayrut Street Food offers Two reasons why your business is profitable • It is scalable to reach the critical mass • Given the know-how, low cost to franchisee Contact Pierre Abou Jaber, p.aboujaber@blueberrycapitalinc.com 72. BOUBOUFFE Founding date 1976 Specialty Daily dishes, charcoal shawarma and Lebanese mezze Number of outlets 1 in Lebanon, in UAE relocating 2 outlets from standalone to “in hotel” to benefit from the license and to allow serving shisha Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Strong brand recognition within the Lebanese diaspora • Very hands-on approach • Focus on food quality • Strong delivery component allowing to generate additional revenue stream per outlet Two reasons why your business is profitable • Deregulation of the concept from brasserie to express, allowing for expansion at a good pace in a city • Strong franchisee pre and post-opening support, helping to maximize profitability Contact info@boubouffe-intl.com 73. CASPER & GAMBINI Founding date 1996 Specialty An all-day restaurant café (fresh and healthy salads signatures desserts and award winning coffee blends) Number of outlets 40 operations worldwide for C&G only (10 cities) (locally: 5 outlets locally - 2 delivery centers) for the mother company 'ant ventures' it is 50 operations Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Our team provides assistance with site selection, lease negotiation, construction, store opening, marketing, kitchen equipment, interior design, training, and menu engineering • We adapt to the different cultures and needs of each country in order to sustain our business • We aim to continually evolve and improve our offering – food, service, facilities and standards. Our menus are reviewed twice a year; our seasonal special offerings change monthly Two reasons why your business is profitable • Generate sales from several revenue streams covering all day • Our brand and menu pricing strategy appeal to a diverse audience Contact Roy Maroun, r.maroun@antventures.com 74. CREPAWAY Founding date 1984 Initial franchise fee Between USD 100,000 and USD 150,000 depending on the business plan Specialty F&B, casual restaurant Number of outlets 17 Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Passion • Ethics • Commitment • Vision Two reasons why your business is profitable • Trusted brand and leader in menu research and development • Franchise pioneer/our experience in franchising Contact development@crepaway.com

Authentic Lebanese meets casual burger LAMB KAFTA BURGER



75. CAFE YOUNES Founding date 1935 Initial franchise fee Starting from USD 75,000 Specialty Specialty coffee roaster Number of outlets 9 Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • High return on investment, CAPEX light, scalable, multi-format and fast growing concept • Experienced and reliable management with over 80 years of experience in the F&B sector • Proven business model with 9 established outlets in the region • Unique concept: authenticity, history... Two reasons why your business is profitable • High gross margin on products sold - high EBITDA margin • Light CAPEX - High ROI Contact Amin Younes, franchise@cafeyounes.com

76. CLASSIC BURGER Founding date 2009 Initial franchise fee USD 50,000 Specialty Gourmet burgers platters and sides Number of outlets 33 stores in 5 markets Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • A recognizable growing chain with a unique brand experience • A successful business model with a proven history • A solid experienced leading team with international background • A financially rewarding business Two reasons why your business is profitable • We are the burger specialists, offering a wide variety of Angus burgers that are chargrilled to perfection • A profitable business model based on low entry cost and above average market ROI Contact Khalil Abou Fadel, franchise@cbj.me 77. CURLI-Q Founding date 2015 Initial franchise fee Starting at USD 25,000 Specialty Specialty cake and pastry Number of outlets 2 points of sale Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • A unique product • A concept that was developed after years of experience • An offering that is different, yet very simple • A variety of flavors and shapes of cakes that attract trendy clientele Two reasons why your business is profitable • Several models of franchise available to suit each market and budget • Reduced investment cost and affordable to a wide target market Contact maya@food-gallery.com



78. DIWAN BEIRUT Founding date 1999 Specialty Lebanese food Number of outlets 2 Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • History Established since 1999 • Quality of food & service according to the highest industry standards • Reputation Renowned in Lebanon and in the region and winner of 'The Best Restaurant in the Arab World' in 2016 • Esthetics We combine the beauty of our food with the beauty of the surroundings Two reasons why your business is profitable • Front and back office structure providing full control and follow up to maximize profit • The long term is our target Contact connect@diwanbeirut.com 79. KABABJI Founding date 1993 Initial franchise fee Starting at approximately USD 50,000 per outlet Specialty Fast casual/casual authentic Lebanese grill Number of outlets 20 including 11 company-owned outlets and 1 managed franchise in Lebanon, as well as 8 franchised outlets in GCC with a plan to reach a minimum of 24 outlets in the next seven years Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Trusted brand - proven business • Exportable concept - established franchise network • Authentic Lebanese grill and healthy menu in a modern casual setting, well perceived worldwide • Consistency Two reasons why your business is profitable • Reasonable initial investment cost. ROI within three years from opening of each restaurant. Flexible business model to accommodate various markets worldwide • Centralized production with a proven operational system to support the expansion of a chain of restaurants in a specific market Contact ola@kababji.com

80. EM SHERIF RESTAURANT/ EM SHERIF CAFE Founding date 2012 Initial franchise fee Em Sherif Restaurant - between USD 600,000 and USD 750,000, 5 - 6% monthly royalties Em Sherif Café USD 400,000 for the 1st outlet, USD 300,000 for the 2nd outlet, USD 200,000 for the 3rd outlet Specialty Authentic Oriental cuisine Number of outlets Locally: 6 (La Parrilla Winter Edition, La Parrilla Summer Edition, Em Sherif Restaurant, Em Sherif Café, NumeroSix and coming soon to Zaitouna Bay: Em Sherif Samak) Abroad: signed and planned to open more than 20 Em Sherif Restaurants and Em Sherif Café Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Em Sherif trademark • The business model • Quality of food and service • Unique designs Two reasons why your business is profitable • Strong brand name and solid reputation (World's 50 Best Restaurants) • Quality of food and service and the high standards set Contact nicole@sgr-offshore.com



81 . ESCOBAR Founding date 2015 Initial franchise fee USD 150,000 Specialty Fajitas and margaritas Number of outlets 6 locally and 1 abroad Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Well defined tex mex concept • Adaptable as a bar/restaurant or family restaurant • Alcoholic beverages can be replaced by non-alcoholic cocktails or smoothies in countries where alcohol is banned Two reasons why your business is profitable • High profit margins when alcohol is involved • Escobar has a solid tex-mex concept with a wide variety of Mexican dishes and fresh fruit cocktail drinks. Contact Mark Chehade, mec@mec-concepts.com

82. IRIS Founding date 2011 Initial franchise fee Upon request Specialty IRIS specializes in remarkable and distinctive cocktail bars, food menu and international entertainment that are inspired by the team's travels around the world. Number of outlets 6 (Beirut-Dubai-Abu Dhabi-Qatar-BahrainOman) Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • More than 15 years in the food and beverage industry in Beirut and the GCC • Being among the best rooftops that started this trend in Beirut and expanded to UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and soon Sultanate of Oman • Being among the leaders in music and entertainment industry Two reasons why your business is profitable • The recognition of our brand and the sustainability of it throughout the years • The concentration of the back office, that is focused on monitoring costs and maintaining high standards Contact Jad Abou Jaoude, jad.aboujaoude@add-mind.com



83. MALAK AL TAWOUK Founding date 1996 Specialty Lebanese traditional specialty Tawouk Number of outlets 36 Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Brand awareness • International standards in product and service quality • Successful business system; tested and proven • Ongoing support Two reasons why your business is profitable • Sustainability • Continuous growth Contact Joseph Ajoury, Joseph.ajoury@malakaltawouk.com 84. KHAROUF Founding date June 2017 Initial franchise fee USD 200,000 Specialty The core of Kharouf Beirut’s food offering is lamb along with authentic oriental specialties. Live cooking with cooks, butchers and performers add energy and interaction, all while entertaining and engaging patrons. Number of outlets 1 Beirut; upcoming outlets: 1 in Metn area and 6 in GCC Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Transparency • Efficiency • Leadership • Potential for growth Two reasons why your business is profitable • Main focus is the customer, the product and the service thus making it a perfect simple equation • The uniqueness of the concept and the ease of duplication due to the processes we set in place Contact info@disruptiveeg.com 85. LEILA RESTAURANTS Founding date 2006 Initial franchise fee Fluctuates as per country geographical expansion Specialty The Lebanese upbeat bistro Number of outlets Lebanon 4 outlets, Dubai 4 outlets, Kuwait 3 outlets expecting 2 new openings in 2018, Riyad 1 outlet expecting 2 new outlets in 2018, Jeddah 1 outlet expecting 1 new outlet in 2018, Qatar 1 outlet, Bahrain 1 outlet Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • We work with passion and for the love of the food by constantly innovating our menu • Committed to our partners through transparency and knowhow • Leila brand awareness in the GCC • Unique guest experience by providing constant training to members Two reasons why your business is profitable • Gross margin is interesting to look at when the business is run as per Leila’s standards • Awareness for customer needs Contact joe@leilarestaurant.com 86. LINA'S Founding date 2001 Initial franchise fee Euros 100,000 Specialty Sandwiches, salads, beverages Number of outlets 12 Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Trust • Efficiency • Support • Special care Two reasons why your business is profitable • Popularity • Know how Contact samihochar@catertainmentsal.com



87. LORD OF THE WINGS Founding date 2007 Initial franchise fee Depending on the territory Specialty The ultimate casual diner for urban foodies; Contemporary, industrial-chic sports diner with a full-fledged American menu Number of outlets Lebanon: 5, international (8 countries): 16 operating and 5 under construction Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Unique contemporary American diner, featuring a specialty menu item • Best-in-segment quality ingredients offering hormone-free and antibiotic-free proteins • Strong international and local supply chain • Professional and hands-on management team with international exposure Two reasons why your business is profitable • Relatively low startup investment • Competitive cost of goods Contact franchising@lordofthewings.com 88. MAYRIG Founding date 2003 Initial franchise fee USD 400,000 Specialty Fine casual dining Number of outlets 1 Beirut, 1 Riyadh, 1 Yerevan Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • The first Armenian restaurant in the world putting Armenian cuisine on the map • Presents authentic Armenian home cooked meals prepared by our Armenian mothers, putting love into each dish • Represents a haven to all authentic food lovers, vegans, vegetarians, the food tells the story of the Armenians • An Armenian sanctuary drawing in for the past 15 years tourists from all around the globe as well as Armenian diaspora and Armenian/Lebanese locals from Lebanon Two reasons why your business is profitable • Unique and tested concept for 15 years with a success story in more than 3 countries • Fully dedicated team ready to offer what it takes to expand the Mayrig flagship through comprehensive manuals for franchisees Contact Aline Kamakian, info@figholding.com 89. MOKA&MORE Founding date 2006 Specialty Coffee business / food and beverage Number of outlets 6 local, 18 abroad Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Ability to give all necessary support to our partners • Ongoing support to the franchisees on all levels, including but not limited to designers, operations manager, franchise personnel… • Quality controller, who will be visiting your outlet for audit purposes and to directly find solutions for any problems • Proven possibility to adapt, build and set up an outlet in any given location Two reasons why your business is profitable • The type of business is considered to have a high return on investment and profit margin, mainly due to low investment and operational costs compared to the revenues • We will be mirroring and following up with the franchisees on the financial numbers, to be able to evaluate the costs and expenses for them and make better profits. Contact franchise2@mokaandmore.com 90. NASMA Founding date 2013 Initial franchise fee Between USD 100,000 and USD 150,000 depending on the business plan Specialty Lebanese and Levantine cuisine Number of outlets 3 Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Passion • Ethics • Commitment • Vision Two reasons why your business is profitable • Trusted brand and leader in menu research and development. • Franchise pioneer / our experience in franchising. Contact development@crepaway.com



91. ONNO RESTAURANT Founding date 1976 Initial franchise fee USD 200,000 for one location, master franchise agreement USD 500,000 Specialty Lebanese Armenian cuisine Number of outlets 4 locally, 2 in progress abroad Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Commitment to our brand and guests • Assured quality in every aspect. From ingredients to service • Our extensive training program that covers every aspect of the business • Honesty Two reasons why your business is profitable • A desirable cuisine that has been refined over 25 years, to reach where it is today • The product speaks for itself Contact Saadi Hamady, saadi@onno.restaurant

92. SANDWICH W NOSS Founding date 2015 Initial franchise fee USD 30,000(for single unit) Specialty Lebanese street food Number of outlets 5 Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Low investment cost • High ROI • Strong brand equity • Process-driven business model, all standards and manuals are put in place Two reasons why your business is profitable • Unique selling proposition • Low food cost for a QSR Contact info@chaptertwo.me 93. THE BROS Founding date 2016 Initial franchise fee USD 45,000 Specialty Burgers, wings and fries Number of outlets 2 (2nd under construction) Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Unique recipes crafted throughout the years • Passionate, young and motivated team with a unique story behind the concept • Street food experience with a 'Boston Bar' atmosphere • Attractive menu and concept with a deep understanding of the market Two reasons why your business is profitable • High demand • Quality to price ratio very convenient to the market Contact antobalabanian@gmail.com




When Samy Yazigi, Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC), decided to launch an innovative concept in Lebanon, his mother country, from Switzerland, his plan included a national and international franchising ambition for his brainchild, TAWOOKLAND This new, trendy concept consists of a wide selection of 20, truly imaginative Tawook combinations and tastes, building on the popularity that the famed Shish Tawook has gained in Lebanon over the centuries. The Tawook varieties range from Swiss Cheese Tawook to Cheddar Jalapenos Tawook and Exotic, Crispy, Guacamole Tawook, to name just a few.


It goes without saying that TAWOOKLAND’s top priority is quality control and food safety. Its strict standards have secured the product an ISO 22000 warranty, while an assurance is given that only top quality, fresh chicken and other fresh ingredients are used. TAWOOKLAND restaurant opened on November 1, 2017, set out over four floors with full facilities that include a covered parking area, main kitchen and open finishing kitchen, outdoor and indoor seating, complete with garden and a 400m2 roof area, featuring trees, a bar and lounge. In an exciting development, a separate concept, THE ROOFLAND, is scheduled to open in February 2018. Besides the delights of the Tawook, customers will be able to sample a range of delicious dishes, including fresh seafood specialties and authentic meat and pasta options. THE ROOFLAND will also hold special events and musical programs.

TAWOOKLAND is a new, innovative concept offering 20 Tawook specialties, targeting all generations with affordable prices day and night. Offers a relaxing work/study area in the middle of the busy city. Opened November 1, 2017 Owner Samy Yazigi Executive chef Charbel Safi Head chef Nassib Haidar Covers 120 seats Average price USD 10 Typical dishes Tawooks, Burgers, International Food Address Bauchrieh, Jean-Paul II (Mar Takla) Street tawookland.com




FRANCHISE REPORT 2018 96. WOODEN BAKERY Founding date 1969 Initial franchise fee USD 50,000 per store Specialty Bakery and retail shop Number of outlets 51 local and 6 international Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • The biggest franchise network • High brand awareness • Very well set system and structure • Long track record of success and experience in the bakery and retail field Two reasons why your business is profitable • Secured ROI in a short period • A proven stable business model Contact david.melki@woodenbakery.com


94. TOMATOMATIC Founding date 2011 Initial franchise fee USD 30,000 Specialty Specialty pizzas Number of outlets 8 stores in 2 markets Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • Low entry barrier • Delivery focus • High growth potential • A unique menu offering with great recipes Two reasons why your business is profitable • A convenient delivery-focused, quick-service pizza concept serving a wide variety of pizzas using locally sourced and fresh ingredients giving the pizza its unique taste, freshness and quality • A profitable business model based on low entry cost and above average market ROI Contact Khalil Abou Fadel, franchise@tomatomatic.com

95. ZAATAR W ZEIT Founding date 1999 Initial franchise fee Contractual Specialty Quick casual urban eatry Number of outlets (locally and abroad): over 70 branches Four traits that make partnering with you a successful venture • We are leaders in the industry • We have high brand equity and continuous growth potential globally • We maintain high quality standards of our products and services • Proven profitable model Two reasons why your business is profitable • Efficient processes and systems • Brand equity attracts footfall Contact info@zaatarwzeit.net



97. 800PIZZA Traditional and authentic Italian food true to the Italian culinary heritage by using premium quality ingredients, traditional recipes and the exceptional art of wood red baking. (Delivery) Franchise fee USD 25,000 for UAE individual unit; area development franchise fee is USD 75,000 for a minimum of 5 units Royalty fee 5% of your gross sales and is paid monthly Corporate support and marketing fee 2% of your monthly gross sales Current number of franchises 13 in UAE and 5 in Qatar Contact 800pizza.com 98. BAKERIA Launched in July 2004, Bakeria is a first-of-its-kind concept across the Middle East. It is a takeaway bakery-café providing a variety of fresh products at affordable prices. Catering to a wide range of customers, Bakeria’s uniqueness has evolved from the wide variety of bakery products, from freshly baked breads and pastries to sandwiches made to order. It’s the perfect place for customers ‘on the go’. Size 35 to 60 sq. m. Franchise fee USD 33,000 (one time payment) Average franchise investment per unit USD 200,000 to USD 275,000 depending on the size of the unit Royalties 5% of Bakeria gross revenues Marketing expenses 1% of gross revenues Contact franchise@emarat.ae

99. CAFE ARABICCA Complementing Bakeria products, Café Arabicca is a coffee haven that provides a delightful range of espresso beverages including iced and blended drinks. Established in 2007, it is a complementary brand to Bakeria and the first locally-developed coffee concept, built around the traditions and heritage of coffee in Arabic society. Café Arabicca coffee is prepared with 100% Arabica beans by specially trained baristas. Size 50 to 250 sq. m. Franchise fee USD 22,000 (one time payment) Average franchise investment per unit USD 100,000 to USD 150,000 depending on the size of the unit Royalties 5% of gross revenues Marketing expenses 1% of gross revenues Contact franchise@emarat.ae 100. ECLAIR Unique patisserie concept, entirely dedicated to the world of éclairs. Cost to establish each outlet USD 200,000 – 500,000 depending on the size, per unit Franchise fee AED 85,000 for individual unit; minimum of 5 individual outlets to gain the license for an area development for AED 204,000 Current number of franchises 2 in UAE Contact eclairworld.com


The demand for franchised brands is on the rise in the region despite the fact that it limits flexibility and bans creativity. Furthermore, several joint ventures are seeing the light to better operate under local commercial laws for franchising, as the franchising law is not yet initiated.





1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.


44’608 36’899 27’339 18’875 15’738 13’811 13’728 11’300+ 7’800+ 6’610

Sandwiches & bagels Burgers & fries Coffee Chicken-based food Burgers & fries Pizza Pizza Doughnuts & coffee Ice cream Tacos & wraps

Subway McDonald’s Starbucks KFC Burger King Domino’s Pizza Hut Dunkin Donuts Baskin Robbins Taco-Bell

1965 1940 1971 1930 1953 1960 1958 1950 1945 1962

THE KINGDOM, A REGIONAL SUCCESS KSA is the most popular franchise destination in the Middle

East with more than 500 international franchise concepts in all sectors, from which

73 percent


American-born concepts. The fast food sector represents

more than 62

percent of the overall franchise market in

the Kingdom. The Kingdom is enjoying since decades a healthy economy

USD 23,654.87 GDP per capita in 2016 coupled with an increasingly young population, as 58 percent are under the age of 25 and are big fans of food and with

beverage outings.





Infographics by

347-733K 193-660K





FOR HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS Those that are keeping up with what is happening in the digital space have been instinctively riding the wave of influencer marketing, carving a niche for themselves, boosting brand awareness and, ultimately, revenue.

What is influencer marketing?

In an increasingly competitive market, having a strong value proposition is not enough. Anne Bleeker, managing partner at In2 Consulting, a boutique communications consultancy in the Middle East, explains why hotels and restaurants need to be increasingly innovative to distinguish themselves from their competitors

Essentially, it’s an evolution of what we have always known to be the best form of marketing: word of mouth. Social influencers are people who have a passion for being in the know and discovering new places. They are committed to sharing their experiences through social media and building a tribe of followers along the way who share their passion, connect with them and trust them.

There needs to be a good fit for both parties, so only work with influencers that fit your brand image and appeal to your target demographics On Instagram alone, influencer marketing is already a USD 1 billion+ industry, with both independents and big brands buying into it as an effective (and relatively low-cost) way to build loyalty and engage new customers, especially among millennials. But only if it is done properly.

The key to success is creating symbiotic relationships Hotels and restaurants need to be proactive and realistic in understanding where the opportunities lie and carefully work out who to collaborate with to achieve their objectives. 1. Firstly, it’s critical to be clear about what you’re looking to accomplish. Do you want awareness, to create a shift in perception, or are you looking to drive bookings or traffic to your own platforms? 2. Secondly, who are you trying to reach? If you’re promoting a local restaurant and you know the majority of your guests are local residents, then there’s no value is partnering with a regional influencer – regardless of the volume of their following. Instead, it would be far more beneficial to collaborate with a number of local influencers, who may have a lower following, but can collectively achieve the right return on investment (ROI) because they have better levels of reach and engagement with your core target audience. 3. Thirdly, consider where influencer



marketing sits in relation to your wider marketing mix. If you appreciate the value influencers can bring to your business, then be prepared to put your marketing budget behind it. Gone are the days when successful influencers posted for free, most collaborations now have a commercial element.

Success stories Something that has worked well for hotels and restaurants in the region is to identify influencers who do not yet have a huge following, but have the potential to, and start working with them early. In this instance, you are looking to build a long-term relationship over a one-off engagement. Remember, the dynamic nature of social media means that it is continually shifting, so someone who has a few thousand followers today could become tomorrow’s Huda Kattan or Taim Al Falasi. The next step is to do your research and identify the right influencers. There needs to be a good fit for both parties, so only work with influencers that fit your brand image and appeal to your target demographics. Hotels and restaurants receive countless requests for complimentary stays, meals and spa treatments, so don’t automatically say yes to them all. Take the time to look at their profile, their following, and make sure their content and tone of voice fits your brand. When you have found influencers you want to work with, it’s important to build a connection with them and be transparent. A good start is to follow them on social media, comment on their posts and repost or share their content. Avoid the mistake of treating all influencers the same, there’s no one size fits all. Personalise your approach so it’s reflective of their individual style. Once you have engaged with them and they have expressed an interest in collaborating, identify a way to work together that, all going well, offers a winwin for both parties. You need to be clear on what success looks like and how you intend to measure the end result. Use this to create tangible deliverables that are stretching, yet realistic within the agreed timeframe. Whether it’s tracking the level of engagement, an increase in web visits or direct bookings, demonstrating a clear ROI is the only way to know if the approach has been effective and, ultimately, secure longterm buy-in from key stakeholders. in2consulting.com




Instant communication is a way of life; market trends spread like wildfire in real time and trends come and go as fast as the seasons. In an industry that has traditionally taken years to accept change, we are now propelled into a new workplace; one in which junior employees have no concept of business hierarchy and the boss is not always right. Master trainer Mark Dickinson explains

Social media has become a new human resource tool for employees, where they may express their feelings, unfiltered and uncontrolled. They say exactly what they feel, when they feel it and no longer in private; they broadcast it to the whole world. Hospitality managers are slow in catching up. They are still telling employees that they cannot bring their phone to work and that they must follow old rules. But the new employees don’t care. They were born with a phone in their hands. Their entire life is connected through tablets, phones, computers and TV - the four screens. These screens provide them with everything they need. They are educated, entertained and informed, and they share, meet and socialize through these four screens. Whatever are you thinking telling them that they must be separated from their life?

Your messages and your communication must change. You have to speak in the language that your listeners understand Throw out the old rules The old adage of ‘leave your personal life at the door’ is no longer realistic. We must provide a workplace that engages and absorbs this generation of digital children. Reading a magazine article like this one is a thing of the past for them. They may read it in a blog; they may glance at the headline and make an instant judgment about whether it is worth reading on, but read a magazine? Not very likely. Tweet about it, put a cool picture with it, add a mini video to it, and now you are getting somewhere.

Your messages and your communication must change. You have to speak in the language that your listeners understand. Your employees do not want to be called staff. They want to be highly empowered responsible operatives, or HEROs, as Harvard’s Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler suggested back in 2010. Highly empowered or engaged or encouraged, but never judged or scolded.

What does that mean to you? It means you have to change. Change is no longer an option. Dictatorial styles of management are dead, and for those who still run egocentric management teams that are focused on massaging position and authority, your days are numbered. Every dictator in history has fallen and the one thing that they all had in common? An unwavering belief that they were right.

What should you do? 1. You must self-learn. You no longer have to read books, books will come to you. They can be audio books that you listen to as you walk, drive, jog or work out. Let the digital world support your personal growth. 2. You must have personal development goals beyond the scope of your work. If you’re not growing, you cannot inspire your team to grow. Set up one outcome that you want to see happen in your life and go after it. Avoid setting several goals - that doesn’t work. Your brain is wired to work well on a focused activity. Lose weight. Get fighting fit. Get a certificate in something. Travel to a specific destination. Whatever it is, pick just one thing. Work on it until it happens. Then move to the next thing. 3. Learn how to use all the latest media. You don’t have to use them, but you do have to know what they are and what they do. Ignorance creates conflict. Understand what your team are doing when they snapchat or tweet. Encourage them to do it in a positive manner - they will grow your business. 4. Engage social media as part of your team’s culture - don’t fight the beast. Encourage the team, and give them parameters. Enable them rather than struggle against them. 5. Be a master of search know how to search using more than just Google or SIRI. The population of material in the world is phenomenal. The entire learning of humankind is available at your fingertips, you just need to learn how to search. Engage your team, encourage your team, remember that their success is yours. The higher they rise, the better, and the more amazing your business will be. done.fyi



17-19 April 2018 AHIC Village, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

First 50 speakers announced

exclusive knowledge from leaders in the industry

his excellency MohaMed alaBBar Founder & Chairman Emaar Properties

saMih sawiris

Chairman ORASCOM Development

Keith Barr

Chief Executive Officer IHG

FocUs on connections FocUs on intelliGence FocUs on oPPortUnities Learn more at arabianconference.com






Msallem Pickled Okra After four years of laboratory research, Msallem has revived the Phoenician traditions. Pickled okra will soon be released in the Lebanese market. MSALLEM FOOD TECH msallemfoodtech.com

Freez Mix Today, with innovation at the core of Kassatly Chtaura’s vision, Freez Mix has been introduced in the market, offering 10 different flavor mixes. KASSATLY CHTAURA kassatlychtaura.com


RAW Vintage Roasting 100 percent organic, ethically-traded, Arabica beans every day, its limited edition vintage blend is handcrafted and comes in a special commemorative RAW tin. RAW COFFEE COMPANY rawcoffeecompany.com

Misk Mastiha Liqueur An oriental version of the Mastiha liqueur, prepared with the best Mastiha grains from the island of Chios. Can be drunk alone over crushed ice, in cocktails or after a meal. CHATEAU NAKAD chateaunakad.com


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

São Tomé Dark Chocolate with Strawberry and Chili A chocolate cream that combines strawberry, chili and São Tomé dark chocolate with a bitter taste, the aroma of coffee and blackberries. MEIA.DÚZIA - JORGE FILIPE FERREIRA UNIP. LDA meiaduzia.pt

Ballantine’s Lebanon Edition Ballantine’s Finest Lebanon Edition was created specially to reflect the history and incredible unique vibe of Lebanon. FAWAZ HOLDING SAL fawazholding.com

Black Pepper BellaVitano® Cracked black peppercorns coat the rind of the nutty, creamy BellaVitano - winner of “Best Cheese” at the US Cheese Championship Contest. ALIMENTUM alimentums.com, sartoricheese.com

Mezza Mezza, a non-alcohol malt beverage from Kassatly Chtaura. Mezzcomes in six different flavors including regular, pomegranate, apple, strawberry, peach and pineapple. KASSATLY CHTAURA kassatlychtaura.com


info@rbml-micro.com Chweifat, Lebanon Old Saida Road A.Khaled Bldg 05433149

MILK Fraud - Adulteration Our Objective at RBML Is to detect various adulterants present in milk using specific GCMSMS and LCMSMS




DRESSED FOR SUCCESS As part of its special report, HN talks to Elie Rassam, CEO of industry leader and powerhouse, Emile Rassam. With a client roster of some of the world's biggest names in the hospitality industry, he addresses the various elements and intricacies that go into creating a strong and unique brand image through the working garment What are the most recent trends in uniform design? The clothing industry has evolved tremendously in the past decade to become an integral part of the fashion world. As a result, the hospitality industry began to develop a more sophisticated, refined and professional wardrobe for its members. This entailed vigorous attention to detail, creative designs as well as the use of fashionable materials and accessories. We also noticed that most clients are leaning toward fitted and tight silhouettes for that sexy look. Employers want their staff to feel and look stylish like as if they were fashion models. Early last year, checks and prints that had bold textures and flamboyant color tones were fashionable. Expensive materials such as merino wool, genuine leather and fine cotton were in high demand. Hotels and food outlets are now ready to invest in their staff’s looks and appeal. Employers are even making extra effort and dedicating bigger budgets for accessories such as trendy head/foot wear, leather goods, bracelets and necklaces to complement the desired image. Furthermore, subtle and intelligent care to detail replaced loud branding.

What are the challenges faced in the sourcing and manufacturing of uniforms? The usual challenge is finding the right material that suits the industry in terms of durability, image and marrying these with high quality accessories like buttons, buckles and zippers. The matter is further complicated when wear and tear are taken into consideration. The other challenge is always finding the right combination that communicates each client’s individuality and exclusivity.

How do the uniforms vary in relation to context? Emile Rassam has been in this industry almost 70 years now. You could say it runs in our veins. We understand the complexity each hotel



operator faces and can offer different options for every garment depending on type of function expected ranging from breathability, comfort, flexibility and fit. Every garment we design or create has to be unique. Fabric weights and blends worn by employees working back of house have to perform and resist high levels of wear and tear. The same applies to secondary garment components, like interlining, lining, threads and accessories.

What are some of the company’s latest designs? We have recently completed many beautiful projects spanning from the Middle East to Africa, the Indian Ocean and Europe. One of these was for the new W Dubai The Palm opening this year. I personally love our recent work for the Milaidhoo Luxury Resort in the Maldives and most of the Four Seasons projects such as the recent Tunis property, The Seychelles and Marrakesh. The collections have a rich fabric and come in an broad range of styles.

Do you have any personal favorites? The newly opened Four Seasons Kuwait is a remarkable project that comes to mind. Created by the architects Gensler and designers Yabu Pushelberg, the 250-room property features two large ballrooms, an expansive poollevel terrace, three restaurants and world-class spa and fitness facilities. It was quite a refreshing challenge to work with the team to create a collection that flawlessly reflected the different moods, bespoke furnishings and original artworks of the interiors. The hotel’s avant-garde architecture and design compelled us to create garments with a strong visual identity complementing the highly sophisticated and luxurious interiors. Using a palette of warm colors and refined yet functional textures, our designs were in perfect harmony with the property’s Arabian carved wood latticework, all the while being modern and cutting-edge. emilerassam.com

THE IDEAL CULINARY FIT There are specific preferences related to a chef’s uniform, which arguably are as important as the tools used for preparing the food. The challenge is to customize a uniform based on the individual needs of every chef international master celebrity chef and culinary consultant added, “Throughout the past three centuries, Egyptian cotton has prevailed as one of the ‘best’ in the world for its softness, strength and superior characteristics. However, adding to the highest quality of fabrics, the cut and design of a chef’s jacket are powerful components in designing a practical and suitable kitchen uniform. It is the only guarantee to perform effectively the required daily functions.”

Chef Paul Hage

Chef Joe Barza

Chef Chadi Karam To learn more about what constitutes the ideal uniform, HN interviewed three reputed chefs and what follows is their take on the little things that make a big difference. Chef Paul Hage, group culinary director at Habtoor Hospitality, works in an open kitchen environment and is therefore subject to plenty of scrutiny based on his station. When choosing a fabric for his jacket, Hage explains, “Nothing beats 100 percent wrinkle-free Egyptian cotton when it comes to maintaining comfort and form. After all, whether a chef is working in an open or closed kitchen, looking presentable to the diners and to the kitchen staff is equally important.” Cementing that conviction, Joe Barza, an

Other equally important characteristics that should be considered might not be obvious, but in a busy kitchen environment, could make a world of difference. “I cannot stress enough, if the jacket has a percentage of polyester interwoven into the cotton, then I can guarantee you that the smell of sweat will escape through the garment, which is a revolting reality, as you would not want to eat the food of someone who smells repulsive. Because a chef is surrounded by all kinds of foods and liquids, the garment also needs to be water-repellent and smell/damp resistant,” Chadi Karam, reputed pastry chef and head of development of the brand ‘lily’s’ said. A very important built-in feature that is necessary for any jacket is the under-arm vent system that allows heat to escape and prevents perspiration and therefore helps the chef maintain the expected level of hygiene. On the matter of the jacket’s color, Hage said, “Back when the uniform was first conceived, the choice of color was instrumentally-indicative of the wearer’s station and the quality of service to expect. In other words, when in the kitchen, all members of staff are immediately alerted to the chef’s presence and when interfacing with guests, the dazzling white color indirectly communicates cleanliness, which is also reflective of the food’s quality.” As for the colors, Chef Barza, regardless of his open character and daring spirit, surprisingly said “I have a classic taste, which is why I like black and white colors. In other words, I prefer to stick to the roots of the profession and extend it respect.” Karam, who is of the same mind added, “In a stressful environment that habitually gets hot, the most reflective color, which literally repels heat instead of absorbing it, is white.” As for sleeve configuration, all three chefs are of the opinion that wrist length sleeves are the way to go. Karam elaborated on some of the merits saying, “Long sleeves are not only elegant, but

also serve a very important function, namely that of protecting the wearer’s hand from accidental burns. Furthermore, I prefer mine to be somewhat roomy for additional flexibility and ease of movement.” Highlighting another fundamental aspect related to the sleeves, Hage explained, “Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment extends to the clothes and not just the ingredients used. As such, long sleeves prevent any hair or follicles from ending up in the dish.” Putting his humorous spin on the matter, Barza remarked, “I feel more comfortable in wearing a long-sleeved jacket. In my subconscious mind, the shortsleeved jacket reminds me of football players.” While to the untrained eye, all chefs may look the same, the details that go into the making of these carefully crafted uniforms conceal a number of amenities specifically designed to ensure comfort without affecting performance. Addressing that matter, Hage said, “The double-padded chest layer is probably the most recognizable design feature of the jacket. Plenty of thought went into its fashioning. It primarily serves to protect its wearer from open kitchen fires, heat and splattering due to the sewn-in, non-flammable materials.” When asked to explain the reasoning behind the design of the outer layer of the chef’s jacket that is either fastened by the classic Frenchknots or the more novel magnetic button design, Karam said, “That system serves two very important functions. The first allows the chef to immediately take off the jacket in case it catches fire. The second ensures that in case of spillage, the outer layer is switched with the inner one and all goes back to normal.” In contrast to the jacket, the pants are somewhat simpler in design and feature less customization options. Compared to the jacket, the pants are simpler in design and thus require less customization options. “For me, it is preferable to have black or dark colors because it feels more proper and tidier. Nevertheless, the material, unlike the jacket, should consist of a poly-cotton mix to better increase elasticity. As for the waist, I prefer something fixed rather than elastic,” Barza concluded. FEB-MAR 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





A segment that has been growing in popularity for some time, bar catering is the latest industry to feel the effects of the mobile trend. As a result, a broad range of professionals are scrambling for a share of what is proving to be an exciting new market

New bar design for 'Liquid Engineers' by '1001 Designs'


Naji Abboud is a mixologist and managing partner of Liquid Engineers s.a.l, a company that has grown to become synonymous with the provision of fully-catered bartending services to individuals and establishments in Lebanon and the region. He talks to HN about the driving forces behind his success.

When did you launch your operations and where do you think you’ve arrived at today? We first opened for business in 2009, when the bar catering industry was still in its infancy. Back then, we catered using rented bars, which resembled tables that had no identifiable characteristics or any distinguishable identity/design. Nine years later, we take great pride in our ability to offer a



truly diverse range of bar services that constitute our ever-evolving line of hardware and catering alternatives. In keeping our finger on the pulse, we were able to anticipate market trends and have since been continuously innovating. As a result, we now have a diverse range of alternatives that can easily suit any kind of demand, irrespective of size. We have plenty of customizable bar options sporting various shapes, colors, textures and themes. Additionally, we have our own ‘BarCycle’, which is a modified tricycle used as a mobile station. Furthermore, we refurbished a caravan, which is now aptly known as ‘Baravan’ that has a vintage/classic look and can be employed to service different venues and spaces. Yet of all these, the most instrumental element that brings it all together is our dedicated and highlyexperienced 12-crew staff, who provide a top-notch service mixing succulent cocktails and entertaining guests wholeheartedly!

What are the challenges in maintaining your clients and acquiring new ones in a market marked by price wars and underthe-table dealings? Over the years, we’ve faced and

overcome plenty of diverse challenges due to our commitment to a perfect service, premium quality brands and a transparent pricing strategy. However, I have to emphasize that it’s our loyal customers who keep us going and growing. Consequently, preferential rates are offered to our repeat clients who have stuck with us through thick and thin. We are also proud of the various referrals by a select list of business partners, such as catering houses and event planners, to whom we extend the best price in terms of quality to service ratio.

Tell us about some of the novelties specific to the local market and strategies your company employs to remain ahead of the curve… Innovation is key to success! The Lebanese marketplace is quite complex and demanding, as evidenced by the state-of-the-art technological services offered at weddings and events. As such, and to maintain relevance, we continuously adopt and adapt novel innovations, ranging from new cocktail trends and bar designs on a par with local and international markets. liquidengineers.net

CREATING UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES Pro, a staff provider company. My services, due to my vocation as an architect, are further extended to offer a broad range of mobile solutions to my clients, which are central to the success of any project.

Is it true that each bar you design is oneof-a-kind?

Architect Jimmy B. Mansour, founder of 1001 Designs company, talks to HN about how Lebanon, which has always been renowned for its nightlife, is witnessing a further evolution with the rise of mobile food platforms, or food trucks, and most recently, mobile bars.

How did you come to be in the bar design/manufacturing business? I specialize in creating novel concepts and designing the innovative custom-built equipment to be used during those events to ensure memorable experiences. I entered the field eight years ago when I founded Service


Each client has his or her identity and as such, no two designs are ever the same. Once the work is done, the client is the sole owner of anything created and has the prerogative to share it at will. Furthermore, our experience in the F&B sector and the design field allow us to convert and grow any idea, no matter how big or small. This also includes the branding and advertising campaign. As such, the possibilities are limitless.

What have been some of the most challenging or unusual requests you’ve received? Because each project begins with a single idea, which at times could be one word, it makes what we do quite difficult and challenging, yet a lot of fun. The trick is to get all the related

who would be able to serve hundreds of clients. After careful study, we designed it in such a way that the bartender could easily and manually move the trolley inside any venue, while navigating through a crowd.

What are the advantages of starting a project from the ground up? The advantages are endless, because you are afforded plenty of room to let your imagination and creativity run free. Furthermore, we are able to choose different styles, designs and high-quality materials that are long-lasting, attractive and efficient. Avinox is a family-run company, founded in 1982 with the aim of creating new concepts and solutions for the food industry. HN talks to Avo Khourshoudian, the company’s production manager, to learn more about an industry that didn’t even exist a decade ago.

What have been some of the most challenging projects you’ve embarked on?

How are technological innovations and radically changing tastes affecting demand? We are always up-to-date on the latest trends and tools, all of which push us to try new things and modify our creations in different ways. To stay ahead of the curve, we make it a habit to continuously search for new ideas. We also participate in hospitality

elements to work flawlessly together and, in turn, further boost the value of the brand conceived. One such example is Crepaway, whose slogan is, ‘Come as You Are’.

What role has technology played in the design/manufacturing process? Design software helps us turn our clients’ ideas into actionable realities. Furthermore, with the invention of laser-cutting and 3D printing, the possibilities at our disposal are infinite. In other words, the only limiting factor is our imagination!

What do you think is the key to your success? Five years ago, we didn't use the word ‘urban’ often. Now, we see it everywhere, especially when it comes to new restaurants and bars. Fierce competition in the F&B industry drives us to outdo ourselves with every project on all levels. To ensure success, we pay very close attention to each and every aspect that goes into turning a newly created brand into a success story.

exhibitions in different parts of the world. As a result, we use the vast array of technological tools at our disposal, which, combined with our experience, allows us to offer the best products and solutions to our clients. It has become clear to us that people’s tastes and preferences are moving in parallel with technological advancements, which is exactly why, when our clients want new concepts and experiences, they come to us.

What are some of the weirdest requests you have received? We often get crazy requests and we enjoy working on these projects. One of these was for Dalia Catering. We created a mobile stand that can change facades, be it color, material or texture. The interesting thing about it was that by changing the work top, you could transform a barbecue station into a cocktail bar. This mobile stand became a multipurpose entity that could easily meet the client’s different demands.

The very first project we ever took on was the hardest, as we’d never done this type of work before. We were asked to transform a 1955 Dodge fire truck into a mobile coffee truck for Porsche Center Lebanon. The problem was that the vehicle’s chassis was so old, it had to be replaced. Aside from that, we had to work cautiously and find smart, yet efficient ways of keeping the spirit of a fire truck, while modifying it to serve coffee and sandwiches. Another challenging project was when we were asked to design a mobile trolley for Dewar’s. It had to be very small and carefully customized to accommodate one bartender FEB-MAR 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





Nicolas Tabbal

From the finest fillet to slow-cooked brisket and Instagram-friendly Tomahawk, beef is enjoying a wave of popularity, buoyed by creative use of second cuts and a new audience on a voyage of discovery Long a staple in kitchens and on menus worldwide, meat continues to hold its own in an era when food fads and trends come and go with alarming regularity.

Certified Master Chef Tarek Ibrahim

Global meat production is expected to be 16 percent higher in 2025 than in the period 2013-15, according to data compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (OECD-FAO). “Growth in the demand for meats will stem mostly from income and population growth, especially in countries with large middle classes in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East,” the organizations noted in their Agricultural Outlook for 2016-2025. Beef, in particular, is rising in popularity, riding on the wave of a new and growing audience. The global per capita consumption of beef reached 10.1 kg in



2015, data compiled by Statista shows, with forecasts expecting volumes to increase. Emerging markets are playing a key part in driving growth in beef consumption, the OECD-FAO noted in their outlook. By 2025, consumption is expected to increase by approximately 21 percent in developing regions relative to 2013-15, easily outpacing the rise in developed countries, which is forecast to be nearer 6 percent. The tenderloin has long been the most popular cut across the Gulf, as Nicolas Tabbal, brand manager at Azadea Group for the legendary Butcher Shop and Grill, Dubai, explained. “Primal cuts, especially tenderloin, are the most popular and will remain the bestseller for sure,” he told HN. Certified Master Chef Tarek Ibrahim, Business Development, Meat & Livestock, Australia, believes that the rise and rise of the New York-style steakhouse across the region has helped to keep first cuts of beef at the top of the list. “Everyone goes to a restaurant or hotel and automatically asks for fillet,” he said. However, constant demand for top quality cuts puts pressure on supply. “These cuts are just 1.4 percent of the weight of an animal, so the question then is what do you do with the rest of it?” he asks. “My role as chef is to explore what other meat on a 600-kilo animal can produce an enjoyable, flavorrich and affordable eating experience.”


FOOD Chef Ibrahim, a self-confessed promoter of non-loin cuts, is keen to highlight some of these. “The oyster cut, for example, is a magical piece of meat, one I describe as a golden nugget, as is the D-rump and skirt."

Dr. Travis Arp

The move towards exploring and experimenting with second cuts has been on the rise in the West for some time and is a trend that organizations such as the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) support. Dr. Travis Arp, the federation’s director of market access and export services, believes there are signs of progress. “The USMEF has tried to stimulate demand for secondary cuts of beef like short rib, flank steak, brisket and others,” he told HN. “Some of these cuts are starting to gain momentum from a demand standpoint in the region.”

Chef John Cadieux

Natissa Bouhezila

Choose the perfect cut of beef



Chef Ibrahim believes dishes featuring these cuts, such as slow-cooked brisket, are going down well with diners. “They’re the perfect comfort food,” he said. “There is also an element of satisfaction that comes from having a full plate. Diners feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.” Full plates and larger cuts also lend themselves to social media, something that kitchens cannot afford to ignore, as celebrity chef John Cadieux explained. “Diners today are eating with their eyes and with Instagram,” he told HN. “Cuts that have ‘shock value’ and a massive presence, such as the ribeye and the giant 1.5-kilo Tomahawk, have exploded, in part because they look incredible on social media.”

As well as photographing their food, diners today are also keen to know where it has come from, something that has had a knock-on effect across the chain, according to Tabbal. “Producers have started to focus on branding and differentiating their products,” he said. Key factors, including details relating to breeding, history, source, feeding, marbling and whether the meat is free-range and hormone free, are among the criteria being given a priority.” Chef Cadieux is adamant that he doesn’t buy meat unless he knows its journey from start to finish. “I want to know everything, so I visit farms,” he said. “I truly believe I can taste the difference on a plate.” The award-winning Argentinian steak restaurant Gaucho is confident that the ethos behind its dishes means they fully meet the demands of today’s discerning diner. “Generally, in Dubai, guests are becoming more health conscious and therefore looking for organically grown products,” Natissa Bouhezila, Gaucho’s international operations director, explained. “Our Aberdeen Angus beef, reared on the luscious grasslands of La Pampas in Argentina, are grass fed and enjoy a free-range lifestyle. Our beef is also exclusive to us and to ensure the highest quality meat, we remain closely involved with our cattle throughout the farming process.” The popularity of social dining is also something the brand has moved to embrace, introducing a tapas style menu in November featuring small, sharing-style bites.


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.



GOING GLUTEN FREE Originally designed as a medical treatment in the 1940s, the glutenfree lifestyle has now become one of the most popular trends in Western countries and is quickly catching on in the Middle East. Toufic Akl, partner at Hodema consulting services, tells us why Many people are keen to try and reduce or eliminate this protein, which is found mostly in wheat, oat, barley and rye, and whose name originates from the Latin word for glue. The need for and use of gluten in food is essentially texture related, since it gives elasticity to baked goods, helping them to rise and keep their shape. It also gives options in vegetarian dishes, as gluten is often the basis for imitation meats resembling beef, chicken and fish. But gluten has also been found to cause health problems. Gluten-related disorders is the umbrella term for all conditions triggered by this protein, which include celiac disease, nonceliac gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, gluten ataxia, and dermatitis herpetiformis. About 10 percent of the world population now suffers from sensitivity to gluten, and the phenomenon affects most countries. So why the surge? Scientists put it down to the ‘westernization’ of the diet globally, with people eating more bread and processed food. Wheat-based recipes, which can be found in the Mediterranean diet, are also to blame, as well as the progressive wheat takeover in many countries in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, to the cost of rice-based dishes.

Beware of the swindling protein Even non-intolerant people need to keep an eye on their diet since, to cut costs and improve performances, the agri-food industry has been reducing dough fermentation time and thus increasing the content of gluten in its baked produces. As a result, many people are now becoming allergic to food they’ve been eating all their lives. To make matters even more problematic, gluten is often used as a stabilizing agent in food products such



as ice cream and ketchup, or as a dietary supplement contained in some medications. But there is also some reassuring news for those amongst us not yet ready to give up on gluten, which is that celiac disease affects approximately only one percent of the general population. Faced with a somewhat underwhelming reaction from the food industry, some countries, such as Canada, Brazil and the UK, have decided to take matters into their own hands and have ruled that all foods containing gluten as an ingredient must be labelled accordingly. A gluten-free product must not contain more than 20 mg per kg.

Eating different However, finding specific shops and restaurants that cater to the gluten-free lifestyle can be a challenge. In large urban areas, the problem is much more easily resolved, since many supermarkets and local outlets have dedicated gluten-free sections. The trend has also reached some restaurants and cafes in the Middle East region, which promote alternative menu options like gluten free bread, pizza, pasta and cake, although these are on a much smaller scale than the huge number of restaurants in Europe and the US offering these and many more options. ‘Pseudo cereals’ (quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat) and some minor cereals are healthy alternatives to gluten products and have high biological and nutritional value. A gluten-free diet will be based mainly on naturally gluten-free foods: meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, nuts, fruits, vegetables and rice. hodema.net




Buitoni Pasta – Gluten Free




A selection of oat cookies and maamoul, bars, bread and crackers, free from wheat, milk, GMOs, palm oil, corn and soy flour, without added preservatives, additives or improvers. BREAD BASKET SQUARE SAL taqaonthego.com

There is absolutely no added sugar in Diablo goodies, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in flavor. The brand’s aim is to produce a range of low-sugar treats that don’t compromise on taste. FERNAND HOSRI GROUP hosriholding.com

A versatile product, suitable for those with diabetes, lactose intolerance or looking to lose weight. It's tagatose based, extracted from milk whey through a natural enzymatic process. FERNAND HOSRI GROUP hosriholding.com

Raw Kale Chips

Pometto Apple Chips Eat Real

Biolicious won the award for the most innovative natural and organic product of the year with its raw kale chips in Pomegranate Molasses, Walnuts flavor at the Food Matters Live in London. BIOLICIOUS biolicious.me

Pometto apple chips are an ultra-healthy, high-calorie snack without added sugar or any other preservatives. HARFOUCHE CO. FOR TRADING pometto.co

Gluten-free, GMO-free, low in fat and suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. These delicious and healthy snacks are available in quinoa, hummus, lentil and veggie kale straws. J.MEDIC. GROUP S.A.R.L. jmedicgroup.com

Coffee and Mylk

Carob Spread A non-processed healthy delicacy sweetened with carob molasses, raw cacao and a blend of extra virgin coconut butter and natural vanilla. ESHMOON HOLISTICS Facebook: Eshmoon Holistics

The Heart Healthy Mix

Vegan Croissant

The organic three in one is an instant powdered drink made from instant organic coffee, organic coconut milk, and sweetened with Eshmoon's dehydrated grape sugar. ESHMOON HOLISTICS Facebook: Eshmoon Holistics

Buitoni, the famous Italian pasta brand, recently launched a range of gluten-free pasta, in response to the increased focus of late on gluten intolerance. AL SULTAN FOOD STUFF CO. alsultanfoods.com

Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour A premium baking flour, freshly milled, from high quality, certified organic, hard-red wheat. Suitable for all manner of baked goods. BOB’S RED MILL bobsredmill.com



A 30g mix of dry roasted and unsalted nuts including pistachios, cashews, almonds, chick peas, roasted and unsalted peanuts. LEBANESE ROASTING GROUP CASTANIA NUTS castanianuts.com

The crispy flaky crust is topped with crunchy quinoa seeds. It has a supple dough made with select wholewheat and spelt flour, sourced in France, for an authentic croissant experience. FAIT MAISON faitmaison.me

On behalf of the Board and Members of the Czech & Moravian Dairy Association, Mr. Jiří Kopáček, Ing., CSc., Chairman of the Board, would like to invite you to

EU Milky Way stand At HorEca lEbanon Exhibition, on the 20-23 MarcH 2018 At biEl (Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Center) Entrance c, Stand a15 The Members of the Czech & Moravian Dairy Association are promoting high quality European dairy products: milk, cream, condensed milk, condensed cream, yogurts, fermented drinks, dairy spreads, curd spreads, curd desserts, and cheese.




A MORE SPIRITED WINE INDUSTRY At no time in history have women assumed more of the industry’s most prestigious roles than in the past decade, a report by the American Wine Council revealed. Currently, women who attained the Master of Wine degree stand at a 1/3 ratio compared to their male counterparts. What follows are the views of highlyaccomplished female wine experts who have fought with passion to break stereotypes and, in so doing, introduced a more refined way to enjoy a spirit dating back millennia


Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine, journalist and public speaker, makes some fascinating revelations on the American wine industry and highlights the dominant challenges new consumer trends are posing. How is the American wine industry faring and what are some of the obstacles faced? Wine continues to enjoy a favorable spotlight in the US. The International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR), just reported that US wine consumption was up 1.7 percent in 2017. Additionally, premium wines now account for 22 percent of sales, as opposed to just 2 percent in 1990, which constitutes an 11-fold increase. This, in part, may be due to how people are buying wine, especially in large cities. Previously, the only way to

do so was to head down to the bricks and mortar store. Today, with the proliferation of online alcohol, restaurants and grocery delivery services, the vehicles have fundamentally grown, as have the varieties on offer. As a result, and due to stiff competition, both convenience and price have become of paramount importance. This matter is further compounded when large warehouse-style discount stores are factored into the equation. Add to that the option of employing a meal-kit delivery service that pairs wines with the meal of your choice and the entire wine-buying proposition takes on an entirely new life. This new way of consumption has introduced many changes, advantages and challenges to both retailers and manufacturers in every category, not just wine, largely thanks to the Amazon model. On the one hand, many large retailers are suffering when they cannot adapt their websites quickly enough or when they develop and introduce an app that does not effectively display their offerings. Furthermore, while it seems that the small, local wine stores do alright selling wine without discounts, the larger ones feel obligated to mark wines down to generate larger revenue streams due to the fact that consumers today have been conditioned to wait for a sale to buy anything.

THE LEBANESE WINE INDUSTRY DECANTED scientifically proven that women have a stronger sense of taste than men.

HN talks to Wine Consultant Sandra Gedeon, a WSET 3 awardee and former group head sommelier for several luxurious outlets in Beirut, about women entering the trade, what wine means to her and what suggestions she has to further strengthen local and international trade. How has being a woman influenced your career in the wine industry? The world of wine has, for a long time, been male dominated. Fortunately, female sommeliers have been breaking stereotypes all around the world. However, the rise of sommeliers in the Middle East is still very slow and very few women are involved, despite the fact that it has been



One example that always brings a smile to my face is when diners are surprised to learn that the restaurant’s resident sommelier is a woman rather than an old mustached-man with stained teeth and red cheeks. On the other hand, when they see a young lady coming, they start asking lots of questions and sometimes they forget about the wine altogether! That’s the perfect ice breaker, especially since luring them in is not always easy. But once you gain their trust and decant the tensions, you have them forever! Why are some Lebanese wines costlier than international ones of similar quality? The local wine industry does not adhere to any preset government rules and regulations. As a result, the existing winemakers import everything, from bottles and corks to machinery, which adds extra costs to the end products. I therefore believe that if we build facilities that manufacture what is currently being imported, wineries will be able to create more authentic wines that have a lower price point and, in turn, are more competitive, especially abroad.

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CONFESSIONS OF A WINEMAKER and New Zealand. This is interesting because the media often portrays white wines to be women’s favorite. However, a more recent research by the Journal of Wine Economics arrived at the conclusion that there is no identifiable difference between the wine preferences of women and men.

Mounia El Kik, an Oenologue at Les Caves de Taillevent, talks about Lebanon’s growing wine industry, the differences in preference when it comes to gender and her all-time favorites. How do Lebanese and European wines compare? The soil and climate are the elements that constitute the terroir. As such, even inside the same country, you have gigantic differences, which is why no two wines can be compared. As for where the local industry stands, I believe that Lebanon is going through a wine revolution, with exciting and innovating small wineries emerging all over the country. In other words, wine is no longer only made in the Bekaa Valley. If one is sufficiently curious and adventurous, there are some amazing discoveries to be made. Do men and women have different preferences when it comes to wine? The common misconception is that women prefer white or rose wines over red. However, a study by Thomas Atkins from Sonoma State University found that both genders ranked red wine as their favorite in the US, Australia

What are your top five all-time favorite wines? I consider myself fortunate to have enjoyed plenty of amazing wines and always in good company, which makes choosing only five that much harder. However, the ones that automatically spring to mind are: • Le Zaune à Dédé, Vin de France, Grand Cul Cassé by Anne and Jean Francois Ganevat • Champagne 1er Cru Savart L’Accomplie by Frederic Savart • Amarone Della Valpolicella Riserva 2003, by Giuseppe Quintarelli (Bottle 2884/5973) • Grands Echezaux 2011, by Georges Noellat • 2013 Thibaud Boudignon Savennieres ‘Les Fougerais’ What are some of the most exciting wines to take note of this year? Nothing beats a good Pinot noir or Chardonnay from Burgundy. Another to consider is Champagne by less commercial brands, such as Jaquesson, Savart, Giraud and Selosse. Finally, I would recommend, from some of the most exciting regions to discover, Jura and its ‘flower power’, Saumur the (overlooked) gem of the Loire Valley and Corsica ‘L’Ile de Beaute’.

WINE’S BUBBLY FUTURE on the block (500 years in the making) that is quickly gaining popularity, mainly because of its light fizziness.

Tara Maria Jabbour, Property Sommelier at Renaissance Downtown Dubai, shares her predictions of wine styles that will be a hit this year. What are some of the most exciting wines to take note of this year? I strongly believe that sparkling wine will be a popular choice, fueled by the Prosecco boom. Furthermore, sparkling wine is no longer just a ‘special occasion’ beverage, with consumers asking for all kinds of bubbly beverages. Today, you can find many fine and light bubbly wines and Pét-nat is one example. It is the new kid



What is the position of the wine industry in relation to the hotel sector? In Dubai, most of the wine business is taking place in hotels, so naturally a lot of attention is given to the hospitality sector. Brands from all over the world are being very supportive by focusing on training the staff, conducting master classes and in-depth tastings. Having wine programs and knowledgeable wine ambassadors are incredible assets as they are the link between producers and consumers. What are your top five all-time favorite wines? The list is endless, but I basically fall in love with every new bottle I taste and the below are brands that marked me last year: • Tenuta delle terre Nere, Etna Rosso ‘Guardiola’ 2013 • G.D. Vajra, Barolo Bricco delle Viole 2011 • R Lopez de Heredia, Vina Gravonia 2003 • Billecart Salmon, Brut 'Sous Bois' • Okro's Wines, Mtsvane, Pet-Nat 2015

ON THE MARKET ARCADES 2009 Deep garnet. Racy, spicy nose of garrigue herbs and toast touches with black fruits in the background. Supple attack leading into an easy-drinking, fresh, ample, less open palate, flowing into a more serious, menthol, mineral, dense finish. CHÂTEAU FAKRA fakra.com

CHARDONAY This Chardonnay contains a powerful and expressive nose of dried peach and apricot, butter, bread toast, and magnolia. It maintains excellent body with mineral freshness and robust flavors emerging across the palate. BATROUN MOUNTAINS batrounmountains.com

PRELUDE 2013 A blend of four varieties called 'noble grapes', Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah from our organic vineyard in Dhour Zahle.No pesticide or chemical fertilizer is used on the vineyard. CHATEAU KHOURY chateaukhoury.com

PINOT NOIR 2016 The nose has typical pinot noir berries, yet also enjoys soft herbal aromas due to the youth of its vines. This is relatively low-bodied wine with an enjoyable soft texture and long lasting earthy finish. AURORA WINERY AND VINEYARDS aurorawinery.com

B-QĀ DE MARSYAS A high quality wine blending finesse and minerality, it's defined by an elegant freshness and acidity and is produced from the younger parcels of the domain. CHATEAU MARSYAS SAL chateaumarsyas.com



GOLDEN CONFECTIONARY When white, milk or dark chocolate simply isn't enough, a touch of GOLD makes all the difference on the plate


SALTED CARAMEL Ingredients • 250g sugar • 250g glucose • 90g water • 100g butter • 4g salt • 0.25g vanilla • 200g Callebaut - Finest Belgian Gold Chocolate Gold

Preparation • Boil cream with salt and glucose. Make dry caramel with sugar. Add cream. Add chocolate, vanilla and butter and mix well. Boil cream with salt and glucose. Make dry caramel with sugar. Add cream. Add chocolate, vanilla and butter and mix well.

CALLEBAUT® GOLD GLAZING Ingredients • 180g sugar • 180g glucose • 90g water • 2g gold powder • 300g Callebaut - Finest Belgian Gold Chocolate Gold • 120g sweetened concentrated milk

BRETON SHORTBREAD Ingredients • 60g egg yolks • 132g caster sugar • 168g butter • 200g flour • 2g salt

• 8g baking soda Preparation • Mix all ingredients together and roll out 4mm thick. Bake at 160°C for 20 minutes.

CARAMEL CHEESECAKE Ingredients • 160g butter • 160g sugar • 320g Philadelphia type cream cheese • 200g eggs • 30g lemon juice • 0,25g vanilla • 320g gelatin mass

• 180g Callebaut - Finest Belgian Gold Chocolate - Gold Preparation • Boil all ingredients except the lemon juice, gelatine and Callebaut® Finest Belgian Caramel Chocolate Gold. Add rest of ingredients and mix well.

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



• 80g gelatin mass • 100g mirror glaze Preparation • Boil sugar, water and glucose to 105°C. Pour over rest of ingredients and mix well. • Use at 40°C.



November 17

December 5

A new branch for Zaatar w Zeit

An official visit at Le Cordon Bleu

The Lebanese urban eatery opened a new branch in ABC Dbayeh, Lebanon.

Hospitality Services' general manager, Joumana Salame, visits Le Cordon Bleu in Paris joined by Lucien Veillet, Président of l'Académie Nationale de Cuisine, Éric Briffard, Catherine Bachelet and Fabrice Danniel.

Master chocolatier Matthew Muller at SteakBarSushi SteakBarSushi in Lebanon hosted worldrenowned master chocolatier Matthew Muller, creating a unique culinary experience that gathered together the country’s leading food experts, along with distinguished guests from the world of fine cuisine, fashion and media.

November 23

Opening of Restos St. Nicolas Under the auspices of Avedis Guidanian, the minister of tourism of Lebanon, and in the presence of deputies Serge Torsarkissian and Nadim Gemayel, together with a host of socialites, and prominent press and media figures, the Restos St. Nicolas cluster opened its doors in Achrafieh, St. Nicolas Street.

December 13

December 8



The Malt Gallery celebrates its three year anniversary



Beirut’s liquid library reveled in their third year of operations with Meat the Fish and Rouba Khalil.





December 21

The Syndicate celebrates the year

November 23

The Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs & Pastries organized a Christmas dinner in Lebanon at Table d’Alfred restaurant in Achrafieh.

Chivas Regal Ultis launching event at Centrale Chivas Regal Ultis - the first blended malt Scotch whisky from the House of Chivas, was launched at Centrale restaurant in Lebanon. Fifty VVIPs attended an entire malt journey led by Dr. Calum Fraser, Chivas Regal blender, and international brand ambassador, Alex Robertson. The five signature single malts that make up the Ultis were unveiled at a seated dinner, each paired with the perfect course. After a thrilling musical blend performance of five instruments by musician Ramzi Khalaf, each guest was offered a signed bottle of Chivas Regal Ultis.



December 29

Café Younes expands The specialty coffee roaster since 1935 opened its eighth branch facing Sama Beirut bldg. in Ashrafieh, Lebanon.


DAILY UPDATES ON lebanontraveler.com




A PUBLICATION BY HOSPITALITY SERVICES SARL +961 1 480081 | info@hospitalityservices.com.lb



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Hospitality News Middle East - Feb/Mar 2018 (Issue 116)  

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 - Feb/Mar 2018 (Issue 116)  

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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