Hospitality News ME - December 2019/January 2020 (Issue 127)

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Group editor Nouhad Dammous Managing director Joumana Dammous-SalamĂŠ

Youth represents one-quarter of the current labor force in the hospitality industry and its entire future

Editor Annie Keropian-Dilsizian Publication manager Randa Dammous-Pharaon Publication executive Rita Ghantous Graphic designers Elias Tufunkji Ibrahim Kastoun Features consultant Rana Freifer Features writer Jad Haidar Sub-editor/writer Miriam Dunn Sales executives Michel Ajjoub, Maha Hasbani, Josette Hikri Subscription executive Houayda Haddad-Roumman Mirna Maroun Circulation coordinator Rita Nohra-Kejijian News Production & printing Arab Printing Press Cover illustration Yasmina SalamĂŠ Published by Hospitality Services sarl Lebanon Borghol Building, Dekwaneh P.O.Box 90 155 Jdeidet el Metn 1202 2020 Tel: +961 1 480081 Fax: +961 1 482876 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.

Unlocking the potential of youth Nowadays, youth is no longer a concept or a target group, but a key stakeholder at all levels of international policies and strategies. The future of Lebanon is unquestionably based on the amount of investment we place in our young population. The destinies of a region are at stake and dependent on our readiness to exploit our human resources. Youth represents one-quarter of the current labor force in the hospitality industry and its entire future. Unlocking the potential of the younger generation by building their skills, harnessing their energy and dynamism, and bringing their activities to fruition will undoubtedly have positive spillover effects on the country, improving its living standards and increasing economic growth. As such, a strategy for investing in enhancing the qualification system in Lebanon and the Arab countries should be a priority for policymakers, municipalities and hospitality organizers. Everyone has a dormant talent. Happy are those who find theirs. Lucky are those who are able to enrich it, improve it and enhance their living standards, while increasing economic growth. The most fulfilled are those who integrate these attributes, along with a sense of wellbeing, into their personal, professional and community life. The hospitality industry is tasked with the challenge of retaining, promoting and unlocking the potential of young employees to secure its future success. Nouhad Dammous Editor-in-Chief Docteur Honoris Causa

In this issue Dec 2019 - Jan 2020



Unlocking the potential of youth




12 14 18 20 22 26


30 32 34 36

Sweet success at HORECA Jordan A spectacular Saudi HORECA All set for HORECA Kuwait HORECA Lebanon on the horizon



SEEN & HEARD Hostmilano 2019 delivers the goods & the inaugural edition of Middle East Design and Hospitality Week


Saudi HORECA 2019 review


Hygiene report



SIAL Middle East celebrates its 10th anniversary Hospitality events calendar 2020


Chef Joe Barza

Industry Hotels Food & Beverage Catering Chefs Suppliers



HYGIENE 43 Clean as a whistle








Portugal: Invest outside of the box



Looking ahead: Exploring hotel business on-the-books in Dubai and London



Glamping: Luxury gets in tents



Rate parity or disparity?



Expanding an empire with Pierre Ziadeh


58 60

MENA F&B market overview The food hall frenzy



Articulating spaces






Packaging: The Best Dressed Takeout In Town


Ownership versus employee: A battle of two mindsets



CRM strategies for hotels



On the market


EQUIPMENT 70 The best dressed takeout in town! 72 All wrapped up F&B 78 Season’s greetings: The lastest F&B

products for the holidays

BEVERAGE 80 A spirited affair: Spotlight on whisky 85 On the market: Seen at Whisky Live Beirut

CHOCOMANIA 86 Christmas Power Yule Log



Out and about

Coming issue Feb - Mar 2020

• Special report Franchising • Hotels Micro Hotels • Restaurants Eat-entertainment • Food Vegan-Healthy-Organic • Beverage Water • Equipment Uniforms


Whisky: A Spirited Affair


Creation :

Photo crédit : Pierre Ollier



OTHERS WELL 100% of our cocoas are traced back to 10, 262 farmers. We build close relationships with them so that we can improve their living and working conditions while guaranteeing the finest quality beans. Together, good becomes better.




WISHES AND EXPECTATIONS Exceeding guests' expectations is all too familiar to hospitality professionals and is something we strive to do on a daily basis, but what if the tables were turned? As the year winds down, we thought it would be an interesting idea to present the wishes and expectations of our dear friends in the industry, with the intention of gauging their reactions and finding out if 2020 will exceed their own expectations

diversification agenda of regional governments. As a result of the fast-paced infrastructure development, the growing focus on tourism and the many megaevents and giga-projects underway, among others, the region has increasingly become an attractive destination for tourists and investors from around the world. On the back of these developments, the hospitality industry is gearing up for an exciting year and we are projecting significant improvements across key performance indicators for hotels.

2. What is on your 2020 wish list?

Selim El Zyr Vice Chairman Rotana

1. What are your top expectations for 2020 with regards to the hospitality industry in the Middle East? The Middle East has been undergoing tremendous economic transformation primarily driven by the ambitious



With the objective of capitalizing on opportunities that await the regional hospitality industry in 2020, Rotana has laid out an impressive pipeline plan in line with its controlled expansion strategy. We have lined up five unique hotels to open during the year, including: Centro Corniche, Al Khobar; DAMAC Towers Arjaan by Rotana, in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh; Slemani Rotana, Sulaymaniyah; Centro Amman, Amman; and Al Jaddaf Rotana in Dubai. As a well-established hotel operator, Rotana has built a robust, diversified portfolio of offerings and this has helped the company overcome the challenges that have come its way and stay resilient in difficult market conditions. Our ultimate wish is for the economic and political uncertainty to settle across the region and globally!

of our pipeline in the region and we expect to see substantial growth in their respective hospitality industries through large-scale government initiatives, the opening and establishment of new tourist attractions such as museums, theme parks etc. and major leisure and business events related to diversified industries, arts, entertainment and culture across both countries. In the UAE, we have begun our ramp up for Dubai Expo 2020 and expect that we will continue this for the early part of the year. The opening and the following three months will be critical to the success of the event as they will be for our business. IHG is well equipped to cater to these new guest segments and we look forward to hosting them.

Pascal Gauvin MD, India, Middle East and Africa IHG

1. What are your top expectations for 2020 with regards to the hospitality industry in the Middle East? As various destinations within the Middle East continue to grow as tourist and business hubs, we remain confident of our long-term growth in the region. The UAE and KSA account for most

With Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is preparing to welcome tourists from all over the world, fostering unprecedented growth opportunities for the travel and tourism industries. We expect that 2020 will see further changes in the Kingdom with regards to the business and tourism offerings and this will lead to an expansion of the hospitality industry. We also envisage that religious travel will increase and we are well equipped to cater to this demand with several new hotels to open in the Holy City, including the 4,200 room voco Makkah. We plan to build on our already strong local presence in the country and

introduce new IHG brands to this growing market in the coming years.

2. What is on your 2020 wish list? Given the current geopolitical volatility in the Middle East, I wish to see peace and stability in the region. Safety and security are important for travel destinations to flourish, however, it is more important to ensure that people living in the region feel safe and secure in their surroundings. With respect to our business, my wish list begins with our team which is at the heart of the business - my wish is to continue to see highly positive colleague engagement in 2020. We are well into our planning for 2020 which will ensure our IHG brands and employees witness a successful and rewarding year. Training, development and cultivating a positive growth environment across our hotel teams will remain a top priority for us as we enter the New Year. As we build more strategic partnerships with prolific owners in the region, I wish to continue to develop these partnerships into long-term relationships with trust as the focal point between us, especially as we drive towards major milestones such as Vision 2030 and Dubai Expo 2020. Most importantly, we wish to remain our guests’ first choice, as we further our commitment to providing them with exceptional experiences and memorable stays at our hotels across the Middle East and beyond.

Tim Cordon Area Senior Vice President Radisson Hotel Group for Middle East and Africa

1. What are your top expectations for 2020 with regards to the hospitality industry in the Middle East? We currently have over 90 operating hotels within the Middle East and Africa and the pipeline includes an additional 90 hotels. The coming months hold some exciting openings and we look forward to adding them to our portfolio. The region and its destinations are continuously developing and include natural, cultural and heritage tourism assets, offering a wide spectrum of activities. Tourism has become a major economic pillar in many Middle East countries and I truly believe that they will remain among the key destinations for global travelers. With a year to go until Expo 2020 and Saudi

Arabia’s Vision 2030, we are definitely looking forward to next year.

2. What is on your 2020 wish list? Our organisation’s vision is to be one of the top three hotel companies in the world and we have recently just become number two. I think we reflect that with what we are doing in our area, modernizing systems, heavily investing in technology and using that to get ever closer to our owners, guests and employees. So my wish is for us to remain profitable for our owners and to continue to lead the way in Customer Service, Sustainability, and People Development including our Diversity & Inclusion efforts focused on gender equality.




2020 What are your top expectations for 2020 with regards to the hospitality industry in the Middle East?

Chris Nader Vice President – Development Shaza Hotels

1. What are your top expectations for 2020 with regards to the hospitality industry in the Middle East? To begin with, Lebanon’s position on the international tourism map is reliant upon the hospitality industry. The Lebanese market is witnessing a new kind of tourism emerging, which is the European tourism. I urge restaurant owners to make the necessary adaptation to this genre, to meet the market requirements, such as meal packages, offer and set menus. On the other hand, we are aware that the Gulf segment has recently witnessed changes when it comes to period of stay and tourism expenditure, so the restaurant sector should remain focused on quality, value and taste which is the magic equation to keep the business going, and to preserve the image of Lebanon, Lebanese concepts and nightlife.

The markets in the region are going through very different cycles at the moment. If we take the main cities in the GCC, we expect to see an improvement in KPIs across most asset classes, especially the midscale and upscale segments. Dubai is getting ready for Expo. Doha is in full swing to prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and other international sports events in 2020 and 2021. Jeddah and Riyadh should also continue to register some of the highest RevPAR results in the Middle East, mainly due to the change in visa regulations as tourist and pilgrim numbers will continue to rise.

2. What is on your 2020 wish list?

The private sector and tourism industry have always been the backbone of the Lebanese economy. Once stability reigns over the political and security levels, our country can then start a new chapter. Now that Lebanon is rising up, we are taking individual initiatives based on our innovation in order to overcome the crisis and we call on the government to grant the sector serious and concrete support at this time, otherwise we will face dark times in the coming years.

In Dubai, everything will continue to remain focused on Expo 2020, with efforts concentrated on having both hotel and standalone restaurants opened by or before September 2020. I don’t expect any significant opening to happen after that date, with latecomers maybe opening toward the beginning of 2021.

Daniel During



Shaza wants to become a leader in experiential lodging in the Middle East. We are already operating three unique lodges in the Emirate of Sharjah called the Sharjah Collection by Mysk and we are currently negotiating other similar properties such as agri-tourism lodges, wellness resorts, boutique hotels and lodges in historical sites. There are enough city hotels out there and the market is very competitive. Success lies in those who are able to differentiate themselves and offer experiences that are aligned with today’s new wave of travelers. My wish for 2020 is to therefore secure these deals and to continue growing our portfolio of experiential lodging.

The latest incidents that Lebanon has passed through since October 17 was the 'knockout' of our sector. During this period, the restaurant owners are relying on their internal managerial structure for cost control, P&L analysis, financials, cash flow, crisis management, payroll and many other subjects that could help them to survive in the current circumstances.

1. What are your top expectations for 2020 with regards to the hospitality industry in the Middle East?

Principal and Management Director Thomas Klein International

What is on your 2020 wish list?

We will also see some more worldfamous names coming in, in between now and late October. During Expo 2020, I foresee quite a few pop-ups, both in the Expo ground itself as well as

Tony Ramy President Lebanese Syndicate Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-clubs and Pastries

elsewhere in the city. Dubai will probably enter a golden F&B era, with creativity being displayed across all F&B sectors. KSA will see accelerated growth in contemporary concepts in all F&S segments, including home-grown concepts and world names to align with the current momentum of openness that the Kingdom is experiencing.

2. What is on your 2020 wish list? Sustainability, creativity, environment, fun and entertainment will be keywords in both the UAE and KSA that we will see being addressed during the upcoming year and they will hopefully stay beyond 2020.

21-22 January 2020 | Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel, Saudi Arabia |

Hear from over 50 leaders transforming hospitality in Saudi Arabia

SULTAN BADER AL-OTAIBI Chief Executive Officer Dur Hospitality

FAHD HAMIDADDIN Chief of Investment, Strategy & Tourism Marketing Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH)

TURKI AL HOKAIR Chief Executive Officer FAS Hotels, FAS Real Estate, Fawaz Alhokair Group


MUHAMMAD AL AMIR Chief Executive Officer AIMS Hospitality

JERRY INZERILLO Chief Executive Officer Diriyah Gate Development Authority

NASSER BIN SALEH AL KHELAIWI Chief Executive Officer Boudl

MAJED AL GHANIM Managing Director of Tourism and Quality of Life Sector Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA)

Register today








HOSPITALITYNEWSMAG.COM TripAdvisor’s one-of-a-kind ‘Life on Mars’ experience

TripAdvisor Experiences is launching ticket sales for the adventure of a lifetime, which happens to actually be in a Spanish Cave. Working with interplanetary agency, Astroland, TripAdvisor is bringing you the chance to experience a world-first for a taste of what life on the Red Planet would be like. Based on years of research and development, Astroland has created, 'Ares Station' a scientific space station developed to replicate the hostile conditions of Mars within a specifically selected cave, 60 meters high and 1.5km long, in Arredondo, Spain, totally isolated from human contact. Abu Dhabi’s Marsa Mina to offer mixed-use leisure concepts in Q1 2020

Abu Dhabi Ports has started working on the city’s new waterfront space, Marsa Mina at Mina Zayed, scheduled to be completed and opened to the public in the first quarter of 2020. Located next to the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, when complete, the area will feature a diverse mix of food trucks and unique retail concepts, family entertainment, playgrounds and open seating areas. Ground-work for Coastal Village at the Red Sea Project

Spanning 66 days under the leadership of H.E. Turki AlSheikh, the largest entertainment event in Saudi Arabia's history will drive tourism, job creation and economic growth Riyadh, the capital of the largest economy in the Middle East, has opened its doors to the world like never before with the launch of Riyadh Season, the largest cultural and entertainment program in Saudi Arabia’s history. The biggest of 11 such events, planned as part of the initiative, is already underway and will run until December 15, 2019. It offers over 100 exciting activities allowing everyone the opportunity to experience Saudi Arabia in a different light through world-class entertainment and activities divided by 12 themed zones spread around the city. The event builds on the Saudi

Vision 2030 goal of establishing the entertainment industry as a key component of the country’s national economy. H.E. Turki Al-Sheikh, Chairman of General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and President of Riyadh Season, expects to welcome more than 5 million visitors to the capital, further enhancing the Kingdom’s status as an attractive travel destination. With more than 40,000 hotel rooms across the city already booked, the abundant interest and influx of visitors has been supported by the recent launch of tourism visas for citizens from 51 countries, making the Kingdom more accessible than ever before.

Emirates Flight Catering invests in solar energy

Emirates Flight Catering has successfully commissioned a solar power system across its premises, which is expected to deliver an annual reduction of three million kg of greenhouse gas emissions. EKFC's solar rooftop power plant comprises 8,112 individual solar panels. UNIDO conference outlines roadmap for Lebanon’s agro industries

Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia, Turki Al-Sheikh on extending Riyadh Season due to high demand and turnout.

The key contribution that Lebanon’s agro-food industry makes to the broader economy and the steps that need to be taken to position it for a successful and sustainable future were explored at a sectoral conference, which took place at the Grand Serail in Beirut. Titled ‘Supporting Agro-industries: A Fundamental Choice for a Better Future’, the event marked a joint initiative for the Ministry of Industry, the Italian Embassy in Lebanon and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The conference served as a platform for the launch of a new agro-food roadmap for Lebanon, which has been developed as part of a broader UNIDO initiative organized under the banner “Strengthening job creation and creativity in the agrofood sector in Lebanon through technology transfer and skills training."

“We have reached 7.6 million visitors in a month (for Riyadh Season) and under the Crown Prince’s directives, we’re extending the season until late January.”

For up-to-the-minute news on the stories that matter to you most, read it first on



The Red Sea Development Company has contracted Saudi construction firms, HUTA Hegerfield and Saudconsulting Services (Saudconsult), to undertake a major ground-work improvement project for the Coastal Village at the Red Sea Project site. HUTA Hegerfield’s contract involves land raising and ground improvement for the 1.5 million square meter Coastal Village area.




IHG'S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS The three key strategies employed are: Creating a great work environment: Across all our hotels, we are committed to creating a favorable and conducive working environment where people can thrive and we encourage a culture where everyone feels valued and accepted. Focus on learning and development: We have a number of internal learning and development programs which help employees grow professionally and as a global hospitality company, we are able to offer exciting, long-term opportunities to colleagues and aspirants who want to develop a career in the hospitality sector.

Anna-Maria Dreesen-El Achcar

Anna-Maria Dreesen-El Achcar, VP, HR, IMEA and Global Luxury Talent at IHG talks to HN about the company's talent acquisition and retention strategies in growing the IHG family What are the main key strategies employed to secure the alarming global shortage of hotel employees and how do these differ among the three regions commanded? As one of the leading hotel companies in the world, our brands represent our promises to our guests, and it is our people who bring our brands to life. Therefore, we have designed and implemented a number of initiatives to ensure we create the right environment and opportunities for our colleagues to have a successful career with IHG.

Emphasis on employee wellbeing: We recognize the importance of employee wellbeing and are constantly evolving to help meet our employees’ needs. We are also changing the misconception that having a family and a career in hospitality is difficult to combine and are providing an environment that will help staff achieve a work-life balance. We are also taking a forward-looking approach when it comes to creating a talent pool for the future. Our approach is to invest in the training and recruitment of young talent. The question we are often asked is how we can make a sector as demanding as hospitality, an attractive career option. At IHG, we believe that at the outset, the sector needs to be positioned suitably amongst youth, especially within the national population. Our role as industry leaders is to encourage and develop the youth workforce while giving them access to the careers and success they aspire for. We continue to do this by highlighting the prospects of the various career functions within our industry

ROTANA HOTELS PARTNERS WITH WITWORK ON CO-WORKING PLATFORM WitWork, a community that transforms cafés, restaurants and hotels into coworking spaces, has added the Rotana group of hotels to its portfolio. This strategic partnership will introduce several new co-working options to WitWork's expansive list of prime venues. Featuring over 15 Rotana venues in the UAE, WitWorkers will enjoy flexible workspaces in sophisticated lounges, collaboration corners and amenities at these venues. Commenting on this news, Guy Hutchinson, Acting CEO of Rotana said,



“Coworking is a growing trend and we are extremely pleased to be associated with WitWork, which presents the right platform for the community of freelancers and the young generation of entrepreneurs. Rotana offers some stunning venues and meeting rooms across its hotels and resorts and having those spaces available for WitWorkers will certainly benefit both parties and will allow us to bring in the footfall to our hotels. Our association is starting with the UAE and will soon expand to other countries across the region”.

to the youth from an early age and by integrating them into our teams to learn and explore their interests. Furthermore, we have invested in dedicated programs such as IHG Academy to help create a hospitality-specific talent pipeline within the communities that we operate in. This program has a two-fold benefit as it also gives us the opportunity to support communities, by creating sustainable employment opportunities for the local workforce.

What are the most sought-after positions in the three regions and what characteristics should current and potential candidates looking for a future with IHG possess? In recent years, we have witnessed a growing interest in specialized roles such as revenue management, digital media and channel management. We are also continuously focusing on operational leadership roles such as General Managers and Hotel Managers, as these are crucial to the success of each hotel. General Managers are responsible for leading our brands, managing a multi-million-dollar business unit on behalf of owners and engaging hundreds of employees each day to deliver the best-of-stay experiences to our guests. Therefore, finding, developing and retaining them is a key focus in our people plans. Overall, we are looking for talent with the ability to adapt to change, resilience to work in a competitive environment, the desire to continually learn and a positive mind-set to grab the opportunities that the hospitality industry has to offer. Part of the reason attributed to employee shortages pertains to the uncertainty of future growth opportunities for staff.

IN BRIEF Qatar’s Sovereign Wealth Fund buys St. Regis New York for USD 310 million

Marriott International Inc. sold the St. Regis New York for USD 310 million to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. The historic property was built in 1904, and houses over 200 guestrooms. According to Bloomberg, the purchase gives Qatar Investment Authority another trophy asset to add to an expanding portfolio across the globe. Marriott had acquired the Manhattan property when it bought Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016.




OMAN W MUSCAT 279 guestrooms and suites


MAMA SHELTER HOTEL BRAND TO DEBUT IN BAHRAIN AccorHotels’ Mama Shelter will debut in Bahrain in 2020. The company signed an agreement with GFH Financial Group (GFH) to manage the brand in the country. The 160-room hotel will be developed within the USD 1.5 billion Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) project, one of the most anticipated mixed-use projects in the Kingdom. Opening 2020

HYATT COMES BACK TO CAIRO Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a franchise agreement with ALDAU Development group for a Hyatt-branded hotel in Cairo. Hyatt Regency Cairo West will feature 242 guestrooms and suites, inspired by Egyptian culture; with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pyramids of Giza or the hotel’s pool and gardens. Opening Q4 2020



‘THE HOUSE HOTEL’ BRAND TO DEBUT IN SAUDI ARABIA Specialist mixed-use operator Kerten Hospitality is bringing its award-winning boutique hotel brand – The House Hotel – to the Middle East region for the first time, with The House Hotel Jeddah, part of a dynamic mixed-use destination. Opening Q1 2020

IHG EXPANDS LUXURY OFFERING WITH INTERCONTINENTAL DURRAT AL RIYADH IHG has signed a Management Agreement with Al Rawabi Regional Company for Hotels Resorts and Tourism Ltd. to open InterContinental® Durrat Al Riyadh. The urban resort will feature 152 rooms and 10 private chalets. Opening 2020




JA LAKE VIEW HOTEL 348 rooms and suites JANNAH DUBAI CREEK 138 rooms and suites

HILTON WORLDWIDE TO LAUNCH SECOND HAMPTON BY HILTON DUBAI Hilton Worldwide has announced the launch of Hampton by Hilton Dubai Al Barsha. The modern 153-room hotel is the Middle East's second Hampton by Hilton to date. Opening September 2019

RADISSON HOTEL TUNIS IN TUNISIA’S CAPITAL CITY The new-build hotel will feature 117 rooms, comprising standard rooms and suites and will be an integral part of the IQ Smart Building & Business Center. Opening Q1 2023








CAMPBELL GRAY HOTELS APPOINTS NEW OPERATIONS DIRECTOR AND AREA GENERAL MANAGER, BEIRUT AND AMMAN Campbell Gray Hotels has made two key appointments as it focuses on continued development and expansion, especially in Europe and the Middle East. Georges Ojeil is promoted to the new role of area general manager, Beirut and Amman, to oversee Le Gray, Beirut as well as Campbell Gray Living and the forthcoming Campbell Gray hotel, both in Amman, Jordan. Campbell Gray Hotels has also appointed a new operations director, Simon Venison, a well-known and respected hotelier with decades of experience in operations as well as development and asset management.

ROTANA EXPANDS NADIM EL ZYR’S ROLE Rotana Hotel Management Corporation has announced that Nadim El Zyr has been appointed as the cluster GM for Hala Arjaan, his sixth property in Abu Dhabi and ninth in the UAE. The dual Lebanese-Canadian national is a graduate of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and son of Rotana’s visionary co-founder, Selim El Zyr. El Zyr assumed leadership of the 288room Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana in early 2017 and has played a pivotal role in concluding the hotel’s full refurbishment, as well as its commercial success.


NEW GM FOR MARRIOTT HOTEL AL FORSAN ABU DHABI Marriott Hotel Al Forsan Abu Dhabi has announced the appointment of David Lance as general manager. In his role, Lance will oversee the management and operations of the 5-star property nestled within Khalifa City. Lance brings more than 20 years of experience to Marriott Hotel Al Forsan. Prior to this new role, the Australian led the teams at Marriott Hotel and Marriott Executive Apartments Downtown Abu Dhabi.


KERTEN HOSPITALITY APPOINTS COUNTRY DIRECTOR TO LEAD EXPANSION IN KSA Specialist mixed-use operator Kerten Hospitality has appointed Saudi national Mishary Alhajery to spearhead the company’s plans for expansion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mishary brings more than 15 years’ experience in roles influencing the development of residential, commercial and industrial products.

MILLENNIUM HOTELS PROMOTES KEVORK DELDELIAN TO CEO Millennium Hotels and Resorts has announced the promotion of Kevork Deldelian to CEO for the Middle East and Africa region. Deldelian has been operating as the COO of Millennium Middle East and Africa since March 2017. Under his strategic leadership, the company witnessed rapid growth, almost doubling its portfolio during his stewardship.

APPOINTMENT OF A NEW HOTEL MANAGER AT AMMAN MARRIOTT HOTEL Amman Marriott Hotel has announced the appointment of Laith Naber as hotel manager. Naber has over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, starting his career with Marriott Hotels in 2004 and gaining intensive front office and rooms experience from his positions at Amman Marriott Hotel and Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa.

NEW GLOBAL HEAD OF WALDORF ASTORIA HOTELS & RESORTS AND CONRAD HOTELS & RESORTS Dino Michael will extend his current Waldorf Astoria brand head role to include the global brand head position for the Conrad brand effective January 1, 2020. In his role, Michael will spearhead the brand innovation, strategic development and leadership initiatives for both the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad brands. Michael brings more than 20 years of hospitality experience to the role, having held senior positions across several high-profile venues.



ELECTRIC BING SUTT TOASTS ANOTHER VICTORY The World’s 50 Best Bars, the annual list that celebrates the best of the international drinks industry recently revealed this year’s winners in its 11th edition. The list provides an annual ranking of bars as voted for by more than 500 drinks experts from across the globe and represents the ultimate international guide to the world’s top bars and drinking destinations. This year’s ceremony took place at the Roundhouse in London, UK, which welcomed the best bartending talent from around the globe, with a live countdown of the list,

LEBANESE CHOCOLATIER WINS BIG IN PARIS This year, M de Noir was recognized at the Salon du Chocolat Paris 2019 as one of the best 25 chocolatiers. Founded by Lebanese native Maya Maalouf Kanaan, M de Noir offers an assortment of noble confections made with grand chocolates and opulent ingredients and crafted with the utmost care. Having acquired her know-how at the prestigious schools of Ritz Escoffier and Valrhona*, Kanaan invites the refined and sophisticated gourmets to share her passion and melt in her unique universe of aromas and flavors.



Though Electric Bing Sutt came in 46th place on the World’s Best Bar list, it nonetheless rose to become ‘The Best’ and only ‘Bar in Africa and the Middle East’ to make the cut. This unique establishment is the brainchild of globally awarded bartending mixologist Jad Ballout (formerly of Central Station) and spouse Lynn Lin.

IN BRIEF Chef Izu Ani launches soon to be open Aya in City Walk

Aya is a new dining concept by Chef Izu, the popular Japanese culinary master. It will open this month in City Walk Dubai. Aya, which means ‘beautiful’ in Japanese, showcases the best of innovative dining in the UAE with its flavors and layered Asian cuisine. First Del Monte café debuts at Kuwait International Airport’s T4

Maya Maalouf Kanaan

ALSHAYA'S 10 NEW DESTINATIONS IN KUWAIT Alshaya is set to bring some of the world’s best food brands to the Arabian Gulf Street – one of Kuwait’s most popular seaside destinations. Making its debut is a popular Lebanese café brand Ahwet Zeitouna. Completing the Top 10 are contemporary Indian brand Asha’s, which will redefine

culminating in the announcement of The World’s Best Bar, sponsored by Perrier.

modern Indian dining in Kuwait. Neighboring Dean & Deluca, the third in Kuwait, will provide an all new restaurant dining experience and, in early 2020, will be the first standalone restaurant for The Cheesecake Factory in Kuwait.

Del Monte, one of the leading providers of fresh and healthy food, announced the opening of its first café in Kuwait at Terminal 4, Kuwait International Airport. Commenting on the launch, Wissam Baghdadi, director F&B North America said: “The growing trend for healthier snacks and on-the-go food has opened up a new market catering for the health-conscious. We want to encourage everyone to make healthy choices, whether that means a highprotein wrap, an ultra-fresh juice or a protein-rich salad.”







Opened January Owner Talaat Moustafa Group Managed by Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza Executive chef Gianluca Visani Covers 124 Average price/person USD 80 Typical dishes Mediterranean Seafood Fusion Address Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza

Opened September 26, 2019 Owner Walid Ataya Total investment USD 300,000 Executive chef Walid Ataya Covers 55 Average price/person USD 25 - 45 Typical dishes The menu will change regularly Address Chehade Street, Furn el Hayek, Achrafieh

Opened Mid-September Owner Doupont SAL Executive chef Tony Rahmeh Covers 65 indoors, 55 outdoors Average price/person LBP 50,000 Typical dishes Chakchouka, Lobster Roll, Spicy Octopus Dip, Giant Éclair Chocolate Address 460 Pasteur Street, Gemmayzeh



Opened September 25, 2019 Owner Jonas Reinholdsson Executive chef Walid Ibrahim Covers 155 Average price/person USD 23 Typical dishes Quesadillas, Burgers and Chicken Wings Address Hilton Dubai Creek

Opened October 6, 2019 Owner Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl Executive chef Martin Kretzschmar Cover 207 indoors, 118 outdoors Average price/person USD 50 Typical dishes Turkish, Moroccan, Lebanese Address Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl


XANDROS RESTAURANT & TERRACE LOUNGE Opened October 2, 2019 Owner Signature Group of Hotels Executive chef Rani Moussa Covers 110 - indoors, 80 - terrace lounge Average price/person USD 40 – 50 Typical dishes Lamb Shank Ouzi Address Signature 1 Hotel, Barsha Heights






TO THE FUTURE Nabil Chartouni is a Lebanese American businessman who ventured into the hospitality industry at a young age. With numerous successful ventures under his belt, he still lives by the motto, ‘Opportunities are omnipresent to all, one just has to know how to seize them'

A self-made entrepreneur of humble origins, Chartouni was one of the first youngsters from his hometown of Zahle to be offered a one year high school scholarship to study in the US, and then return to Lebanon. While completing his studies in hotel administration at Cornell University, he financed his college education by working nights and weekends across every field of the hospitality industry, from dining and guest services to maintenance. That early start, coupled with his flair for business, propelled him forward in his career. At the age of 28, Chartouni became the youngest vice-president of the Holiday Inn Corporation, going on to successfully establish a chain of hotels for the company in the Middle East. At the age of 35, he set up his own international property development business. Together with partners, he built a 4-star hotel in England, an upscale development of 200 waterfront homes in Florida and an internationally renowned resort comprising 2,000 homes and apartments in the Canary Islands. Through hard work and business acumen, he also established a portfolio of commercial buildings in the US with over one million square feet of space for rent. However, Chartouni never forgot his modest roots in Lebanon and has made



significant investments in his country of birth over the years. His companies own a portfolio of land in Achrafieh in Beirut and have just completed the construction of AVA Venue ballroom there. He also set up Faqra Catering in 2004, which has grown to become a leading catering company, providing services for weddings and events in Lebanon, as well as industrial catering operations.

Why did you return to Lebanon after finding success in the US? I came back because I was born here and I love Lebanon. The young generation today want to leave and seek a better

Lebanese are like salmon; we’re born here, we go overseas, but we always come back to the stream that we’re from future because the country is not giving them opportunities, which is why I try my best to send them on educational courses. I usually send my chefs all over the world. My recommendation for Lebanon’s younger generation is don’t expect much and do a lot. In other words, build your own future and try to do so without wanting too many nonessential comforts. I grew up in poverty, but I was determined to succeed and

I think anyone with determination can achieve success anywhere. You have to climb the ladder slowly, but surely. I have had days when I didn’t have enough money to eat and I was still confident that I was going to make it and I did. When I was at university, I used to work 60 hours a week. It’s about asking yourself what you want and what are you willing to sacrifice to get there. And that’s what I say to the Lebanese – don’t run overseas because it will take you five years to get established there. That’s five years wasted. Granted, you learn a lot, but then you live an average life. Here, you can take off, be successful and live well if you’re creative and a hard worker, because not many people are willing to do that.

What’s the game plan for your businesses in Lebanon? There are several risks in Lebanon that don’t exist in the West. Economic risk is present everywhere in the world, but then here, there’s the political risk and the risk of conflict so that complicates the picture when you’re doing business in the country. That means two or three risks instead of one, with the result that you can do a good job and still fail. The formula for success is to keep plugging away, keep doing a good job and hope for the best. You can’t fight everyone. I’ve tried to undertake a mission or two to help remedy some of the challenges.


Faqra Catering

You hope the system will reform itself. The biggest problem in Lebanon is ego. I had a hard time getting rid of my ego in America when I first went there, saying ‘I can do this and I can do it that’, but then America says ‘Show me!’ and you learn that bravado doesn’t work. You learn to become humble and go do what you said you could do. It took me a long time to get rid of that ‘I’. Sure, you can do it, but everyone needs help so then comes the

The formula for success is to keep plugging away, keep doing a good job and hope for the best. You can’t fight everyone. I’ve tried to undertake a mission or two to help remedy some of the challenges ‘we’. Imagine you’re playing a game for which everyone knows the rules. All of a sudden somebody pulls the ‘I’ on you, takes the ball and goes home with it.

Can you address the rumors that were circulating about the closure of Faqra Catering? In the past year, there were rumors that Faqra Catering faced bankruptcy or was being bought by someone else. I want to put these rumors to rest by giving a reassurance that Faqra Catering is

still owned and managed by me and is doing great. Recently, I reinjected several million dollars into the company to reequip the kitchen and for organizational restructuring, while also establishing a new website and corporate identity, with the objective of expanding to neighboring countries.

What are your current plans for the Middle East? For Faqra and AVA Venue, I have a plan, which is to get Faqra Catering to the next level. That’s happening already. We’re gaining market share again and we’re killing the rumors with action, not just words. We’re demonstrating that we’re still here and we can do not only a good job, but a better one than before. Faqra displays the characteristics of doing business in Lebanon, which tends to be unstructured. We intend to build on our legacy and expand throughout the Middle East where the money is and possibly Europe as well. Competition is stiff in Europe and excellence is not easy. Now there’s demand for us to develop another AVA Venue abroad, but I move cautiously and slowly. I’m not enamored of making money because money comes and goes. Succeed and make the money.

What advice would you give to Lebanon’s younger generation? I am planning on opening an institute

for entrepreneurs for the young people of this country to teach them about entrepreneurship and how they can succeed while remaining in Lebanon. If we give them the opportunity, our youth will not leave. What we’re trying to do is create the right environment for them so they can decide what they want to do in their lives and propel them into the future. This is part of my goal. I’m here to give much more than take. I donate large sums of money to charities; for example, in Zahle, where I was born, I have a restaurant that feeds the elderly. I also spend a great deal of money on education, whether it’s in Zahle or Tripoli. I sponsor students at AUB and NDU so they can continue with their education. However, unfortunately, kids today want a lot without expecting to put in much effort. Are you willing to do anything? I learnt by working hard, dedicating time, being humble and doing whatever it takes. That’s how I made it. It takes humility and hard work - and working as a team, which unfortunately doesn’t always happen in this country. But if we apply ourselves, we can get there. We’re a proud people, but in the wrong places. However, we’re planning for a better future. We’re not going to pack up our bags and leave. We’re here to stay and succeed, and we’re here to help Lebanon’s youth.







Globe-trotting chef, television personality and culinary consultant Joe Barza is credited with introducing Lebanese cuisine to diners around the world. We managed to sit him down for a few minutes and ask him to share his thoughts on the past and plans for the future How do you maintain momentum with so many projects on the go globally? I love my work and traveling the world is a key part of it; I notch up an average of around 120 plane journeys annually, making 60 trips, so you could say I’ve traveled the world this year, but it’s all in aid of promoting Lebanese cuisine so that’s a positive! If you’re surrounded by a good team, however, things inevitably become easier to manage.

Which projects and collaborations do you regard as highlights this year? There’s been so many! I’ve participated in some unforgettable events this year, including the Brigade des Étoiles de Mougins, which meant I represented Mougins the world over. I also teamed up with David Higgs, one of South Africa’s



best-known chefs, at Marble Restaurant in Johannesburg and participated in events at Panoma and Alkar in Turkey, attended by 13 Michelin star chefs. One truly memorable initiative was a month-and-a-half-long food festival called Antipkazi in Turkey, which brought together more than 20 Michelin star chefs. Teaming up with Chef José Avillez in Portugal was an enjoyable experience, as was promoting Lebanese food at Le Rosey Institute in Lausanne. We also did MasterChef in Greece on the invitation of Lebanon’s Ambassador to Greece as a way of integrating Lebanese cuisine.

What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?

What do you regard as your greatest achievements since becoming the global ambassador for Lebanese food?

Never copy and always exercise plenty of discipline. Identify and develop your own character and then enhance it with humility, remembering that it’s not about what you know, but rather about what you do not, especially when it comes to food. If you are happy and positive, your food will communicate those sentiments.

In the year 2000, I asked myself why imitate when we have such a huge treasure trove to unearth here, and since then, I have always had a very clear vision about what I want to do. It’s not just about highlighting Lebanese products, but also raising the profile of Lebanese chefs. I believe in my products. Before entering the culinary world, I was in the army and in that role, I felt I wasn’t helping my country. However, I realized that through food, and the message behind it, I could better promote and serve Lebanon. This is something I’m truly proud of.

What changes have you witnessed in recent years? A lot and much of it on a global scale. One of the challenges was that historically, when Lebanese families emigrated, many of them opened a restaurant since it was an easy way to make a living abroad. In doing so, they kept Lebanese cuisine as they remembered it. Today, we’ve taken the cuisine further and farther and now we are everywhere. When I go and cook with Michelin star chefs, for example, I don’t do foie gras, but instead I make hummus or muhalabieh. Everybody is amazed and talks about it. As a result, Lebanese cuisine is known in most destinations.

What’s your next goal? Now that the world has become acquainted with Lebanese cuisine, I’m going deeper into the ingredients that make up the menu items. The producers are much better due to fiercer competition. Take haloum cheese, for example; since I represented Lebanon in a competition in 2003 in Lyon using haloum with bacon, its popularity has soared. The more I go into the tiniest detail, the more I realize how important each ingredient is.

When I returned to Lebanon in 1994, I discovered that there were only two Lebanese chefs in prominent positions, while the others were all expatriates. At that time, no one believed in the ability of Lebanese chefs and there was no mutual respect. The culinary industry eventually entered a new phase, thanks to the collaborative efforts of HORECA and the goodwill of the talented, younger guys.

What advice would you give someone thinking of entering your field?

Chef Barza’s key projects Lebanon La Burgeria Catrina’s Sugar Fish Bioland Madhattan Global Operation falafel (Dubai, plans to open in New York and London) Mozata (Budapest, Hungary) Baba Hummus (Mumbai, India) Yasmeen (Waldorf Astoria, the Maldives) Dar al Karam (Qatar) Diwan Al Muhanna Caterers (Damascus, Syria) Rafal Group (KSA) Centimeal (Riyadh) Al-Maeda Restaurant - Double Tree by Hiltonn JBR Oak Grill - Conrad Cairo Anjum Hotel (Makkah) Debs W Remman (Qatar) 1312 - Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa Piedays Cafe (KSA) Give Me Five (KSA) Other roles include Ambassador for the Second House Lebanese spices Brand Ambassador for Hilton Middle East Brand Ambassador for Panzani








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SIMON MANOUKIAN APPOINTED AS EXECUTIVE CHEF OF FAQRA CATERING, LEBANON For the past two decades, Manoukian has worked with some of the best chefs in the world, many of whom have earned Michelin stars such as Philippe Renard, Gerard Sallé and Michel Roth, and the world-renowned pastry chef, Cyril Lignac. Under the lead of chef Nicolas Sale, Manoukian’s expertise in high-end cuisine was gained as the chef de cuisine at the Ritz Escoffier Culinary School, a world-renowned institution that trains high end chefs and experts. Prior to that,

Manoukian was the sous chef at the Hotel Ritz Paris ranked as the world most luxurious hotel, where he supervised banquets and wedding receptions for more than 1,500 people. His clientele has included French presidents Chirac and Sarkozy, Danielle Steel and the Al Fayed family, among others. He was awarded first place at the 2010 International Cup de Cuisine, and 3rd place for 'best dessert' at the Passion Trophy.


Simon Manoukian

CHEF TOUFIC ISMAIL JOINS FAIRMONT AMMAN What was your initial reaction when offered the position in Lebanon? I was very excited as I'd already had a very positive experience in Lebanon. After all, I like Mediterranean food so I knew that this location would suit me.

What do you think of Lebanese hospitality? It is truly great; the Lebanese people have welcomed me with open arms.

How many cuisines are you familiar with and what is your favorite? My passion is the ‘cuisine of the sun’. While my base is traditional and Mediterranean French cuisine, I am inspired by adapting this to the taste of the geographic locality of where I am cooking. I have a strong interest in local cuisine and I make a concerted effort to source produce from the local markets, creating European culture with a local touch.

Olivier Pallut

Chef Olivier Pallut is a French national with extensive experience in the culinary industry. He has worked for Hotel Charentais, Bistro Le Francais, Le Meridien St Martin, Le Meridien Mariador, Qatar Royal Palace, Mezzaluna and Zoe Restaurants in Bahrain, Thimar Reef Island and Cordon Bleu Istanbul to name a few. His previous assignment saw him take on the position of corporate executive chef for Bateel International in charge of the kitchens for 16 outlets in Dubai, one outlet in Oman, four outlets in Qatar and three outlets in Kuwait. His extensive hospitality background and experience in the industry have led to him working in the UK, France, Russia, Guadeloupe, Chad, Guinea, Ukraine, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Africa and most recently as the executive chef at Le Cordon Bleu, Lebanon.



How do signature menus differ from others, especially when it comes to seasonality? I try to keep the most popular dishes, irrespective of season, top of mind, while offering seasonal dishes that are more appropriate, such as soups and stews which are not that heavy to stomach.

What are the important factors to consider when preparing banquet menus for private and corporate events? Some of the major elements to consider are the hosts’ and attendees’ taste palates, the nature of the event, season of the year and budget. If it is a corporate event with a workshop, I will prepare a menu that is light to stomach, which would enable the client to return to work immediately afterward. If it’s a leisurely event where the guests have more time to spend, I will go for an array of festive dishes.

Toufic Ismail

Fairmont Amman, managed by AccorHotels; the first and only 5-star deluxe hotel in Jordan, has announced the recent appointment of Toufic Ismail as executive pastry chef. Ismail has extensive experience in perfecting the art of baking, sugar art design and chocolate carving, starting his career at the InterContinental Hotels Group - Lebanon. Afterward, he moved into leading positions in a number of prestigious hotels and resorts in Algeria, UAE, Maldives and Qatar, which allowed him to learn and modify recipes in addition to discovering new techniques through the experience he gained alongside the talented chefs he worked with, including the renowned chef Fabien Martinez.




FOUR HUNDRED KIDS PARTICIPATE IN COOKING EVENTS ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST Nestlé Professional and Worldchefs, the World Association of Chefs Societies, teamed up around #InternationalChefsDay on October 20 to promote healthier eating for children all over the world, through cooking events held under the theme of How Healthy Food Works, in line with the Nestlé for Healthier Kids global ambition to help 50 million children live healthier lives by 2030 The kids learned about the health benefits of cooking, with specific focus this year on eight foods and their related attributes, at events held in Lebanon, Jordan, Dubai, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Tunisia. “Our theme this year is How Healthy Food Works. We want to show how food affects our body internally, building on the themes of the last two years - Healthy Foods for Growing up and Healthy Foods for Heroes - and going into more depth on different foods and why our bodies need them,” said International Chefs Day chair, Chef Joanna Ochniak. “We are very proud to be partnering with Worldchefs in bringing the message of healthy eating to children around the world,” said Roger Frei, business executive officer at Nestlé Professional, Middle East & North Africa. “In collaboration with chefs, we aim to increase awareness of the important and increasingly vital role that cooking plays in providing healthier meals to children, helping them to eat better, firmly establishing healthy food habits and diets as they grow up.” A recent evaluation of the impact of 2016 International Chefs Day children-geared cooking workshops confirmed their positive effect on children's salad liking across a selection of countries worldwide. The Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy in Beirut, in collaboration with The Lebanese Chef Club and Nestlé Professional, hosted the Lebanon event which was attended by 50 kids from the Besancon Baabda School. The participating chefs in Lebanon included Georges Debs (Ecole Hoteliere Tripoli), Tony Youssef (Citea Hotel), Hussein Abd El Sater (Future TV), Sleiman Khawand (Atelier Chef Sleiman), Fady Rweisaty (Ambar Saida) and Ibrahim Haddad (LAU). Guest chefs participating in a different capacity included Abdallah Khodor (Le Bristol Hotel Beirut), Camille Wehbe (Fulcrum -



LBACC sal), Georges Dakkak (Le Georges Catering), Kamil Bouloot (Ghia Holding), Joe Barza (Celebrity Chef), Michel Nader (Phoenicia Hotel) and Maroun Chedid (Ritage). The event, which featured three different master classes and roundtable discussions with chefs, was aimed at helping children make more informed decisions about the diet they choose for themselves and eventually their own children. “Cooking is part of our everyday life, and is deeply engrained in our history and culture,” said Chedid. “That is why children need to learn how to select the best ingredients, and better understand their components and nutritional importance. This is more crucial than ever with the alarming proliferation of unhealthy food in our society.” Chef Joe Barza explained: “Events like this allow us to grow our culinary industry

and heritage. It’s aimed at informing and educating children on how a kitchen runs, with variants of three different types of popular foods prepared using fresh and healthy ingredients. Kids get to witness the entire process a dish goes through before it is served, helping them better understand techniques and tools required.” Chef Sleiman Khawand also shared his thoughts on the event, saying “The kids had a blast, because the activities were designed to be informatively engaging, as well as fun. Putting kids full of life and passion in a kitchen with experienced chefs is a great way to proactively teach them without being too academic. This helps them not only retain the information presented, but also to use it in their daily lives.”

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RENDEZ-VOUS WITH CHEESE OF EUROPE IN BEIRUT The French Dairy Board (CNIEL), together with the European Union launched a three-year program to highlight EU cheese in Lebanon. Its first event took place this September at Beirut’s famed bar-restaurant Centrale. The staging of the event came as no surprise, given that Lebanon is a regular importer of French cheese. Francois Robin, one of France’s Best Cheesemonger awardees, visited Beirut to host the cheese workshop for local foodies. Attendees participated in a sensorial cheese analysis and tasting as well as the discovery of innovative pairing of French cheese with traditional Levantine ingredients. Speaking at the event, Robin said, “European cheese is adaptable and can be paired with all types of local ingredients. I have tried it with spices in India as well as in the UAE. Something like pomegranate molasses works well with Comté as it brings acidity and fruity touches. I’d also like to experiment with Asian flavors, such as lemongrass, coriander and ginger, as they’re so far removed from European cuisine.” In 2017, Lebanon imported more than



20.5 tons of European cheese, of which 3.3 tons were French. This number increased to 3.4 tons in 2018, representing almost 17 million euros and an increase of 6 percent compared to 2010. France is one of the EU’s biggest dairy exporters with the equivalent of 40 percent of its milk, approximately 10 billion liters, reserved for overseas markets. To guarantee that the products come from the region of origin and are made from milk produced within a defined geographical zone, the EU established the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) label system. Marie-Laure Martin, French Dairy Board representative said, “Lebanon is an important market for EU and French cheese. With

the program Cheese of Europe – Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow we not only aim to highlight the variety of quality cheeses available in Lebanon, but also to show people the endless opportunities these offer. Cheese can be consumed in so many ways, not only at different times of the day, but also paired with different ingredients. You can even have it for dessert if you like!” To celebrate the program’s launch in Beirut, a cocktail for professionals was organized with an amazing cheese buffet prepared by Robin. Concurrently, weekly promotional activities were organized at a selection of Spinneys, Carrefour and Charcutier Aoun. Instagram/


CHÂTEAU KEFRAYA LAUNCHES ‘LES BRETÈCHES VINTAGE 2017’ The 2017 Les Bretèches, the fresh, silky and fruity wine by Château Kefraya, was launched in collaboration with Lebanese artist Karen Klink, who was chosen to design the limited-edition label entitled Flowing Cedar. Commenting, Edouard Kosremelli, Château Kefraya’s GM said, “We need to be constantly reminded of the infinite abundance and fertility of our land, hence our collaboration this year with the talented Karen Klink and her creative expression of our Cedar Tree.” Further emphasizing Kefraya’s continuous initiatives to promote young artists, he

added, “This collaboration comes also in line with our ongoing commitment to supporting Lebanese art.” When it came to the creative expression behind the Flowing Cedar concept, Klink explained, “Our iconic Cedar, pure and eternal, constantly reminds us that our humanity is deeply rooted in nature and that our Lebanese nation is One. I have treated the Cedar like a flowing sea, a cosmos of connections that help our society prosper, while entangled in beauty and chaos.”

represents part of Food Choice's efforts to transfer the international experience to the Kuwaiti market and to develop the skills of professionals in this field. To mark the

event, all individuals who participated in the workshop received certificates signed by Valrhona International.

FOOD CHOICES' INNOVATIONS FROM VALRHONA Food Choice Kuwait showcased the latest innovations of its leading French chocolate partner, Valrhona, during a workshop at the Four Seasons Hotel. The famous British Chef Paul Hayward, from Valrhona School of Chocolate, visited Kuwait to introduce and hold the workshop, as well as familiarize everyone present on the latest innovations to professional chefs in Kuwait. This activity

A FRESH TAKE ON RUM At Whisky Live Beirut 2019, HN talked with Vincent Ballu, area manager for Southern Europe at Maison Ferrand, producers of fine spirits. Falling under the company’s umbrella of products is Plantation Rum, a spirit that has been showing great promise.

What makes rum so rich? Rum represents the most diverse category in spirits. What makes it so, is that it can be used to match every spirit irrespective of the type of alcohol a person likes. It has something for everyone. If you are a gin or vodka drinker, you can enter the world of rum with Puerto Rico or Cuba. It will have a freshness and lightness. For a whisky drinker, specifically peaty whisky that has a lot of character, you can find a rum in Jamaica that has a dry and spicy character. If, however, you happen to be somewhere in the middle, you can find a rum from Barbados that is equally balanced. For all those reasons, rum is a beverage that has a capacity for infinite surprise.

Where are the biggest surprises in rum coming from today? For the past two years, we have been working with the only distillery in Fiji, South Pacific Distillery. As a result, we launched a

rum expression specific to that South Pacific location. That particular flavor profile turned out to be unlike anything we have produced in any of the countries we work in. It is bone dry, spicy and fresh with an incredibly unique taste.

In general, how are global rum sales faring? Rum is a highly dynamic category which is displaying strong growth in the European market, as well as the Middle East. The segment of premium rums is also witnessing significant growth. This is made more appealing when it comes to people who are considering switching from one spirit to another and are uncertain what would make for a suitable fit. Other interesting aspects emerging include the rediscovery of old factories and manufacturing methods. You have distilleries opening all over the world, some are opening in small countries in South America. Our philosophy is based on our ability to reflect the history and nature of a country in which we produce our rum with an accurate flavor profile that is indicative of all the country’s central elements.

What is rum’s next technological frontier? It revolves around the aging in the wooden

Vincent Ballu

casks. This is especially important because rum can be stored in a variety of wooden casks, which is not limited to oak. The ability to diversify, given the overwhelming number of possibilities, could be viewed as challenging. However, we chose not to pick one over another and instead are exploring, through our R&D division, a host of options such as researching ancient techniques and wood essences. Maybe most of these will never make it onto the market, but that is not deterring us since the process will always lead to new discoveries in terms of products or techniques. DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




SWEET SUCCESS AT HORECA JORDAN HORECA JORDAN gathered more than 10,000 trade professionals from around the region from October 13-15, 2019. We take a look at what made the sixth edition such a great success For the first time in its history, HORECA JORDAN was held at Amman International Fairground, where it welcomed over 100 of the top hospitality and foodservice companies across 7,000 square meters of exhibition space. New exhibitors joined the exhibition from Kuwait, Greece and India. Supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan Tourism Board, Jordanian Chefs Association, Jordan Hotel Association and Jordan Restaurant Association, this year’s edition hosted a larger variety of events and competitions, especially at the renowned Hospitality Salon Culinaire. The Jordanian Heritage Cooking Competition highlighted the skills of members of the Jordanian Ladies Kitchen Club, while the Hamada Jordanian Breakfast Competition honored Jordanian food heritage. The World Pastry Cup National Selection also took place for the first time at HORECA JORDAN. Elsewhere, the Bed Making Competition, Art of Service Competition and the Al Ameed Barista Competition returned to the program. Thuraya Husseini, chairperson and CEO of the Lawrence & Husseini Consult – the event organizer – said: “We are proud to have staged this event at a new venue, and to have attracted more professionals to the capital. Jordan’s hospitality and foodservice industries are evolving, so it has been an excellent opportunity for people to network and do business.”






Seen as a gateway for regional investors seeking new business opportunities in the region, Saudi HORECA proved its prowess once again by gathering almost 300 companies under one roof to showcase the latest products and services to an audience of over 36,000 trade visitors. The show occupied five halls of Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, covering a total area of 20,000 square meters. International spaces included American



Saudi HORECA celebrated its ninth edition at Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center from November 26–28, 2019. Here are just some of the highlights

and Jordanian pavilions as well as a section dedicated to Lebanese companies. “This event is a key driver for Saudi Arabia’s hospitality and foodservice sectors,” says Jad Taktak, general manager of Semark, the organizer of the show. “We had a record number of visitors and exhibitors, which confirms the level of growth we are experiencing in the kingdom.” Besides being a strategic meeting place,

Saudi HORECA highlighted the skills of rising talents through a number of competitions, namely the renowned Hospitality and the Barista Competition, in addition to the first World Pastry Cup Saudi Arabia Selection. A series of conferences, hosted by HODEMA, also tackled the industry’s hottest topics.





ALL SET FOR HORECA KUWAIT HORECA Kuwait is set to celebrate its ninth edition from January 20-22, 2020 at Kuwait International Fair. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store

MEET THE HOSPITALITY SALON CULINAIRE JUDGES Samaan Hilal Head of Hospitality Salon Culinaire Managing Partner at Brainsteam Kuwait/Lebanon

Faisal Al Nashmi Executive Chef & CoOwner of Al Makan United Company, President of the Kuwait Chef Club Kuwait

Charles Azar Master Consultant Chef President of the delegation of L’Académie Nationale de Cuisine Middle East and the GCC Lebanon

Anil Grover WACS certified judge and Best International Culinary Judge from India by IFCA India

Thomas Gugler Kuwait’s largest foodservice and hospitality trade event is fast approaching and will gather more than 120 local and international exhibitors, as well as over 8,000 professionals. The annual trade show will, once again, highlight the country’s burgeoning hotel and F&B scene, providing a valuable platform for networking. “Everyone looks forward to HORECA Kuwait as it is the key meeting place for decision-makers looking to do business,” said Mohamad Najia, executive director of HORECA Kuwait. Besides the main exhibition area, the three-day show features a number of

exciting competitions — the Hospitality Salon Culinaire, the Annual Hospitality Forum, the Illy Barista Competition and the Bed Making Competition — to showcase the talent of the nation’s chefs, hospitality professionals and students. The Hospitality Salon Culinaire will welcome more than 300 chefs who will participate in a number of live cooking and display challenges to impress an international jury. In addition to new cooking challenges promoting Kuwaiti cuisine, the 2020 program will host the first-ever World Pastry Club Kuwait Selection, where the winner will earn a spot in the World Pastry Cup Middle East Selection.

President World Association of Chefs' Societies (WACS) KSA

Yasser Jad President Saudi Arabian Chefs Association KSA

Shadi Abu Khadijah President of Jordanian Chefs Association Jordan

Nasserdine Mendi MOF Pastry, Representative of Gabriel PAILLASSON, Founder President of La Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie France

Jean-Marc Mompach President of L’Académie Nationale de Cuisine France

Francois Pozzoli Best Craftsmen of France, Baker France

Peter Rosenberg Corporate Chef of Certified Angus Beef USA




20 - 22 JANUARY 2020

Kuwait International Fair - Hall No. 8


11:00am - 8:30pm



AN EVENT BY Kuwait City, Murqab, Omar Bin Al Khatab St, Shayma’a Tower, 6 th Floor P.O. Box : 22194 Safat 13082 Kuwait, Tel : (+965) 22253803 / 4 - Fax : (+965) 22253805





HORECA LEBANON ON THE HORIZON Marking its 27th edition at Beirut’s Seaside Arena from March 24-27, 2020, HORECA Lebanon is the country’s largest hospitality and foodservice event. We take a look at what’s in store at the four-day exhibition With a history spanning almost three decades, HORECA Lebanon continues to be the premier meeting place for hospitality and foodservice professionals seeking new business opportunities. More than 350 exhibitors will be present to showcase their products, services and technologies to 16,000 trade visitors, who will be heading to Beirut from across the region to network and forge valuable business partnerships. “Our slogan for 2020 is ‘Step into the Future of Hospitality’ as the exhibition will focus heavily on the exciting developments and trends shaping the hospitality and foodservice sectors in Lebanon and the Middle East as a whole,” said Joumana Dammous-Salame, managing director of Hospitality Services, the event organizer. Besides the massive 10,000 square meters of exhibition space — which comprises hundreds of stands dedicated to food products, drinks, catering equipment, tableware and hygiene solutions, as well as a packaging and labeling pavilion, and a special organic and healthy eating pavilion



— the exhibition will play host to a number of competitions judged by international experts, world-renowned chefs and guests. The rich program includes: the Hospitality Salon Culinaire, Junior Chef Competition, Lebanese Bartenders Competition, Mocktail Competition, Lebanese Barista Competition, Latte Art Competition, Art of Service Competition and the Bed Making Competition. Making its debut at HORECA Lebanon 2020 is the World Pastry Cup Middle East Selection, which brings together pastry chefs from the Middle East to compete in a nail-biting event. The winner will go on to represent the Middle East at Sirha, Lyon, in 2021. Furthermore, Atelier Gourmand gathers the top French chefs in Lebanon for

live cooking demonstrations, while Al Matbakh highlights local food heritage by welcoming guest chefs from Lebanon and abroad. Elsewhere, the Arak Lab gives local arak experts the opportunity to share their expertise, while the Wine Lab provides daily workshops with leading international experts, sommeliers and oenologists. Confirming its status as a prime networking hub, HORECA Lebanon’s Annual Hospitality Forum returns to the scene for more panel discussions with key players from the world of F&B, tourism and hospitality. Themes such as accommodation trends, innovations and industry challenges will be tackled during the course of the show.



HOSTMILANO 2019 DELIVERS THE GOODS Before the doors of the vast pavilions of FieraMilano opened on Friday, October 18 for the 41st edition of HostMilano, organizers promised the show would be “bigger, fuller and more innovative than ever.” And HostMilano 2019 did not disappoint FCSI at the forefront Innovation remained a constant thread for activity at the FCSI booth throughout the show. On Sunday the booth hosted the final round of live judging for FCSI’s inaugural Start Me Up Innovation Awards, sponsored by Electrolux Professional. The 3D food printing system Procusini 4.0 from Print2Taste GmbH, the SCRAEGG Pro unit from SCRAEGG GmbH and the Tablee platform from Tablee had one last chance to impress judges, comprising of five FCSI Professional Members and the design director of Electrolux Professional, and make a final pitch to win the coveted trophy. German start-up business SCRAEGG, which can whisk and heat eggs soups and porridge to 96°C using a patent-pending steam nozzle, triumphed, taking home the trophy that evening at FCSI’s Sponsor Recognition Party. Panel sessions included ‘The connected kitchen’, sponsored by Irinox, which

featured Frank Wagner FCSI, Dene Rachid FCSI, Joseph Schumaker FCSI and Pietro Romanazzi of Irinox. Another chaired by Michael Jones and sponsored by Middleby Ventless Cooking Solutions, addressed, ‘Ventless cooking: dispelling the myths’ and featured Middleby’s Scott Heim and consultants Armando Pucci FCSI, Brandon Kua FCSI and Nahum Goldberg FCSI. Away from the booth, Foodservice Consultants Michael Jones chaired a ‘Titans of Industry’ roundtable of leaders from foodservice equipment manufacturers. Attendees included: Iker

Alberdi Urkia, CEO of Onnera Group; David Brewer, COO of Middleby; Andrea Cocchi, CEO of Ali Group for EMEA and APAC Regions and CEO of Carpigiani Group; Katia da Ros, CEO of Irinox; Stefan Scheringer, CEO of Meiko; Peter Stadelmann, CEO of RATIONAL; and Georg Weber, CEO of MKN. The event was sponsored by Kason Industries and co-hosted by VP of sales, David Ring and will published in Foodservice Consultant in Q1 2020.

INAUGURAL EDITION OF MIDDLE EAST DESIGN AND HOSPITALITY WEEK The first edition of Middle East Design and Hospitality Week (MEDHW) 2019 welcomed over 35,000 visitors from over 110 countries at Dubai World Trade Centre from September 17 to 19. The Hotel Show Dubai, The Leisure Show, INDEX, Workspace, Surface Design Middle East, FIM, INDEX Home and FM Expo came together to form MEDHW. The design and hospitality-focused event offered a compelling platform for companies and industry leaders from the respective sectors to showcase products, services, the latest innovations, share knowledge, discuss and forecast trends, and celebrate the industry’s ‘best in class’ over the three days. Eleven teams participated in the second edition of The Chefs Table competition which took place during the Hotel Show Dubai. Each team, comprising seven participants, was judged on hygiene, kitchen skills, creativity, cooking skills and taste while recreating the complete experience that a diner has from the moment they step into a restaurant. The competition had four gold and seven silver medal winners. “We had a fantastic competition this year.



The four gold medal winners were only a point and a half apart from each other and overall the teams this year were neck and neck," said Chef Uwe Micheel, president of the Emirates Culinary Guild. In the gold category, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek emerged Overall Champion, while Best Kitchen was claimed by voco Dubai. JW Mariott Marquis won Best Service and Best Bar was secured by Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai.

Other winners included: • Al Manzil Downtown Hotel for the ‘Best Housekeeping Team’ title • Godwin Austen Johnson for the Hotel Room Set Design Challenge • Interior Design Awards won by Bishop Design, A2Q Group and Sharon Jutla



SIAL MIDDLE EAST CELEBRATES ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY DECEMBER 9 - 11 / ADNEC ABU DHABI Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of The Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), the tenth edition of SIAL Middle East, the exclusive regional food, beverage and hospitality trade event, will run from December 9-11, 2019, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Since its inception in 2010, SIAL ME has seen over Dhs 34 billion worth of deals done, 7,600 exhibitors and 153,900 experts from across the world, resulting in a total direct and indirect economic impact of Dhs 819 billion on Abu Dhabi's economy. The impressive numbers showcase the importance and impact of SIAL ME and how it both continues to evolve and become a mainstay for the people of the food and beverage industry. Expected to draw the participation of over 1,000 exhibitors, more than 30 country pavilions and over 20,000 industry experts from more than 50 countries, the upcoming edition of the event is set to mark a significant growth in terms of participation from leading local, regional and international organisations working in the food industry. HE Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, director general of Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority, said: “SIAL ME has rapidly become one of the most important events in the food and hospitality industry in the

region. It has become a gathering for major exhibitors from around the world, making it a platform to promote innovation in these sectors.” He explained that the event has become a hub that offers valuable investment opportunities in the region's rapidly growing food sector, as it provides an opportunity to interact with emerging food markets. He added that it also presents promising investment opportunities, while creating partnerships that facilitate the formation of economic entities that promote growth in the food, beverage and hospitality sector, which reflects positively on other industries such as manufacturing, tourism and other vital economic sectors.

Our responsibility is to motivate the private sector to invest in the food industry, hence we work in all ways possible to build a solid partnership between the public and private sector “Our responsibility is to motivate the private sector to invest in the food industry, hence we work in all ways possible to create an investment environment in this sector and build a solid partnership between the public and private sector,” he added, confirming that SIAL ME is one of the significant means of helping the private sector to explore the growth prospects in the food, beverage and hospitality industries and to see best practices from around the world. Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Group CEO of ADNEC, said: “Within a short time span since its inception, SIAL Middle East has become one of the most anticipated industry events

in food-related sectors within the region and beyond and we are very excited to be hosting industry leaders again this year. It provides the perfect platform for networking and interaction with key representatives from major food producers and exporters from across the globe.” Al Dhaheri said that the high turnout at the exhibition during the last 10 years, which was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, reflects the company's success in supporting the existing exhibitions and enhancing their competitiveness and ability to attract major international companies specialized in various economic sectors. He revealed that the current edition of the event is organized by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in cooperation with the French group Comexposium and that an integrated marketing program has been launched during the past months to promote the exhibition regionally and internationally, through participation in many events in this vital sector, to attract international companies in the food and hospitality industry. The current edition of the event gives great attention to date products in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Date Palm Exhibition, which is the only event in the world that brings together date producers. Last year saw 7,463 visitors attend SIAL Middle East to source coffee-associated products, which again will have a major focus this year. SIAL Middle East is working closely with the Specialty Coffee Association to showcase the strong growth of this sector in the region.







FEBRUARY 2 - 5 Feb. GERMANY ISM Koelnmesse GmbH 5 - 7 Feb. GERMANY FRUIT LOGISTICA Messe Berlin GmbH 11 - 13 Feb. AMSTERDAM GLOBAL RESTAURANT INVESTMENT FORUM – GRIF Bench Events 15 - 19 Feb. GERMANY INTERGASTRA Landesmesse Stuttgart GmbH 16 - 20 Feb. DUBAI GULFOOD Dubai World Trade Center




4 - 8 Mar. GERMANY ITB BERLIN Messe Berlin GmbH

19 - 22 Apr. Dubai ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET Reed Exhibitions Ltd.


20 - 23 Apr. SPAIN ALIMENTARIA Alimentaria Exhibitions

13 - 17 Mar. GERMANY INTERNORGA Hamburg Messe & Congress GmbH

21 - 23 Apr. BELGIUM SEAFOOD EXPO GLOBAL Diversified Communications

15 - 17 Mar. GERMANY PROWEIN Messe Düsseldorf GmbH


21 - 22 Mar. DUBAI INTERNATIONAL COFFEE & TEA FESTIVAL International Conferences & Exhibitions 24 - 27 Mar. LEBANON HORECA LEBANON Hospitality Services s.a.rl. 31 Mar. - 2 Apr. Jeddah, KSA THE HOTEL SHOW SAUDI ARABIA DMG Events 31 Mar - 3 Apr. SINGAPORE FHA SINGAPORE Food & Beverage

APRIL 6 - 8 Apr. DUBAI GULFHOST Dubai World Trade Centre 14 - 16 Apr. Dubai AHIC Bench Events & MEED 15 - 17 Apr. China ANUFOOD CHINA Koelnmesse (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

16 - 19 May USA NRA SHOW Winsight, LLC.

JUNE 11 - 12 Jun. LEBANON BIFEX Lebanese Franchise Association 16 - 19 Jun. OMAN HOTEC MIDDLE EAST Questex LLC



HORECA Lebanon

28 - 30 Sep. DUBAI THE RESTAURANT SHOW 2020 Atex International Exhibitions

14 - 16 Oct. ITALY SIA Hospitality Design ITALIAN EXHIBITION GROUP SpA

10 - 12 Nov. CHINA FHC CHINA CIE - China International Exhibitions Ltd.


18 - 22 Oct. FRANCE SIAL PARIS Comexposium

12 - 14 Nov. LEBANON 10th BEIRUT COOKING FESTIVAL 7th SALON DU CHOCOLAT Hospitality Services s.a.r.l.

5 - 7 Oct. OMAN FOOD AND HOSPITALITY OMAN Omanexpo LLC 6 - 8 Oct. JORDAN HORECA JORDAN Lawrence & Husseini Consult 8 - 10 Oct. KUWAIT SALON DU CHOCOLAT KUWAIT Leaders Group & Hospitality Services s.a.r.l

22 - 24 Oct. LEBANON WHISKY LIVE BEIRUT Hospitality Services s.a.r.l


15 - 19 Nov. FRANCE EQUIPHOTEL Reed Expositions 24 - 26 Nov. RIYADH, KSA SAUDI HORECA Semark





THE STATUS OF HYGIENE As the world’s population reaches an estimated 7.8 billion by year’s end, inhabitable spaces rise in scarcity, while the agriculture sector’s ability to meet demand struggles to accommodate. Furthermore, as industry and technology advance, so do the effects of man-made pollution evidenced by global warming catastrophes. All these have brought on challenges causing a host of problems, chief among them being disease. Arguably, a balanced nutritional diet, coupled with regular exercise should suffice in affording a person a reasonably-healthy lifestyle. Sadly, that no longer is the case as the world’s only free ‘commodity’ has come under grave threat, namely air quality. As the world’s population spends 90 percent of their time indoors, the air quality afforded them is instrumental to their health. This ‘invisible commodity’, hospitality brands will peddle as an added value to their customers in the coming years.



CLEAN AS A WHISTLE Overview These are based on three features associated with running a hotel, namely, the HVAC system (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning), the HACCP system (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) a systematic approach to identifying, evaluating, and controlling food safety hazards and ICP (Infection Control Plan), a system designed to target hard-to-reach areas and surfaces, which harbor germs and become a hidden contamination source. The first, ensures that guests are afforded the ability to control the climate of their indoor environment, while the other two are safeguards that ensure all offered consumables and the space they are served in are healthy and contagion-free. While there have been many advances in the development of more powerful and efficient germ-eliminating techniques, machines and chemicals, a significant number of people, till this day, remain unaware of how important IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) really is. That however is not the challenge, rather maintaining air within the ‘safe to breath’ parameters is. In general, the optimal range of oxygen in the air should be between

Any owner, operator or employee at a hotel or restaurant will tell you that the associated elements to ensure an optimally hygiene-friendly hospitality environment, are staggering. These generally depend on two main factors - machines and the best practices system(s) instituted by the operators

19.5 and 23.5 percent as stipulated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). In approximately 500 indoor air quality investigations conducted by OSHA in the last decade, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that the primary sources of indoor air quality problems are, inadequate or improper ventilation (52%), contamination from inside a building (16%), microbes (5%) and fabric (4%). While these figures may highlight the importance of proper ventilation, it nonetheless does not guarantee safe breathing air. Aside from getting a whiff of pure oxygen from a pressurized tank, the air we freely-breathe contains different kinds of particulates. Some of these can cause mild physical discomfort during short-term exposure, while others can cause chronic and even deadly symptoms over extended periods of time. It therefore becomes instrumental to ascertain the quality of air one is exposed to when it comes to indoor spaces. This is a reality that today’s health conscious individuals are taking more notice of, considering that people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors

(work/home) according to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is where matters become significantly complicated.

The guidelines Hospitals have fixed, as well as strict controls to prevent the spread of disease, especially when it comes to the IAQ pumped into operating rooms. While some of these programs are offered by third party providers, some governments also mandate and apply their own oversight systems as an additional safeguard to minimize the result of an accidental outbreak of potentially deadly viruses. Despite the fact that the risk of such an outbreak is significantly-higher in hospitals, nonetheless, any space designed to host hundreds or thousands of people constitutes a potential hotbed to the spread of various types of diseases fatal or otherwise. That is where a hotel’s HVAC system comes into play. Numerous studies have found that purchasing a top-of-the-line system is not nearly enough to guarantee guests the air quality recommended by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). It stipulates that microorganisms DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME



HYGIENE Potential solutions Yet, despite the fact that there are plenty of Building Management System (BMS) offering maintenance of HVAC equipment and energy efficiency of the hotel by more than 25 percent, none resolve the problem of improving air quality pumped into guests’ rooms. Also, and while guest satisfaction is the number one priority in the hospitality sector, hotel operators are often hesitant to engage in activities that could be perceived as reducing comfort, convenience, or the overall brand experience. Nonetheless, energy represents the single fastestgrowing operating cost in the lodging industry, stated ENERGY STAR®, the American government-backed symbol for energy efficiency.

and other biological contaminants otherwise known as microbials floating freely in the air we breathe include viruses, fungi, mold, bacteria, nematodes, amoeba, pollen, dander, and mites. NIOSH recommends that 250-350 ppm (parts per million) constitute normal outdoor ambient concentrations, 600 ppm will result in mild irritation, while 1,000 ppm indicates inadequate ventilation resulting in headaches, fatigue, as well as eye and throat irritation. This kind of concentration is considered the limit for indoor levels of safe to breathe air quality. SHRAE (Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) in its 62-1989 standard recommends 20 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of outdoor air per occupant for offices and up to 60 CFM for indoor smoking lounges. Air treatment is another factor meant for serious consideration in relation to the removal of air contaminants and/ or the control of room temperature and humidity. Some recommendations include the use of filtration, electronic cleaners, chemical treatment with activated charcoal. Also, ideal humidity control systems should be within the range of 20%-60% and temperature control in the range of 20-24°C. Before delving into the particulates, it would be noteworthy to consider, since running a hotel is a very costly endeavor, that anything



that allows an operator to cut costs while maintaining quality is a proposition that merits serious consideration. Based on a study conducted by Enman, an Australian engineering company specializing in energy management for industrial and commercial sectors, a hotel’s HVAC system, is the foremost energy user in the entire structure. As the stars awarded to a facility grows, so does its energy consumption by default in aid of

The EPA does not have regulations pertaining to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in hotels. Furthermore, the agency does not have the authority to develop indoor air quality regulations offering guests increased levels of comfort. The study found that HVAC systems in a hotel can use more than 60% of the hotel’s electrical energy consumption. In other words, that single indispensable system, which consumes the biggest amount of energy and requires plenty of maintenance, also happens to be one of the main vehicles carrying harmful elements that directly affect the health of hotel guests in varying degrees.

An EPA spokesperson confirmed that, “The EPA does not have regulations pertaining to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in hotels. Furthermore, the agency does not have the authority to develop indoor air quality regulations. However, the EPA will continue to work within its authority to provide the best possible guidance for improving indoor air quality.” Furthermore, according to findings made available to the public by the EPA, high temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants, which could include, deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation, newly installed flooring, upholstery or carpet, cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products, cleaning products, central heating/ cooling systems and humidification devices. Consequently, looking at a facility holistically and from different angles allows facility managers to put multiple safeguards in place to minimize the probability an IAQ issue will develop. Unfortunately, an often overlooked element in the prevention of IAQ issues is the proper design and installation of HVAC systems. Two significant considerations for a manager during any project, especially those involving HVAC projects, is time and money. The overemphasis on these items particularly at the design stage can result in long-term problems that often consume more time and cost more money in the long run. Though common sense dictates that the more luxurious a hotel is, the better the services and amenities offered are, especially when it comes to hygiene, another surprising fact revealed itself. Contrary to popular belief, According to Jeff Dryfhout, global director of marketing and air treatment for AeraMax Professional, a company that helps wellness caretakers to address air concerns stated in a feature posted in LODGING, the official publication of the

American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) that, “Hotels, in particular, deal with a wide range of potential IAQ problems. Odors are one of the most common complaints and can quickly have a negative effect on overall customer satisfaction. Airborne germs are another major risk in high-traffic areas, as research shows that one sneeze or cough can expel pathogens into the air for extended periods of time. For example, the flu is most commonly spread through the air rather than by surfaces or touch. Other pollutants such as dust, mold spores, pollen, and other allergens can also remain airborne for long durations, triggering allergies and asthma when inhaled. Together, these contaminants can make a room unsuitable for those with chronic respiratory conditions.” A report by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University titled, ‘Guide to the Management of Indoor Air Quality for Hotels’, states that, “Good IAQ depends on an adequate supply of fresh air, absence of polluting sources, and good distribution to the breathing zone of the occupied spaces. The Indoor Air Quality Management Group of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region released the second draft emphasizing the need to specify the objectives of indoor air quality (IAQ) deemed to be achieved in public buildings. Although this requirement is voluntarily, the management of indoor air quality in hotels should be taken seriously for two strategic reasons. Firstly, there is no reason why hotels can be exempted from regulatory control of the IAQ. Secondly, quality buildings are likely expected to meet the most stringent Level 1 requirements of the

Guidance Notes through a certification procedure administered by EPD.”

Interpreting the facts The alarming levels of pollutants in China’s air have raised very serious concerns, especially for the hospitality industry driving luxury hotels to take notice. A 2018 feature by The Guardian titled, ‘How clean indoor air is becoming China's latest luxury must-have’, revealed that, “Shanghai’s latest upscale hotel boasts filtered air typically 10 times cleaner than that outside and in-room pollution monitors.” The newly opened luxury Cordis hotel in Shanghai, in addition to the services and amenities offered, has taken matters a step further to lure-in customers by fitting individual pollution monitors in all 396 guest rooms indicating in real-time

The average hotel room appears to be dirtier than a typical home, an airplane and even a school. We assessed bacteria levels in colony-forming units (CFUs) – the number of viable bacteria cells within a sample. Interestingly, the three-star hotels appear the least germ-ridden air quality through the TV screen. “I think people can sleep easier knowing that the air quality in their room is far superior to any other hotel and far superior to what it is outside,” said John O’Shea, managing director of Cordis Hongqiao. Guests have so far rated the Shanghai hotel highest for satisfaction out of the Langham Groupowned brand’s 22-hotel portfolio.

Air Quality Index Air Quality Index Levels of Health Concerns

Numerical Value




Air quality is considered satisfactory and air pollution poses little to no risk



Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups


Member of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected



Everyone may be begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects

Very Unhealthy


Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected



Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects

However, that case is a rare exception, which will in all probability become a global trend for hotels to capitalize one. Yet the absence of a single hotel rating system has further compounded the creation and implementation of IAQ regulations. Nonetheless, there are a few highly recognized hotel star rating systems set by reputed organisations such as the British Automobile Association (AA) founded in 1905, the American Automobile Association (AAA), which is the most popular star rating association in North America and HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes) combining 44 European national member associations to date. Some interesting rating systems have been used in various countries and have proven their worth. The Swiss hotel rating by hotelleriesuisse was the first nongovernment formal hotel classification beginning in 1979. Another system is DEHOGA (German Hotel and Restaurant Association), which was launched in 1996 and proved so successful that it influenced the creation of a common European Hotel stars rating system in 2010. In France, the rating is defined by the public tourist board Atout France using a five-star system, while hotels in India are classified by Hotel and Restaurant Association Classification Committee (HRACC), Ministry of Tourism, India. These rating systems, which are credible sources in the country the establishment(s) operate in, communicate and promote the quality offered to guests. Again, and due to the absence of a single global rating system, emphasis on hygiene will vary and even prove tricky at times irrespective how high or low these establishments measure. A 2019 report title ‘Hotel Hygiene Exposed’ by Travelmath, a website that companies like United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Ryanair use to re-route passengers and plan new flight paths, as well as reports on the dirtiest places travelers unearthed some startling facts. Some of the findings related to how bacteria-laden hotel rooms are found that, “The average hotel room appears to be dirtier than a typical home, an airplane and even a school. We assessed bacteria levels in colony-forming units (CFUs) – the number of viable bacteria cells within a sample. Interestingly, the three-star hotels appear the least germ-ridden. For instance, the dirtiest surface in a three-star hotel room, was the bathroom counter, which was around eight times less dirty than a four-star hotel room and three times less than a five-star hotel room. Among our five-star hotels, the remote control was the most germ-ridden surface. In our four-star hotels, the bathroom counter was the most bacteria-laden surface and in the three-star hotels, the bathroom counter was the dirtiest.” DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




AN IMMEDIATE ACTION PLAN Before delving into the solution that Boecker began offering less than two years ago, she remarked that, “According to the EPA, indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. Hence, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) was ranked among the top 5 environmental risks to the public. This reality becomes of major concern when you consider that hotels can host a multitude of germs checked in by clients from around the globe, which makes general sanitation and disinfection essential to avoid the spread of infections between room occupants or tenants.” The relatively new service was not under the company’s radar had it not been for a telephone call Kobrosly received from a man she did not know inquiring about a solution to a problem she did not offer. “The man on the other end of the line explained

To address this complex issue, HN talked with Bana Kobrosly, Country Manager for Lebanon, Boecker Public Health, the Middle East's largest pest management, food safety and germ control world class services provider. It also is a member at ASHRAE, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers: the largest and most influential HVAC/R organization.

After plenty of research, Boecker began offering ‘The Vortex System’, which allows the company to scan, locate and eradicating all harmful pathogens irrespective how difficult these may be to physically access that he was a lab technician struggling with a serious problem directly related to the results of the hospital samples he was responsible for testing. After exhausting all possible factors that could have caused serious errors, he concluded that pathogens were directly introduced into his laboratory through the facility’s main ventilation system. His inquiry was to ascertain whether or not we offered a service that could resolve that life-threatening problem, which at that time, we did not. This drove us to

investigate potential solutions we could introduce to our roster of available services, which was when the idea of the Vortex™ service was conceived.” Ironically, and as individuals grow more health conscious, air quality is rarely, if ever mentioned. However, the incident described by the local hospital technician is a stark reminder of the real hazards air quality has on our short and long term health. Boecker®, which has become a leading health service provider, was seriously alarmed and after extensive research and development, introduced the new AC ducts cleaning and sanitizing service. Explaining what happened after that call, she continued, “Reference to our experience in biosecurity and infectious control systems, we nonetheless investigated the hospital’s ventilation system at the technician’s lab to find that it was infested with a type of fungus, which it was pumping into the lab at alarming levels.” After building this new service, Boecker began offering the Vortex™ service, allowing companies to scan, locate and eradicating all harmful pathogens irrespective how difficult these may be to physically access. This, in part, is due to the equipment used and the training the system’s operators undergo to make full use of the tools at their disposal. This procedure is a meticulous journey that involves a recorded before and after results registered through a miniature camera system that inspects inside the air ducts for live monitoring using the highest technological features. During the service, specialized tools are used, which are appropriate for different types of duct systems and will remove all build up materials such as dust and residues. The process ends of with a state of the art disinfection technique that will reduce and hinder all kinds of bacteria, viruses, mold and fungus from multiplying. Lastly, the ventilation system is retested to ensure that the IAQ is within the normal range based on international standards set by the EPA, which is then followed by a regular-scheduled inspection program set to ensure continued integrity. The product we use in our Vortex™ service is a registered EPA disinfectant and certified as 100% safe. It is a type of molecule specially designed to aggressively attack and rupture the membrane of all harmful microorganisms within seconds of contact without exhibiting any kind of resistance. In relation to the entities who have requested the Vortex™ service, Kobrosly revealed, “These include a surprising



number of hotels, hospitals and food manufacturing plants. In relation to hotels, demand for this type of service is increasing for a number of reasons. The first being that the longer a room’s ventilation system is not turned on, the chances of contaminants developing and multiplying is much higher as both heat and humidity offer ideal environments for such growth. The prefect example to that effect is the musty air smell a hotel room’s ventilation system has that even overpowers the fragrances of a freshly-cleaned room. Therefore, we have received, since launching the service, a number of requests from hotels related to the cleaning of specific floors that are often unoccupied for extended periods of time.” In relation to the challenges encountered, she remarked that raising awareness and in some instances demonstrating the

I have no doubt, if the same hotel guest were to spend a single night in a room with an untreated HVAC system then switch to another that is treated, the difference will be felt added value such a service has on the brand’s bottom line as well as the improved experience people will benefit from, has been tricky. However, and though the system will have significantly boosted the quality of air and in turn protected the person(s) health, it will not really make a mark on these individuals due to the limited time spent in the indoor environment, which will not allow them to feel the difference. Nonetheless, with the Vortex™ service, any hotel guest will immediately feel a level of freshness every time he/she turns on the AC system irrespective of the period spent in the room. Elaborating, she said, “However, I have no doubt, if the same hotel guest were to spend a single night in a room with an untreated HVAC system then switch to another that is treated, the difference will be felt. Furthermore, to prove to hotel operators of the difference, are the tools we have that measure the IAQ before and after treatment for more tangible and actionable results. This kind of service, could also be promoted to guests by in-room certificates and possibly, in the future, even real-time digital IAQ monitors.” Another major factor to consider, when

it comes to reducing overhead costs associated with running any kind of hotel, is ensuring that the HVAC system is running at optimal levels. What is unknown to many operators, is the fact that any system that requires maintenance, will consume more power to deliver the same result. Therefore, the duct system that may be clogged or in need of cleaning, is operating at overcapacity and therefore consuming more unnecessary power driving overheads higher than usual. This is mainly due to the restriction imposed by the chemical buildup and trace residues impeding unhindered airflow. Lastly, there are still hotels that offer guests the option of smoking rooms. What most guests are unaware of is that the smoke eventually builds-up inside the ventilation system and remains there if not properly cleaned. It will also result in foul air quality and physical irritations, especially for people with allergies and sensitive skin.

Since its introduction, company representatives have visited many hotels to introduce the Vortex™ service. Concluding, Kobrosly said, “It is important to note that the number of private residences asking for this service is equal to if not more than hospitals, hotels, offices and food manufacturers. One reason is because people living in a certain residence will notice the difference, especially individuals who suffer from allergies and have breathing problems. Another noteworthy matter to consider is that we offered the service to offices that have windows, which are designed not to open, making the integrity of the ventilation system a major priority.” In relation to offering the Vortex™ service to regional countries, Boecker is introducing it and has already signed an account for a huge project in Qatar, as well as completed projects on a number of mixed-type projects in KSA and Kuwait. DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





of 138 countries. So what makes this southern European country a draw for tourism investment?

Tourism has shown itself to be resilient over the last decade, shrugging off the impact of the financial and economic crisis of 2008. This strong performance points to positive returns for investors and broader opportunities for myriad economies. Ralph Nader, CEO of Amber Consulting, looks at why Portugal is holding its own in a competitive market Several large economies, including both emerging and developed ones, depend heavily on their tourism industry. While the big guns of US, Spain, France and Germany feature in the top five of The 2019 Business Confidence Index’s rankings for Best Countries for Investment in Travel and Tourism Sector, the top spot went to Singapore. Perhaps surprisingly, given that it was caught up in a major debt crisis from 2011 to 2014, Portugal also features in the annual executive report’s Top 20 countries, placing a highly respectable 17th out



What makes it special? The 2019 Business Confidence Index considered 12 attributes when ranking the world’s most investor-friendly locations. These comprised: market

More than 180 new hotels are expected to be operating in Portugal by 2021, driven by the dynamic development of the tourism sector and anticipated growth size; infrastructure; property rights; favorable tax laws; fast-growing economy; investor-related laws; availability of workforce; investor-friendly environment; governmental red tape and restrictions; untapped potential and opportunities; ability to access investment funds if need be; and good government fiscal and monetary policy. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA region) retained the largest share of the travel industry worldwide, with a market size of USD 644 billion, followed by Asia Pacific, with USD 506 billion, and North America (USD 501 billion).

‘All Eyes on Me’ Tourism growth. Portugal’s tourist numbers have risen uninterruptedly since 2010, with the sector serving as a powerful growth engine as the country exited the 2011-2014 debt crisis, leading to a peak in international tourism receipts. The sector grew by 8 percent to contribute € 38.4 billion (USD 45.5 billion) to the Portuguese economy, which represents 19.1 percent of total economic activity in the country, making it one of the biggest contributors to the national economy and the largest employer. This level of growth is the highest of any country in the EU and significantly above the EU average of three percent. A solid backbone. • Infrastructure. The top scorer for the tourist service infrastructure, Portugal ranked first globally thanks to exceptional hotel density, high ATM density (fourth) and high-quality tourism infrastructure (fifth). • Safety. In 2019, Portugal was ranked the fourth-safest country in the world and the third-safest country by population, behind Iceland and New Zealand. • Inexpensive. Daily travel costs in Portugal stand at about € 50 when on a budget, well below other popular European destinations, such as Spain (€ 80) and France (€ 130).

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• Strategy. The 10-year tourism plan that was set by the government in 2017 also contributed to tourism growth, seeking to boost overnight stays, increasing revenue in the sector and reducing seasonality. • Marketing. The government is investing in external and internal promotional campaigns and focusing on the importance of marketing, as evidenced by its decision to host the first International Conference on Tourism Marketing and Destination Branding in October 2019. • Connectivity. In 2019, 15 new routes were added, with nonstop flights to Lisbon and Porto. In addition, low-cost carrier RyanAir has invested € 100 million in new flight routes to Portugal, flying from Lisbon airport to 35 cities in Europe and to 60 European cities from Porto.

These elements together combine to make Portugal a highly inviting market and attractive destination for FDI in travel and tourism.

• Most of the new openings are concentrated in the Lisbon and Porto regions, with a total of 8,000 rooms on course to be available in 85 hotels.

Portugal is also a member of the European Union, meaning it offers access to a market of 28 countries with around 495 million consumers. On a separate note, it provides a gateway to a global market of 220 million Portuguesespeaking consumers.

• Investment in hotels is also on the rise. In 2018, four major hotel transactions took place totaling € 205 million, topped only in 2015 when the figure reached a record-breaking € 255 million.

Hotels in the pipeline. More than 180 new hotels are expected to be operating in Portugal by 2021, driven by the dynamic development of the tourism sector and anticipated growth.

• Two of the biggest deals of the year were the sale of Penha Longa Hotel & Golf Resort in Sintra to the Carlyle Group, in partnership with Explorer Investments, and the purchase of the InterContinental Palacio das Cardosas in Porto by the GCP Group.

Investing more. In 2018, Lisbon airport passenger numbers rose by 9 percent, bringing the facility to maximum capacity and limiting air accessibility. Vinci Airports, therefore, signed an agreement with the Portuguese government to finance the expansion of Lisbon’s airport capacity, by expanding the existing Lisbon airport and also open a new civil airport in Montijo, 25km from the city center. DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




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Kostas Nikolaidis, Middle East and Africa executive for STR, takes a first glimpse at businesson-the-books for London and Dubai as at the third week of October 2019 Steve Jobs said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” We are undoubtedly in a better position to observe, analyze and understand life and, indeed, hotel performance in hindsight. Nevertheless, the hotel industry has always shown a desire to also develop the capacity for foresight the ability to see the future unfold before it materializes into reality. Despite Dubai and London having their own

distinct seasonality, business mix and trends, they generally operate at relatively high hotel occupancies, with Dubai closing 2018 at 75.3 percent occupancy, whilst London stood at 83.5 percent. The accompanying chart showcases some interesting findings. Firstly, Dubai’s forward-looking occupancy lags behind London for the months of October, November and December. A plethora of demand-inducing events take place in both cities during this time. Dubai plays host to a number of medical congresses, the Dubai Airshow, GITEX and more, while London is hosting events such as the Frieze Art Fair, the World Travel Market and the ATP World Tour. However, the trend reverses in Q1 which is traditionally the strongest quarter in terms of hotel performance for Dubai. London usually starts the year lethargically. To an extent, this can be attributed to its more corporate business mix and, arguably, less desirable weather conditions during the first three months of the year compared to Dubai. In addition, a spike in business is evident in London and Dubai for the period between Christmas and New Year as both cities tend to attract large numbers of leisure tourists during the festive season. Six months ahead and beyond, both cities

Hotel business-on-the-books London vs Dubai As of the 3rd week of October 2019



are naturally still recording low demand as they are outside of the typical booking window for accommodation. The advance reservations in place usually consist of groups that are typically used to build an occupancy base in hotels. A considerable number of hotel bookings are nowadays relatively close to the arrival date, primarily due to the digital boom of the past few decades and the relative ease with which accommodation can be reserved through online or mobile channels; a behavior more frequently exhibited by the younger, more tech-savvy generations such as millennials. Data savvy hoteliers can already make use of forward-looking hotel data to optimize performance for their properties. Tourism Authorities, event organizers and Convention Visitor Bureaus, along with Destination Management companies, can use that data as an aid to better plan their future event calendars. Moreover, smart cities of the future will be able to leverage that data to better prepare for their future guests, plan their tourism flows and curate optimal tourism experiences for them. After all, when you can see the future, you can write your history!




LUXURY GETS IN TENTS A hybrid of glamor and camping, glamping provides a way to experience nature without having to forgo the luxury of home comforts or deal with the headache of putting up a tent. It allows the holidaymaker comfort and luxury, while maintaining respect for the natural surroundings. At the same time, glamping provides exclusivity and uniqueness in its accommodation offerings and location.

As consumers seek out more unique experiences, hoteliers are stepping away from the traditional bricks and mortar business and diversifying their offerings. Against this backdrop, glamping has witnessed a rise in popularity in recent years which has seen it enter the mainstream hospitality market. Christopher Lund, head of Hotels for Colliers International MENA, tells us more

The global rise of glamping The growth in demand for glamping can be attributed to the rise of ecotourism, wellness tourism, adventure tourism and agritourism (EWAA). The emergence of the ‘consumer with a conscience’ and ethical consumerism, which has seen hoteliers adopt environmentally friendly amenities, is expected to continue driving the expansion glamping. Glamping is especially popular within the domestic market among consumers opting for staycations during the weekends and holiday periods, whether campers, solo travelers or families. The luxury tent business has been primarily concentrated in Africa but its popularity is on the rise elsewhere on the back of growing demand. Destinations as far apart as Chile and Cambodia are now providing some of the most unique offerings,



including igloo-shaped domes that have minimal impact on the environment and include their own composting device, as well as the first luxury floating resort. Unsurprisingly, major hotel brands are now also moving into the space, with several names setting up their own luxury tent resorts. Marriott collaborated with the Coachella Music festival in 2017 to offer luxury tents to attendees and, due to its immense success, returned the following year offering luxury yurts modeled after various W hotel destinations. Glamping comes in different formats, with guests able to choose from a variety of options, including: cabins; safari tents; yurts; domes; wigwams; pods; micro lodges; teepees; and bell tents. Camping pods hold the largest market share since they are often viewed as safer than a tent or caravan and have lockable doors and windows. Aside from offering shelter and security, cabins have a cozy feel to them and are designed to withstand the elements. They are also an eco-friendly alternative to camping as they have minimal effect on the environment. The type of accommodation offered is usually determined by the location and weather patterns of the area; for areas with stronger winds, rainfall or snow, the structures are more likely to be more

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permanent to accommodate the conditions.

Glamping in the GCC Key destinations in the region, including Oman, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, are tapping into the glamping trend. With its take on luxury accommodation and facilities, glamping is fast becoming popular with both locals and expatriates as they look to swop the hustle and bustle of the city for some peace and tranquility without having to travel too far. In Dubai’s exclave Hatta, a new project featuring trailers and lodges has transformed the mountains in the region, giving glampers the opportunity to take in views of Dubai without having to sacrifice their creature comforts. The trailers and lodges can accommodate up to four people and are equipped with WIFI, TV sets and furniture that includes comfortable beds. Wadi Rum in Jordan, with its breathtaking views of the landscape, offers ‘Martian’ domes, where guests can spend the night under the stars in ultra-comfortable surroundings. These domes come equipped with a private bathroom and shower, electricity, hot water, minibar and beds. In the UAE, the hot summers traditionally deter individuals from engaging in

outdoor activities between May and September, meaning the bulk of the glamping businesses, like Hatta, only operate outside of these months.

Taking in the landscape The Middle East holds plenty of potential for glamping, largely due to its landscape, which can include mountainous regions, mangroves, coastal strips and sandy

Glamping comes in different formats, with guests able to choose from a variety of options, including: cabins; safari tents; yurts; domes; wigwams; pods; micro lodges; teepees; and bell tents deserts in one place. With several national governments in the region moving to diversify their economies, glamping provides an important opportunity for countries to position themselves as ultimate tourist destinations. Destinations in the GCC that have been identified as offering opportunities include: Fujairah, UAE: the emirate boasts mountainous regions and is the only one of the seven emirates with a coastline on the Gulf of Oman, both of which give it the

ideal geography for glamping. Fujairah also has a rich history that would undoubtedly be of interest to visitors. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Jebel Jais is perfectly positioned for glamping. The area usually registers cooler average temperatures than other landmarks in the country, while offering numerous adventure activities and diverse scenery with mangroves, sandy deserts and the mountains. Bin Majid resort in Al Jazirah Al Hamra offers such an experience with the added bonus of being situated right on the beach. Abha, KSA: located south west of Saudi Arabia, near Asir National Park, Abha’s mild climate makes it highly popular with domestic tourists and an ideal site for building on an existing market by introducing glamping. Al-Ula, KSA: planned developments in this location include a resort (Aman Resort) and a nature reserve - Sharaan. The nature of the city and the presence of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madain Saleh make it a prime location for the development of glamping. Al Ahsa, KSA: Home to the world’s largest oasis, Al Ahsa is ideally suited to glamping development. With its rich history and unique landscape, it has something to offer both domestic and international visitors.





RATE PARITY OR DISPARITY? of rate parity lies in regaining control of the online distribution channels and driving more business through the branded website of the hotel. In other words, OTAs and hotels are not able to offer discounts on the room rates to customers, but only to those who form part of a loyalty program or part of a membership in the purchase process.

Hotels’ pricing is complex and disparities in rates are extremely common. With the rise of newage channels, hotels are also having problems maintaining a clean, clear vision over their pricing strategy. Spirals in the inventory and rates distribution have made it even more important for hotels to take control of their distribution channels. Serge Chamelian, managing partner of h-hotelier, gives a no-nonsense explanation of the different distribution channels available to hotels Several hotels are choosing to adopt a multichannel distribution strategy to sell their products and services, primarily: the traditional offline channel (telephone, mail, traditional travel agents, sales representatives), representing 30 percent of total bookings in Europe and 50 percent in the Middle East; and the online channel (online travel agencies [OTAs], online tour wholesalers), representing 70 percent of total bookings in Europe and 50 percent in the Middle East. Hotels imply rate parity on the online distribution channels with which they work. Rate parity is defined as the sale of the same room to the same customer at the same price across all online distribution channels. It represents a legal agreement between hotels and OTAs in which the hotel makes a guarantee to use the same rate and terms for a specific room type, regardless of the online distribution channel. The price of the room can regularly change – which means the exact rate is flexible – but it must always remain the same across all online distribution channels. The importance



An agreement between several governments and OTAs requires the agencies to cease certain practices around how they promote and price hotel rooms to customers. However, major players, like and Expedia, are now making price snapshots on various sites such as TripAdvisor or Google in order to check for rate parity and send alerts to hotels in case disparity appears. The outcome for hotels not

Rate disparity appears as an essential issue in information consistency. Price disparity is defined as charging and/or selling different prices for the same product/service on different online distribution channels, and is a form of price discrimination maintaining rate parity across their online distribution channels is seen in hotels losing their ranking on and Expedia. This price transparency makes it easier for customers to compare different options and identify the best deals. Despite hotels’ efforts to provide rate parity across online distribution channels and due to the growing popularity of online bookings, rate disparity appears as an essential issue in information consistency. Price disparity is defined as charging and/or selling different prices for the same product/service on different online distribution channels, and is a form of price discrimination. When customers identify different prices offered across various online distribution channels for the same room, they are encouraged to become rate conscious and to search online for better deals. Customers booking accommodation are divided into two main segments: business-to-customer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B). Those falling

into the B2C segment are generally quoted a best available rate (BAR). The B2C segment consists of OTAs, such as,, opodo. com,, and, together with the hotel’s direct website and/or chain’s direct website. From a hotel’s perspective, controlling B2C platforms in terms of price is straightforward, given that these platforms are public and accessible to all unrestricted customers. However, on a practical level, it becomes uncontrollable and leakage exists, while surprisingly, most of the time, the hotel remains unaware of the issue. B2B portals, meanwhile, become increasingly complicated, since multiple intermediaries are involved in the process and the rate is not made public. The B2B segment consists of wholesalers,

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corporate contracts, allotments, free independent travelers (FITs), cruise companies and global distribution systems (GDSs), among others. B2B customers are under seasonal contract or dynamic contract based on a percentage of the BAR. The contracts can be static, which means a flat rate per season, or on a dynamic rate, which floats with the BAR, based on a certain percentage. They can also come in different formats that are either net or commissionable. On a practical basis, B2B platforms re-sell the hotel’s inventory to another intermediary without the knowledge of hotels, hence the problem of the commissioning structure imposed by these channels. Indeed, B2B platforms do not have control over their own distribution channels. To give an example, hotels alleged that the OTA Amoma misused wholesale rates that were never intended

for its use. They suspected that the travel agency was often taking inventory provided to wholesalers for the offline market and undercutting the rates for general consumption on its site. This

From a hotel’s perspective, controlling B2C platforms in terms of price is straightforward, given that these platforms are public and accessible to all unrestricted customers resulted in rate disparity, as prices available on Amoma’s site were lower than prices available on other OTAs’ sites. Amoma has now ceased operating, but the problem persists since other travel agencies are continuing to use the same business model.

Most of the larger hotel chains and some of the smaller hotel groups have been tightening up the supply of so-called static rates that the Amomas of this world rely upon. Moreover, the giant OTAs (namely and Expedia) have introduced their own wholesale rate service, which will allow them to capture some of the discounted inventory. Things can get especially complicated when the OTAs strive to gain customers via their fidelity program or wholesalers are selling a vast number of rooms for the hotel to other intermediaries. In both cases, the hotel is forced to work with all channels to optimize the sale of its inventory. Next edition, Serge Chamlian will give an insight into rate parity from a practical perspective and provide useful recommendations.






Ni Caffè

Pierre Ziadeh

Prominent Lebanese restaurateur Pierre Ziadeh and his partner Souhail Nassar took over the Minet El Hosn area of Downtown Beirut in 2009 with international culinary concepts and development. Through SP Holding, Ziadeh has now successfully expanded throughout the Middle East and is on track to franchise the first of many unique concepts in 2020 How did you enter the F&B industry and what have been your most prominent achievements to date? I lived in Paris for 20 years, supplying readymade French, Italian and German clothing brands to companies operating in the Middle East and Africa. However, before that, in



2002, I worked in the restaurant business and founded Karam Beirut restaurant in Downtown Beirut. I entered the hospitality field to make an investment, as well as to satisfy my passion for the restaurant scene and its related components. Because I spent so much time traveling, I became hooked on frequenting restaurants wherever I was staying, so when the opportunity to open one presented itself, I took it. In 2005, I went to Dubai and within a three-year period we had opened nine branches. We then exported the concept to KSA and opened 23 branches. One year ago, we sold the Dubai business and then sold our investment in Saudi soon afterward. As well as launching the original Karam Beirut, Karam Café and Karam Express, we also innovated and introduced new ideas. It was we who instituted all the concept changes to better fit the market and its corresponding clientele. We sold Karam Beirut because we wanted to move into a more elevated eating-out concept experience. This was when we introduced Sérail, an authentic luxury dining restaurant concept that has a modern, rather than classic, look and feel to it.


What can you tell us about SP Holding? SP Holding is a separate company that was first established to launch L’Avenue du Parc in 2009. It now owns Lily's Café and Sérail, and is also a partner in Kamp Catering, Cocteau, Ni Caffè, Gavi and Kampai. In addition, we are working on another F&B concept called AI. Altogether, we own and operate 12 concepts in Beirut. We previously had Celsius restaurant, which we closed a year ago, and will launch a new Lebanese restaurant concept in its place, with plans to then export it, based on an agreement made with clients in Egypt. We’ve already sold the franchise for Lily's Café, Kampai, L’Avenue du Parc and Sérail to Egypt, all of which we will open in February 2020, with WOC Cairo handling the Egyptian investment. In a separate development, we’re selling the Sérail franchise to Riyadh and expect to open at the Hilton Hotel rooftop by May 2020. Negotiations are also ongoing with potential clients to open Sérail in Dubai and New York,

Sérai Cocteau

How many customers are you currently accommodating?

What current F&B trends have you noticed in Lebanon and across the region?

though nothing is yet confirmed. In total, we have about 700 employees in Lebanon. All our regional outlets are franchises, which we sell while retaining management rights. We are open to regional expansion, be it Qatar, Kuwait or Bahrain, and have people constantly negotiating deals. However, in order to ensure consistency throughout all our brands, our franchising terms include a condition, clearly stated, that we manage the properties ourselves.

What kind of concept will AI be? AI will be a Japanese restaurant with a lounge and bar that is similar to the Zuma setup. We’ve also contracted several international chefs, so the restaurant will be of the highend variety. We’re confident it will become one of, if not the most, celebrated Japanese restaurants in Beirut. The people who designed the restaurant are the same native Japanese nationals who’ve designed Zuma restaurants and other famous Japanese brands.

People are frequenting restaurants today that offer a lively vibe in a festive atmosphere, often with music. This has become a highly sought-after element, given even more importance by diners than the venue’s cuisine in many cases. For that reason, having a lounge and bar has become instrumental in determining the success of any new concept.

What local challenges do you find yourself facing? The main difficulties we are grappling with is finding skilled labor and potential candidates asking for high salaries. On top of that, the current situation in Lebanon prevents us from raising our prices to accommodate the financial obligations of new staff members, yet due to continuously rising competition, we need to maintain our edge at all costs. One other challenge is the absence of quality hospitality graduates who tend to emigrate. Worse still, we often find ourselves recruiting individuals and taking the time to train them, despite their shortcomings, as we’re in need of hired help, without knowing how long they’ll stay. This is an additional expense cutting into our bottom line.

On average, throughout the week, we serve about 3,000 customers daily, rising to 5,000 over the weekend. We also started delivery services for Kampai, and that has been receiving plenty of demand, with the same true for Sérail. At the end of October, we made Lily's Café available on the Toters delivery app. To accommodate demand, we used our own delivery services for our existing line of restaurants and are now testing a third-party network. However, some restaurants, such as L’Avenue du Parc, are not suitable for delivery services due to the type of food offered.

What is the spirit of your company? From the get-go, we wanted to diversify our offerings by entertaining various types of high-end F&B concepts, not only to maintain a strategic advantage, but also to enrich our proposal and, in turn, allow multifaceted growth. We also pride ourselves on the consistency of our service and quality by using a carefully studied pricing system that is quite competitive. This has garnered loyalty and a customer base to match.

What is your five-year investment strategy for Lebanon? I believe that we have done all we can in the Lebanese market, although we were considering opening a branch of Sérail by next summer, despite the fact that we do not usually favor seasonal eateries. At the same time, we’re promoting all our concepts throughout the region, especially those that don’t have a regional franchise. To help us achieve that, we recently opened an office in Egypt, since our projections show that the country will become the biggest F&B market over the next five years. Concurrently, we are working on the development of new concepts specific to key regional markets. DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





Black Spoon

Saudi Arabia provides fertile ground for development

The MENA F&B market is in a continuous state of flux, with constant challenges emerging, and yet the number of opportunities ripe for tapping is on the rise for those with sufficient flexibility to adapt to the climate of the market. Abdul Kader Saadi, managing director and owner of Glee Hospitality Solutions, gives us a rundown of the region’s F&B opportunities In the scope of a broad overview, the UAE is currently a mature market which remains competitive and stands on the cusp of its ‘next wave’ of F&B evolution. When it comes to development, standalone outlets are doing increasingly well, offering retailers several benefits, such as lower rents, which in turn allow concepts to generate affordable, but qualitative offerings for their clientele. Examples of such concepts include Kobeya in Dar Al Wasl, a Far Eastern and Japanese gluten-free kitchen that serves dishes featuring premium ingredients, such as Kobe Beef directly from Japan. There are also greater options available to licensed outlets to operate outside of their previous hotel jurisdictions. Whereas these concepts previously relied heavily on their proximity to hotels, real estate developments, such as Jumeirah Lake Towers and Dubai Marina, now offer them new avenues to tap into potentially hugely lucrative markets.



Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly one of the fastest emerging markets in the region, with ubiquitous areas of opportunity. The biggest development in terms of Saudi’s tourism potential is its all-expanded tourist visa system, which, for the first time in history, will allow general tourists into the nation. This evolution in the country’s structure, coupled with the goals mapped out in Vision 2030, puts Saudi Arabia in a prime position to enrich its tourism and hospitality/F&B sector and scale heights never before imagined. To foster this progression, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is reportedly investing USD 27

When it comes to consumers, the dark kitchen model is beneficial in terms of the choice of brands made available and their proximity to the consumer for delivery billion in its tourism drive. This capital will be channeled into developing hotels, shopping centers and even the region’s largest indoor ski slope/snow park in the years to come. In response, there has been a shift in local consumer market behavior. To put it simply, people are now mixing and integrating in ways never previously witnessed and there is an ever-growing hunger to be more ‘social’. Consumers want to go out and interact in a way that is creating the ideal market to bring the envisioned goals of the Vision 2030 initiative to fruition. That said,

there are still gaps in the markets, signaling opportunities for the right service provider to meet these demands. These include spaces in the high-end and middle/ high-casual segments within the F&B sector, while high-end delivery options are also in short supply. These areas hold plenty of potential and would be a strong supplement to the consumer market if coupled with the huge investment anticipated in the tourism sector. In terms of new areas of development, Riyadh has quickly become a guiding path and hospitality management firms are beginning to expand their bases of operation to cater to this new market locally rather than remotely from their overseas offices. Concepts such as The Black Spoon, The Zone (an American casual all-day dinning concept) and Ole (a U Walk development that specializes in coffee, with a large variety of desserts) are all launching in Riyadh in Q4 2019.

Dark kitchens see the light Overall, the market is revealing a growing emphasis on the development of dark kitchen concepts, with several forms and models now available. In layman’s terms, a dark kitchen is a central facility or one without a frontage/shop used as a hub to produce food at a point of origin and deliver it. Existing outlets are turning their kitchens into facilities from which they not only deliver their own brand/menu, but are also creating and delivering sub brands. Examples of dark kitchens include Deliveroo Edition, which employs a cost share model, rental models, such as Kitopi, and reverse franchising models, such as Kitchen Nation. In terms of impact, dark kitchens can lead to more brands,

In collaboration with increased saturation and price wars. When it comes to consumers, the dark kitchen model is beneficial in terms of the choice of brands made available and their proximity to the consumer for delivery. Additionally, food delivery now represents a much larger chunk of retailers’ overall F&B income. This has had a direct impact on retailers, with consumers going out less and opting for home delivery as a preferred alternative on the back of better deals, convenience and a greater choice of cuisines. Furthermore, outlets now have to fight to appear at the top of delivery apps such as Zomato & Deliveroo by offering ‘super promotions’, while making a loss in many instances. Perhaps the biggest paradigm shift in the F&B market is the scenario that sees retailers now having to compete with the online F&B sector. Retailers are constantly seeking new and alternative means of creating a more memorable experience to drive the customer into physically visiting their concepts rather than ordering in online. This predicament is not unique to the MENA region; rather it has increasingly become a significant challenge faced by operators across the global retail sector.

Kitchen Nation



My focus is on the guest. I do everything for that, and I expect maximum performance from my equipment. The MKN FlexiCombi won‘t let me down. Its performance inspires me every time anew. And so I inspire my guests.

MKN FlexiCombi Performance redefined.

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THE FOOD HALL FRENZY Over the years the restaurant concept as we know it has been challenged, revisited, rejigged and redefined. Nada Alameddine, partner at Hodema consulting services, enlightens us on the most recent shakeup



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The food and beverage (F&B) industry is always on the lookout for new ideas, while reinventing itself over and over again. When it’s not about changes to the food on your plate, it’s about the setting and the decor. In recent months, restaurant operators have joined forces with their retail counterparts to develop a new mode of eating out. Food halls are clusters of pop-up restaurants, counters and streetfood vendors, all brought together in a large retail space. Halfway between a traditional food market, but with a seating option around or near the counters, and a food truck, where the cook prepares fresh dishes in front of your eyes, food halls offer a wide variety of cuisines, from cheap falafels to pricey caviar. The keywords are quality and authenticity, while the idea is to ditch the fancy service and decor of standalone restaurants, but without compromising on the standard of food.

The world on a plate Pioneers include Boston’s iconic Quincy Market and famed British department store Harrods, where several world cuisines are prepared in front of awed customers who can try them, freshly cooked, at the counter. The concept has since snowballed around the globe in many major cities, becoming more cutting edge and affordable in the process. London is host to Asian food hall Bang Bang Oriental, located in a modern, indoor market space, among others, and will also welcome the highly anticipated Eataly in 2020. The latter, described as a ‘foodie theme park’, is already up and running in 12 cities, including Tokyo, Moscow, NYC, Istanbul, Dubai and Riyadh. Another venture - La Felicita - is causing a buzz in Paris. While communal-style dining dates back hundreds of years to banquets, taverns and food bazaars, in recent times, F&B establishments shifted toward a more private way of dining. But the rise of quick service restaurants (QSR) after World War II has gradually led to the reemergence of shared seating areas. The huge popularity of the mall culture, where people could spend their whole day flitting between shops, eateries and activities under one roof, gave an added boost to the concept, coining the description ‘food courts’ in the process. These specific areas reserved for food outlets became extremely popular among mall-goers, while foodies looking for refined dishes would still turn to restaurants.

Something for everyone Food halls provide wider choices for

diners, offering cuisines from around the world, made with fresh ingredients, in a market-like ambiance. QSR fans can still take advantage of the no-fuss and quick ordering systems, while connoisseurs can chat directly with up-and-coming chefs. Health-conscious individuals are also better informed on the ingredients’ origins, since there are no intermediaries between them and the cook. “I never liked the word food court because in my opinion it cheapens the quality of food. A food hall promises an experience! Food is an experience and should be respected and brought forward,” blogger and food critic Anthony Rahayel (nogarlicnoonions. com) wrote. In the food hall, each eatery is hand-picked and advertised as the best in its game. The bright lights, plastic cups and loud music characterizing standardized food courts have gone, replaced in food halls by traditional products and lowkey decor celebrating the cuisines they

Food halls provide wider choices for diners, offering cuisines from around the world, made with fresh ingredients, in a market-like ambiance. QSR fans can still take advantage of the no-fuss and quick ordering systems, while connoisseurs can chat directly with up-and-coming chefs promote. The huge success of food markets worldwide is also benefiting them, attracting foodies looking for a seated option, perched on stools around tiny countertops. Food halls have become so popular that many have been turned into touristic destinations in their own rights.

Cheaper startup costs But food halls are not only a disrupter for clients; they are also redefining both retail and food services, and have quickly become a favorite among real estate developers. Taking the ‘quick casual’ segment – increasingly favored in Western countries – by storm, they are now attracting F&B developers and operators. They can also be a saving grace for malls running out of steam and looking to fill their vacant spaces. But those standing to gain the most are small F&B entrepreneurs, who can start and operate a business for less within a larger structure. The food hall enables them to put their F&B concept to the test with month-to-month rentals,

providing opportunities for individuals who would never have had the mandatory startup funds to open a standalone establishment and pay the required rent and taxes. While some still end up opening a restaurant of their own, others can decide to keep a smaller and more flexible format.

Building on the mall culture Like all global trends, food halls are slowly arriving in the Middle East, where food courts and clusters – a conglomerate of restaurants in the same street or area – have already become part of people’s eating habits. The GCC mall culture has not only helped to make these venues increasingly popular as go-to destinations for all-round leisure and entertainment, but is also playing a major role in the success of food courts. Lebanon, where several malls have opened in recent years, is following the same trend, despite retaining its street restaurant tradition. Clusters have also attracted loyal followings across Beirut and its suburbs. Rabih Saba, managing partner at Venture Group, believes food halls are certainly a trend that has yet to reach the Middle East region, particularly Lebanon, where the market is not yet sufficiently mature. “Investors in such projects need more stability and long-term leases, preferring to rent renowned brands in order to secure returns on investment, rather than betting on new brands with higher turnover that are less secure,” he said. “We will definitely be welcoming this trend when the market is ready for it.” However, the first steps have already been taken, with food markets and festivals attracting large crowds across the region, such as Souk al-Akel in Lebanon and the Dubai Food Festival. Some malls have also started opening food halls, such as American celebrity chef Todd English in Dubai Mall, although the concept remains closer to a giant restaurant, with waiters despite its 12 different stations. “Such food hall concepts need a cosmopolitan city with more pedestrians, which is not currently the case in the region,” said Tommy Kargatzidis, head chef and co-owner of Baron Beirut, currently developing a new restaurant in Lisbon. “However, TimeOut Market, which is currently located in Lisbon, Miami, Boston and New York, is expected to open at the end of 2020 in Souk Al Bahar in Dubai.”






Em Sherif Sea Café - Beirut

The interior architect Ramy Boutros sees movement in every texture, life in every stone, warmth in every metal and a dance in every fabric. Specializing in realizing dreams, he is an expert at breathing new life into any space. Here, HN talks to him about the challenges involved in designing some of Lebanon’s most successful homegrown F&B concepts

and beautiful details, there remains a commonly shared factor, namely a lack of a clear-cut identity grounded in context. The main factor behind the importation of such foreign concepts can be traced back to the owners’ desire to emulate and reproduce ideas that succeeded abroad or exteriors that could easily fit anywhere. The problem with that approach occurs when people want to go out and are keen to pay to live an innovative experience, but end up being disappointed for all the above-mentioned reasons. In other words, either the concept fails for being out of place, or the exterior communicates an identity not reflective of the actual eatingout experience.

The challenges Form vs. function We have a lot of concepts, restaurants, cafes and hotels all around the world and the number is growing, simply because we are a consumer society that is always hungry for more, especially when it comes to novelty. What I try to do is to create an identity you can recognize wherever you go. It is similar to a signature that not only reflects the main characteristics of a brand, but also functions as a global identifier. That said, when you visit Downtown Beirut, most of the restaurants you come across look like they could be concepts whose origin is foreign rather than local. Though many have quite interesting interiors



I try to push the envelope by creating a specific identity for one particular brand alone. For example, when you walk into any branch of Em Sherif Café and see the perforated dome with Middle Eastern vases, you will automatically and immediately recognize the brand because it has a unique identity that is unlike any other eatery. The other story relates to me designing the Em Sherif restaurant franchise. This was a more difficult task because the first branch was originally designed by the owner, Mireille Hayek, who wanted the interior to mimic the look and feel of a traditional Lebanese house. So before designing my first interpretation of that brand, I took

the spirit she had injected and tried to translate it architecturally. That is not to say that every branch is identical; rather every branch introduces that original spirit, as well as central elements that have been innovatively communicated. The biggest challenge was creating an identity for an already existing brand that looks like nothing else. For example, the owners of Kateh restaurant, which first opened in Kuwait and is now branching out around the world, wanted the space to have a contemporary Persian interior, so I transformed the traditional Islamic architectural domes into very geometric ones with vertical lines. Also, because they use plenty of mirrors, I adapted that object by incorporating arches, framed the mirrors and positioned them on the walls using a concrete finish to give the space a contemporary look and feel. Furthermore, in their traditional architecture, the ceiling is reflected in the floor. I modernized this very classical approach by inverting the concept.

Shocking vs. charming In the field of hospitality, you work on projects for more than one client. Though that person is the owner of the concept, my job is to please the masses walking into the space, which includes all kinds of people visiting from all kinds of places. You can either design a concept that shocks the visitors who will automatically feel the need to return so as to better understand

El Don at Four Seasons Hotel - Damascus Villa Clara - Boutique Hotel & Restaurant - Beirut

Numero 6 Restaurant - Beirut

the idea behind the design or you create an interior that all visitors will find pleasant and inviting. Personally, I avoid using the ‘shock’ effect, which might prove to be overwhelming or too much for some and only end up hurting the restaurant owner. If the architecture is shocking in the sense of being ‘very present’ or too ‘in your face’, then first timers might be put off by the space and never return. To avoid that, I try to innovate by creating an architectural concept that is personal and inviting, similar to a cocoon. That way, the newly introduced concept will be more easily accepted, turning guests into customers.

Use of materials When choosing the most suitable materials, it is very important to choose highly durable, heavy-duty products; after all, when you work in hospitality, everything from tables and chairs to utensils must be able to withstand wear and tear. Also, these tools need to maintain a ‘shine’ of sorts, which makes the selection process quite challenging. On the one hand you need them to be durable, while on the other, they have to look new, even if they are not. In other words, the tools must age well and remain appealing. This is also important when you consider that many restaurants close for a period after years of operation to renovate or do some upkeep. The problem here is that even after reopening, those

Em Sherif Restaurant - Doha

outlets risks losing many of their previous customers. With that in mind, keeping closure times brief will help restaurants to retain their customer base and even create some excitement.

Demand for local concepts In Lebanon, international franchises rarely work, even if these have received global acclaim, simply because while the Lebanese are open to new foreign experiences when abroad, they like local concepts when choosing eateries in their homeland. The mistake many make is believing that these international concepts apply locally, even though it has become clear that this is not the case. However, regional destinations with room for expansion are adopting our homegrown concepts and doing very well, simply because there are many important and shared commonalities. This is a growing trend for both the region and also for Europeans and Americans. In part, it is because to a degree, we offer Mediterranean cuisine, which visitors from those countries are familiar with. Growth is also being fueled by the evolution and modern interpretations of our traditional cuisine.

in a space that filters out the hustle and bustle of everyday life. To that end, doing away with echoes, clanking utensils and group conversations will go a long way to gaining and growing a loyal following that is becoming harder to please. Em Sherif Café - Beirut

Lastly, a very important, previously overlooked element when designing the interior space of a new concept is soundproofing. This is especially important since when people choose a venue today, they do so to enjoy each other’s company DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




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OWNERSHIP VERSUS EMPLOYEE A BATTLE OF TWO MINDSETS If I am the owner Owning my business is a wonderful experience. I am cash flow positive, sales are rising and costs are sinking. Profit is on the cards. My business is debt free; I have won the lottery.

Owners and employees might have diametrically opposed My ownership challenges: ways of thinking, but they can be • Are my people the right people? bridged through a few changes. • Are the deals I am getting the best deals Mark Dickinson of DONE! we can get? • Is my team using my money wisely to Hospitality Training Solutions grow my business? tells us how I recently visited a high-end restaurant in the GCC where the investment was north of USD 5 million and the average dining spend around USD 300 per person. As we approached the bar, the bartender greeted us and said, “Good evening, it’s happy hour this evening so drinks are half price.” I was shocked; this was the first customer interaction in such an exclusive place! We then discovered there was a second bar, so asked to relocate, but were required to pay the bill first. Once we’d moved, we found a bartender talking to another customer with no welcome, hands in his pockets. Only when we’d finished our drinks and started to leave did he ask, “Would you like another drink guys?” We left. We had just been served by an employee! Processed. When the owner of that restaurant started out, he had passion and ambition and now his restaurant lies virtually empty. Employees are saying that it is due to the current situation. It is not - it is due to the employees. We had gone there to dine for USD 1,000 and we left paying just USD 60. The employees did not understand the impact of their behavior. The problem is the thinking. Here’s why:



• Are we really striving to give the best service possible? • Why are my people not giving 100 percent? • Why do they always want more benefits? • Why is there always an uncomfortable silence when we talk about things that infringe on their ‘rights’? At the end of the day, I made the company. What are these ‘rights’? It is as though we live in two different worlds. I want to please my customers. They want to secure their lives. And so I begin to go slightly nuts. My meetings with my team always seem to go well, so what’s the problem?

If I am the employee I work in a great company. It recently made a profit and it is starting to look like we are going to do better than the budget. My boss is decent and seems to like what I do. I work hard and was giving 100 percent until recently, when I had an idea that would save money but no one listened to me. Now I just keep my ideas to myself and even go home early. I’m an employee; if the company doesn’t make money it still has to pay me by law, so why should I worry?

Owners love customers: employees serve customers Owners understand that all the money they make comes from serving their customers. We recently surveyed 250 employees in a large firm and asked them the meaning of selling. Unbelievably, most of them thought that sales were something to do with profit and expenses. We also asked those same employees who paid their salary? And you’ve guessed it, they said, ‘the company’.* The challenge for owners is to get their employees to understand that the company is owned by everyone and that the salaries are solely paid for by the customers. When you share with your employees the challenges of growing your business try a new approach. Create a program that shares with each employee the important knowledge that the value of the business is only proportionate to the service that they provide customers. Engage employees in the process of making money and give them the chance to earn money from the income. The more tied employees are to the true business process, understanding revenue, expense management and profit generation, the more power you will have. Get them to buy in and you will have a more successful business because you’re giving them a reason to care: ownership. Share the win and the win will grow. *250 employees in the food service industry in Qatar, surveyed in September 2019

e t ! a s u r b h e l t i e w C 16 - 20 FEBRUARY 2020 DUBAI WORLD TRADE CENTRE

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CRM STRATEGIES FOR HOTELS The lodging industry has always led the way in the implementation of customer relationship management (CRM) programs and their applications. Crucially, these have enabled hotels to benefit from information about their guests by developing loyalty programs aimed at retaining customers and strengthening brand loyalty. Manal Syriani, managing director, WAY Consultants, shows us how the right strategy can benefit your hotel At its core, a CRM system aggregates customer information collected throughout the guest stay at a hotel and uses this information to improve services and offerings in key target markets. In addition, CRM assists in the development of programs that reward guests for their loyalty. The hospitality industry is also the motivator for service providers to enhance their programs and provide constant upgrades for their modules and features. In addition, the ability of hotels to collect customer metrics and behaviors throughout their interaction with the different services contributes to the success of such programs. While the hospitality industry has benefited from such systems, many strategies could still be implemented to further refine the customer experience:

1. An integrated system One such strategy is to widen the spectrum of the customer data collection to cover purchasing behavior in all outlets, including F&B, retail, spa, gym, entertainment and others. The concierge service could also provide key information on guests’ preferences for activities around the city where the hotel is located. This information



could prove to be essential for the development of new products and services, and will provide information for the development of packages per target segment.

2. External integrations With the development of social media platforms, additional information about guests could be collected from these sources to enhance profiling and, in turn, personalize guests’ in-house experiences.

3. Emotional intelligence With the development of CRM’s analytical abilities, hotels could benefit from starting to collect feedback on guests’ emotional subtext during their stay. Emotional reactions could result from the consumption of specific products or be linked to the guest’s general emotional state during their stay at the hotel. Attaching emotions to products will assist in shaping consumer behavior and the resulting experience, if feedback is used effectively.

4. Maintain personalized interactions Maintaining personalized contact with guests, even in the current electronic and digital age, is crucial to the essence of service. Moments of truth (customer

interactions) are still at the core of the hospitality business. Other out-of-the-box strategies have been adopted by certain brands to meet guests’ expectations and, in some instances, to drive up sales. Some of those strategies include:

• Furnishing the room with choices of accessories and/or with makeup options for guests attending special events or wedding.

• Providing optional jackets or coats for guests coming from warm regions, who are most likely to forget to bring their own jackets. • Supplying the room with optional evening gowns or tuxedos as an option, as well as for resorts or leisure groups. This gesture could boost sales for retail brands at the hotel.

• Providing guests with a limited selection of board games, books and similar entertainment in destinations that might be affected by extreme weather which could limit customers’ ability to venture out. Ultimately, the success of any CRM system relies on the ability of management to translate data into actionable steps that serve to meet guests’ preferences.




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THE GEM SERIES PORCELAIN DRIPPER World Brewers Cup Champion and famous Barista role model Stefanos Domatiotis has introduced his revolutionary new brewing gadget – Brewista GEM Series Porcelain Dipper – to UAE coffee enthusiasts and baristas. The GEM Series Porcelain Dripper is a modern, authentic, high-quality dripper with a unique close thermo system. This enables steady water flow and traps aroma modules. The dripper is made from a premium porcelain material, with great heat retention, and is easy to use since it promotes consistent brewing. BREWING GADGETS

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The machine has a five-inch touch screen with various options, including: setting temperatures; volumes; types of drinks; dispensing counters; language; and passwords. Other benefits include an automatic cleaning system. The model is compatible with: Nespreso; Nespresso professional; Lavazza Blu; Lavazza Point; Dolce Gusto; Pod ese 44; and Keurig systems. CINO COFFEE MACHINE MFG CO. LTD





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The look and emotional engagement factor

Branding the box has gone mainstream, providing a great communication channel for showcasing the company’s logo and expressing the purpose of the business or relaying what the brand stands for. Chirine Salha, senior consultant at Ulysses Consulting, lifts the lid on the latest trends Branded packaging has become a serious investment consideration, evolving way beyond containers for food items. Today, it has developed to become a great marketing tool and businesses should be prepared to take advantage of this trend. Branded packaging is the ultimate mobile advertising device, with the ability to reach several audiences simultaneously and spread brand awareness via something as simple as a delivery bike nipping around town. There are several key factors contributing to the influence a fast food or grab’n’go item can have on the consumer, including the way it is packed, preserved, transported and showcased, while reducing costs and assuring quality. These include:

The convenience factor For time-pressed consumers, convenience is king. In terms of food packaging, this could mean adding features to facilitate handling, carrying or eating on the go. QSRs are taking note of this: KFC introduced its Go Cups, a cup designed to hold chicken items and fit inside most car cup holders. The cups even have a divider for a potato and are designed so that most of the food sits above the rim, meaning consumers don’t have to dig in too deep. Similarly, with increased portability in mind, McDonald’s launched the McBike package, designed especially for cyclists. The packaging allows the customer to carry

To be successful, the packaging must be functional, but also visually appealing. So much goes into creating a design that appeals directly to consumers’ emotions. Three packaging design trends stand out: the minimalistic futuristic look; the vintage look evoking happiness and nostalgia; and the gradient colors look that is catchy and captivating. All designs tend to address simplicity, with the most relevant information printed in bold and big fonts, rather than cluttered designs with an overload of information. Keeping the design simple not only makes the packaging look clean, but also reduces the cost. By embracing a minimalist design, McDonald's new Take Out bag displays a fresh outlook for the fast food giant, offering greater transparency in its communication.

Recognizable branding is key to ensuring brand familiarity and vital to driving sales. In a food & beverage business that is increasingly being dominated by delivery and grab-and-go items, the importance of packaging can’t be overstated Besides the visuals, the touch experience is gaining momentum, with a great deal of focus on the ‘unboxing user experience’. Details, such as soft-touch coating, embossing, foil layering can give packaging that extra wow factor and associate it with luxury. Packages that deliver enjoyable tactile and visual experiences are most likely to leave a memorable experience in the mind of the consumer by making the packaging part of the eating experience. Transparency in the information provided on the packaging is also an important factor. People are conscious of what they eat, and clean and transparent labeling can help consumers make a knowledgeable purchase. This is especially true for healthy food deliveries that clearly indicate the contents of each box and stick to their promise of delivering healthy packaged meals daily.

Eco-friendly packaging solutions The worldwide trend is ‘less in the way of plastics and single use materials, more in the way of recycling and sustainable food

packaging’. Today’s consumers want to know that their purchases are making the world a better place. There are plenty of creative ways to go easy on the earth. We are now seeing greater use of paper packaging than ever before. For example, plastic food trays are being replaced by biodegradable meal trays. A lot of research is also going into edible food packaging with zero waste, such as beeswax wraps, milk proteins films, fruit jellies and seaweed wraps. McDonalds is trying to make strides with its Pack-Up initiative, aiming to reduce waste with recyclable plates. A proposal has been made to test a collection of takeout containers made from polypropylene that can either be washed and reused or recycled in a flagship store in Paris.

Technology-enabled solutions Technology is now being embedded into the packaging. Smart packaging is a good way to differentiate a brand, by providing the consumer with more functionality and convenience. Color-changing smart labels that can be scanned using a smart phone to provide information about freshness and staleness on products such as salad boxes will soon be commonplace. Another example of smart packaging is The Dunkin Donut Smart Cup which uses temperature-sensitive ink that indicates when the hot beverage is safe to drink. A wonderful branded packaging effort was the Budweiser initiative used during FIFA 2018, when the beer cups were embedded with LED light which were activated by noise. The louder the cheering, the more the lights glowed.

Personalization Besides the desire for technology, Millennial and Generation Z also aspire to acquire personalized products. Technology has helped food packaging personalization to become a growing trend. The success of Coca Cola’s personalized bottles printed with names is evidence of the ease with which such ideas can become a reality. Manual customization is a cheap and easy option for making food packaging stand out, whether on special, themed occasions or day to day. Ideas can include the use of customized stickers, tags and stamps with the logo or a tagline of the business brand. Personalized texts and jokes, common in pizza boxes with small windows, for instance, go a long way in establishing a connection and personal moment with the customer.





ALL WRAPPED UP Individual single-serving F&B products were very probably first introduced primarily to accommodate the commercial airline industry’s space constraints on aircrafts. The concept was then adopted by hotels over time, leading to global brands using them to serve consumers in povertystricken markets. As people began to spend more time outside of their homes, global and local brands have created their own concepts to cater to an ever-growing audience. HN unpacks this important industry to find out more

CHANGING CONSUMER BEHAVIORS AND TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTORS Sustainability and recycling Gemayel Frères is a family business, which turns 90 this year. A leading player in Lebanon’s cardboard industry, it is also the oldest, with annual sales of more than USD 25 million and employing 250 people.

Nabil Gemayel, Chairman and GM ,Gemayel Freres S.A.L.



The company was the first to introduce paper recycling to the area in 1929, a technology which today has become quite popular, if not necessary. Unfortunately, it remains incredibly challenging, despite the fact that we have been at the forefront in finding ways to better serve our clients. In parallel, sustainability is a key element when developing, designing, choosing the right material, manufacturing and recycling any kind of packaging. Whether it is required by consumers who are becoming more eco-conscious or by legislation, sustainability has been, in the last few years, a fundamental aspect in the industry. Though we have been raising awareness about the importance of recycling and the services we offer interested parties, the main problem is in the collection of

this waste. Paper-based packaging has an excellent record in this respect as it is heavily recycled (global figures range between 70-80 percent). To better ensure the expenditure of unnecessary energy, we installed a solar power plant under the EU-funded CEDRO project, which was implemented by the UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Water. This system allows us to reduce our electricity consumption, therefore significantly reducing the ecological footprint of the packaging produced. Keep in mind that in sectors such as paper recycling, the cost can reach to up to 30 percent of the selling price. Furthermore, the recycling industry in Lebanon is not granted special considerations when it comes to energy costs, which are extremely high compared to neighboring Arab states and Europe, even though we play an important role in the economy.

Lifestyle Changing lifestyles and consumers’ interests are key factors affecting the

packaging industry. For example, the growth of the F&B sector and food delivery services is further driving the on-the-go lifestyle, placing convenience as a main criterion for the packaging industry. Consumers want packaging that makes the product easy to identify when buying, easy to grab, hold, carry, eat and dispose of. Moreover, the food delivery and takeaway sector has pushed the packaging sectors to constantly innovate. This saw the industry developing packaging that conserves the food at an optimal temperature for a longer time period and developing packaging that is easy and practical for transportation. As a response to this change in lifestyle and purchasing choices, the packaging industry has developed many innovative packaging solutions: designs with friendlier handling to carry the product and consume it; mono portions or easy portioning packaging for practicality and health consciousness; and resealable packaging.

Food waste Packaging also plays a fundamental role in minimizing product and food waste. With up to 40 percent of the food worldwide being wasted, this is both a challenge and an opportunity for the packaging sector in developing the right designs and materials. The right kind of packaging keeps food and the product fresh for a longer period (extending the shelf life). It also ensures that it is delivered in a safe way by protecting it from damage and external factors, thereby preserving the texture, taste, nutritional value and the required temperature of the product. This also helps decrease waste. DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




CHANGING CONSUMER BEHAVIORS AND TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTORS shopping at independent stores and avoiding big food companies.


Elie Al Marji, CD, Wondereight

Today, we are seeing major trends that will transform the packaging industry within the next 10 years. Constantly changing consumer behaviors, technology disruptors and sustainability will present major challenges, which will force design and packaging companies to seriously revaluate their strategies. By creating a sense of urgency, investing in R&D and innovation, these trends will present great opportunities for growth, improved profit margins and a shift to how we perceive product packaging.

E-commerce The move to online retail in general will continue to have a significant impact on packaging needs. E-commerce packaging will diminish the traditional role of primary packaging. As a result, there will be less investment on packaging designed to attract consumers in retail stores and more research in robust packaging that can endure shipping. On the one hand, the challenge for design agencies is to enhance consumers’ unboxing experience. On the other, packaging companies will need to create primary packaging designed for direct shipping without a secondary protective outer box. In turn, this will save the product manufacturer unnecessary expenses and be less harmful to the environment.

Customer-centered packaging Due to changing consumer preferences, a major game changer arises, namely, personalization. Consumers striving for convenience and more package options, ranging from big-sized to single use packaging, will lead to a huge increase in Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), packaging sizes and forms. This is important when it comes to Lebanese consumers, especially for millennials, who have gotten weary of impersonal experiences offered by international brands. Instead, they are opting for more authentic experiences;



Increased public awareness about the damaging impact plastics have on the environment is putting pressure on governments to push for tougher regulations, especially when it comes to single-use plastic. This, in turn, is constantly challenging big brands to find alternatives that are not only more suitable, but don’t cut into their profit margins or compromise consumer experiences. Because sustainability is also at the heart of the matter, these same companies are starting to use renewable materials to package their products. On the other hand, packaging manufacturers are working on offering brands alternatives resulting in new product designs. One example that comes to mind is canned drinking water instead of plastic bottles.

Price awareness Cost has always been king in influencing package design and purchase power. Millennials have smaller disposable incomes than their parents and therefore, having the right product at the right price range is paramount. Furthermore, the entire miniaturization trend has become less costly due to digital printing, which helps in cutting down costs and creating limited labels for e-commerce. Lastly, especially today, the emergence of price-sensitive consumers is in part due to their ability of using e-commerce sites

to compare the cost of different products in the same category. In other words, companies can no longer manipulate the price of their products as consumers will often take the time to find the best offer in terms of value for their money. Therefore, packaging companies will need to develop creative solutions to reduce costs without compromising features of convenience and sustainability.

Smart and virtual labels For us, as a design agency, we are currently focused on the integration of traditional packaging with IoT (Internet of Things) solutions in mind to enhance the brand’s narrative and give the consumer a genuine feel of the brand. This is happening through the use of smart labels that can indicate, in realtime, the product’s remaining shelf life, integrity, production source, to data mining (extracting immense insights directly from consumers) to virtual labels. The role of virtual labels (AI and AR enabled packaging) is to support the brand’s storytelling with videos, testimonials and photos of the brand’s source. Design agencies will have a new platform to tell their story using packaging by employing entertaining content relevant to millennials, the mobile generation. Product and process innovation are key. So, design agencies have to step up their game and packaging companies will need to develop a new business model based on the above-mentioned trends to succeed and impact the future of packaging.

SMART & ANTI-COUNTERFEIT LABELS Counterfeit products are a growing problem for businesses all over the world. The global anti-counterfeit packaging market was estimated at USD 107.26 billion in 2016, according to an Anti-Counterfeiting Packaging Market report from Markets and Markets Research, and is projected to reach USD 206.57 billion by 2021. The F&B market is estimated to be the fastest-growing segment for anti-counterfeit packaging during the forecast period (2016 – 2026), primarily due to growing demand for packaged and branded products. To help counter tampering, the industry created and has been using two main types of anti-counterfeiting techniques for labels and packaging, namely overt and covert labels, which include 2D barcodes, watermarks, micro-text, holograms and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.


Raya Nawbar, CEO, Brandmint

Global trends, in most cases, end up affecting regional and local ones. At the moment, the biggest world trends are still focused on the eco-friendly, recyclable and organic factors.

Food safety As more F&B outlets offer take-away and delivery services, the importance of all elements incorporated into the packaging being ‘food approved’ has become central. Previously, the only materials that required a seal of approval by a country’s governing body were the paper and packaging in which the food came. That is no longer the case because even components such as the ink, lamination and varnish have to pass food safety inspections to ensure no chemical interaction or contamination occurs. This is hardly surprising, given that

the F&B sector requires more packaging than any other. Due to this demand, the packaging itself has become simpler, in the sense that fewer brands are using plastic ‘windows’ to showcase the contents of their products, especially when it comes to those in the organic range. On that note, not everyone is aware that because organic foods contain no preservatives, their shelf life is significantly shorter. This in turn means that brands offering such products are limited to how many items they are able to sell on a daily basis, which is problematic. In other words, a brand may be offering consumers healthier options, but as a result, might be selling less.

On the go The other, equally interesting trend relates to consumers’ changing lifestyles. In response, and due to the fact that people are spending more time outside of the home, giving birth to fewer children and even enjoying solitary pursuits, brands are offering downsized options using more practical ‘on-the-go’ packaging. This solution, though more suitable for many, generates more waste, even if the packaging is recyclable, ecofriendly and uses one layer of packaging instead of two. This relatively new industry is growing at phenomenal rates due to technological advancements. The key change is that previously, most packaging would

be produced using ‘die cutting’ - a time-consuming and quite laborious manufacturing process that is expensive and does not always generate the best results. Today, however, producers are relying more on ‘laser-cutting’ processes previously reserved for industrial manufacturing. This technology not only offers more accurate results, but has also become necessary in today’s F&B industry to ensure the integrity and quality of the products sold. To that end, we worked with French multinational Fromagerie Bel, which offers Picon, a spreadable cheese, to design a new range. Titled Piconettes, it contains the cream in one compartment and breadsticks in the other. Another brand we worked with is Bartartine’s Bake & Brew, offering consumers a faster, cheaper and more casual eating experience through ready-to-eat goodies. One other example that further illustrates that trend, is the work we did for Castania Boutique by creating on the go healthy bars and small portions of healthy nuts. Furthermore, we always advise our clients to minimize and simplify their packaging, since, when you have food delivered, the amount of waste that ends up in the garbage can easily occupy more space than the food on the table, which is ridiculous.


LUXIFOOD® 850CC BOX PEFC-FSC certified cardboard box - 100 percent recyclable in the paper and cardboard line. Two designs are available for this microwavable, fully leak-proof tray: standard natural kraft or customized printing. Resistant handling of trays thanks to the pure pulp coated cardboard in the inside. GROUPE GUILLIN – ALPHAFORM

MULTIPURPOSECONTAINERS Products are made of sugarcane residue after extracting the sugar. No fresh trees are cut to produce these disposables. They are biodegradable and take six weeks to decompose naturally. BACHA CONVERTEC SARL

BAR SOAP Pangea utilizes the low impact egg carton manufacturing process. This process takes recycled newsprint and water to make molded fiber boxes. Before the boxes are molded, Pangea adds tree seeds to the mix. When you take the soap out of the box, soak the box for 24 hours, and plant it in the soil. A Spruce tree seedling will emerge. PANGEA

OXO-BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS GPi products are produced with D2W oxo-biodegradable additives. They are ordinary plastic products except that they are oxo-biodegrade after a specific period. D2W oxo-biodegradable plastics have a pre-programmed life of a few years. At the end of this useful service life, the process of oxo-biodegradation begins. GENERAL PACKAGING INDUSTRIES S.A.R.L





TWO GLOBAL TRENDS AFFECTING THE REGION favor for the restrictions on some single use plastic Items and replace them with sustainable solutions.

On the visual design front

Soha Atallah, VP, WPO Founder, LibanPack

There are two main global trends today affecting the entire packaging industry, which ironically are largely contradictory. The first, is the heavy emphasis on the ‘snacking’ industry. This sees various F&B brands selling the same products such as chips, juices, dried fruits and nuts to name a few, using downsized packaging intended to be consumed on the go. The trend is also expanding to other industries selling pharmaceuticals and hygiene related products.

The challenges Accommodating such a trend, runs against the second trend, namely miniaturization. While on the one hand it accommodates the on-the-go lifestyle, on the other, it produces more waste and therefore is counterintuitive. Ironically, that consumer segment is also willing to pay more for less. Another contradiction comes in form of the most dominant local and global trend, which I hold to be illogical. It has consumers calling for the avoidance of using all plastic products when deemed unnecessary. To me, that decision is similar to someone hiding behind his/her finger. The first problem on that front is waste management and lack of waste sorting. In other words, plastic is not the only problem, the main problem is how we, in Lebanon and other countries, are disposing of that plastic waste considering the absence of proper waste sorting systems. Also, people need to understand that they cannot entirely do-away with all plastic-based packaging, since most of these are used to transport and extend the shelf life of food products and are therefore necessary. Our concerns as WPO is on avoiding food waste through proper use of optimal amount and type packaging materials to protect and preserve the products and to design a sustainable packaging from the other perspective by avoiding over packaging. However, as previously mentioned, doing away with plastic is not a viable solution, at least not at the moment from WPO perspective. On the other hand we are in



Currently, two schools dominate. On the one hand, the ‘less is more’ trend is what consumers in America and Europe are going for. In other words, they prefer minimally and less crowded visually designed packaging to promote these products clearly. They like neat-looking packaging that has a white background, looks simple and reflects the health benefits they seek. As for consumers in Russia, China and the Adriatic region, they still prefer packaging that is cluttered with strong and bright colors, especially if these are shiny and come in silver or gold. This, to a fairly large degree, is also common to Middle Easterners. However, what I deem striking, is the fact that Lebanese consumers’ preferences sway closer to those of their American and European counterparts. What is interesting, is that these products now look and feel more similar to international brands that belong to the same category. Also, local brands are looking very similar to international ones further proving that consumers are gravitating in that direction.

Connectivity Another noticeable trend gaining traction in-line with simplicity and minimalism is ‘connected packaging’ containing QR codes. This vehicle allows manufacturers to achieve two key goals, namely minimize the information displayed on the packaging and in turn lower overhead printing costs, as well as ensure that the brand’s consumer base has immediate access to all kinds of product-related information. On a different yet equally important technological front, e-commerce has become a profit-laden vehicle. Though it is not as evolved in Lebanon as much as in other countries, the packaging used by manufacturers to increase sales takes into account the appeal these products have online as opposed to on a brick and mortar store shelf. This necessitated producers to pay special attention to the type of packaging their online products come in, which merit a different kind of consideration. Yet all considered, what remains Lebanon’s most challenging package-related issue today is proper recycling. Here, it is important to note that all materials are recyclable, but not all materials are being recycled due to the lack of recycling facilities and the lack of waste sorting systems.

ON THE MARKET LACTIPS Through a project called Ecolactifilm, the French company Lactips has developed a patented, milk-based thermoplastic packaging material that is biodegradable and watersoluble at low temperatures. The packaging film is based on casein – a protein derived from milk – and breaks down harmlessly in water or home compost. It takes just three weeks to biodegrade. LACTIPS

FACTORY RECYCLES ALL PLASTICS AT ONCE A French startup is poised to solve most of the world’s recycling conundrums with a new process using enzymes to break down the most problematic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics in a few hours into a form that can be used to make clear water bottles. The company, Carbios, already has the money and backing from major global corporations such as Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo, L’Oréal, and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe. In February 2019, Carbios successfully produced the first PET-bottles made with 100 percent purified terephthalic acid.



SEASON’S GREETINGS The hospitality industry is a busy place to be during the festive season. Products are sourced from near and far as hotels and restaurants up their game in F&B offerings. Find out what the latest trends are in the market to set yourself apart this season



Petrossian continues to explore new ways of experiencing the caviar experience by creating grains of an unprecedented size of 2cm in diameter. PETROSSIAN

With a highly advanced production process of 60 days, this unique, very dry salmon with a particularly pronounced smoked flavor is not eaten as is, but grated or in fine chips. PETROSSIAN



This is GUILLOTINE ORIGINAL vodka made from grapes from Champagne vineyards. It is characterized by a lemony citrus freshness. PETROSSIAN

A premium, festively designed collection with a variety of products: Fine Chocolates, Bar and Christmas Delights Pack. Each of Valrhona's chocolate colors are represented in an array of indulgent products. • GIFT BOX OF 16 FINE CHOCOLATES • GIFT BOX OF 16 TRUFFLE STYLE SPECIALTIES • CHRISTMAS DELIGHTS PACK • ORANGE & MANJARI BAR • BALLOTIN OF ASSORTED FINE CHOCOLATES VALRHONA

VEG SHEETS PERLES DE SAVEURS® - EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL Flavor Pearls extra virgin olive oil: ready to use, these culinary pearls bring an exceptional olive oil taste and will enhance your dishes, salad and fish. They are gelled with alginate skin (derived from the seaweed Kombu) and liquid heart of 100 percent extra virgin olive oil (OGM free- without additives – non-ionized - non hydrogenated). Shelf life: one year at ambient temperature. CHRISTINE LE TENNIER CREATIV'FOOD

These VEG SHEETS are a new way of texturizing vegetables introducing a new way for them to be used in the world of gastronomy. They are gluten free and non GMO. The flavor is fully original. VEG SHEETS are naturally transformed by adding agar agar to the vegetable juice and drying the mix after. They can be used as wrap, in rolls, as plate decoration, toppings for soups, salad ingredient etc... SENS GOURMET

LES TROIS MALADROITS: WINE/ RED/WHITE/ROSE Les Trois Maladroits takes you to the finest terroir in the Bekaa Valley where vines are meticulously selected to reveal a rich and fine, yet complex taste with character. THREE BROTHERS



BEER VINEGAR A vinegar made from Doppelbock beer, an extra strong beer characterized by a very intense taste. Its distinctive scent and flavor, reminiscent of beer with malt and hop notes, make this vinegar perfect for all types of salad. GIUSEPPE CREMONINI

GOURMET PAIRINGS™ LINE Président Cheese is introducing an innovative new line of spreadable cheese called Gourmet Pairings™. Featuring smooth and creamy spreadable cheese with a gourmet topping, the line’s three debut flavors are: Président® Gourmet Pairings™ Feta with Roasted Red Pepper; Président® Gourmet Pairings™ Aged White Cheddar with Apple Chutney and Président® Gourmet Pairings™ Blue Cheese with Caramelized Onion. PRÉSIDENT CHEESE

MTALLAT ARAK Mtallat is a Lebanese artisanal anise-flavored beverage, triple distilled from neutral grapespirit. THREE BROTHERS

KOR: LEBANESE VODKA CRAFTED FOR COCKTAILS & ‫اوف‬: ARTISANAL LEBANESE ARAK Lebanese vodka, distilled from pure grains without sugar. The arak is an authentic Lebanese arak, triple distilled from fine grapes and premium anise seeds. RECHMAYA DISTILLERY



Duck Liver half cooked with truffles (200g) is a must. LA FERME ST JACQUES

• IDF tranche Brie: Fluffy slices with a pronounced taste of cream • IDF tranche Normantal: Hole sliced cheese with a creamy texture and a sweet, fruity flavor (Emmental) • IDF tranche Baldaran: Cheese slices that combine a strong taste and a soft texture • IDF tranche Charmidor: The only sliced cheese to be melted for a stretchy texture. Charmidor keeps its tasty flavor, even hot. U-FOOD SAL

REMY MARTIN XO COGNAC Aged for longer than the XO Special, this Fine Champagne contains 85 percent Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie. Remarkably smooth, rich and mellow, it offers notes of baking spices, citrus, honey-soaked plums and brioche throughout the palate. This bottle comes with a festive Christmas gift box. RÉMY MARTIN

Cooked with its fat, the Duck Magret is ready to heat and eat. Serve with vegetables or potatoes. LA FERME ST JACQUES

VEUVE CLICQUOT ROSÉ NV A bottle of Veuve Clicquot's nonvintage rosé champagne with a pink Veuve Clicquot shopping bag. MAISON VEUVE CLICQUOT

DOM PERIGNON 2002 P2 MACALLAN 12 YEAR OLD TRIPLE CASK Formerly known as Fine Oak, Triple Cask is part of the 2018 relaunch of the Macallan range. This has been aged for a total of 12 years in a combination of sherry and bourbon casks. THE MACALLAN®

The second plenitude of Dom Perignon's 2002 vintage, complete with a smart gift box. This P2 has been aged on the lees for a whopping 15 years and has much more energy and a creamier mouthfeel than the standard 2002. DOM PÉRIGNON





A SPIRITED AFFAIR: SPOTLIGHT ON WHISKY Malts and blends were at a fever pitch at this year’s Whisky Live Beirut as spirit aficionados assessed the current market and launched a few future stars. Experts and brand ambassadors attending the show gave us a heads up on what’s here and what’s to come



In collaboration with

INNOVATIVE THINKING AND GAME CHANGERS Right now, the global whisky industry is a weird market where everything is growing in different, but interesting ways. Irish whiskey is on fire, as evidenced by its tremendous growth. Bourbon is also growing, so much so that manufacturers are barely keeping up with demand, as is the case with ryebased and Japanese whisky. Even blends, which a few years back appeared to have plateaued, are making a return. Another talking point is the younger generation’s demand for better quality whisky and it will be interesting to see how the market shifts toward accommodating such demand. This will inevitably lead to a sharper focus on more premium offerings at even lower price points than currently available. Another interesting development, which is proving quite difficult to accommodate, is the demand for nonalcoholic drinks. While whisky cannot provide the answer, some producers are responding with new products offering much lower alcohol by volume (abv) content of about 15 percent, which is closer to wine. In addition, there is a trend which involves focusing on the flavor of whisky rather than its rarity or age. One major development is the relatively recent decision of alcohol giant Diageo to buy a major stake in the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit maker Seedlip. That move is a literal game-changer, signaling a new direction in moving forward when it comes to demand for premium nonalcoholic drinks. As a result, this age-old craft, dating

back hundreds of years and rooted in tradition, is revealing some innovative thinking, with many surprises emerging that had not been forecast. Just recently, Glenlivet, the original Speyside single malt Scotch owned by the French alcoholic beverages company Pernod Ricard, launched edible ‘cocktail capsules’ made of seaweed. In so doing, they broke the rule on how whisky is to be enjoyed, showing that it is no longer about maintaining tradition, but rather having a fun experience, in which whisky has become a key player. While

One major development is the recent decision of alcohol giant Diageo to buy a major stake in the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit maker Seedlip this is another marketing gimmick, as are many of the immerging initiatives, it nonetheless recalls the issue of sustainability, which is playing an ever bigger role in both whisky and the broader F&B industry. The number of new distilleries coming online is staggering; even here in Lebanon, the production of Athyr - the country’s first single malt whisky - is interesting. You now also have a few Japanese whiskies made from rice, which has prompted discussions on the question of how you categorize rice as whisky. Yet another innovation is lab-made whisky, which is equivalent to the search for the Holy Grail of alchemy in whisky-making. For me personally, however, there is no substitute for

Rob Allanson, global ambassador for Whisky Live

nature. But while there may be a romantic notion to it, there is also plenty of chemistry happening. People have tried to find ways to make whisky mature more quickly, but it simply doesn’t taste the same. Of course, it’s great that we can achieve such results, but that makes me question whether science is adding anything to what nature already does. Perhaps this all stems from the ‘because I can’ factor. There’s no doubt, though, that all these experiments are adding to our knowledge of whisky-making and I’m sure they will prove beneficial on many levels in the years to come.





SHAPING COCKTAIL CULTURE When it comes to mixology, consumers are going back to their roots by revisiting classic cocktails and adding their own twists. Though there is still plenty of innovation, this seems to have plateaued after reaching its limit, including what could be achieved using the tools available to us, ranging from the basic all the way through to the highly scientific. In other words, bartenders can no longer put their tools to better use than they are already. Looking at the world’s top three spirits used today in cocktails, rum is leading the pack, with vodka in second place and paying the bills, while whisky is making a great comeback. On the academic front, we have taught future bartenders all our drinkmaking techniques and are currently working on diminishing the level of waste generated, which is a major area of focus. The other matter, which is more important and will play a big role in the shaping of the prerequisites of tomorrow’s bartenders and mixologists, is learning the fundamentals of the hospitality industry. Preparing

beverages is one of the two pillars of the drinking-out experience, which potential candidates can teach themselves. However, reading about the hospitality industry will do little in that regard. This side of the business can only be taught using experience coupled with daily practice. The role of bartender has moved from knowing the ingredients and the many ways of using them to understanding the needs of the customer and offering the best result-based experience. Ironically, it should have been the other way around, but somewhere along the line, we forgot about the customer and focused on refining the knowledge. In

The role of bartender has moved from knowing the ingredients and the many ways of using them to understanding the needs of the customer my mind, an advanced robot could, in all likelihood, achieve the latter; however, what a robot cannot do is make a customer feel comfortable and welcome. The biggest challenge, on that front, is teaching a bartender to read a customer, simply because that kind of profiling is not based on a set of predefined rules. The parameters are continuously shifting, because it is humans we are talking about, not bottles or glasses. The known limits in that human equation are how far one can go with what is available behind the bar. The trick is to accurately interpret the space the customer allows the bartender, which is where the entire proposition either evolves, remains constant or diminishes. The mistake many bartenders make is acting on the notion of what they think the customer wants rather than what the customer needs. I have also noticed how the markets in the Middle East and Cyprus are growing in terms of consumption levels and demand for quality. Previously, none

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Alexander Sourmpatis, bar and beverage manager at Casablanca Social Club, Greece, Instructor at Bar Academy Hellas

of these markets had a broad range of quality spirits. However, producers have been paying them greater attention and are now introducing more premium products for a richer range of offerings. As a result, consumers are increasingly aware that there is more to explore and skilled bartenders have the tools to accommodate. In Greek, the word cocktail means ‘luxurious product’, but luxury in Greek means ‘asking for many things’. If a customer orders a cocktail, therefore, they are expecting plenty of variety. On the other hand, a person who only orders whisky has very specific and clearly defined needs that can be met easily. In contrast, the cocktail drinker is asking for a more complex, evolving proposition as opposed to maturing. To draw a modern analogy, a whisky drinker, while driving, will follow the route a digital mapping assistant recommends, while the cocktail drinker will explore alternative ways, even paving one that doesn’t feature on the map.

THE ‘RICH AND REACH’ STRATEGY We have been part of Whisky Live Lebanon from the very beginning because we believe Africa and Middle East are the future markets for the brand. As a producer of Highland single malt Scotch whisky, we consider Beirut to be the lighthouse for the work we are doing in the region. The country affords us a fairly accurate indicator of market potential, which continues to prove very promising. Keep in mind that the diaspora of Lebanon is enormous, and it is my thinking that if I can influence people here, I might have global evangelists promoting the brand the world over, which I believe is a good strategy, though only time will tell. The bottle, among the other varieties we are showcasing here, is called Signet, a single malt featuring no age statement, produced using a blend of some whisky over 30 years old. Last year it was informally mentioned as the whisky of the show, and this year also garnered attention as the bottle that ‘could not be gotten’. This is a great metaphor for market demand in the sense that single malt is collectible, rare and not produced for mass-market consumption. That is why the whisky we are making today is to the benefit of the next generation of drinkers. In that sense originally, our brand is light, delicate, smooth and delicious. I see it as an elegant, sophisticated young individual who is quite refined, yet approachable. From a marketing perspective, other brands boast their superiority in an arrogant way, yet our thinking is different in that we have a similar status, yet are more accessible. That is part of our strategy, which thus far has proven successful in growing the brand in an appealing way to a diverse range of drinkers. It has plenty of aspiration, yet is not a closed door. In parallel, you have some fashion brands that are intimidating to consumers who have the means, but lack the knowledge and confidence, to walk through those huge doors. Admittedly, single malt whisky

could be intimidating for newcomers to break into, but we pride ourselves in being open to everyone willing to take the plunge and will leave drinkers with an inexplicable fission of pride for having become part of the brand. I am not saying that once a person tries our brand that will be all that they drink. What I am saying is that once that happens, the brand will become part of that person’s repertoire. In terms of marketing the brand, the world is becoming litigious, which, due to the existing regulations imposed by various markets, we have to address. What we can advertise or say in one region, we cannot do elsewhere. The best way for us to promote our whiskies, therefore, is to impart the knowledge of it through what we call prescriptors (independent individuals and professionals) who spread the word

Some 10 or 12 years ago, without my knowledge, our fantastic whisky team managed to culture, in-house, a form of yeast from our own barley fields because they truly enjoy the product rather than being paid to promote it. In other words, it is not about big advertising, rather visibility at the point of sale. This is based on creating a very rich story, then leveraging that with the amount of people we can reach. On the other hand, while you can get plenty of reach by supporting huge events, what we want is quality reach, based on loyalty as a personal preference. What drives this movement is the one-toone engagement that has an inherent trickle-down effect. To that end, we believe and focus on duty-free divisions, which we call travel retail platforms. These are vehicles that allow us to unify our offering through a unique visual component ensuring a top of mind type of awareness. Simply put, irrespective of where a traveler may find him or herself, they will always be home with us.

Hamish Torrie, global brand ambassador, Glenmorangie

The other lure the brand enjoys is novelty and we employ some psychology in our approach and presentation by getting the consumer to constantly wonder what new product we have on offer. In so doing, we create desire and a more loyal following of individuals who constantly want to be in the know for fear of missing out. In that context, innovation is key. For instance, some 10 or 12 years ago, without my knowledge, our fantastic whisky team managed to culture, in-house, a form of yeast from our own barley fields which companies usually buy from third-party manufacturers. This was done in secrecy to avoid creating false expectations. Out of that, a fantastic range of whiskies was born that is earthy, with trufflelike notes. Looking to 2020, we have an exciting innovation stream ready to flow and we hope this will get further attention for Glenmorangie among malt whisky aficionados. It's always about building for the future and we know that takes time!





ON THE BORDER OF LEGACY AND TRADITION We are the first distillery to exist and operate in the Scottish borders since 1837. In effect, there had been no manufacturing of Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the region for over 180 years until we commissioned The Borders Distillery in March 2018. In the 1800s, excise taxes were invented and, given many people could not afford to pay, much of the distillation would have been illicit. Consequently, manufacturers either dissolved or relocated to the highlands and islands to avoid the inspectors. We opted for the Scottish Borders to revive its distillation heritage. There is plenty of good water flowing there with minimal iron and calcium content, just as required to make Single Malt Scotch Whisky. This is especially important because you need a great deal of water to produce whisky. We are located in a town called Hawick, famous for manufacturing cashmere and tweed, both of which require even more water than whisky, so we knew we’d find a plentiful supply here. Since opening, things have been action-packed. We are currently operating at some 40 percent capacity, focusing on calibrating quality and innovation as we gradually scale up. Although the market for single malt is quite large, our brand will not be ready for at least another 18 months,

since legally the spirit needs to rest in the barrel for at least three years and one day to qualify as Scotch Whisky. In fact, we plan to keep it in the casks for longer – at least five years and beyond since we believe this will deliver the fine quality and distinctive features we seek. Our Lower East Side Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is a shining light for us. It comprises several carefully selected single malts which we blend to our recipe. Consumer reactions give us confidence that we have a great product. As is common practice in the industry we swap some of our young spirit for already matured single malts, which we then blend ready to bring to the market. Our own single malt whisky meanwhile slumbers in cask to eventually attain our desired house style: fruity, floral and nuanced with layers of vanilla and spice. Yet despite everything that has been accomplished to date, the greatest challenge is neither sourcing ingredients nor employing technology, but rather being patient. For example, our fermentation process takes 85 hours rather than what could be 45 to 55 hours, to ensure a fruitier more floral wash as opposed to what would otherwise be nuttier taste. We also distill slowly even though time

Tim Carton, Lower East Side, founder and director of The Borders Distillery

is money, because we want a finer liquid containing fewer impurities. Furthermore, we use many fresh bourbon casks, as well as sherry, rum and red wine varieties, since having this choice enables us to monitor our liquid’s development. Again, this process will cost us more and requires patience, but the significant appreciation of our liquid will be the reward.


Clémence Viault, brand ambassador, Nikka Whisky



The story behind the creation of this brand is truly an inspiring one, dating back to 1918, when a young Japanese man named Masataka Taketsuru traveled to Scotland to learn the secrets of whisky making. He not only became the Father of Japanese whisky, but also ended up marrying a Scottish woman. One of the visual elements that distinguishes the brand is the square bottle, which was specifically designed in 1985 to be reused. Another striking factor is its 50cl size, which was previously unheard of and again, has its roots in practicality and space constraints. What sets Nikka apart is that it blends the two contrasting cultures of East and West. The brand also offers a number of

options when it comes to malt and grain whiskies, either single, blended and aged. Keen to tap into evident enthusiasm for whisky amongst the new generation, the brand has also introduced Nikka Days, a playful, almost summer-like whisky that is light, yet also complex. Comprising a blend of malt and grain whiskies, it represents one of the company’s most vibrant additions to the range. The combination of zesty and floral flavors, with underlying subtle toffee and vanilla notes wrapped in light peat smoke, constitutes an ideal offering to young drinkers who are keen to venture into the world of unique whisky without having to navigate its complexities from the get-go.


BOMBAY SAPPHIRE ENGLISH ESTATE Launched in March 2019, this is the first of what promises to be a series of limited editions from Bombay Sapphire. English Estate adds three new botanicals: pennyroyal mint, rosehip and toasted hazelnut. FATTAL GROUP

NIKKA DAYS A vibrant addition to the Nikka range, Nikka Days is a bright and vivacious blend of malt and grain whiskies from both Nikka's Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. ETABLISSEMENT ANTOINE MASSOUD

Seen at

BALLANTINE’S TRUE MUSIC SERIES – CLUBS COLLECTION Gift a piece of club culture with The Clubs Collection, the latest limited editions from Ballantine’s that celebrate four of the world’s most pioneering nightclubs: Sub Club (Glasgow), The Gärten (Beirut), Nitsa (Barcelona) and Output (New York) NEXTY – FAWAZ HOLDING

GLENFIDDICH GRAND CRU 23YO This exclusive Glenfiddich expression has been matured in American and European oak casks and elegantly finished in rare French cuvee casks. GABRIEL BOCTI SAL


ATHYR Athyr is the first Lebanese single malt whisky. It is fermented, distilled and aged by Riachi Winery & Distillery. 100 percent Lebanese oak and barley. ATHYR WHISKY

KAVALAN DISTILLERY SELECT Distillery Select captures a fruity, tropical character, and a refined balance from its maturation in the tropical temperatures of Taiwan. ETABLISSEMENT ANTOINE MASSOUD

Orbium is a quininated gin. Instilled with additional extracts of quinine, wormwood and blue lotus blossom, the result is an oddly exquisite gin that sits roundly on the palate. GABRIEL BOCTI SAL


GLENALLACHIE 2001 A limited-edition 2001 GlenAllachie that has been matured in a Pedro Ximenez hogshead for 18 years, before being bottled as part of the distillery's Single Cask series.

The Kentucky Owl Batch #8 release totals 9,051 bottles produced from four different distillates, aged 14 years, 11 years, 8 years and almost 5 years. It features a cinnamon, apple, nutmeg, vanilla pudding pop nose with a hint of caramel and red pepper. GABRIEL BOCTI SAL

CARDHU 2004 Matured for 14 years in amontillado-sherry seasoned hogsheads, this rich and fruity 2004 Cardhu has been bottled as part of Diageo's 2019 Special Releases. DEC 2019-JAN 2020 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




CHRISTMAS POWER YULE LOG A delicious bûche de Noël with a mildly sweet roulade, a powerful dark chocolate taste and a crunchy twist – the perfect pièce de résistance for any festive occasion. by: Mathieu Dierinck, Callebaut® chef at the Chocolate Academy™ center in Belgium) CHANTILLY OF CARAMEL AND MILK POWER CHOCOLATE Ingredients • 110 g caramel filling Callebaut® FWF-Z2CARA • 210 g whole milk • 1 g salt • Mix and heat up to 60°C. • 380 g Milk Chocolate Callebaut® Power 41 Pour

the previous mixture over the chocolate to melt. Emulsify. • 500 g cream EVEN 35.2% Mix in. Strain through a fine sieve. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 12 hours. Whip the chantilly the day after into the desired texture.

CHANTILLY OF DARK POWER CHOCOLATE Ingredients • 345 g whole milk • 15 g glucose DE 60 • Mix and heat to 60°C. • 350 g dark chocolate Callebaut® Kumabo Pour the previous mixture over

the chocolate to melt. Emulsify. • 500 g cream EVEN 35.2% Mix in. Strain through a fine sieve. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 12 hours. Whip the chantilly the day after into the desired texture.

CRISPY MIX Ingredients • 75 g Milk Chocolate Callebaut® Kumabo Melt at 40°C. • 75 g hazelnut praline Callebaut® PRA-CLAS

• 20 g neutral vegetable oil Add and mix in. • 300 g pailleté feuilletine Callebaut® M-7PAIL Add and mix in.

SPONGE Ingredients • 125 g whole milk • 85 g butter Mix and bring to the boil together. • 90 g flour • 35 g cocoa powder Callebaut® CP Mix in. Stir well and dry out for 2 minutes. Then pour the dough into a mixing bowl with a paddle. • 150 g egg yolks • 85 g eggs

EMF Middle East t. +961 9 938732 |



Mix in the egg-egg yolks mixture bit by bit until it’s completely incorporated into the dough. • 220 g egg whites • 105 g granulated sugar Beat the egg whites and sugar until foamy. Add 1/3 of the foam to the dough to soften the texture. Then mix in the rest of the egg whites to obtain a light, fluffy mass.

PREPARATION Weigh 850 g of this dough to spread out onto a tray (40x60) lined with silicone paper. Bake for 12 minutes at 180°C (ventilated oven). Weigh off 350 g of the crispy mix. Turn over the sponge and spread out the mix over the entire surface of the sponge. Do the same with 500 g of the Chantilly of Dark Power Chocolate. Starting from the top, gently roll the sponge towards you trying to avoid big air bubbles. Then tighten the roll before storing it in the freezer for at least one hour. Meanwhile whip the milk/caramel Chantilly and pipe on top with a teardrop-shaped nozzle. Finish with Callebaut® Crispearls™ (Available in chocolate dark, milk, white, strawberry, salted caramel), dusted with IBC powder.




September 23

CHEF TAMURA’S VISIT The Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-clubs & Pastries in Lebanon and fellow members chef Youssef Akiki and Aref Saade hosted authentic Japanese Chef Keigo Tamura at Al Sultan Brahim as part of a cultural exchange of information and latest techniques between Japan and Lebanon.

October 1

WOODEN BAKERY CAMPAIGN Wooden Bakery Breast Cancer Fund Raising Campaign breakfast at Wooden Bakery Zalka.

October 16

PESTO PISTOU NEW MENU LAUNCH AT MÖVENPICK HOTEL & RESORT BEIRUT Mövenpick has created some exciting variations of the popular Pesto Pistou treat, a brand-new selection to tantalize the taste buds of the adventurous foodie.

October 4 - 6 September 26-28

BASQUE CULINARY EVENT IN BEIRUT Phoenicia Hotel Beirut hosted Michelinstar Chef Fernando Canales for a three-day culinary event.

THE FIRST FESTIVAL OF HANDICRAFTS The first festival of handicrafts was held in Lebanon, organized by Dr. Badr Hassoun, in the presence of several ambassadors.

October 16

Italian Trade Agency launched its event at Phoenicia Hotel – Eau de Vie The Italian Trade Agency organized the Italian Products Showcase in support of Lebanese importers of Italian food products at Phoenicia Hotel – Eau de Vie.

October 10 September 28

FRANCO-LEBANESE CUISINE Le Bristol Hotel hosted an exclusive lunch and dinner within ‘Le Weekend Azuréen à Beyrouth’, an initiative aimed at celebrating the centuries-old French-Lebanese friendship.

RAOUCHE ARJAAN BY ROTANA CELEBRATES ITS 10 YEARS Raouche Arjaan by Rotana celebrated a milestone recently - invitees gathered to celebrate its 10-year anniversary.

October 19

MAYRIG YEREVAN TURNS ONE Sixteen years after Mayrig opened in Beirut, Mayrig Yerevan has now become a symbol of the growing culinary scene in Yerevan.

October 20 October 1

SOUS VIDE TRAINING AT MAROUN CHEDID COOKING ACADEMY Celebrity Chef Maroun Chedid hosted Bruno Goussault, Chief Scientist, for a sous-vide masterclass at the Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy.



October 15

GRIF SOCIETY BRIEFING GRIF Society Briefing took place at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management followed by a networking lunch hosted by Gates Hospitality at Folly by Nick & Scott.

INTERNATIONAL CHEFS DAY EVENT WITH NESTLE The Lebanese Chef Club and Nestlé Professional collaborated for this occasion by organizing an awareness day for kids on the importance of eating healthily at Maroun Chedid Culinary Academy.


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