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March 2019

All the latest from the Middle East hospitality industry

Sustainable Sourcing What The F&B Industry Wants Suppliers To Know

P50 - Event review: Gulfood 2019


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On the web Keep up to date with all the latest news, features and much more on our website. www.hotelnewsme.com

March 2019 // Issue #009

Contents

08 24 News

Gastronomy uncovered

44 Opinion

Features 08 //

News Deliveroo Opens New Editions Facility/ Accor Signs Partnership With PSG/ Majid Al Futtaim To Launch B2B Service

26 //

COVER STORY What Suppliers Should Know About The F&B Industry

32 //

SPECIAL FEATURE KBW Ventures and Chef Matthew Kenney Launch Folia In Bahrain

36 //

CHEF FOCUS In Conversation With Chef Vineet Bhatia On His New Venture In Dubai

40 //

THE BUSINESS Zero Gravity’s Crusade Towards A Sustainable Environment

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March 2019 // Issue #009

Contents

On the web Keep up to date with all the latest news, features and much more on our website. www.hotelnewsme.com

48 //

EVENT PREVIEW Everything You Need To Know About The Upcoming Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

50 //

Gulfood 2019 We Round Up All The Action From The Five-day Trade Show

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March 2019

Editor's letter

A note from the editor

Ma h a k Ma n n a n

Director Rabih Najm Rabih@bncpublishing.net CEO Wissam Younane Wissam@bncpublishing.net Editor Mahak Mannan

@MahakLFC

Mahak@bncpublishing.net

Welcome to the March edition of Hotel & Catering News Middle East. 2019 is three months in and we have been busy speaking with industry leaders at Gulfood last month, where almost every person we discussed the market with is targeting positive growth this year. 2018 was a challenging year in the hospitality and F&B industry, whether it was getting footfall in, managing costs, retaining talent or getting paid on the supplier side. However, 2019 has opened on a positive note for many. In the run up to Expo2020 the industry is aiming to reach new heights this year, wherein the hospitality industry is gearing up for the huge footfall the event is due to bring in, the F&B industry will also make the most of those numbers. The expected rise in demand poses a window of opportunity for suppliers to tap into markets that they have not explored before. Competition is higher than ever and it goes without saying that in order to win business in the market you have to stand out. Keeping this in mind, our cover story this month features a number of leading restaurant operators who tell us exactly

what they are looking for when they choose the right supplier. Building a relationship was the most important factor in this conversation. Businesses want a supplier who will go above and beyond to cater to their needs, in a smooth manner. Most companies today have the resources, products, and manpower to address the needs of the market but lack the effect of proper training and investment in their people. The sooner companies realise the need to invest in their own people, the sooner they will be able to see their performance number go up. This edition also features the first, of what will be a regular column by our very own ‘Grumpy Hotelier’ Martin Kubler, CEO, SPS Affinity, who promises to address issues facing the current market though his honest and thoughtful insights in the industry. Until next edition, happy reading. Regards, Mahak

Group Commercial Director

Samer Alloush samer@bncpublishing.net Contributor

Marouane Al Mandri Art Director Aaron Sutton Aaron@bncpublishing.net Marketing Manager Mark Anthony Monzon Mark@bncpublishing.net Photographer

Dhananjay Shekav

SUBSCRIBE subscriptions@bncpublishing.net PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196

For all commercial enquiries related to Catering News ME contact samer@bncpublishing.net T +971 55 776 4670 All rights reserved © 2014. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Catering News ME and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Catering News ME. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Printed by UPP

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March 2019

News

For all the latest News, Visit www.hotelnewsme.com Follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute breaking news Read the latest edition on www.hotelnewsme.com

New launch

Deliveroo launches new Editions Facility This national roll-out of Deliveroo’s innovative Editions service comes seven months after the company opened its second site in Dubai, located in Business Bay, and demonstrates the company’s fast-paced expansion in the region. The 6,130 sqft site located in Hessa St. hosts 12 kitchen units, bringing 19 restaurant brands and new concepts to customers in Dubai. The site will operate from 9am11:30pm, seven days a week. The Hessa St Editions site will launch new delivery zones. These new zones include: Al Quoz, Arabian Ranches, Al Barsha South, JVC, Studio City, Sports City, IMPZ, Motor City and Madinat Jumeirah. This brings more selection than before for people in these areas, as the company’s virtual Food Market will also be available, meaning customers can order from multiple restaurants in the same order. Covering an array of cuisines, including Chinese, Greek, American, Italian, Thai, Hawaiian, Arabic and French, the super kitchens will host well-known restaurant brands such as Royal China, PizzaExpress, Cali-Poke, Go! Greek, Fuchsia, S’wich, Gallus, Clinton St. Baking Company, Br8 8

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– The Bright Kitchen, Hippy Deli, and Haagen-Dazs, in addition to concepts such as Rose Bowl, Go! Healthy, balance, Blue Ribbon, Nu-TRAY-tious, La Petite Ferme, and Puns. By being in Deliveroo’s Editions sites, restaurants are able to expand without needing a physical presence in the area, enabling partners to reach new customers at a lower cost. Restaurants use their own chefs, just as they

do in their restaurants. Anis Harb, general manager at Deliveroo GCC comments: “We’re delighted to launch our third site of delivery-only kitchens in Dubai, bringing more selection to Deliveroo customers in the area. The kitchens in the latest Editions site includes a mixture of familiar high street restaurant brands and some exciting new concepts. We are always looking for ways to better the food delivery experience

for customers and restaurants alike, so this new launch is an exciting milestone for us. Samuel Charles, digital marketing manager at PizzaExpress comments: “Deliveroo’s Editions site on Hessa street allows us to expand into areas where PizzaExpress currently does not operate in, without the financial burdens and risks, making it the perfect platform to help grow the PizzaExpress business within the UAE.” www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

News

Renovation

JA Beach Hotel Set To Undergo Renovation As the 1 million sqm JA The Resort in Jebel Ali prepares to add a third hotel to the area, JA Beach Hotel will also undergo an extensive makeover and refurbishment, ensuring all three properties in JA The Resort compete with a unique style and proposition. An intrinsic landmark in the history of Dubai’s rapid development, the JA Beach Hotel, once known as the Jebel Ali Beach Hotel, was one of the first hotels built in the city. In the late 1970’s, HH Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum had an ambitious vision for Dubai and wished to develop the Jebel Ali Area and Free Zone, which the Dutco Group of Companies immediately supported by building Jebel Ali Beach Hotel, that opened soon after in 1981. The hotel experiences high volumes of repeat guests from the Europe, while also providing UAE residents with an ideal staycation destination, a short drive from the city centre. The renovation plans for JA Beach Hotel include an enhanced facade with new, allglass balconies for the rooms and suites which will further improve the panoramic sea views and effectively showcase the stunning 800m vista of private beach. The bedrooms will also be given a new look for 2019, with modern wood tile flooring, new beds and furniture in a fresh colour scheme of soft greys, neutrals and relaxing royal blue. All food and beverage outlets will be refurbished with new concepts to be an-

nounced in due course. Perhaps the most exciting aspect for families visiting the JA Beach Hotel is the fact that the CoolZone Kid’s Club will be relocated and doubled in size, offering a huge 450sqm area, divided into different zones for children aged 4-12 years. Adjacent to the new kid’s club facility, there will also be a new wet recreation area with an interactive Splash

Pad. The four-month renovation process will take place from May to August 2019 and the hotel will re-open on 1 September 2019. William Harley-Fleming, cluster general manager of JA The Resort, commented: “JA Beach Hotel has been a landmark property for over 38-years and many people who have grown up in the UAE fondly remember day trips to

the hotel. We also have many loyal guests who have been coming to the hotel for 15 years or more. Though the property is still in a great condition, we have made a conscious decision to modernise it and maximise its appeal, in tandem with the opening of our third hotel JA Lake View Hotel and the many other leisure facilities we have at JA The Resort.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

News

New opening

Akira Back Officially Opens Its Doors At W Dubai – The Palm Famed for his sense of adventure, culinary creativity, and blend of Japanese fare with Korean essence, Chef Akira Back has opened his restaurant at W Dubai – The Palm. From extreme sports athlete to Michelin starred chef, South-Korean born Akira Back opened his first restaurant in 2008 in Las Vegas, and now boasts a 12-strong portfolio of restaurants across the world in cities including Singapore, Toronto, San Francisco, Bangkok, and Seoul. Akira Back offers an adventure for the soul, with the energy behind-the-scenes fuelling the flavours. Diners can expect modern Japanese cuisine with a Korean and international essence prepared with seasonal produce and artisanal sourced ingredients. Japanese cuisine aficionados can indulge in fusion dishes from duck prosciutto and filet tobanyaki to lamb chops and gambero prawns. The highly-anticipated menu offers Akira Back’s signature sharing dishes such as the famous tuna pizza and wagyu tacos as well as a wide selection of delectable sushi rolls from spicy tuna and Negi Toro to hot mess and vegan rainbow roll to name a few favourites. Located on the 5th floor at W Dubai – The Palm the entrance to the restaurant takes the form of a vortex while the indoor and outdoor space boasts abstract, design-led interiors such as the open kitchen, counter-top Robata Grill, expansive dining room, with every seat in the house delivering panoramic views, and an outdoor terrace, complete with floating bar. The restaurant also has a dedicated Sake tasting room, with a range of five sakes, which are branded under Akira’s name, and brewed by the Nanbu Bijin brewery in Japan. Personal design touches add authenticity to the venue and make for a memorable dining experience. Chef Akira Back always includes a painting from his mother within his restaurants, and in Dubai this hangs over the sushi counter in a mosaic of 7000 metal tiles. The venue also highlights the Japanese art form of Wabi-Sabi, where broken porcelain is made perfect again, by repurposing it to adorn the columns. Tiger stripes in the form of strings of light also decorate the walls, referencing Akira’s Zodiac sign. Images of clouds are projected on to steel plates to give guests the illusion of dining in the sky. 10

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March 2019

News

Management

TIME To Manage Dunes Hotel Apartments In Dubai Partnerships

UAE-headquartered TIME Hotels Management has announced the signing of a new agreement to operate Dunes Hotel Apartments’ three properties located in Dubai. TIME Hotels took over day-to-day operations of the properties following the signing of a management agreement on 24 January 2019 in Dubai between Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels and Abdallah Mohamed Jaber Al Harbi, owner, Dunes Hotel Apartments. Commenting on the new management agreement, TIME Hotels CEO, Mohamed Awadalla, said: “Our partnership with Dunes Hotel Apartments further reinforces our growth strategy to expand our footprint in the UAE with further openings in Dubai, and Sharjah, as well as other properties across the region in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, taking our total portfolio to 20 properties by the end of 2020." TIME Dunes Hotel Apartment Al Barsha comprises of

83 rooms, while TIME Dunes Hotel Apartments Al Qusais features 108 rooms and TIME Dunes Hotel Apartments Oud Metha has 80 rooms in total. All three properties include studios, one-bedroom and twobedroom apartments, with the Al Barsha property also offering three-bedroom penthouse apartments. Abdallah Mohamed Jaber Al Harbi, owner, Dunes Hotel Apartments, said: “TIME Hotels was appointed to manage all three Dunes Hotel Apartments in Dubai, because it is a dynamic and flexible hospitality company, with a wealth of experience, successfully running midscale properties in the UAE and across the Middle East, delivering a consistently high-quality hospitality experience. “TIME also has a solid marketing proposition, it is excellent at cross-selling its properties and has exceptional relationships with GCC travel agents, as well as international tour operators.”

Accor Signs Partnership With PSG As It Launches New Loyalty Program Accor has announced a shift of its loyalty program into a fully integrated global platform integrating rewards, services, and experiences across its entire ecosystem. This new lifestyle loyalty program, ALL, will recognise, understand, cherish, communicate with, and reward guests like never before. It will open doors across a unique portfolio of over 30 hotel brands as well as an unrivalled collection of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and experiences. This new lifestyle loyalty program will be delivered through a new app and website. Accor also announced the extension of its partnership with AEG beyond the AccorHotels Arena to include premium venues providing over 60,000 tickets and private suites for its loyalty members in Latin America, Asia, and Europe. The Group has signed a new partnership with IMG, which will unlock access to chef masterclasses and culinary encoun-

ters. From 2020, members will enjoy the best of Taste Festivals in London, Paris, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, and Toronto, with growth and expansion of the partnership into new cities over the next three years. Moreover, Accor and Paris Saint-Germain have announced that they have signed a global multi-year partnership agreement. Accor’s new lifestyle loyalty platform will become the Principal Partner and official jersey sponsor of the club starting from the 2019/2020 season. The partnership will bring together the hotel group with the football club as Accor’s 265 million guests join the 395 million fans who follow the club and its players on social media worldwide. ALL will offer a loyalty experience integrating rewards, services, and experiences across Accor’s entire ecosystem, including 4,800 hotels worldwide and an extraordinary global brand portfolio including Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

News

New opening

Leva Hotel Mazaya Centre Opens Doors Leva Hotels has announced the launch of its 4-star hotel on Sheikh Zayed road, Dubai. The new hotel houses 178 rooms with chic interiors, custom designs and fittings, luxurious bedding, and furnishings that have been carefully selected to simplify and enhance guest stay. Located in Mazaya Centre, Leva stands in the midst of tourist attractions like City Walk and oversees the Burj Khalifa. S Anand, chief executive officer, Leva Hotels said, “We are delighted to announce that Leva Hotel is ready to take its guests on a journey of unmatched hospitality. At Leva, we believe in

offering our guests with experiences that stay with them. An excellent experience is what wins a guest over and creates value for them, and good value

creates its own market.” The artistically designed rooms span across three different categories, studios, onebedroom, and two-bedroom

apartments. There are 162 studio apartments at the property, 19 of which offer views of the Burj Khalifa and are thus called Burj Studios. For those looking for even more spacious rooms, the property offers 16 onebedroom apartments and a Burj Suite that faces the Burj Khalifa. When it comes to the interiors, every corner of the hotel has a story to tell. Right from hand painted pieces of art from local artists, to the music for the common areas. The property also offers wellness facilities like a gym, spa, and a 24×7 business hub. Guests can also tuck into an all-day Italian dining venue Ecco restaurant.

New opening

Millennium Place Marina Set To Open This Year Millennium Hotels and Resorts Middle East and Africa has announced the addition of Millennium Place to its portfolio. A modern hotel concept that will cater to the new generation of business and leisure travellers, Millennium Place is slated to open in the first half of 2019. The hotel features 453-rooms and suites offering views of the Dubai Marina and Palm Islands. “The Millennium Place Marina will focus on things that make a difference to our guests’ stay, from the in-room entertainment, the pillow, and hotel facilities to food and service. We want our guests to call their room a place of their own when staying at Millennium Place,”

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said Atef El Eskndarany, director of sales and marketing at the property. Eskndarany will serve as an integral part of the pre-opening team and will be responsible for leading the sales and marketing efforts for the property. He brings almost nineteen years of sales and marketing experience in the UAE, Oman, and Egypt. Prior to this role, Eskndarany was the cluster director of sales and marketing for Radisson Blu Dubai Marina and has been a part of the pre-opening phase for six hotels of various international brands such as InterContinental Hotel Group, Movenpick, and Radisson Hotel Group. www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

News

F&B

Majid Al Futtaim To Launch B2B Service For The HORECA Sector

The service will provide a wide range of high-quality food and non-food solutions to cover the needs of the HORECA industry and B2B customers, with incentivised pricing for volumebased orders. Majid Al Futtaim, the shopping mall, communities, retail, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, has announced that it will launch Carrefour Business later this year as a business-to-business offering for the HORECA sector, diversifying its existing traditional consumer-facing retail business in the UAE. Carrefour Business comes in response to growing demand from the HORECA industry for a one-stop-shop service that can provide a wide variety of high-quality food and non-food solutions to cover their needs with convenient delivery. Apart

from HORECA clients, Carrefour Business will also cater to small groceries, wholesalers, airlines, and other public and private institutions. Carrefour Business clients can choose from more than 4000 products to start with, ranging from fresh and dry food to personal care products, appliances, and textiles separate to what is already sold in Carrefour’s stores. They’ll also have access to products that would otherwise be unavailable in the region through Carrefour France’s Promocash wholesale range and its partners in the Rungis Market located in Paris. An additional benefit of using Carrefour Business is that large purchases are incentivised with volume discounts. Reflecting Carrefour UAE’s omnichannel strategy, catering to business customers

when and how they want to shop, the ordering process for business customers is facilitated via a web portal. Once businesses have registered for the service, they proceed by filling out an order form and selecting the products and quantity they wish to purchase before submitting, and delivery timeframe. The products will be dispatched from Carrefour’s regional distribution centre in Dubai in temperature-controlled trucks, ensuring that a strict cold-chain is maintained to preserve the quality and freshness of all products. Commenting on the announcement, Miguel Povedano, chief operating officer of Carrefour UAE and head of operational excellence at Majid Al Futtaim Retail said: “Carrefour Business represents another

step forward in our strategy to personalise our offering to our different segmented audiences. We’re already offering consumers high quality, fresh products at unbeatable prices with convenient delivery options. Carrefour Business will extend this offering to business customers with the added advantage of volume-based pricing and access to unique products otherwise unavailable in the UAE, wrapped in an easy ordering mechanism and a seamless delivery experience.” Majid Al Futtaim also announced that all 13 of its hotels that are adjacent to Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira, and City Centre Bahrain will be the first to use Carrefour Business’ solutions. A dedicated support team will be available to assist Carrefour Business customers. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

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rebranding

HH Sheikh Mohammed Unveils Dubai Airports’ New Identity Dubai Airports’ new DXB brand aims to position the world’s busiest international airport as a major destination for culture, hospitality, and entertainment. Millions of travellers passing through the world’s biggest airport, Dubai International (DXB) will soon get to experience unmatched hospitality, a culture of vibrant imagination, as well as a mesmerising mosaic of exciting and inspiring experiences, ranging from mouth-watering cuisines, evolving retail choices, to world-class music and art. After welcoming one billion passengers, the airport is transforming towards creating immersive experiences that embody the true spirit of Dubai for its customers, as part of its new brand reveal.

Understanding dining is an integral part of a traveller’s journey through the airport, DXB has introduced a range of delectable options from S34 Gahwa Mezza Bar, and Americana-style diner options with a local twist at Tranzeet DXB, to live entertainment at the licensed Hard Rock Café, travellers will now be able to delight their taste buds. Away from dining, customers will also be able to experience art, music, fashion and lo-

cal culture, giving DXB a sense of place and a taste of the city it calls home. The new brand was first revealed at an official event attended by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airports and Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, as well as

VIPs and global media. To bring the brand to life and to demonstrate the spirit of Dubai, DXB partnered with XDubai, the masterminds behind some of the most thrilling experiences in Dubai, to deliver an incredible one-of-a-kind stunt by Emirati extreme athlete Mohammed Baker. The stunning showcase saw what is believed to be the world’s longest free fall attempt that began with a jump out of a helicopter and a glide down Sheikh Zayed Road with the iconic Dubai skyline as backdrop, before swooping under eight lanes of traffic. The stunt embodied Dubai’s spirit of adventure and ambition, and symbolised the vision of DXB to push boundaries and create exciting new experiences.

Appointments

Hilton Appoints Emma Banks As VP F&B Strategy & Development Hilton has announced the appointment of Emma Banks as vice president, F&B Strategy & Development for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Based at Hilton’s MEA Area Office in Dubai, Banks will lead F&B strategy, as well as concept and product solution development and implementation across EMEA. In addition, she will oversee the sourcing and management of third party restaurant brand and operator relationships to support Hilton’s trading and future pipeline of hotels. “Food and Beverage constitutes a crucial part of our

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business at Hilton and we have a 100 year history of pioneering culinary innovations,” said Simon Vincent, president, EMEA, Hilton.

“Emma’s extensive experience in the F&B sector will be invaluable, as we continue to enhance the dining and bar offering across our portfolio and work with owners to develop exciting concepts for upcoming properties. I am delighted to have her join our team.” Banks joins Hilton from the Jumeirah Restaurant Group, the dedicated restaurant division of the UAE based Jumeirah Group, where she was managing director. Having worked in both the UK and the Middle East, Banks brings a wealth of knowledge from F&B retailing,

strategy, and operations, with a focus on delivering superb customer experiences and a great team culture. “I am excited to be joining the world’s most hospitable company. I look forward to leading F&B strategy in EMEA and working alongside the talented team to equip our hotels to deliver exceptional guest experiences,” said Banks. Banks holds a Bachelor’s degree from Leeds University. She will be based at Hilton’s MEA Area Office in Dubai and will report to Simon Vincent, president, EMEA, Hilton. www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

News

Acquisition

IHG Acquires Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas For $300m Transaction overview

InterContinental Hotels Group has agreed to buy the brands and operating companies of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas for $300 million in cash. Six Senses currently manages 16 hotels and resorts, with 18 management contracts signed in its pipeline, and more than 50 further deals under active discussion. It operates properties in the Maldives, the Seychelles, Thailand, Oman, and Portugal’s Douro Valley among others. Six Senses will sit at the top of IHG’s luxury portfolio, complementing the hotel brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, the recently acquired and repositioned Regent Hotels & Resorts, and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, for which IHG has secured a presence in 14 countries, since its acquisition of the brand in 2015. The acquisition of Six Senses takes IHG’s portfolio of open and pipeline luxury hotels to 400 hotels (108,000 rooms) globally. By combining IHG’s scale,

systems and operational excellence with Six Senses’ luxury, resort and spa expertise, IHG sees the potential to grow the Six Senses estate to more than 60 properties globally over the next 10 years. This includes bringing Six Senses to important urban markets, with a property already under construction in West Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City. Keith Barr, chief executive officer, IHG, commented: “Six Senses is an outstanding brand in the top-tier of luxury and one we’ve admired for some time. You only have to look at its iconic hotels and resorts to see how this acquisition will further round out our luxury offer. With a focus on wellness and sustainability, Six Senses has been voted the world’s top hotel brand for the past two years, which is testament to its impressive management team who bring deep experience to IHG’s luxury operations.

“Six Senses’ attractive development pipeline provides us with a platform for high quality growth. With the power of the IHG enterprise, we believe we can expand Six Senses to more than 60 properties globally over the next decade. This acquisition continues the progress we’ve made against the strategic initiatives we outlined a year ago, which included a commitment to adding new brands in the fast-growing $60 billion luxury segment.” Neil Jacobs, chief executive officer, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, commented: “An outstanding business has been built over the past 20 years, and a respected portfolio of hotels and resorts, with wellness and sustainability at their heart. This distinct proposition and the popularity of our award-winning estate, combined with IHG’s scale, systems and expertise gives us the opportunity to accelerate Six Senses’ global growth.”

• IHG has agreed to acquire Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and its management business for $300 million in cash. • Six Senses is an asset-light business. It manages 16 hotels and resorts (1,347 rooms), and there are a further 18 management contracts signed into its development pipeline. The open hotels include two properties for the upscale resort brand, Evason. With a further 50 deals under active discussion, IHG expects to accelerate Six Senses’ growth globally to more than 60 hotels over the next 10 years. • The acquisition includes the entirety of Six Senses’ brands and operating companies and does not include any real estate assets. It includes Six Senses’ spa operations, which are core to the brand’s luxury and wellness positioning. Six Senses operates 37 spas in total under the Six Senses and LivNordic brand names, and also provides spa consultancy services. The Six Senses management will remain in place. • Six Senses currently generates fee revenues of more than $13 million. The acquisition is expected to be EBITDA breakeven in year two and to generate a return approximately equal to its cost of capital by year four. • For tax purposes, the transaction constitutes an asset sale for the purchaser, and as such IHG will be entitled to amortise the assets acquired. It is anticipated that the relief associated with this amortisation will reduce IHG’s future cash taxes by approximately $75 million.

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March 2019

News

Expansion

Aleph Hospitality Signs Deal With Marriott International

Dubai-based hospitality management company, Aleph Hospitality has announced the signing of a franchise agreement with Marriott International for the first Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Liberia. Located in the capital city, Monrovia, the hotel is due to become the first internationally branded hotel in the country upon its opening in 2020 and will be managed by Aleph Hospitality under the Four Points by Sheraton brand. The property is situated in the city’s central business district, adjacent to the United Nations mission and in close proximity to a number of government organisations and commercial offices. It will offer 111 guest rooms to the capi20

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tal’s expanding business traveller base, along with meeting facilities and a multitude of food and beverage outlets, including one all-day-dining venue, a speciality restaurant, a beach bar, and grill, and a rooftop bar. Guests will also be able to take advantage of a gym, spa, swimming pool, and access to the beach. The opening of the hotel will play a vital role in the country’s tourism strategy, which aims to deliver 15 million international visitors by 2023. “With President Weah announcing plans just last month to simplify the visa entry system and look to develop a national tourism board to drive inbound visitor numbers, Liberia looks set to significantly grow its share of

voice in the African tourism industry,” commented Bani Haddad, managing director, Aleph Hospitality. “The increasing number of international guests will bring with them a strong demand for international quality accommodation and we look forward to managing the operations of the hotel to world-class standards and making the Four Points by Sheraton Monrovia the destination of choice in the city.” Expected to create over 100 new jobs when it opens, the hotel, which is owned by Sea Suites Hotel LLC, will be operated by Aleph Hospitality under a third-party management model. This model, ubiquitous in the U.S. and European hotel industries but in its infancy in Africa, is proven

to deliver superior value for the owner through a combination of the benefits afforded by an international brand married with a highly-focused and personalised management approach aligned to the interests of the owner. “By appointing Aleph Hospitality to manage our hotel, we have secured not only one partner but two, with Aleph executing a franchise agreement for the Four Points brand which would not have been possible if we were managing the hotel ourselves,” said Joe Barbar, president of Sea Suites Hotel LLC. “We look forward to the hotel opening and creating history as the first internationally branded hotel in the country.” www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

News

Launch

MasterChef The TV Experience To Open In April

UAE property developer The First Group, has appointed internationally-acclaimed chef Maria ‘Margarita’ VaamondeBeggs to head the kitchen setup and menu creation at the world-first MasterChef, the TV Experience restaurant, which is slated to open at the new Millennium Place Marina, in Dubai, this April. Venezuelan born VaamondeBeggs has already begun menu development and staff training ahead of the opening of the restaurant, which will accommodate 180 covers including a terrace seating with a capacity of 60. Based on the popular MasterChef reality television series, the restaurant will introduce a world-first dining experience to Dubai. The restaurant follows a landmark deal signed last year between The First Group and Endemol Shine Group, the global content creator, producer, and distributor behind the MasterChef international TV series. MasterChef, the TV Experience, will introduce guests to the talents and recipes of contestants and champions from various global series of MasterChef. With over 60 local adaptations broadcast in more than 200 countries, MasterChef is the world’s most successful cookery television format and was created by Franc Roddam. “Our entire objective has been to keep the entire experience focused on the food our culinary stars will create, while offering a casual and comfortable deformalised din-

ing atmosphere without excess trappings,” said Duncan Fraser-Smith, vice-president of F&B, The First Group. “With food creativity and skill being the cornerstone of the concept, Vaamonde-Beggs brings unmatched experience and talent to her latest role in spearheading the entire culinary set-up of Dubai’s most exciting venue opening of 2019.” Vaamonde-Beggs’s expertise spans 12 countries, including Venezuela, the USA and the UAE, with career highlights being relaunching of the Four-Season Hotels and Resorts Buenos Aires, Argentina, launching Catch Dubai as sous chef; transferring to Catch LA as executive sous chef and returning to Dubai as executive sous chef for Morimoto to work alongside Masaharu Morimoto. Guests arriving at Mas-

terChef, the TV Experience, will instantly feel in familiar surroundings with the restaurant’s quasi industrial interior design, complete with a dedicated drinks bar – inspired by the recognisable setting of the TV series. Food will be served on classic white ‘casual’ china. Contestants and champions from the worldwide series will share their stories and experiences with guests through signature dishes served during short-term residencies at the restaurant. The First Group will work with Endemol Shine Group to grow the MasterChef, the TV Experience, concept worldwide in coming years. “The fact Dubai will launch the brand to the world is a truly significant moment in the city’s restaurant evolution,” added Fraser-Smith.

“It is an extension of an iconic brand that will further enhance Dubai’s reputation as a global dining destination, in yet another, you saw it here first, culinary coup.” The restaurant is another milestone development for The First Group, which aims to introduce up to 40 original and world-first dining concepts to the UAE by 2021. The Group recently debuted three original F&B outlets in its new TRYP by Wyndham Dubai hotel in Barsha Heights. Local, the hotel’s rustic social eating house, features a laidback Mediterranean and gastro-pub inspired menu, the poolside bar, L!QD,serves tapas and lifestyle-focused cocktails in a chic, Ibiza-inspired al fresco environment, while BarBary harks back to the decadent era of 1920s Paris. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

News

Tourism

Dubai’s Tourism And Hospitality Sector Records Growth In 2018 Dubai welcomed 15.92 million international overnight visitors in 2018, marking a new high according to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). Continuing to expand its appeal as a global destination of choice for another year running, Dubai’s top source markets delivered bankable performances with several strategic feeders witnessing double-digit growth yet again to continue momentum towards growing the number of international visitors annually in line with Dubai’s Tourism Vision 20222025, in addition to driving even greater economic impact on the emirate’s GDP. HE Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism commented: “Guided by the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, the department remains focused on ensuring that Dubai becomes the number one most visited city in the world in line with Dubai’s Tourism Strategy 2022-25. “As such, throughout 2018, we developed and deployed a custom-market specific approach to our global outreach programmes to deeper penetrate our target markets and widen the sphere of influence and engagement with the Dubai proposition. Exposing our industry to new potential in

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order to convert a higher share of the dynamically evolving global outbound travel market has helped steady Dubai’s base tourism volumes throughout last year. Our strategic investments, innovative destination promotion programmes, responsive federal policy reforms, and long-term global partnerships – all backed by the tremendous support of our stakeholders across the government and private sector, continue to yield strong results as we ramp up efforts to increase Dubai’s accessibility, visibility and overall appeal, minimise barriers to travel, deliver new standards in global travel experiences, and ultimately drive both first-time and repeat visitation.” Traditional strongholds have retained their affinity for the city’s destination proposition, with India once again crossing the two million mark and maintaining its number one position at the end of 2018. This has been fuelled by strong business partnerships with key industry leaders and national publications like TOI in India, and tailored destination-focused campaigns, such as multi-award-winning #BeMyGuest collaboration with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, as well as highly targeted seasonal activations to resonate with a diverse range of Indian audiences. Saudi Arabia came in a strong second, remaining the highest traffic volume generator for the

GCC, with 1.6 million visitors, representing a steady 3% yearon-year growth, thanks to customised activations including specialised city-wide activities and promotions for Saudi Arabia National Day celebrations, all especially designed to attract visitors from the country. The UK, meanwhile, also retained its third place slot with an impressive 1.2 million British travellers visiting the city in 2018, testament to Dubai’s enduring popularity in the market, despite Brexit conversations impacting overall outbound travel and consumption sentiment from the country. Experiencing impressive encore performances with double-digit growth to maintain their strength within the top ten feeder markets, China, Russia, and Germany continued their upward trajectory in 2018. China rose to the number four position, with tourism volumes rising 12% in year-onyear growth to bring in 857,000 Chinese tourists in 2018. Russia experienced a significant 28% growth to move up two places landing at sixth position with 678,000 visitors in 2018, as both China and Russia continued to benefit from the introduction of UAE visa-onarrival visitor regulations and increased air capacity into the emirate. German tourists continued to grow in strength as 2018 welcomed an impressive 567,000 tourists, exhibiting a 12% increase over 506,000

visitors in 2017. The USA came in as the seventh top source market with 656,000 visitors in 2018 representing an increase of 4% while the Philippines entered the top 10 for the very first time with 387,000 tourists to Dubai. Owing to successful ongoing destination marketing strategies, Dubai also welcomed 348,000 overnight guests from France, with the country rising two ranks and seeing a 17% yearon-year increase while Italy witnessed a 9% growth. A stellar 36% spike from Nigeria brought www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

News

the market back into the top 20, with 185,000 Nigerians visiting Dubai in 2018. These strong performances helped balance the decline in visitation from strong-hold markets like Oman and Pakistan. From a regional perspective, Western Europe emerged as the largest contributor of overnight visitor volumes for 2018, commanding a 21% share, to maintain its pole position from 2017. This was closely followed by the GCC and South Asia, contributing 18% and 17% of all international visitation to

the city respectively. North Asia and South-East Asia regions accounted for 11% to reflect sustainable growth aided by Dubai Tourism’s international diversification strategy. The close proximity markets across the MENA region also delivered steady growth volumes of ten per cent while Russia, the wider CIS and Eastern Europe collectively delivered 9% of the total visitation, a 2% increase from 2017. The Americas and Africa each contributed 6% of the volume base, and Australasia rounded off the

regional mix with 2% of market share in 2018, largely driven by stop-over travellers. Dubai’s hospitality sector continued to make further strides in expanding its offering to match the evolving needs of visitors, both in terms of scale and breadth. The hotel sector observed an 8% growth over a 12-month period versus 2017, with the total number of hotel and hotel apartments keys reaching 115,967 across 716 establishments. Luxury five-star hotels made up 33% of the emirate’s total inventory, with four-

star hotels commanding a 26% share. Properties in the one- to three-star categories represented a share of 20%, reflecting the benefits of a sustained approach to driving consideration from diverse segments. Hotel apartment establishments constituted a combined 21% of the total inventory, split into deluxe/ superior and standard categories. With average occupancy reaching 76%, occupied room nights were up to 30.13 million, while guests’ average length of stay remained unchanged at 3.5 nights. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

Gastronomy Uncovered

Seascape

BNC Publishing’s resident food aficionado, Mark Anthony Monzon discovers the best new restaurants in town. This month on Gastronomy Uncovered, I went to the quiet and peaceful emirate of Ajman to visit Seascape, the seafood restaurant inside Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche. The hotel is a new opening in the city & surprisingly has modern architecture and unique design elements which is not usually seen in Ajman. Everything in the hotel is brand new and that includes Seascape restaurant as well. The new venue offers a wide range of seafood delicacies for guests to choose from. One can just come inside, pick and choose what they like and tell the staff how they want their meals cooked

To discover more dining gems in the city, follow Mark on Instagram @markmyworldblog or visit www.markmyworld.me 24

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with options ranging from grilled, fried, sautéed, oven-baked, steamed, and taginestyle, to name a few. Every single day, guests can expect the freshest catch, straight from the fish market in Ajman, which is meticulously prepared by their highly-skilled culinary team. The restaurant menu includes a catch of the day section where guests can pick from a variety of fish including salmon, hammour, king fish, lobster, crabs, and prawns. There is an option to choose from the catch of the day which is charged per kilo and you can also opt for the regular menu that features a selection of pasta, salads, side dishes, and desserts that are charged a la carte. The warm hospitality at the restaurant is impeccable and another thing that is worth mentioning is the affordable pricing that will be something different if you’re used to the cost of food in Dubai. Whether you go for the special or the regular menu, you’ll notice the huge difference in the price. www.hotelnewsme.com


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March 2019

Cover Story

Sustainable Sourcing Mahak Mannan speaks to some of the leading F&B businesses in the region that are making a conscious effort to run their day to day operations in a sustainable manner, to find out the key aspects suppliers should know about the F&B market in order to create the perfect match to work towards a greener industry.

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www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Cover Story

T

he F&B industry in the Middle East is booming, maybe not in terms of demand, but with respect to supply. With Expo 2020 just a year away, the city is gearing up to serve millions of inbound tourists, increasing the F&B landscape to cross new boundaries. This means that the foodservice industry, particularly suppliers, have a bigger challenge to provide the industry with the right products to be able to plate the perfect dish for their customers. In a region like the Middle East, where imports can be flown in from any part of the world, it is not hard for F&B venues to get their hands on the rarest of ingredients, however, there is a growing concern on the sustainable aspect in sourcing. Consumers today are becoming increasingly aware of every little thing they consume and as such the F&B industry too is making a shift towards sustainable sourcing, an aspect that is now beginning to take shape in the region. In this feature, we speak to a few restaurant chains that make an increased effort in sourcing sustainable products to get their opinion on the market, these include Tom Arnel, co-Founder and managing director, Bull & Roo, Ian Ohan, founder and CEO of Freedom Pizza, Fabio Baglio, general manager Johnny Rockets, Ben Tobitt, group executive chef, Jumeriah Restaurant Group, and Ismail Tozlu, general manager, GĂźnaydÄąn, on everything related to their sourcing and purchase decisions. What is the biggest challenge in sourcing produce in the region? Arnel: The sourcing of quality seafood, caught sustainably and treated ethically is quite accessible, but unfortunately most of these species are caught in international waters and the logistics of the supply chain make it very expensive. Due to this, it is rare to see quality seafood on a menu for less the AED100 per portion. As such, my challenge for 2019 is to find locally sourced, ethically caught fish that

Freedom Pizza bypasses the supply chain, bringing it to customers for less the AED70 per portion and back into their daily routine. Ohan: Sourcing of higher quality ingredients at reasonable prices is the biggest challenge, particularly if they must be halal. Local suppliers and distributors typically mark-up products to such an extent that the quality value relationship can become compromised. Baglio: I would say the biggest challenge in our industry is sourcing of excellent quality products. At Johnny Rockets we go through a lot of quality checks, and our suppliers must go through the exact same checks to meet our standards. This unfortunately comes at a price, maintaining consistency is often a challenge when it comes to managing costs. We would never compromise on

quality, so we would rather have less margins during seasons where certain produce is hard to get. Tobitt: JRG Dubai as a group aims to source products where available from local suppliers, not just to minimise the supply chain, but also to support local business. However, due to quality, availability, and the cost, it is sometimes cheaper to import. One of the most challenging aspects for the restaurant supply chain is acquiring European and other quality fish. This is changing thanks to HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s fish farm providing restaurants with a local supplier that provides an extensive variety of fish. Similarly, we still have limitations with supplier options for meat, natural weather challenges have a significant impact on what is available. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

Cover Story

In demand Bull & Roo

Outlets managed: Brunswick Eatery, Bar & Terrace, Tom & Serg, The Sum of Us, Common Grounds Top five products in demand: Coffee beans from Ethiopia, organic eggs, Mexican avocados, organic bakers flour, extra virgin olive oil from Greece.

Freedom Pizza

Outlets managed: 14 Top five products in demand: High-quality mozzarella cheese, pizza topping proteins like pepperoni and sausage, chicken tenders and wings, pizza boxes, organic produce.

Johnny Rockets

Outlets managed: 14 branches in addition to sub-franchises. Top five products in demand: Prime angus beef patties from the US, leafy lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, locally produced brioche buns.

Jumeirah Restaurant Group Outlets managed: Al Nafoorah, Flow, Pai Thai, Perry & Blackwelder’s, Pierchic, Segreto, The Noodle House, and Trattoria Toscana Top five products in demand: Biodegradable Kitchen paper rolls and garbage bags, fresh meat, fish and vegetables.

Günaydın

Outlets managed: Two Top five products in demand: Meat, flour, vegetables, eggplant, yogurt. Under cleaning chemicals: dishwashing liquids, cleaning agents, hand sanitisers, food sanitiser.

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Fabio Baglio, general manager Johnny Rockets

Tozlu: We source most of our meat items from Turkey and vegetables from either Spain or Holland as we want to preserve the taste and quality of our dishes to replicate the experience our diners can have at our Turkey outlets. The non-organic produce on offer here is of low quality and the best produce is very expensive. How sustainable is your day-today business? Arnel: Here at Bull&Roo, we have made it a mission to be considerate of the environment and how we can do our bit to set the example for future restauranteurs. We have already substantially cut down our use of single-use plastics, continue to recycle things like used cooking oil, and found ways to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint by working with independent local suppliers. Ohan: We are working hard to reduce single-use plastics. Last year we removed straws from our operation completely and replaced plastic cutlery with recyclable bamboo cutlery. We then give our customers the option of purchasing them if they require the use. At Freedom Pizza we take pride in being a company that operates as ethically as possible and are currently working on making other packaging recyclable too. Baglio: For Johnny Rockets it is very important to preserve our environment, and therefore we strive to always provide sustainable packaging. As a global brand,

we believe we can really make an impact, sustainability is something we are always looking into. As with everything, there is of course room for improvement, and we are doing all we can to offer the best possible packaging solutions and I have made it one of my focus points for 2019. Tobitt: In March last year, we initiated a company-wide ban on single-use plastic straws, swizzle sticks, stirrers, and toothpicks. In fact, to celebrate this, The Noodle House held its first Plastic Amnesty Day, which saw all collected plastic disposed at The Smart Sustainability Oasis Recycling Centre. JRG now only offers straws which are either made from paper or corn starch. The corn starch straws use new technology making them 100% biodegradable and compostable within 180 days. As of September 2018, The Noodle House took a step further in its mission to reduce waste, ease strain on landfills, and minimise environmental impact, by launching home delivery packaging that is 99% plastic-free. At present there is a 5050 split across our 10 brands, but that’s changing. Flow, the healthy eating hub at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, will also look at introducing similar Vegware plastic-free packaging in the coming quarter. Tozlu: We try to stay away from plastic packaging and have recycling facilities for our kitchen waste. Is it easy to source sustainable products and ingredients in the region? Arnel: No, the demand is not strong enough to drive new supply into the market, and what is available here is usually expensive. However, this is improving every day and the signs are encouraging for a greener future. Ohan: It is becoming easier with time, but there are still challenges that remain, as what is available tends to be prohibitively expensive. The other issue is that recycling our packaging via consumers, is not as easy as it is in other countries. Therefore, even if the packaging is fully recyclable, it might not actually be recycled. Baglio: It can be easy, but unfortunately it can also be very expensive. Our burgers have certain fixed ingredients all year round, which means that at www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Cover Story

times, it becomes hard for us to get fresh ingredients from the usual suppliers. However, we then source fresh ingredients from other parts of the world, which often means having sustainable produce, but with a much higher price tag. Tobitt: With the appetite for conscientious consumption and growing demand for organic healthy produce on the rise, operators have been forced to rethink their business models, whether that it is by behaving ethically or sourcing responsibly and sustainably. This directly creates demand and a market for importers to increase their volume of imports as a result of more consumption. Ultimately, it is improving, and a greater demand should have a corresponding impact on more affordable sourcing and pricing costs. We definitely have more access to local vendors today and if pricing challenges are addressed, we will see an even greater shift towards companies being able to shop with local vendors. Tozlu: I believe it is easy to source sustainable in the region however, the quality will not be the same. What is the best approach suppliers should take to make themselves known? Arnel: Face-to-face conversation is always the best approach. We like to form a close

Tom Arnel, co-Founder and managing director, Bull & Roo

Ian Ohan, founder and CEO of Freedom Pizza

bond with our suppliers, some of whom I have known for over 10 years. Ohan: The best way for them to reach us is to contact us directly with their product lists and pricing. We are always open to working with new suppliers, especially ones who have similar business ethics as we do. Baglio: Currently, suppliers reach us by approaching larger distributors, who then create a channel to pitch individual brands of various products. In this region we have great events like Gulfood, connecting all potential producers with buyers. We believe that events like that can only strengthen partnerships. Trust is of key importance here, it can often come down to proper people training. Producers need to arm themselves with strong, capable, and knowledgeable sales professionals, who are be able to gain the trust of the distributor. In turn, the distributor needs to convey that trust to us buyers. Tobitt: Through Jumeirah Restaurant Group’s supply chain and logistics department. Tozlu: After moving to Dubai, I did my own research and meticulously handpicked suppliers who matched my requirements. Over time, my suppliers and I have built a mutual respect, they never receive late payments and in return I am loyal to them. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

Opinion

Consulting Conundrums

A monthly column by Martin Kubler, CEO, chief cook, and bottle washer of sps:affinity Strategic Partnership Solutions.

Happy 8th anniversary! 2019 marks my sixth year as a full-time consultant. The last time I had a real job was back in March 2011 and since then, it’s been a real rollercoaster ride, up, down, around, and back again. Consultants like me aren’t too dissimilar from freelancers or contractors, in that our work with companies often tends to be short to medium-term and flexible. The difference lies in the expertise. Freelancers are usually hired for a specific task, whereas consultants tend to get hired for their knowledge of a chosen field, which means what we essentially do is, sell our time and usually, our time is fairly expensive. Does your hotel or restaurant need a consultant? Never ask a baker if you need bread or a florist if you need flowers. Seriously though, I think we all recognise that there are times when working with consultants can offer advantages over muddling through alone or hiring a permanent employee. We can bring objectivity to the table and fresh thinking. We can help with rekindling lost momentum or arbitrate and revive projects that have stalled due to infighting. We’re able to be laser-focused, because we’re not bogged down by other responsibilities as in-house, permanent, resources can be. We’re also outcome-focused and, if a project only requires a couple of months, it’s easier to wave good-bye to us than to a permanent member of staff. On the other hand, working with consultants can also be somewhat of a bother. There’s a danger that hiring a consultant upsets existing, permanent, team-members or that you’re being sold solutions that are more in the interest of the consultant than your hotel or restaurant. Over the past 20 years, I’ve stood on both sides of the fence (and sometimes, I stood on the fence) and realised that the secrets 30

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to working effectively with a consultant are organisation, planning, and management. Let’s start at the beginning of the journey: Do you know why you’re looking to hire a consultant? Are you sure you need to hire a consultant? Stupid questions? Trust me, they aren’t. I frequently get contacted by clients who aren’t sure about what it is they’d like me to do, fix or address. I understand that often you don’t know the exact nature or the problem and that’s fine, but you should have a general idea. “My restaurant doesn’t run properly” for example, isn’t going to cut it. Does it not run properly, because your marketing is non-existent, because your employees are demotivated or because your food cost is too high? Hoteliers will be familiar with the term RFP or request for proposal. Consultants aren’t products, so RFPs aren’t the ideal tool. What you need is a RFI, request for information or a EOI, expression of interest, in other words, a tender process

that helps you understand who has the right capabilities and experience for a specific engagement and can provide insights into how a consultant might approach a problem. Once you have identified possible consultants, work with them on getting the proposal or scope of work right from the onset through a series of conversations. A good consultant can fit projects to budgets, work backwards from deliverables or outcomes, change timetables, and look at alternative methods. Make sure that everyone involved in the project is clear why the consultant is hired. I’ve often rocked up in clients’ hotels or restaurants and had people eye me suspiciously, because they thought I had been brought in to replace them. I’m almost always brought in to assist them. It’s important that you communicate to your teams that bringing in a consultant doesn't reflect a failure on anyone's part. Remember, you’re in charge, not the consultant. Lastly, remember that we won’t be around forever, and, once we leave, your associates will need to take responsibility for the project. They'll be the ones fixing problems or making adjustments in the future, so they must understand our work, and develop the skills that they will need to continue it. Insist on including a knowledge management plan in your consultant's tasks and involve members of your team to ensure that this plan is a success. A good consultant will be able to train your employees on their techniques and approach. The earlier this process begins, the more questions your team members can ask, and the more skills and knowledge they will gain. To discuss more about SPS Affinity and its services get in touch with Kubler on hello@spsaffinity.com www.hotelnewsme.com


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March 2019

Feature

The Green Team Proving healthy eating can be delicious, Chef Matthew Kenny and KBW Ventures have announced the launch of Folia, a plant-based menu, in Bahrain. Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay will offer its guests a brand-new plant-based menu, Folia, starting 15 March 2019. Developed by celebrated Chef Matthew Kenney in partnership with KBW Ventures, founded 32

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by HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Folia’s culinary selection includes 10 wholesome, plant-based items including starters, entrées, and desserts The menu, which will be on offer at the

Hotel’s Bay View Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay brings Kenney’s culinary creations to the Middle East for the first time. The launch of Folia also marks the plant-based menu’s entry in www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Feature

the MENA region, following its successful introduction at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles, Beverly Hills last year. “I am thrilled to present Folia at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay in collaboration with my partner chef Matthew Kenney,” Prince Khaled, founder and chief executive officer, KBW Ventures says. “Building on the success of our first collaborative effort at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, it gives me immense pride to launch Folia in the Kingdom of Bahrain as our premier Middle East destination. Chef Kenney’s ingenuity at crafting cuisine positions the menu’s selection as attractive to all diners. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

Feature

The concept, dedicated to guests looking to experience an array of quality healthy choices, demonstrated immediate success shortly after its launch in California.” Richard Raab, general manager, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain adds: “At Four Seasons, we are always looking for fresh ways to innovate and create unique experiences for our guests. With the increasing number of travellers seeking to adopt a healthy lifestyle, the appeal of plant-based cuisine has never been stronger. “In addition to providing outstanding fine dining for our vegan

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guests, this new menu will also offer a delightful surprise for those unfamiliar with the array of dishes available in the plant-based world, particularly when a master chef is at the helm. We are excited to bring chef Kenney ’s vision of healthy eating to life here in Bahrain and look forward to introducing our guests to the many flavours of Folia’s plant-based cuisine.” The Folia menu will showcase a refreshing range of seasonal dishes from the watermelon poke, marinated in a ponzu lime broth and the hearts of palm ceviche with cherry tomato,

peewee potato, and olives in a dijon vinaigrette to beet hummus with oregano cream, and dukkah avocado with spicy greens, preserved lemon, and tomato jam. Entrees include green herb tacos filled with roasted squash and king oyster barbacoa, and a wild mushroom sandwich with caramelised onions and truffle aioli. Diners can end their meal on a sweet note with coconut cream pie, or coco-berry mousse with hazelnut gelato, to name a few. The Hotel’s Bay View Lounge features large floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of Bahrain Bay and Manama’s skyline.

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9 1 0 2 s d r a w A 23 APRIL 2019 FAIRMONT THE PALM, DUBAI

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March 2019

Chef Focus

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March 2019

Chef focus

The Colours Of Indya

st venture, ai recently for the opening of his late Dub in was tia Bha eet Vin f che r Michelin Sta Mannan catches up with en Beach Resort & Spa and Mahak Indya by Vineet at Le Royal Meridi new restaurant and his ly acclaimed Michelin star, on the bal glo a eive rec to f che ian Ind the first expectations from the F&B market Tell us about your thoughts behind opening Indya. Indya by Vineet is our second venture in Dubai and we see it as the sibling of Indego by Vineet, our first restaurant. Indya represents regional delicacies and home-style food as it is enjoyed traditionally in India with locals. When and how did you know that you wanted to be a chef? Surprisingly, it was through the process of elimination. I knew from the beginning that I was not cut out to be a lawyer, an accountant or a doctor, which are the most popular professions in my family. I tried multiple jobs before realising that my true passion was in the kitchen. It was actually bartending that introduced me to this career. At the age of 17 or 18 I was applying for bartending jobs and was told that I was too short. Instead they gave me the option to train in the kitchen and this is when I was introduced to a whole new world of culinary that I didn’t know existed. How would you explain the general ethos or cooking style at Indya by Vineet? I feel like I’ve gone full circle now after opening Indya, I started out at a restaurant in Mumbai offering traditional Indian cuisine, then proceeded to open a restaurant in London which offers a more formal and upscale dining scene with Michelin Stars. Now, I have reached a point in my life where I believe more in fuss-free food, that can be enjoyed for what it is without the bells and whistles. Honestly, the food offered at Indya is the same food I have grown up eating and experienced in different parts of India during my travels. How do you ensure the culinary offerings at Indya stand out in the market? Indya does not just focus on the street food aspect of the cuisine, or the gimmicks that amplify the cuisine, but instead it focuses on the different regional delicacies that are found throughout the homes in India. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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Chef Focus

What can a guest expect when dining at Indya in terms of hospitality and guest experience? Indya is an extremely vibrant, colourful, and relaxed space which is often the vibe you find in people’s homes across India. The space really offers a communal feel, there are separate tables, a bar, and also a communal table, which often makes you feel like you’re sitting in someone living room, extremely comfortable and relaxed. It’s quite a family-friendly environment that is a laid-back affair. Tell us about the menu and your hero dishes. The menu is consciously structured to avoid the starters, mains, and dessert eating routine, instead, it encourages the sharing style. The menu is split up into 38

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March 2019

Chef focus

the F&B industry. Be unique and find your own style, don’t copy on what’s popular, focus on creating your own style. How do you pick the right supplier in the UAE? Checking the supplier for their consistency and ensuring that they are able to continuously supply the quality of goods that you require in the volume that you require, along with how prompt they are in sorting any last-minute requests, is key to pick the right partner.

sections like From the Chaat Trolley, From the Earth, From the Land, From the Sea, and From the Halwai. This inspires a sharing-style feel, where dishes are put in the centre of the table and all guests pick and share together. The hero dishes are raj puri chaat, KFC or Kerala fried chicken, Keralan chilli beef fry, and the Indo Chinese take on a sweet-sour chicken. What are the biggest challenges in the dining scene in Dubai? I find that the diners in Dubai tend to have a rather short attention span, they always seem to be looking for the next big Instagrammable thing to come out in terms of F&B. With all the table theatrics and props that are used when serving food in Dubai, the digital reputation seems to be the solution to heighten an experience whilst dining in Dubai. However, this has nothing to do with the quality of the food or the actual cuisine being served, so sometimes it’s hard for people to differentiate between an experience or the show, of a venue, and the actual dishes being served, the quality, technique, and execution of its cuisine.

place or my school friends, relatives, and neighbours. A lot of it is also based on some of the dining experiences we’ve experienced travelling across the world. What advice would you give chefs starting out in this region? The best advice I can give chefs would be to cook from the heart. Cook with your own style rather than copying another chef and trying to replicate their dishes, because there can be a lot of repetition in

What are the most challenging items to source? In Dubai, nothing is really a challenge to source, however I’ll admit for certain items you do need to give them plenty of notice. For ingredients like a rose jam, you do need to give time, but they are still accessible. If you are looking at a local supplier for local food, it is a little difficult, because getting the precise ingredients or products in the volume that you need can be a bit of a challenge. What goals have you set for Indya by Vineet? Our short-term goal is to make Indya by Vineet a local destination and favourite amongst the community, so families can come and enjoy meals together. Long-term goal would be to have more of Indya in other parts of the region.

What experiences do you draw on for your menu creations? Indya is fundamentally based on my childhood memories of eating, be it at my Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

The Business

Zero In On Sustainability With sustainability on the rise in the industry, Zero Gravity, one of the leading beach clubs in the region is prioritising its responsibility towards the environment, whether that be through beach cleanups, doing away with plastic or rethinking waste management strategies. We caught up with the general manager, Peter Skudutis on their efforts to drive an environmentally conscious business

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March 2019

The Business

S

ituated on the beach side of Dubai’s sprawling coast line, Zero Gravity’s general manager Peter Skudutis says the venue is nothing short of a hotel operation, with respect to the size and volume that it handles. The beach club serves an average of 850 guests per day and that number goes up to 2500 over the weekends. “Zero gravity is like a hotel without the rooms,” Skudutis explains. “We have a stewarding department, housekeeping, finance, and security, the only thing we are missing is the rooms department. It is a business that has evolved so much, we started off as a beachfront restaurant, with very limited menu and staff, while today we can have up to 8000 guests over the weekend for our music festivals.” One thing that Zero Gravity has consciously looked at over the past few months is trying to reuce their impact on the environment, according to the general manager. “We are looking at our business model to see where change can be made in order

to benefit the environment,” the general manager says. “We have worked out things that we change immediately, like straws and replaced them with paper alternatives. There was also a large amount of water consumption from plastic bottles by our staff, when we do our big beach festivals, we have up to 700 people running it and each of them is drinking bottles of water throughout the day. We replaced that with reusable bottles and also installed water filling stations around the venue. “Additionally, we have looked at ways to provide free water to our guests, however, if someone wants bottled water, we charge for that. “An important focus for us is the educational part, we found that there is so much we can do that we dint know we could, in the past. We first educate ourselves, our colleagues, and teams, on small changes we can do to reduce our impact on the environment and also educate the public. Through this we hope that people take positive decisions towards the environment too. Hopefully, with us

setting such a benchmark in Dubai other venues will follow suit.” One of the most popular initiatives that Zero Gravity does on a regular basis is the We Love Our Beach clean-up campaigns. “We started the beach clean-up over a year ago and midway through 2018 we opened that up to the public because we had a responsibility being a venue located on the beach to keep our beach and water clean,” Skudutis says. “We had a great response to our campaign, a lot of companies wanted to get involved like EmiratesNBD, we had regular customers come in to be a part of it, a lot of tourists who travel to Dubai on holiday and were looking to do something positive joined us too. We have seen quite a substantial growth in people joining us for our beach clean-up. We also have divers coming in, so while we do the beach cleaning, they clean the water around the area. “We are very lucky in Dubai that we have got clean beaches throughout the city. What we do find though is a lot of smaller items like cigarette butts and bottles on the beach along with fishing debris. These are

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The business

little things that people do not understand impact the environment, but they do.” The venue has also looked at its laundry service and waste management system to further make a different on their carbon footprint. “We have changed the process of our laundry, all of our staff uniforms and towels used to come wrapped in plastic. We have agreed with our laundry supplier that they can provide us with a dedicated truck that we monitor regularly, which can transport our laundry without being covered in plastic,” he says. “We have new racks for our staff uniforms to be hung properly that don’t 42

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require to be individually covered in plastic. We are still in the process of learning, so we are always looking at aspects that we can change. “Bringing about this change encourages us to look for alternatives in the market, which means we constantly look for suppliers that can provide us with alternatives which is interesting because there are a lot of things that are still not available in this market but if people like us are going out and asking for them, then there will be a better chance for it being available. “We also work with a company called Dgrade. We give them all our plastic

bottles which they recycle to make thread for clothing, uniforms, and beach bags. It is very positive to see that in recent times there have been some major changes in the industry with respect to being eco-friendly. The trend of omitting plastic straws was wonderful, but we would like to see more and that is one of the reasons behind our beach campaigns, to encourage others to take similar routes. “We also believe in the education side of it for which we dedicate specific spots on our social media purely for environmental care because it really does come down to individuals and how we behave.” www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

The Business

Peter Skudutis

THE MARKET Zero Gravity has several industry firsts to its name, from music festivals to introducing a successful Saturday brunch, according to the general manager. “The first thing that Zero Gravity led the way for was doing large scale music festivals on Thursday and Friday, once we started doing it, the market followed. The second thing was our ladies day, where Tuesday day time in Dubai was seen as a challenging period because everyone is at work, people are busy, and tourists are in the malls. We started it as a one off, where we did an activation for International Women’s Day and it rained

out, so we postponed it to a week later and had a very positive response. This then led to a regularly weekly event for us, that really changed the way people looked at midweek business. “Another impossible day was Saturday, when we hold our Supernatural brunch. This started as a deep house musical event which turned out great and we were happy with the results. We then really looked at a value package that provided people with the ultimate day out on a set amount of money. Beach, pool, food, and beverages at a set price, that is where Supernatural was born and within a matter of weeks we were seeing unprecedented numbers

come through. Getting those numbers on a Saturday is not easy feat but it continues to date. We were able to make it work and now we are seeing the market follow suit, and it did in a way that the exact pricing and offering is being carbon copied, we see this as a real compliment to what we do.” However, the current market comes with its challenges according to Skudutis. “Zero Gravity has been successful in creating value for people but what we are seeing now are unsustainable offers being poured into the market on peak nights. There are places offering free shisha, food, and beverages on the weekend, the next thing we know is they would be handing money out for people to come. These are things we do not agree with and I don’t think it is the right path to take,” he says. “Majority of our footfall is driven through entertainment and DJ’s and in recent times we have seen an incredible increase in the cost of bringing international artists, several thousand per cent increases. This is driven by the high demand across the world and locally it is being driven by an unsustainable pattern. Nonetheless, we still grew our revenue and profits in 2018 because we know the trends in the market. Every day We ask ourselves if we are doing the best we can in order to give guests a great experience for them to come back to us and that is what has driven our success over the years.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

Opinion

Acing The Digital Market

David Debeule, director market management, Middle East & Turkey, Expedia Group, explains the six pitfalls to avoid when building your mobile business

If you haven’t heard it yet, mobile phones are taking over our lives, which means businesses are faced with a consumer engagement crisis. Getting your property in front of your target audience, at the right time, in the right way is a bigger challenge than ever before. Not convinced? One study found that the typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day. Other sources state the average person checks their phone 110 times per day, with more addicted people checking their phones 900 times per day. Apple recently confirmed that its device users unlock their phones 80 times every day. So how does a hotelier cut through the clutter to reach the right customers? Below are a few ways to master the digital age. Pitfall 1: Understanding The Importance of Mobile Mobile is playing a big part in our economic landscape and is expected to generate 5% of GDP, or $4.6 trillion, by 2022, up from 2017, where mobile technologies and services generated 4.5% of GDP globally, a 44

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contribution that amounted to $3.6 trillion of economic value added. If you haven’t started tapping into mobile as a tool for your own customer acquisitions, you are missing out on a fast-growing segment of travellers. In the travel space specifically, travel searches made on mobile hit 26% in the US, and it goes higher across the globe, 47% in Europe, 40% in Asia, 38% in Middle East and Africa, and 34% in Latin America. Expedia Group data reveals that one in three booking transactions are made via mobile and over 50% of traffic now arrives via mobile. This mobile penetration is a global phenomenon, with the top origins spanning countries from around the world. Amongst Expedia Group’s top mobile markets, South Korea leads with the highest share of demand from mobile bookings, followed by the US and, United Kingdom. Pitfall #2: Building The Right Strategy When it comes to mobile apps, assuming travellers will automatically download your app if it exists is a naive approach

to building a mobile strategy. Today’s consumers are flooded with choice, 3.6 million apps available on Google Play and 2.1 million in the Apple Store. However, the average number of apps used is holding steady at 27 apps per month and 49% of smartphone users download zero new apps per month. Making your way into one of those 27 coveted spots on a user’s phone is an uphill battle, one fraught with potentially high churn and uninstall rates. When looking at travel apps specifically, almost two-thirds of users are lost after 30 days. So, what attracts people to download and engage with their mobile apps? And how do you maintain stickiness to keep from getting bumped off their phones? The answer is that mobile applications need to be fast, useful, and have a multitude of features that give users a reason to continue engaging. Travellers want their apps to provide them with practical and useful information such as airline check-in and mobile boarding passes. They rely on their apps to get convenient and fast information anywhere. Offering options like Hotels.com’s low www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Opinion

bandwidth mode allows users to get a faster response from their mobile app. While some travellers admit that loyalty programs from hotel chains and airlines do motivate app usage, travellers tend to reduce their app usage if the user experience is limited. It is therefore important to think about how consumers can benefit from your app beyond searching and booking. For example, the Expedia mobile app comes with useful in-trip features such as directions to your hotel, flight status alerts, checkout times and ability to access your travel details offline. Pitfall #3: Misunderstanding Usage Behaviour This is one of the most common mistakes businesses make. While many understand that mobile has limited real estate, navigating what does and doesn’t resonate with users including what content to prioritise on mobile can be tricky. We know that on average, 30-35 images are typically viewed before a transaction occurs and photos generate more than half of the engagement. This is followed by availability

wizard at 18%, engagement on maps at 12% and reviews at 7%. Given today’s mobile-dominant landscape, businesses should consider designing for the smaller screen size first. If you can get the information right on the small screen size then expand to desktop, you'll likely meet the needs of the vast majority of travellers. At Expedia Group, we have found that intuitive icons rather than descriptive words allow you to provide more in a smaller space, enabling mobile users to navigate and find what they need easily. Mobile travellers embrace mobile payment solutions. They not only use the expected credit cards and direct debit, but embrace conveniences of e-wallets like Apple Pay and PayPal. But localisation and choice are key to reaching mobile customers. Expedia Group has expansive offerings to include local e-wallet payment options such as Masterpass, JCB, Alipay and Paysbuy. In addition, customers can also choose to pay by installments, via IBP or with loyalty points.

conversion tool. However, across most parts of the world, mobile now accounts for more than half of the online transactions, and in-app sales dominate. Latin America is emerging as the fastest-growing region for mobile transactions – with their share up 50% year-on-year while Europe is growing at 28%, and the US is increasing by 22%. APAC advertisers with a shopping app generated an incredible 75% of transactions via app or mobile web. For hoteliers, the big opportunity is in mobile deals. Our data reveals that seven in 10 mobile bookings come from deals. In Australia for example, 88% of travellers are looking for deals on mobile and new research released by PayPal shows the rise in impulse buying on mobile amongst Australians, with 77% of mobile window shoppers actually impulse buying. The use of deals is high for customers across the globe, up to 91% for American and Canadian travellers, 88% for Chinese and British, 80% for the Japanese, 70% for the French and 68% for Germans.

Pitfall #4: Leveraging Timelines Mobile has long since been touted as a source of same-day bookings and the go-to tool only when hoteliers need to fill rooms last minute. However, Expedia Group data shows that mobile booking windows span the full spectrum. In certain major vacation destinations like Lanzarote, Spain the booking window for mobile stays average 65 days, the same booking window average as non-mobile stays. Long booking windows aren’t just limited to resort island and beach destinations either, cities and destinations around the world such as Venice, Italy (52 days), Denali National Park AK (49 days) and, Okinawa, Japan (46 days) also generate mobile bookings well over a month in advance of stay. Mobile travellers are equally valuable when filling rooms for extended periods. Even in resort destinations such as Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic where non-mobile trips are booked on average for five days, mobile stays averaged a comparable length at just over four days.

Pitfall #6: Consistency Let’s face it hoteliers are under the pump, and the constant innovations in technology that sparks convenience for consumers can sometimes actually put more of a squeeze on hotel resources. Hoteliers often fall into the trap of establishing a great mobile strategy but then cross it off the list and fail to continuously test, learn, and evolve. It might sound like more work, but instead, we’re seeing savvy hoteliers really utilising the assets of their technology partners to get big results for little input. As an example, the Partner Central mobile app allows hotel partners to better manage their business across Expedia Group’s portfolio of travel brands and supports hotel’s engagement with their guests anytime, anywhere. Critical data provided on-the-go helps them stay competitive with real-time insights about the market, allows them to read and respond instantly to feedback from guests, and receive important notifications with time-sensitive information. Similarly, innovations in hotel operations, with tools like mobile check-in and check-out keeps hotels up-to-date with the ever-changing traveller expectations.

Pitfall #5: The Right Deal There’s a common misconception that mobile is used purely for research and not a

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March 2019

In profile

For A Greener Tomorrow

Marcus Toft, area manager, Duni Middle East & Africa, tells us why the company is rethinking its strategies in order to facilitate a shift towards sustainable packaging.

Tell us about the company’s approach towards sustainable packaging. For several years Duni have been investing in sustainable products, with a majority of our table top range being compostable. On the packaging side we have also been offering sustainable products for several years. However, it is not until last year that we have felt an upswing in customer acceptance for these products. In fact, it has been such a significant market demand that this initiative is our highest prioritised corporate project. What are some changes you are working on to be more sustainable? Although we have been selling sustainable food packaging on a small scale in the region before, we are now filling up our warehouse and focusing our sales and marketing strategies to intensify our work in this product segment. How much of the business still depends on fossil plastic? Around 10% of our total business is still made from fossil plastics. However, it is important to note that 80% of this volume goes into Northern European countries where a big share of the plastic is recycled, and the rest goes into energy recovery, only about 1% of plastic in these countries goes to the landfill. Why do businesses still demand plastic products? In many cases I think it is lack of education, however, there is also the cost factor to take into consideration. Sustainable alternatives are currently not filling all the needs of the market. The cost factor can easily be transferred to the end consumer by an insignificant price increase. 46

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What are the benefits of using Ecoecho? There is no planet B, so we have to get our act together now. For businesses and consumers, there are many benefits as the Ecoecho range will facilitate the existing trend to have food on the go, but without the current environmental impact. In addition, our Ecoecho products generally give the consumer a better eating and drinking experience, which of course is beneficial for both the user and the restaurant outlet. What are the current trends in packaging? We see a big shift away from fossil fuelbased plastic. The material that is replacing plastics is bagasse, commonly known as

sugarcane pulp, which is a by-product of the sugar refining industry, is extremely durable, lightweight, and biodegrades in 30-90 days once exposed to composting conditions. It has no taste, odour or harmful additives and can be both heated up or frozen. This makes it an ideal alternative to traditional polystyrene meal packaging. Paper is another material that can be used. With so many packaging products made from paper, it’s important to ensure our forests are not irreparably damaged in the creation of paper-based packaging. We take great care selecting paper suppliers that have proven sustainable practices. Well-managed forests support environmentally sound forestry, helping to preserve valuable resources for future generations. www.hotelnewsme.com


MARC H 20, 20 1 9 FAIRMONT T H E PAL M, D UBAI The Design Forum 2019 is an exciting platform to trigger design conversations, interact with industry leaders and network amongst peers. The forum will feature interactive panel discussions and presentations. Tapping into the region’s current trends, the forum will include industry experts with their opinions on the topics which matter today: • How millennials’ approach to design is different from the previous generation? • Are we aiming for human-centric designs? • How healthcare design is more than just aesthetics? • Striking a perfect balance between lighting and architecture To be part of this exciting event, contact us on the details listed below:

Sponsorship JOAQUIM D’COSTA

GROUP Publishing DIRECTOR

MOBILE: +971 50 440 2706 DIRECT: +971 4 420 0506 JO@BNCPUBLISHING.NET

Delphene Fletcher Commercial Director

MOBILE: +971 55 991 0706 DIRECT: +971 4 420 0506 DELPHENE@BNCPUBLISHING.NET

PLATINUM SPONSOR

GOLD SPONSORS

SOCIAL MEDIA AND LANYARD SPONSOR


March 2019

AHIC Preview

AHIC 2019

The fifteenth edition of AHIC, which will bring together 900 hotel investment experts, promises to tackle current tensions in the owner-operator relationship and uncover new models for mutual success. The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2019 has unveiled its final programme featuring more than 100 speakers from around the world. This year’s conference has been curated around this theme Synchronised for Success, which aims to address the current tensions in the owneroperator relationship, uncover innovative approaches to business, analyse market trends, foster harmonious relationships between all stakeholders, and help them future-proof against evolving demands. Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events and founder of AHIC, said: “This year’s programme has been painstakingly developed in consultation with hotel owners, investors, operators, and consultants from across the region. Time and again, they have told us that amid challenges of new supply, more needs to be done to educate the market and synchronise the efforts of all stakeholders. “AHIC will once again provide a forum for owners and operators to gather and discuss the issues at the heart of their business. A day of disruption will bring invaluable learnings from outside of the industry, with sessions led by Google, the Foundation for Art and Blockchain, and The Coca-Cola Company, while plenary sessions include exclusive data analysis on future market demand from the likes of HVS, STR, Colliers, and Drees & Sommer." Programme highlights include the official opening by conference host and Patron HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council member and ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, a keynote AHIC talk by Sébastien Bazin, chairman & chief executive fficer, AccorHotels, who will address the topic ‘What is your compass in times of disruption, innovation and global turmoil?, and Jay Rosen, head of investment and finance at The Red Sea Development Company, who will be speaking on ‘Sustainable Investment 48

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Tourism Development for the future’. Mega Projects in Saudi Arabia such as the Red Sea destination, which are expected to add $5.86 billion to the country’s GDP, will form a focus at AHIC 2019, following on from the success of the Saudi Hotel Investment Forum (SHIC) held last month. A dedicated plenary session entitled ‘Uncovering The Kingdom’ will take a deep dive into the KSA market, discussing opportunities for international investors, government support for the industry and how the market is dealing with the increase in supply. Ahead of the event, Dr Badr Al Badr, CEO, Dur Hospitality, commented: “In Saudi Arabia, all key stakeholders in the hotel investment industry are benefitting from Vision 2030, with the wheels for socio-economic transformation already in motion. This blueprint for economic diversification earmarks tourism as a growth sector crucial to Saudi Arabia’s long-term success, regardless of short-term challenges, and savvy hospitality companies are aligning their development strategies to this vision”. He continued: “The foundations have already been laid for sustainable growth, with public and private investment ploughed into tourism-related infrastructure and giga projects such as NEOM and the Red Sea development. At the same time the Kingdom has made great strides in developing its entertainment

industry for the first time, which coupled with new e-visa initiatives, have signalled to the world that Saudi Arabia is open to international visitors." The AHIC Village for 2019 is currently being built by Al Hamra Real Estate Development Co on the beachfront close to the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “We are delighted to be hosting AHIC 2019 in Ras Al Khaimah, bringing together world-class speakers and key players from the hospitality sector to share their knowledge and insights. This year’s theme, Synchronised for Success, is quite fitting for Ras Al Khaimah, as it reflects our ongoing efforts to work hand in hand with our stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sector to accelerate the Emirate’s progress, increase its appeal, and attract local and foreign investment in an environment that sustains long-term growth as we aim to attract close to 1.5 million visitors by 2021 and a total of 3 million visitors by 2025”. AHIC 2019 promises to provide more opportunity than ever for delegates to deepen existing relationships and forge new ones among the leaders of the hospitality investment community, with more than 900 hotel investors, major developers, leading financiers, and C-level hotel executives expected to attend three days of content, networking and events. www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

AHIC Preview

Agenda DAY ONE Tuesday 9 April 2019 • 10:00 - 13:00- Workshop: GRIF in RAK - DAY OF DISRUPTION • 14:00 - 14:20 - Innovating for tomorrow, identifying the truly white space • 14:20 - 14:40- How is the Coca-Cola Company innovating, disrupting and playing the long-game? • 14:40 - 15:00- Hospitality going digital • 15:00 - 15:20- Looking at how a smarter adoption of technology can future proof the hospitality business? • 15:20 - 15:40- Could blockchain revolutionise the hospitality industry? • 15:40 - 16:00- Designing the future hotel – Every hotel can and should be a design hotel • 16:00 - 16:20- How to be at the leading edge of technology adoption • 16:20 - 16:50- Disrupting traditional lifestyle luxury – Changing the business model • 16:50 - 17:15- Nutrition – The future protein for the planet • 17:15 - 18:30- The Five Minute Pitch – Innovation • 18:00 - 19:00- Speed networking • 19:00 - 21:00- AHIC Opening reception DAY TWO Wednesday 10 April 2019 • 08:00 - 08:45- Registration and Coffee in the Sponsors’ Showcase • 08:30 - 09:00- Welcome remarks • 09:00 - 09:15- Official opening by conference host and patron • 09:15 - 10:00- The world we live in and a review of global economic prospects and perspectives • 10:00 - 10:30 - Searching for sunshine, praying for performance and what about the future? • 10:30 - 11:00- AHIC Leadership Talk - What is your compass in times of disruption, innovation and global turmoil? • 11:00 - 11:30- Morning refreshments and networking in sponsors’ showcase • 11:30 - 11:45- AHIC Leadership Talk - The trust crisis • 11:45 - 12:30- Synchronised for success? • 12:30 - 12:45- AHIC Leadership Talk - Sustainable investment tourism development for the future • 12:45 - 13:15- The Edge of Wildness - Adventure tourism luxury concepts • 13:15 - 13:40- AHIC Leadership Talk • 13:40 - 14:45- Lunch in the AHIC Village & Beach Bar • 14:45 - 15:00- Designing data-driven human experiences

• 15:00 - 15:15- Wellness, eco, agri and adventure tourism for the avocado generation • 15:15 - 15:30- Creating more than hotel rooms Looking at blended real estate solutions for living • 15:30 - 15:45- Dubai 2020 – What is in store for the hotel industry based on previous mega events? • 15:45 - 16:15- Walking the catwalk with the fashion entrepreneurs - where should fashion brands look for growth? • 16:15 - 17:00- A deep dive into Saudi Arabia • 14:45 - 15:15- Valuations in the Middle East • 15:15 - 15:45- Investor perspective: Alternative structures for finance and sources of funding for hotels; how do you bring in capital to hotel investments? • 15:45 - 16:15- Alternatives to the big boys – Meeting the changing needs of consumers and owners • 16:15 - 16:45- The Development Den: Speeding up the development process • 16:45 - 17:30- SPACE - Construction & development with the future of the planet and your future bottom line at the forefront • 14:45 - 16:30- Leadership masterclass: Leading by example with the nine habits of trust • 17:00 - 18:30- Three minute pitch: New concept brands pitch to owners • 18:30 - 20:00- AHIC EVENING RECEPTION DAY THREE 11 April 2019 • 07:00 - 07:45- Getting active with AHIC – Run or Yoga • 08:45 - 09:00- Welcome Back • 09:00 - 09:30- The growth of asset management in the UAE – Why it is paying dividends for owners • 09:30 - 10:00- Franchising – is it the future in the GCC? What does it take to do it well? • 10:00 - 10:30- What are the benefits of management companies vs third party management companies • 10:30 - 10:50- Creating a world class resort destination • 10:50 - 11:20- Coffee and refreshments break • 11:20 - 12:00- Midmarket resorts and non-traditional midmarket investment opportunities • 12:00 - 12:20- AHIC Hard Talk - How is India’s OYO disrupting the hotel business model using technology? • 12:20 - 13:00- Outward investment and travel from China • 13:00 - 15:00- Lunch at the AHIC Village and beach bar

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March 2019

Event review

Gulfood 2019

Gulfood 2019

The 24th edition of the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade show reinforced its reputation as the ideal trading platform for F&B specialists to display their latest innovations. With thousands of global reveals and new launches rolled out across the 1,000,000 sq. ft exhibition at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), we round up all the action from the five-day show.

“For three decades now, Gulfood has continually raised the food industry forum bar, and this year was no different. “The F&B landscape is continuously evolving, consumer preferences and F&B producers are having to adapt and evolve, yet one thing remains constant, global food and beverage specialists see Gulfood as the ideal vehicle to launch their new products.” Said Mark Napier, show director, Gulfood 2019. The UAE F&B industry power brand Agthia demonstrated its commitment to advancing the regional industry and a commitment to growing demand for health 50

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and wellness with the launch of two new products, the region’s first zero-bromate water and the first vitamin D fortified flour. The firm says its Al Ain Zero Bromate water is one of the purest drinking solutions available, making it suitable for pregnant women and people with kidney diseases. The new vitamin D multipurpose flour contains the daily requirement of vitamin D, created to address vitamin D deficiency in the UAE and the region. Highlighting the appeal of Gulfood as the ideal platform for global food exporters to make their mark on the industry and

a gateway to new markets, ProChile, the Chilean Export Promotion Bureau, chose Gulfood 2019 to unveil its new ecommerce platform to the world. As digital transformation sweeps across industries, ProChile’s new platform shows how F&B exporters can use technology to their advantage. The website www. Chileb2b.cl has been designed to provide buyers with a comprehensive overview of all Chilean products, including its renowned fresh grapes and blueberries, salmon fillets, dried plums, dried apples, and walnuts. In 2018, Chilean exports of www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Event review

nuts to the world reached $425 million, with the Middle East accounting for $50 million. $26 million worth of Chilean walnuts were exported to the UAE. With health, wellness, and free-from front and centre of more consumers worldwide, the UK’s Meatless Farm Co. chose Gulfood to bring its range of plantbased meat alternative products to the regional market. The British company’s burgers are made with plant-based ingredients from pea protein to chicory root that are high in protein and a good source of fibre. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

Event review

Chef Middle East Increases Investment In Infrastructure Steve Pyle, CEO, Chef Middle East

Gulfood 2019

CNIEL To Launch Three New Campaigns “We continue to work as a distributor of premium brands. This year we are focusing on the pastry and bakery segment. It’s a segment that we have grown by 20-30% over the course of last year. We have our partners here from the business and we seek to grow our community of support among customers for our brands. Last year was a year of growth for us, albeit not as strong as the year before. We have seen some challenges in terms of liquidity in the market. Sometimes getting paid is a challenge and the industry faces the same issues. “Of late we have invested heavily in terms of infrastructure, like the physical facility and operations facilities in the markets that we operate in and continue to invest in our people. We have doubled the size of our physical building capacity and grown our fleet in the last 18 months by over 50%. “Chef Middle East has worked with some of the leading hotel groups in the region from the day of their inception. We have over 15 years of relationships in the industry and our ability to provide top customer service makes us stand out from our competition.” 52

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Laurent Damiens, international communications director, CNIEL. “We have the pleasure to introduce three new programs co-funded by the EU, for cream, cheese, and butter. We have been working on communications in all regions, principally Dubai and Saudi Arabia. We are also expanding activities to Kuwait and Beirut, to promote French cheese, cream and, butter. It’s a new three-year campaign, 80% co-financed by the EU because for Europe this region is vital. “Our cream campaign is a B2B activity as it is for the pastry chef. French cream is recognised for the taste and we continue to educate pastry chefs about the flavour and taste of the product. “French cheese on the other hand, is slightly complicated because you have more than 1200 different cheeses, however not all of them come to Dubai, only around 400 do which is a great growth as 20 years ago there were just around 20 cheeses coming to the region. “ www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Event review

Paška Sirana Aims To Enter The Middle East Market Martina Pernar Škunca, marketing manager, Paška Sirana “Our company comes from Croatia on the island of Brac where we produce cheese exclusively from sheep that live on the island. “We are currently not present in the Middle East market but we hope to start to work here soon because it’s a very interesting market and our product is an exclusive product, not for everyday consumption. “In recent times, our cheese has won a lot of medals at international events and is the most awarded Croatian cheese. The top quality of milk is an important factor in our cheese along with the sheep that graze on the little grass grown on our island making it a very unique product."

Interoliva Brings Cardamom Infused Olives To the Middle East Jose Manuel Ruiz, Sales Director, Interoliva “This year at Gulfood we are highlighting a special olive which is our Spanish green and black olive infused with green natural cardamom. We have found that the mix of these two flavours was spectacular and especially fit for the Arab and Indian market. “We currently export to the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan but not the Middle East countries, our target now is to find a long-term partner so our products can be present in other countries. “We have an olive orchard since the very beginning and are vertically integrated, meaning we take care of the olive. Our packaging is of the highest level while both the quality and safety makes our product stand out in the market.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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Event review

The Right Rice For Risotto

Carla Ceriotti, CEO, L'arte del Riso Ceriotti

ITA Highlights Latest Culinary Food Trends At Gulfood

Gulfood 2019

Gianpaolo Bruno, trade commissioner to the UAE, Oman, and Pakistan, Italian Trade Agency.

“Our company was established in the North of Italy and we do a sort of cleaning of the rice. We buy paddy from our farmers, make a selection, and then package it for the consumer to make risotto recipes. “The Middle East market is a difficult one because the consumers may not be aware of the right recipes for risotto, the ones which are well known in Italy so we aim to bring that knowledge along with the rice that is suitable for it to the region. The recipe itself is important because otherwise rice is a commodity that is found all over the world. “Our variety of rice is grown only in Italy, nowhere else in the world, hence while our competition would be with common commodity like rice from South East Asia however, it is not really competition because the shape of the grain is so different & cannot be compared.” 54

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“The Italian pavilion is 2000 sqm and hosts 180 Italian companies offering the best of Italian produce in terms of food ingredients and business proposals for the Middle East market. “Our plans right now concentrate on education, training, and creating awareness about the importance of having a healthy lifestyle and using healthy food in regular dietary regime because this creates a healthy situation and people can live longer with that sort of a direction. We are here to promote the Mediterranean diet, because we strongly thing that it is the way forward in order to lead a healthy lifestyle.” “We export almost €6 billion worth of merchandise to the UAE and together with the entire region it comes up to €10 billon. “Quality and attention to detail along with the right certification in the value chain from farm to fork is really what sets Italian produce apart from its competitors. All the steps are accurately monitored and checked so consumers can be 100% sure that they are eating proper food and healthy ingredients.” www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Event review

Ready To Eat Meals With Enterprise Singapore

Al Rawabi Launches A Range Of Healthy Products

Bernice Tay, director, Food Manufacturing Division, Enterprise Singapore

Dr. Ahmed Eltigani, CEO, Al Rawabi

“This is our tenth year at Gulfood and we are happy to bring on board 46 companies, 21 of whom will be showcasing new products including ready to eat meals like lamb shank that can be stored at ambient temperatures. We have a lot of new flavours and ingredients on show, especially ones that are geared towards consumers that have health concerns. “We are very positive about the region, there are a lot of trends that are evident in the Singapore and Asia market that are also coming to the Middle East, for example the demand for healthy products. We have a platform called Food Innovate, that helps drive innovation in Singapore and a lot of our companies have started using this to bring innovation in food products. “Singapore food manufacturers are very cosmopolitan in their outlook and nature because our domestic market is quite small, they always look to cater to the global consumer to keep up with trends. The ingredients are very versatile and are adaptable to a lot of different cuisines across the globe.”

“Consumers today are very highly educated unlike the past, they need healthy products, unlike the old days where they only looked at the expiry and production date, today they look at what ingredients they are consuming and what it is doing to their body. “We did a lot of work with the ministry of health to see the habilitating diseases in this part of the word and found that Vitamin D is a big issue. Almost 80% of the population has the deficiency and this can lead to back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, and much more. After learning this, Al Rawabi has introduced Vitamin D milk with 8000 international units which is a treatment dose. You’ll see vitamin liquids in the market, but they have very small quantity of vitamin in it. “The second product we have launched is the Nutree boost. Due to the tempo of life here, most of our consumers skip breakfast, they have a cup of coffee and by 2PM they are hungry. We brought a research team from Finland and developed a product that will satisfy hunger and requirement for the body for eight hours, this is Nutree Boost. We calculated the amount of nutrients, fibres, energy, vitamin, and minerals that the body needs and put them in this small bottle. “An important factor about Al Rawabi is that our farm is very close to the factory, just 200m away, so from the time we milk our cows to when it reaches the consumer, it is a matter of 45 minutes. Other companies cannot do that which puts us in a prime position for consumers who like to have their products fresh.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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The Right Cut Alexandre Perol, APAQ Wallonia representative

“We are coming from Belgium and are here to promote the blue beef and try to export it to the Middle East. We target to export fresh meat by plane to Dubai and for the past two years

we have been in conversation with a company to introduce it into the market, meaning it should be available within the next month “Our meat is completely natural, no

antibiotics, only grass-fed, and is very tender and lean making it good for health. Everyone talks about the fat content in meat today, but our Belgian blue beef is very lean and good for health.”

Traceability With DCNI Gulfood 2019

Mike Johnston, chairman, Dairy council of Northern Ireland “Our involvement in Gulfood is very important to us as Northern Ireland is one of the main regions in the UK for exporting dairy products and we would be accountable for 60% of the export. Our dairy companies have been exporting here for the past 15-20 years so we know the region and have good contacts. The purpose of being here is to build on those 56

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relationships and open up new channels. “Business is very good right now, and we are finding that companies here appreciate the high quality of products that we bring to the market and how focused we are on keeping strong relationships to enable them to grow their business. In the upcoming months we will continue working with our customers and

help them meet the needs of the market. “Dairy products from Northern Ireland stand out because we work on very high standards which are aimed at ensuring that the consumers have high quality and safe food. In Northern Ireland we have government departments who monitor our supply chain right from the farms to processing to ensure the standards are being met.” www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Event review

From The Island Of Ireland Paul Chmielewski, head of marketing & international sales, Lakeland

Dale Farm Highlights WPC Products

Sean O’Grady, business development manager, Dale Farm “This year at Gulfood we are highlighting our WPC products, that has many different uses for the HORECA and hospitality sectors, we are also highlighting our butter. The main aim at Gulfood is to grow our brand in the UAE, the Middle East, Asia, and China and we feel Gulfood is the perfect platform to do that. We are very hopeful about building the business. “We have around 1300 farmers in our dairy cooperative and our milk comes from the company owned farmers, our cows are grass-fed, and we serve only high-quality products.”

“We are dairy manufacturers from the island of Ireland and have manufacturing sites both in the North and South of the country. We produce high quality, high functionality dairy and blended products that benefits the professional chef. “Our company has been operating in the Middle east for over 30 years, so we are have well developed exporters in the market. Over these years we have made some great relationships with our partners and sales is moving well. “Our cows are fed on grass and that gives them an excellent quality base material for the milk. We put that milk into small portions and then make it into creams, be it for whipping or cooking and then blend in other ingredients for better functionalities for the chef." Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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Global Food Industries Builds On Innovation Jacek Plewa, general manager, Global Food Industries “We are very honoured to receive the Gulfood award for the most innovative product. Our plant-based protein burger has won the accolade and it a very honourable moment for us as this is the third year in a row that we have received this award. “Healthy Farm is a purely plant based protein patty, with 20% more protein than the normal burger, 40% less calories, and 50% less fat making it a very healthy option. “In our core categories, especially in innovation we grew our business last year and this was done predominantly because of our innovations to the market, specifically by some channels we opened and new market we built on. “We have had a good start this year and with more innovations coming we

are optimistic about the months to come. We are pleased with the way that we have built our offering because we are different than other players in the market. 40% of

the consumers in the UAE are keen to look for healthy options in terms of food, so having that readiness clearly welcomes initiatives that we bring in.”

Bidfood Builds On Market Growth

Gulfood 2019

Wael Al Jamil, chief commercial officer, Bidfood Middle East

“This year between us, our partners and our global footprint, there are about 60 of us at Gulfood. We have a number of brands being displayed with over six countries from the Bidfood global platform coming in in addition to the five Bidfood Middle East countries. 58

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“The foodservice industry across the Middle East continues to become nicer but more challenging. The economy can be challenging at times and that is when businesses have to be smart, more efficient, and innovative in what they offer. The

Middle East is growing faster than any other market when it comes to consumer offering. We see Saudi Arabia changing the landscape and the UAE continues its leadership status, Oman and Bahrain are kicking in, so the market is evolving but at the same time it is becoming much more challenging. “Bidfood is enjoying double digit growth this year and it is coming from inorganic growth with new markets and brands as we stick to the one thing, we do best which is customer service. I am proud to say that we have signed with Fonterra for the UAE and Jordan, with this brand being a leading partner in the dairy business we are looking at reaching 3000 new customers within the portfolio. We have also recently signed with BMB which is a leading local producer of readymade chocolate and Arabic sweets and with that we are planning to take our penetration to the pastry kitchen much deeper.” www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Event review

Jaden Smith And Tetra Pak Aim to Bring JUST Water To The Middle East Jaden Smith, founder, Just Water “Just Water came about when I was 11 years old and started learning about sustainability in school, my teachers explained greenhouse gases, the rising sea levels, and its impact on our plant. I also started learning about the plastic in the ocean and then started paying attention to my surroundings, how it works and the way we do things. I kept educating myself and spoke to my parents who contacted Drew Fitzgerald. Drew then got in touch with Tetra Pak and that’s what started the long process of something that was an idea which became a reality. “82% of JUST is made of renewable resources, but the biggest part of the manufacturing of the bottle is that it is 70% less sealed to emission than any other bottles of similar size, especially when you get into bigger sizes. “We have been getting a really good reaction from the other markets that we have launched in because there is this global wave of everyone sustaining themselves and sustainability is just one

of those things that the world is starting to embrace. In the Middle East we’re still trying to find the right partners to break into the market. We are here exploring and trying to see when we can make it happen because it is certainly a dream of mine to have JUST Water here. “We want people to expect just water with our brand, a drinking water experience. We want them to be able to drink the water without thinking about the sustainable aspect, instead just because they see it at a friend’s house, and not think twice about the fact that I am saving the world by drinking this, we just want them to be able to seamlessly experience our products.” Ira Lauder, CEO of JUST Goods said: “We are still exploring opportunities, the pricing and the right channels to target. JUST is not positioned to be a premium brand, we want it to be accessible, not on a premium price but on the other hand it can never compete with the low value PET packaging pricing so we find it somewhere in between.”

Lavazza Launches Tierra Columbia

Riccardo Codognola, head, WEMEA Marketing, Lavazza

“This year we are launching our Tierra Columbia at Gulfood, a 100% washed Arabica, very premium quality coffee because we are obsessed with quality and would like to obtain this quality in every single capsule that we produce. We are focused on sustainability and since 2002 we aim to sustain the coffee growing communities, for this reason we pay a lot of attention to sustainability projects in the area. “The coffee business in the region is seeing a 6% increase as compared to last year and has a total market value of 7.6 billion. We have grown with the market at 19% in the region and 23% in the UAE specifically as compared to the previous year. “We are a company that is the leading coffee player in the industry, we would like for our customers to experience our quality at every moment and see what 120 years of coffee making brings to your cup.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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March 2019

Event review

Healthy Snacks With Dukan

Mineral Rich Deep Sea Water

Karim Zmokhol, commercial director, Dukan

Paul Walther, commercial & marketing manager, Odeep

A New 100% Halal Sparkling Grape Enters The Market

Gulfood 2019

Alexandre Mensuelle, general manager, Pearls

“Our products at Dukan have very specific features regarding health issues. We have no added sugars in our products, and have replaced white flour. There are a lot of products in the market right now with high sugar content, even the gluten free products come with high carb levels and they cannot guarantee a healthy way of living, this is where we enter. “Our range includes biscuits, morning cereals, salty snacks, and chocolate spread for people looking for very sweet items. We have been in the UAE for three years now, and our products are in Carrefour in retail. Now the intention is to extend our product to pharmacies and diet centres because there is a lot of demand from people who want to lose weight or are looking for better weight control and our products can also be featured in these sectors”. 60

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“Pearls is a 100% non-alcohol sparkling grape made in France with grapes exclusively from French vineyards. This product is very pure and natural. “When we launched last year, we tried to present the product and analyse the results and it seems that the product suits the regional market very well, as we are targeting very high-end hotels. We are working with sommeliers and people in the business to create awareness and since this is a very natural product it is interesting to explain how it is made, until now the market is giving a positive response. “Pearls is important because there are a lot of sparkling products and wine without alcohol in the market but our main aim is to work with natural wines from France because most of the other products might be nice to drink but you don’t really know what is in the bottle. We explain how Pearls is produced to obtain its fresh flavour, to our customers so they can ensure the guests know about it too.”

“Odeep is a deep-sea water, we collect the water on a boat, 300m under the sea, then process it, bottle it, and send it to the customers. All our operations are done on the boat after which we go to the nearest port of destination to deliver and fulfil orders. This water is exceptional in terms of purity and richness in minerals, we have 78 minerals in our water and as everyone knows, deep sea water is salty, however we have a special technology to reduce the salt level to a tasty and healthy level while keeping the other minerals intact. “Odeep is very good for well-being and countering stress. It is a fresh new brand, no more than a year old, so we are starting distribution in Europe first and looking at the GCC market to see if there are any interesting partners. Our target would be trade channels and speciality food stores.” www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Event review

Healthy With A Caffeine Kick Mike Butler, commercial director, Coffee Planet “In addition to our specialty coffee which we have been highlighting at Gulfood for the past many years we are showcasing our new Cold Brewed Coffee, this new product is very low in calories making it a healthy product with a good caffeine kick. “We work across a number of channels including retail and foodservice and we have franchised outlets too, business was fantastic in the past year and in the run up to 2020 the market is going to get stronger, we aim to take advantage of that. “We are the largest specialty roaster in all of the Middle East and there is no other roaster that is able to provide the quality of coffee that we provide.”

IFFCO Highlights Pristine Baking Solutions

Enrie Virgili Ugarte, general manager, IFFCO Ingredients

“Pristine Baking Solutions is the brand name for IFFCO for bakery channels, we have the capabilities to cater to all bakery solutions and this year we are highlighting the new American style pastry products for the consumption in the GCC. “Last year was good for business but this year we are really investing in the market, in our people, and advice for our customers so we are growing at a good pace and are happy about what we are developing. “In 2019 we expect far more than double digit growth. We are focusing mainly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE along with Oman and Bahrain. We have multinational people working with us with a lot of experience across the globe, so this combination helps us with our competitors. We have a very hands-on relationship, we distribute ourselves with short time delivery making it is very convenient for our customers.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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Invest NI Targets Growth In the Build Up To Expo2020

Kerry And AATCO Come Together At Gulfood

Karl Devlin and Sheetal Rishi, business development managers, Invest NI.

Mat Baker, general manager, Foodservice, MENAT, Kerry AATCO

Gulfood 2019

“This year at Gulfood we have two stands and seven companies in total. We have a couple of new companies too, one of which is showcasing organic apple cider vinegar and they have had a very positive reponse to their products this year which is great. Northern Ireland products are pure, natural quality products with very good food traceability and the region is considered as one of the safest countries in the world for product safety. “We have participated in an industry event and worked with chefs in the recent months through which we received fabulous reviews. We have also got in a few companies from Northern Ireland to meet buyers, distributors, and suppliers in the region here and we will continue this process by taking the buyers to Northern Ireland in next month, we plan to expand our presence in the HORECA sector by bringing in these collaborative networks. We are also very excited about the Expo 2020 and the opportunities that will bring about. We are in touch with the UK pavilion team and the opportunities within the wider expo team, there is definitely potential there and we will be exploring it.”

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“We are very pleased to be at Gulfood again and have been at the show for over 10 years now. What is particularly exciting this year is that we are talking to people about Kerry and AATCO coming together as one company. AATCO has been a local player in the Middle East market for over 25 years and in the end of 2018, Kerry bought a majority share in their business. We are here to show our customers what the combined strength of Kerry and AATCO can bring to the market, how we can help with their menu’s, and how we can blend the best of our large multinational with the strength of a local specialist. “The real focus on the product side is the Da Vinci Gourmet range of coffee syrups and sauces to make the perfect latte and cappuccino. The brand has been in the Middle East for sometime but a big focus for us this year with operators in the HORECA sector will be this. “Last year was a good year overall, obviously the economic climate in some countries continues to be challenging, however there are operators out there who are still doing extremely well and there is a lot of innovation coming in the market. Going forward this year we expect a lot of positives in the business. The real uniqueness now is our combination of the AATCO and Kerry business. Kerry is a global expert in taste and nutrition and AATCO brings in the local market expertise, put the two together and I think we have got something very special.” www.hotelnewsme.com


March 2019

Event review

NZMP Launches Protein Water

Greenhouse Predicts Positive Growth for 2019

Simon Penfold, general manager, NZMP

Daniel Chidiac, general manager, Greenhouse Foodstuff Trading,

“This year at Gulfood we are highlighting a number of new innovative solutions across our key categories which is consumer powders, dairy foods, and dairy beverages. One of our hero solutions is our protein water, where consumers get the benefits of dairy protein in a clear refreshing low calorie water drink which tastes great. “We have taken milk protein and developed it into a clear format that can be used in water. Another new innovation that we are bringing to the market is our pizza topping, this is a dairy based topping which has vegetable oil in it and serves the same purpose as mozzarella. It is a low-cost alternative but gives the same great flavour and functionality as you would expect in a usual pizza. “Last year we had a good year and in 2019 we are expecting to see an interesting market as we experience more health and wellness trends come through in the region. Within NZMP we have one of the broadest dairy solutions globally so we expect to work towards the healthy trend.”

“During Gulfood we meet all our principals, review 2018 financials and discuss the plan for 2019. We don’t exhibit because we are present in the kitchen of our clients on a weekly basis so we believe that supporting our clients and promoting their brands is more important. Many of our principals do exhibit and we support them in logistics and meeting with clients here. We also try to find new brands, so all the managers of Greenhouse look for potential brands to fit our portfolio. “2018 was a challenging year however we were able to close on a positive note, for 2019 we have a more ambitious plans with the new Cut and Wrap cheese project that will bring an added value to our business and another project focusing on coffee houses, supplying them with a one stop solution from sandwiches to salads, Danishes, ane all kinds of desserts, so these two projects will see a horizontal expansion of Greenhouse giving us a boost this year. “What sets us apart is that we reach both channels, retails and HORECA so principals look for someone who reaches both channels instead of going with two distributors in the UAE. We are very strong in diversity of the team, we have 20 nationalities in our team and invest a lot in our customers service.”

Market Expansion For Boncafe

Aparna Baretto, managing director, Boncafe

“We have been at Gulfood since it has started and come back to the show every year because it brings about many GCC visitors and we find a lot of collaboration and partnerships at the show. “We are a part of a big multinational company now and our focus is the MENA region. Since 2017 we have started penetrating into this market by partnering with big distributors, selling our retail products, mass market, and foodservice in the region. “We have signed new partnerships in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Libya, and Algeria and I believe for the next year our target will be expanding in these countries along with strengthening the UAE market. “We have different kinds of coffee so we can sit with a number of blends and price positions which gives us a boost in the market.”

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Australian Meat Exports On The Rise Nick Meara, international business manager, MENA, Meat & Livestock Australia

Drink And Recycle With Monviso

Voula Caraiscos, sales director, Monviso

“We are at Gulfood representing Australian meat and livestock and this year we have 31 Australian exporters at our stand. Gulfood is a show that we have been a part of for many years now as it is an important place to be in order to expand our presence. “2017 was one of our largest years for lamb exports to the region and we expect that to continue to grow. This region is one of our strongest markets, while on the beef side we have seen some really good growth in high-end beef, grain fed beef, and beef with marbling. “We stand out in the market because of our story, the story of Australia, how we produce the cattle and sheep in the farm, our practices, food safety, and what we do to underpin our quality.”

Gulfood 2019

“We are highlighting our water Monviso at Gulfood, it is a premium Italian water from the highest source of Italy, 2000m in the sky. It is pure, with no pollutants and one of the lowest sodium levels in the world. An important aspect of Monviso is the sustainability program, so when the hotelier takes the water, we have a recycling program where we go and take the empty bottles, recycle them whether it is glass of plastic, the proceeds from which go to the Al Jalila Foundation. “2018 was a year of consolidation for us, as we are quite a new entrant in the market, just about three years. The whole of last year we had no glass bottles, it was only plastic and now we that we have glass bottles we are approaching the hotels and restaurants as it is a premium water, it needs to be packaged in a premium bottle. “Monviso has very low mineralisation and low sodium levels which creates a healthy product. This makes the product stand out and then we give an added value with the sustainability and charity aspects.” 64

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March 2019

Event review

Nadec Targets Market Growth Khalid F. Mansour, sales manager AMEA, Nadec “Nadec’s intention is to network with the supplier community at Gulfood and speak to companies that are interested in distributing our products especially since we projected strong growth in 2018 and the aim in 2019 is the same. “We are on the road to push the innovation front and ensure that we showcase our best. One of the products we are highlighting this year is our organic olive oil. “2018 was a complete turnaround for us. We closed the year with positive results as compared to the year before. Our distribution is on target and we were able to overcome some of the losses that we had in the beginning of the year. “We are on the growth path and have gained some market share through our disciplined approach, making sure that we are available in the market, revamping our distribution network and interacting with our customers. We hope to take advantage of the meetings we have had at Gulfood to shape our months to come.”

What’s Brewing At Nescafe?

Ali Mansour, beverage business manager and Rona Alkhoury, senior brand manager, Nestle “Nescafe’s plans for the Middle East market is to grow within the coffee category. We need to ensure that we give our customers what ever it is that they require in terms of kinds of coffee to delight their consumers “Coffee is a sector that is growing very fast and the challenge today is to listen to our customers. We want to develop our capabilities in the right way where we can provide our customers with what they want from us in the future. “Our aim is to grow the business and to ensure a sustainable business for the future. Consumers in the Middle East region are moving more into enjoying a specialised cup of coffee, something that is more personalised to them and this is something that businesses need to think about.” “Nescafe for the past 80 years has been dominating the soluble world of coffee. We are coffee experts and for the first time we are launching four blends of beans in different varieties. Additionally, we are also highlighting our digital expertise. We have different components that are available to the customer when it comes to digital platforms that they can use in their store or hotels. For example, we have heat maps available through a camera that shows where the heat is in any given place, it also provides the count of the people coming in and out, male vs female ratio, and how happy or unhappy someone is based on facial recognition.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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NZTE Aims To Diversify Its Products Kevin McKenna, trade commissioner, NZTE, UAE and Qatar, and Consul General in Dubai.

Gulfood 2019

“Our primary focus this year at Gulfood is on dairy. We have a range of different dairy products like butter while we are also showcasing other produce like infant nutrition. We also have ingredients for the baking industry on display while the World Hall stand represent a number of cross section products like cooking oil, jelly, and honey. “Last year business with the region stood at €500m marking phenomenal growth, we expect that growth to continue and more diversification in terms of products. “At NZTE, we promise quality. We are trying to focus on food security and a lot of our products are big on traceability meaning you can eat New Zealand meat at a restaurant and you’ll be able to know which farm or which part of the country it comes for, how old it is, and what processes it has gone through.”

Following Trends With Valrhona

Zeyneb Larabi, business unit manager, India, Middle East & Africa, Valrhona “The market in the Middle East and Africa is really booming, we are here for over 15 years and every year we are seeing a very dynamic market. It is growing in terms of sweets and is a very interesting industry where people are expecting a lot of innovation while being more aware about quality, ingredients, and transparency. “People want transparency, they want to know where the product is coming from, how we are producing it, and there is a very strong value chain from the plantation to the final product. In the Middle East and Africa, we see a trend setting that people want innovation, they want to try new unique products. “In a place like Dubai where you have over 200 nationalities, we need to have flavours which fit everyone’s preferences, so it is a very interesting part of the world for us. It is an incubator where you’re trying things and constantly innovating. “This year we are expanding our range of fruit products which are 100% natural. You will find pure taste and no flavour or powder added which is very delightful and healthy. Along with our school we are trying to provide more techniques and trends in order to reduce sugar and offer more healthy options.”

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Profile for BNC Publishing

Hotel & Catering News ME - March 2019  

Hotel & Catering News ME - March 2019  

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