All the latest from the Middle East hospitality industry
Fresh from the Start Shining Stars
INDUSTRY PIONEER NRTC GROUP CEO MOHAMMAD NASSAR AL REFAEE ON KEEPING THE FRESHESTPRODUCE LEGACY ALIVE
All about The Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2020
P30 - The Best of Gulfood 2020 - key industry players reveal the highlights and takeaways
On the web Read the latest news, features and much more on our website. www.hotelnewsme.com
16 Openings & Launches
March 2020 // Issue #021
Contents 20 Event Preview
Features 08 //
News Singapore Food Manufacturers bring ready-to-go fresh seafood meals to ME, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts reveals multisensory experiences
OPENINGS AND LAUNCHES
THE BUSINESS Gaya Catering
COVER STORY NRTC Group
EVENT PREVIEW TUTTO Food
REVIEW Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai
CHAIN FOCUS Jumeirah Group
Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
March 2020 // Issue #021
On the web Read the latest news, features and much more on our website. www.hotelnewsme.com
Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
VP INTERVIEW Vice President Premium & Select Brands at Marriott International, Middle East & Africa
EVENT PREVIEW GulfHost
EVENT PREVIEW GM Conference
EVENT PREVIEW Leaders in Hospitality
A note from the editor
D i n a Maa t y
Director Rabih Najm Rabih@bncpublishing.net CEO Wissam Younane Wissam@bncpublishing.net Group Commercial Director
Samer Alloush firstname.lastname@example.org
nce again, we’re only a month away from two of the industry’s biggest events. This time, it’s the hospitality industry we’re targeting. The GM Leaders Conference and Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2020 will bring the best of the best together to share a ballroom and a stage: to network, discuss some of the most pressing topics and make history as the day unfolds. Think you know how impactful this industry is? Think again. Alpen Capital has predicted the GCC hospitality market to reach $32.5 billion by 2022 thanks to Expo 2020 and other global events occurring over the next few years. At the heart of all the success are the people and venues who are making it all happen – and you’ll get to meet them with Hotel & Catering News ME on April 6, 2020. So much has happened in February, and even if you live in a cave you will have definitely heard of Gulfood 2020. We were there, on the ground, interviewing the movers and shakers, and I can tell you – this is where all the magic happens. The magnitude of the fairgrounds was beyond anything words could
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describe, and positive energy flow contagious. From gut-friendly dairy products, to collagen-infused smoothies, we got to see the world of F&B from a whole new perspective. We have – indeed – began to “rethink food”: mission accomplished. We’re excited to see what’s in store for us at the upcoming GulfHost as well, a Gulfood hospitality equipment and food services expo. Get ahead by attending the region's main trading platform and connect with suppliers of foodservice technology, kitchen solutions and innovative systems with the biggest hospitality buyers in one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. So, whether you’re looking forward to what’s coming in hospitality, or following F&B heroes across all platforms, March is your month. We’ll see you soon at the GM Conference, and don’t forget to nominate your movers and shakers for an award (or two) – and you might just end up having the best year. We know we are! Regards, Dina
Dina Maaty email@example.com
Art Director Aaron Sutton Aaron@bncpublishing.net Photographer
Ahmad Al Khader Marketing Executive
Aaron Joshua Aj@bncpublishing.net
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For all commercial enquiries related to Hotel & Catering News ME contact email@example.com T +971 55 776 4670 All rights reserved © 2014. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Hotel & Catering News ME and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Hotel & 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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Singapore Food Manufacturers bring ready-to-go fresh seafood meals to the Middle East As convenient food products gain popularity in the Middle East, Singapore food manufacturers are seeing the demand for more Asian-inspired, readyto-go meals rise in the region. Seafood meals that are conveniently packed and sealed with freshness were some of the new food products launched at the Singapore pavilion during Gulfood this year. The Seafood Company offers a range of healthy, readyto-cook meals under the Seaco brand, such as salmon with rosemary butter, tilapia with garlic butter sauce, and the Singapore favourite soft shell crab with chilli crab sauce. The meals are packed using the latest vacuum technology certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, ensuring that the food remains fresh from shelf to table. Another Singapore company Thong Siek Food Industry has been manufacturing surimibased (minced fish paste) products under the Dodo brand since 1976, and their products are sold in over 25 countries including Oman and the UAE. Their products can be cooked in soups, hotpots (ingredients cooked in a boiling pot of broth) or air-fried as snacks. Constantly innovating, Thong Siek Food Industry’s latest product is a ready-to-eat Crispy Crabstick Crisps snack. The company also developed Sin8
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Thong Siek’s surimi-based products include fishball, crabsticks, cuttlefish ball, and seafood tofu
The Seafood Company’s ready-tocook salmon with rosemary butter
gapore's first texture-modified Teochew fishcakes. Created for the elderly, the fishcakes have a soft texture for ease of swallowing, and are a source of protein, calcium, and dietary fibre. Maintaining high food stan-
dards is key to establishing consumer trust and driving food innovation. Both companies are HACCP-certified, and Thong Siek Food Industry also attained the highest-awarded Grade AA in the BRC Global Standard for
Food Safety last year. With stringent food standards and regulations, the Singapore brand offers Middle East consumers innovative food products with excellent taste, price and quality. www.hotelnewsme.com
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts reveals multi-sensory experiences from around the globe InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has revealed the most iconic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and sensations that travellers should experience in 2020 if they want to really get to know the city they are visiting. The first ever InterContinental ICons range from the smell of fresh bagels at a West Village shop in New York and the unique flavours of Karak Chai in Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, to enjoying the sight of
contrasting old and new architecture in London. The list of experiences was determined through an online public vote and then ranked by a panel of worldly influencers and leading travel experts as the best additions to conventional tourist destinations. The InterContinental ICons will also inspire curated experiences that can be booked at some of the leading InterContinental Hotels and Resorts across the world.
Five key source markets to drive an additional 1.4 million arrivals to UAE during Expo 2020: ATM An additional three million international visitors are expected to visit the UAE during Expo 2020, with arrivals from India, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, the UK and Pakistan driving this influx, according to the latest data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 19-22, 2020. The research from Colliers International, in partnership with ATM, predicts the number of Indian visitors travelling to the UAE will increase by 770,000 between 2020 and 2021, while arrivals from Saudi Arabia will increase 240,000, Philippines and UK both 150,000 and Pakistan 140,000, during the same time period. Looking to acquire their share of these high-growth markets at ATM 2020, will be the tourism boards from the UAE’s seven emirates with
major exhibits from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain as well as
a variety of other UAE exhibitors including Emirates, Emaar Hospitality Group and Abu Dhabi Airports.
Marriott International gears up for third year of Saudi Arabia talent programme Marriott International recently celebrated its latest group of Tahseen graduates and announced the third iteration of the training programme, which aims to springboard local Saudi talent into leadership roles within the hospitality industry. This announcement follows the success of the Tahseen class of 2019 in KSA which saw 37 graduates – 33 Saudi nationals and 4 Bahrain nationals – step into management positions within Marriott International properties. The Tahseen program was developed in 2017 in partnership with Cornell University to specifically focus on fast tracking the next generation of local hospitality leaders from Saudi Arabia. The 12-month program focuses on applying practical skills across all departments, as well as developing an in depth understanding of leadership skills.
Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
Netsu at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira introduces kabukithemed brunch
Jenaan Investment, Agrivita, and German Standard Group launch new Mawashi programme
Netsu at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai has introduced a Kabukithemed brunch exclusively on Fridays from 12:30pm-4pm. The concept is inspired by the Kabuki characters, embodying the spirit, style and culture of Japan. The characters portray the dramatic emotions and energetic ambiance of the venue. This experience introduces a trendy edge to Netsu, one that allows diners to enjoy some of their favourite Netsu dishes, along with new ones, coupled with beverages. The brunch offers two different packages: AED 500 with house beverages and AED 350 with soft beverages.
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Mawashi, a new initiative introduced by Jenaan Investment, Agrivita, and German Standard Group, has launched, with the aim of providing an enhanced genetic profile of the UAE’s sheep and goat livestock, in line with the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051. Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, who is himself a progressive sheep and goat farmer, was signed as the first customer of Mawashi, and is keen to see the benefits of Mawashi’s involvement in his farm. The company is looking to attract Goat and Sheep farmers from across the UAE to take part with their program of improving local livestock caliber. Speaking on the launch of Mawashi, Mr. Mohammed Al
Falasi, CEO of Jenaan Investments, says: “In the UAE, ensuring the security of our national food basket, in line with the National Food Security Strategy 2051, remains a consistent and forefront priority of both government and private entities working in the agricultural sector.” “With three million farm animals in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi alone, Mawashi has been established to ensure that animal wellbeing and farm efficiency is at the forefront of livestock rearing. Mawashi provides expert agricultural guidance and leading technology to ensure UAE farmers are supported in delivering to the nation a consistent source of food security.” “We’re proud to welcome Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamdan
Al Nahyan as the first user of this service,” Al Falasi continued, “as he recognises the potential Mawashi has to improve the health of his animal livestock and the operational efficiency of his farm. We hope to welcome more farm owners to participate in this innovative agricultural management scheme.” Mawashi provides breeds of goat and sheep livestock which are most suitable for the UAE conditions from their specialised breeding facility in Al Ain. Alongside introducing high-quality genetic material into farmers’ herds, Mawashi provide a comprehensive suite of specified services, including vaccination, animal nutrition, data capturing and building of databases, and pregnancy diagnosis. www.hotelnewsme.com
Radisson Hotel Group has announced the opening of Radisson RED Dubai Silicon Oasis, the latest property in the Group’s rapidly expanding portfolio across the Middle East. Located at Dubai Digital Park, Dubai’s first-ever smart city project built with the latest AI and IOT technologies, Radisson RED Dubai Silicon Oasis brings RED’s forward-thinking style to the desert. The brand presents a playful twist on conventional ho-
tel stays with a culinary hangout with a casual feel and a buzzing social scene. Using integrated technology and bold design personality, Radisson RED Dubai Silicon Oasis comprises of 104 contemporary rooms, eight suites and 59 apartments cre-
ated with millennials in mind. Signature dining outlets Foodtruck Lobby and DELI double up as social hubs and on the ground floor OUIBar + Terrace delivers a casual dining space with live sports screens plus and an alfresco area.
Additionally, the RED Roof bar offers guests a day-to-night hang out – from evening sundowners to morning stretching for sunrise yoga. The hotel also hosts 10 stateof-the-art conference rooms and a multi event space of 600sqm, to cater for up to 600 guests.
Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi invests AED 5 million in technology enhancements Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, a 5-star luxury hotel, has enhanced its offerings by investing AED 5 million in upgrades to its meetings, events and room facilities. Ideal for business travellers, the 527-key deluxe hotel is located a short drive from Abu Dhabi Exhibition Center, the Eastern mangroves, Corniche, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Embassies and the business district. Alongside a dedicated club lounge floor, the property offers award-winning dining and recreational facilities, and intuitively curated MICE spaces. With the recent investment and upgrades, Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi now offers audio visual technology in all guest rooms, meeting and conference rooms, and also in its 700-capacity Onyx Ballroom, which spans 785 sq m and is divisible into three separate rooms. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
Millennium Hotels & Resorts MEA appoints Saudi Arabia managing director Millennium Hotels & Resorts MEA has appointed Hamid Sidine as its managing director for Saudi Arabia. The industry professional, who has 30 years of regional and international experience, including leadership roles with global hospitality brands, will head up the company’s Riyadh office, responsible for achieving its recently announced goal
of operating 25 hotels countrywide by 2025. Given his broad-ranging exper-
Radisson Hotel Group appoints rooms divisions manager
tise across three continents, Sidine has also been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Tur-
The Ritz-Carlton appoints director of sales and marketing The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah sister properties Al Wadi Desert and Al Hamra Beach have appointed Adrian Hearn as the new director of sales and marketing. Hearn has more than 17 years of experience working in luxury hospitality and has recently returned to The Ritz-Carlton brand following
Radisson Hotel Grouphas appointed Yana Bandurko as rooms division manager of the Radisson Blu Hotel Apartments Dubai Silicon Oasis. The Ukrainian national joined the Radisson Hotel Group in 2012, she started her journey at the Radisson Blu Hotel Kyiv Podil as Assistant Front Office Manager. Throughout her career, she has held several positions within the company. In 2013 she was 12
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key and Africa, two fast-growing regions where the hospitality company has identified strong development potential as part of its strategic expansion plans. The hospitality company currently operates nine properties in the kingdom across Makkah, Madinah and Hail and has seven more under development in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Jazan, Riyadh and Tabouk.
a three-year period as Director of Sales at the Sheraton Mall of the Emirates property in Dubai. According to the property, he is now responsible for directing and developing the overall commercial marketing and sales strategies of The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach.
promoted to Front Office Manager and in 2015 she was selected by the company to participate as part of the first group in the STEPS Programme “EFFECTIVE AND BALANCED LEADERSHIP FOR WOMEN” created especially for female heads of the departments with the potential of becoming future General Managers. The programme was key in her development and she quickly progressed to Food & Beverage Manager. www.hotelnewsme.com
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort announces F&B appointments The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi has announced new F&B appointments. Sat at the helm of the kitchen operations for the resort, Michael Gremer brings with him more than two decades of culinary expertise and will be responsible for boosting the gastronomic experiences currently available at its restaurants, according to the property. Hailing from Germany, the 51-year-old executive chef has a background in top management roles in luxury and international hotels across Asia, including countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan, in addition to wide experience with large-scale launches and renovations in the US and Australia. Hamza Ghazi Al Durdang is the second to join the team as their newest pastry chef. With almost 15 years’ experience in creating culinary masterpieces in Jordan, UAE and most recently India, he specialises in chocolate
Hamza Ghazi Al Durdang
creations and sugar arts. Themis Kouris was appointed as the venue manager of MAZI Abu Dhabi. Equipped with more than 15 years of international experience in the F&B industry, Kouris has co-owned a bakery and catering business and man-
aged restaurants worldwide, including London, Beijing, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. Spread across the expansive resort are seven dining venues, including the worldrenowned Buddha-Bar Beach Abu Dhabi, MAZI Abu Dhabi
serving modern Greek cuisine, Mediterranean-inspired Olea, an award-winning SoutheastAsian restaurant Sontaya, The Manhattan Lounge, an onsite pastry shop – The Drawing Room, and the casual pool and beach setting.
Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche names general manager Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche has appointed Wesam Khouran as general manager. According to the property, in his new role, Khouran will oversee and drive the successful performance of the hotel in accordance with company standards, mission statement, vision, and values. Khouran brings a wealth of over 18 years’ experience within the hospitality
industry, with predominant expertise in F&B. Throughout his career, he was part of four hotels opening sin the Middle East with brands such as Four Seasons, Kempinski, Intercontinental and also Accor. Khouran’s new role as general manager comes as a promotion from his most recent position as director of operations at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
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Openings & Launches ME Dubai opens
Designed by the world-renowned late architect, Dame Zaha Hadid, ME Dubai is now open, and takes residence in The Opus by Omniyat building, located in the heart of the Burj Khalifa district in Dubai. This is the first and last hotel where the Iraqi-British architect has designed both the exterior and interior of the hotel, making ME Dubai her legacy project. Hadid was famous for her intensely futuristic architecture, char16
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acterized by curves, sharp angles and bold materials and the ME Dubai hotel is no exception. The hotel boasts 74 rooms and 19 suites (including the Passion Suite, Personality Suite, Vibe Room and the ultra-luxurious ‘ME Suite’). Hadid’s design reinvents the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior. The Opus itself spans 2,000,000 square feet, com-
prising of two separate towers that connect in the form of a cube and featuring a ‘carved’ central void, which appears to hover above the ground. The centre of the building provides unexpected and dramatic views of the exterior. The property will feature signature furniture throughout the lobby, lounges and reception areas, all of which was either designed or personally selected by Zaha Hadid. Guests and visitors can
choose from three owned F&B outlets, including Central, the Refuel & Relax pool bar and The Opus Studio. In addition, the Opus building will offer 15 F&B outlets including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant, as well as MAINE Land Brasserie. The spa at ME Dubai provides guests the ultimate refuge for relaxation, offering a variety of luxurious spa treatments for indiviuals or couples to unwind. www.hotelnewsme.com
Dubai Food Festival launches
Dubai Food Festival 2020 has launched, and is taking place from February 26 until March 14. Organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), the annual 18-day Dubai Food Festival (DFF) is now in its seventh year, and includes the Foodie Experiences Programme, Dubai Restaurant Week, the Etisalat Beach Canteen, Hidden Gems and brandnew to DFF 2020, “Home Edition” and “Tasty Tunes”. To mark the festival opening, revellers should head to the Etisalat Beach Canteen at 8.30pm on Thursday 27th – for a beachside fireworks display. For the second year running, a key element of the event is Foodie Experiences, a carefully curated series of incredible, one-off culinary experiences designed to stimulate all the senses. There are more than 80 opportunities to take part in either a Master-
Class, a Chef’s Table or an Experiential dining experience – some of which are exclusive events for one night only. The Foodie Experience Chef ’s Table series brings guests up close and personal with some of the city’s top chefs. Indulge in a one-off Japanese Italian fusion night; a unique sustainable tapas experience or a 14-course journey into modernist, molecular Indian cuisine. For an even more Experiential occasion, why not try Bedouin desert dining; Emirati dining under the stars atop a traditional coral house in Al Bastakiya. Tickets for all Foodie Experience events are available exclusively via PlatinumList.net. Dubai Restaurant Week (DRW), which runs from March 5 to March 14 is offering the chance to indulge in gourmet global food at very special
festival prices. The 2020 edition of Dubai Restaurant Week (DRW) features 36 outlets, and exclusive menus at Dubai’s best restaurants, including five associated with celebrity chefs – Gordon Ramsay, Vikas Khanna, Akira Back, Greg Malouf and Mathieu Viannay. Two-course lunches are being offered from as little as AED75, while three course dinner experiences start from just AED 150. All Dubai Restaurant Week dining experiences must be booked in advance, exclusively through official booking partner Reserve Out via its app and website. Etisalat Beach Canteen, behind Sunset Mall on Jumeirah Beach brings together some of the best homegrown and international food concepts at this family-friendly event. Visitors can look forward to food
trucks, pop-up shops, talks, events, cooking demonstrations and live music. Running throughout the festival, the Etisalat Beach Canteen also includes a newfor-2020 gaming park, a Beach Game alley, a kid’s play zone, and the chance to watch and learn from leading chefs and culinary experts including Chef Vinu Raveendran from Carnival by Tresind and representatives of the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai training centre. Dubai Hidden Gems highlights the unsung heroes of Dubai’s ever-evolving food scene. A shortlist of 40 restaurants, cafes and food outlets has already been selected by Dubai Food Festival in collaboration with Zomato – and this year’s list includes truly global cuisine, from Emirati to Japanese, Uzbek to Ethiopian. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
Transguard Group launches catering company Transguard Group has officially marked the opening of its catering company, Taste of Home. The newest division of the Group was established in 2019 to fulfill a need – to provide site-based employees with meals at an affordable price. In order to offer a true “taste of home,” the catering company sought out chefs from the very regions for which they cook: North and South India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Africa, the Philippines and Europe. The company currently has the capacity to produce over 80,000 meals every day out of its 3,500 m2 purpose-built facility in Dubai Investment Park. Dr. Abdulla Al Hashimi, CEO, Transguard Group says: “Food is not only central to sustenance, but it also brings families, people and communities together. We have identified a strong need in the market, especially among sitebased expat employees, who want nutritious, good quality and affordable meals that are redolent of the taste and aromas of their cuisine back
home. Taste of Home will cater to this hard-working segment that built Dubai and the UAE, and I’m confident we will soon become their popular choice.” “Taste of Home was inspired by our very own employees,” says Greg Ward, managing director, Transguard Group. “Our people are our strength, and our approach to ensuring a customer-centric culture is heav-
ily dependent on a happy and engaged workforce; founding Taste of Home therefore seemed like a natural progression for the business, not just in terms of meeting the needs of our own employees, but as an overall division developed to provide endto-end business solutions.” Led by an experienced Western and Asian food management team, Taste of Home’s
dedicated chefs grew up eating the food they now cook for others, ensuring an element of authenticity and distinction to the company’s offering. The business and its centre of operations are honed by a Lean Six Sigma-informed process. At every step of its operations, Taste of Home further complies to an environmental commitment.
Sunset Hospitality Group to open Black Tap in The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates Sunset Hospitality Group, an international hospitality investment and management company, now owns a minority share of the Black Tap brand, the famous American eatery known for its award-winning burgers and signature CrazyShake® milkshakes. Sunset Hospitality Group currently holds the rights for Black Tap in Europe and the 18
Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
Middle East. The recent investment will extend the Group’s partnership with the Black Tap brand even further.
The Group reveals that two additional Black Tap outlets will open at The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates in Q2 2020. The
two new locations will bring the total to nine Black Tap branches across the Middle East region and are expected to create jobs for more than 120 people in Dubai. Sunset Hospitality also announced that, following on the success of Black Tap Geneva, it will expand its portfolio in Switzerland, with a new Black Tap restaurant in Zurich, which is slated for a Q2 opening. www.hotelnewsme.com
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A Culinary Story
Gaya Catering Co-Founder and Operations Director Jad Chalak reveals the secrets behind the homegrown company’s carefully crafted experiences
Please tell us more about the concept behind Gaya, and how the company started out. We’re proud to say that Gaya is a UAEgrown catering business, inspired by the nation’s diverse and rich heritage. Since our inception, we’ve strived to meet the growing needs of the market by offering authentic food made with hand-picked quality ingredients, thanks to recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, to ensure that your next social gathering or corporate event is an unforgettable one. Furthermore, after the success of our “Al Shams” butchery, followed by our authentic Lebanese restaurant in Sharjah, and Global Village in Dubai, we’ve decided to venture into the food catering business in which the Gaya Catering concept has emerged.
another pressing topic; we do our part by working hard to recycle any waste that we produce, this way our impact on the environment is as minimal as possible. What do you think are the pillars of a good catering business? Fresh ingredients, consistency in food taste and quality, and an accurate measuring of ingredients are incredibly important in order to have a successful catering business. What’s in the pipeline for your company? Today, people are growing increasingly health-conscious and are concerned about their food intake. As such, we’ve made the decision to extend our offering to include a
new concept known as “Stay Healthy with Gaya”, a business unit that introduces Gaya FITNESS, Gaya DIET and Gaya DETOX plans and menus. These comprise ready-toeat meals, freshly prepared every day in our Gaya kitchen and delivered to your doorstep. Through the Gaya Healthy Kitchen option, we aim to target fitness and healthcare centres and individuals who wish to meet their body-weight goals. We’re also set to launch “Gaya Kiosks”, which will offer breakfast and lunch at affordable prices and will be strategically located in certain office areas. As part of our growth strategy, we also intend to expand our business in the GCC – more information will be made available in due course.
What’s your market scope and how do you see the UAE market, what makes it unique? We want to position ourselves as a renowned food provider in catering services and daily lunchboxes, offering healthy meal options infused with Lebanese and international cuisine all under one roof. With the food and beverage market in the UAE being so competitive, it’s important that we create such value propositions that distinguish us from our competitors and be able to reach everyone. What trends have you been following closely in the food world and how do you keep up? Natural and organic ingredients and fresh products are growing in popularity, and by offering them to our customers, we’re ensuring that we’re adapting to their changing preferences. Sustainability is 20
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The Right Fit
Assaad Assaad, CEO at Tailormade, tells us about one of Dubai’s most well-established uniform suppliers, and what it’s doing beyond fittings for top corporations
Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you came about starting Tailormade? I come from a hospitality background; I obtained my BA from AIM Paris, a university that specialises in Hotel Management. After that, I completed several internships across various industries in Dubai, before becoming an HR Director at an airline company. My work experience showed me how important a professional image was, especially where uniforms were required. It’s an inescapable necessity! This is how the company was born. We later expanded to offering an alteration service, as well as a shoe and bag
repairs, and was able to successful open ten branches throughout Dubai while offering door-to-door home service.
corporates. Our retail outlets cater to a diverse market from locals to expats, across all ages.
What are the elements that go into making a well-fitted and high-quality uniform? The quality of the seams and the sewing itself: it’s that hidden element that the naked eye doesn’t necessarily see, but makes a world of a difference when it comes to what true bespoke tailoring is all about.
What are your expansion plans? With a presence only in Dubai right now, I would like to expand to the UAE as a whole, and perhaps even the GCC.
Who are your main clients and what’s the market dynamic like in Dubai? Our main clients for uniforms are big
What makes professional tailoring and alteration important? We make a judgment call about a person within the first five seconds of meeting them. Clothes play a big role in this, and a well-fitted suit or outfit doesn’t just boost a person’s self-esteem, but also drastically improves how we’re being perceived. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
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Fresh from the start NRTC Group CEO Mohammad Nassar Al Refaee leads one of the region’s biggest fruit and vegetable suppliers, and the UAE’s pioneer in the field, keeping the legacy of the freshest-produce promise alive
Your journey began in 1973: please tell us more about your evolution as a business since then. Nassar Al Refaee Trading Company (NRTC) caters to the demands of both the local and international markets through the import and export of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Middle East, partnering with local and international producers. We’re a holding group of companies operating in the Middle East. Focusing on sustainable growth and growing steadily since 1973, the group has managed to turn a family business into an internationally recognised brand which now operates all over the UAE. It was a very humble start in 1973; my father was the founder of the company, and back then it had just one business module – import/export. We used to depend on the Middle East region alone, and later in the 90s we expanded our reach worldwide. Back then, we used to import all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Fostering relationships as the years went by, we 24
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established a network of more than 55 partners, eventually reaching a point when we were ready to bring any type of fruits and vegetables to the market – no matter the season. Eventually, we were able to diversify the business module, adding a new, different line which catered to 5-star hotels and restaurants. We managed to build a good relationship, understanding their needs, engaging with the chefs, until we partnered with more than 100 hotels. The next step was to add innovation to our offering through a pre-cut line, where we were able to provide a unique product offering with peeled, shredded, washed and sanitised fruits and vegetables – delivered ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat to chefs. With the most modern technologies and equipment in play, ranging from peelers to slicing, dicing and chopping mechanisms, we maintain uniformity in our production. With comprehensive quality checks and 100% traceability, all products leaving the production facility are guaranteed by our www.hotelnewsme.com
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The NRTC team
experts to be safe and delivered to our clients’ kitchens under the most hygienic conditions. NRTC is among the top produce wholesalers in the UAE. With the support of exclusive trading partners across the world and an efficient supply chain, the company operates among various sectors such as HORECA (from top 4/5-star hotels to the lower-end segment), retail (supermarkets and hypermarkets), institutions (airlines and hospitals), and corporate. We work very hard to ensure that our offerings are up to the highest standards, and have a total of 700 clients, for whom we do 1,800 stops per day, ensuring consistency in supply at the highest service levels. Through our newest B2C venture, we’re directly reaching the consumer for the first time ever, widening our reach into a brand new challenge. Hence, we’ve massively expanded our digital offering in order to cater to their needs with an app and an extensive, user-friendly website. With our online ordering platform, we hope to revolutionise the traditional way to shop and reduce any concerns associated with it. Our customers can now easily shop for their daily requirements of fresh fruits and vegetables on our website and get them delivered straight to their door, whether it’s to their home or office. 26
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The NRTC truck fleet
We’re now targeting Saudi with a copy-and-paste module. Fortunately, big hotel chains also operate in the Kingdom, so we have the advantage of being known in that market. We’ll start with B2B, and then gradually expand our offering. Please tell us a bit more about your mission. NRTC Group spares no efforts to ensure that its products are up to the highest safety standards, in addition to being available to everyone. The company continues to be a leader in innovation and services in the fresh food supply industry. We also always aim to be first choice for tops chefs and culinarians in the country, and understand our clients’ needs, exceeding their expectations every time,
all through delivering fresh produce of the highest quality. How do you ensure quality across your processes, and streamline the import process? It’s a challenging task to handle fruits and vegetables, and that’s why we have a Quality Control (QC) department. From receiving time by the container, they inspect and cross-check each pallet, moving boxes from each. As they’re www.hotelnewsme.com
Explore The Delicious Pistachio
moved to another department, fruits and vegetables are picked piece by piece to deliver the best quality to our customers. From handling, all the way to delivery, we need to ensure that the right temperature is maintained – especially during summer. Storage solutions vary for different types of produce, and that’s why we have more than one facility. This, among many other factors, sets us apart from other fruit and vegetable suppliers. NRTC operations are designed following strict compliance to international ISO 22000-2005 and HACCP standards. We also aim to maintain a safe, healthy, comfortable and hygienic working environment for all our employees. We’ve gained lots of experience by default, and are maintaining even higher standards than those required by the UAE Government – which are already very high, among the highest in the world: they are raising the bar for health and safety. What about competition? How do you stay ahead of the game? Back when we first started, there were less traders, so competition was limited. 28
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As Dubai has grown, we grew with it. The real revolution was in 2001-2002, when we realised that we needed to move to a larger-scale operations model, one where we could tie up with a lot of traders around the world. How has the digital sphere been helping NRTC Fresh promote and sell products, and what’s the role of technology in your chain? In terms of social media followers, things are picking up rather quickly – engagement currently stands at 130%. We have our app and website, which both perfectly complement our offering. We’re always rolling out offers, promotions and competitions, in addition to seasonal and special-occasion boxes. For this past Valentine’s Day, for example, NRTC Fresh offered a ‘couples box’. Priced at AED 120, it was speciallycurated for two. The box included a range of products such as cauliflowers, mushrooms, white onions, romaine lettuce, spring onions, oranges, apples, bananas, strawberries, avocadoes and more. In addition, the online fruits and
vegetable delivery platform offered a free pack of strawberries with every purchase from February 9-14, 2020. What are your predictions for market growth in the UAE and region, and how do you plan on keeping up? People nowadays want to be healthier, more efficient. In the UAE, there’s no supply shortage, so consumers can afford to have large quantities of fruits and vegetables every single day. Being strong importers, we’re able to cut the middle man – the broker, hence having a competitive advantage when it comes to pricing. We import more than 400 tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables daily from Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Morocco and Jordan. The products are transported by land and sea to the Dubai Central Market. In the case of certain kinds of produce with a short shelf life, products are imported by air. The department has 11 chiller sites with a total of 35 cold storage rooms, where the products are repackaged for immediate distribution within the UAE. As for Expo 2020, hotels are expecting www.hotelnewsme.com
around 25 million visitors in six months, which translates into higher demand. As for NRTC Group, we might have an area where we’ll sell ready-to-eat products.
and Freshlink. Our relationship with our partners is founded on confidence and trust, ensuring that all objectives are met, ethically.
What are some of your best-sellers across different channels? We have different categories: we cover fruits, vegetables, and herbs – all sold either whole or pre-cut. In terms of sales, oranges are the top-selling product in the fruits category – almost 11 million kg annually. Statistically, avocadoes come second. If we look at retail, the top-selling fruit is the banana, and by retail I’m mainly referring to supermarkets. As for vegetables, we have tomatoes, onions and potatoes.
Please tell us more about your team. We have more than 1,100 employees across all departments. The logistics team, which is among the most important units for us, ensures that products are delivered at the right time. They are responsible for receiving containers, delivering to the warehouse, and manage around 300 vehicles covering the UAE’s ports. Our scale of operations is massive, and hence on-the-job coaching and mentoring is very important. In every department, there’s a vertical hierarchy, and managers work very closely with their teams. Most of our employees come from an F&B background; our priority is always to retain talent, and so we identify their needs and send them for additional training as needed.
Who are some of your biggest partners in the region and how do you work with them? We collaborate with some of the biggest organisations to ensure a win-win situation for all business stakeholders, including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) for banking, and suppliers such as Roha Premium Potato Ltd, Alliance Fruit,
What do you prioritise as a company? We prioritise innovation in line with the modern lifestyle, always trying to find new
ways for consumers to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables of the highest quality. In the past four decades, we’ve dedicated all our e¬fforts to delivering not just quality produce, but also trust, which is reflected in the many awards we’ve won over the years. Each and every day, our dedicated food specialists work tirelessly to achieve and deliver our brand promise. We’ll continue to pursue greater goals for the satisfaction of our clients, and aim to achieve a niche in the GCC market, upholding industry values as the best suppliers of fruits and vegetables in the region. What’s in the pipeline for NRTC Group? We’re now targeting Saudi with a copyand-paste module. Fortunately, big hotel chains also operate in the Kingdom, so we have the advantage of being known in that market. We’ll start with B2B and then gradually expand our offering. Within a couple of months, after the Riyadh launch, we’ll move on to Jeddah. We’re also planning further GCC expansion to Oman, where we currently operate through a broker.
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Italyâ€™s TUTTOFOOD exhibition to take place in May 2021
TUTTOFOOD, the international food fair held every two years at Fiera Milano, the Milan exhibition district which is among the largest and most modern in Europe, has announced that the next edition will take place from May 17-20, 2021.
TUTTOFOOD is an international hub for high-quality food, presenting examples of Italian excellence together with products from foreign companies and countries. Thanks to the exhibitionâ€™s concept structured into three product areas, TUTTOFOOD combines a comprehensive overview of the entire agri-food system with a special focus on individual sectors. A total of 3,079 brands were present at the 2019 edition, of which 16% international from 43 countries, with particularly high numbers from the USA, China, the UK, France and Germany. There were a total of 82,551 visitors,
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of which 23% foreign from 143 countries and, in particular, from the USA, Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and China. Visiting operators are composed, in particular, of decision-makers from the food industry (31%) and distributors, wholesalers, representatives (31%), with a significant presence also from the world of retail (9%) and food service equipment and catering (8%). A total of 13,609 business meetings were organised at the 2019 edition. 92% of buyers stated they were satisfied or extremely satisfied and 91% would recommend visiting
TUTTOFOOD to others. Thanks to a major investment in scouting, also in collaboration with ITA/ ICE Agenzia, new high-profile buyers are constantly integrated in the top buyer portfolio. As a hub that is also seeing significant growth in non-domestic trade, TUTTOFOOD has undertaken a programme of networking and communication to enhance the presence of not just buyers and importers, but also exporters and other operators, from both long-established markets like the United States and Canada, and from the more dynamic areas like the Middle East,
in particular, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. As regards exhibition areas, the newest addition to the next edition will be TUTTOFRUIT, where operators can find dry, dehydrated and fresh fruit, along with fresh vegetables, legumes, organic fruit and vegetables, and also IV and V range products, aromatic herbs and spices. Lastly, packaging and services are also well-represented which, in view of the increasing product service content, will be an essential complement for a comprehensive picture of the sector. This new addition encapsulates TUTTOFOODâ€™s special focus on new market trends, which are moving increasingly more towards natural and healthy nutrition. Products that comply with the Halal precepts will also be
highlighted along the exhibition path. The new products will complete the more long-standing areas of the exhibition. A focus on the delicatessen and gastronomy world at TUTTODELI, on the world of preserves with TUTTOGROCERY; at TUTTOSWEET, major confirmations from the world of sweets and bakery products, while TUTTOPASTA consolidates the dried pasta segment, with an expansion in established producers and a focus on fresh pasta. TUTTOFROZEN and TUTTOSEAFOOD are characterised by new entries, the sections dedicated to deep-frozen food and fish products; and through the increasing product innovation, the two traditional halls dedicated to dairy products and meat and cold-cuts, TUTTODAIRY and TUTTOMEAT.
The exhibition area is rounded off by a rich programme of events, including regular dates which also continue during the year. In particular, Retail Plaza by TUTTOFOOD is the programme of meetings dedicated to the most innovative trends in distribution, in terms of both marketing, and consumer trends, while Netcomm Focus Food takes an in-depth look at the industry opportunities online. About one hundred events which will be held, incorporating conventions, workshops and show-cooking. TUTTOFOOD is also a partner of Milano Food City, the food week held at the same time as the trade show throughout the city, strengthening the link with Milan as one of the recognised world capitals of Food & Beverage. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
Caesars Bluewaters Dubai Located on Dubai’s newest island oasis, Caesars Bluewaters Dubai is the first ever non-gaming resort from the legendary Caesars brand. Unlike anything the Middle East has seen before, our stay at this iconic destination epitomised what the hotel group is known for around the globe: a fun-fused approach to luxury, from epic dining experiences delivered by the likes of Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen and Paru by Michelin-star chef Akira Back, to luxurious pampering at Qua Spa. The art collection, designed by the maestro of modern American glamour Jonathan Adler, complements the interiors of Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, 32
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bringing a slice of ancient Rome to the property’s three distinct accommodation offerings. Known for his philosophy that a space should make those that enter it happy, the American designer worked closely with the Caesars Bluewaters Dubai team to deliver a contemporary take on the iconic design signatures found at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Bringing the world-famous ‘Caesars’ ambiance across two distinct resort offerings, guests can tailor their stay to suit their individual needs. At Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai, guests can enjoy all the signature elements of the Caesars Palace experience. This 194-guest room
resort also boasts Cove Beach – a stylish beach club that comprises 2.0 restaurant by Cove Beach, the Rosé Bar and coveted Sea Lounge, all set to the backdrop of the Arabian Sea. Multi-Michelin-star chef and television personality Gordon Ramsay turns up the heat for guests at his second Hell’s Kitchen location at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai. Serving up the same combination of show-stopping theatre and world-class cooking as its original Las Vegas location, the experiential and immersive destination restaurant is a must-see city attraction for tourists and residents alike. On Fridays, the restaurant hosts Hellicious Brunch, where www.hotelnewsme.com
guests can dine in the theatrics of the hit TV show as the Red and Blue teams turn up the heat with Gordon Ramsay’s signature dishes, free-flowing beverages and a fun culinary challenge. Bringing authentic Pan-Asian cuisine with a contemporary twist to Bluewaters, Zhen Wei specialises in delicate homemade dim sum and hand pulled noodles, taking gourmands on a sensory journey straight to the streets of Hong Kong. At Havana Social Club, the prohibition era comes to Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai. Located on the ground floor, the vibrant bar takes guests back to a glamorous time of jazz-filled nights and the smoky cabaret clubs of Havana. Other dining options at Caesars Bluewaters Dubai include The Piazza and Roman Lounge, both of which serve a highly original take on an afternoon tea inspired by the Roman Empire. Guests can embark on an immersive culinary journey in the footsteps of the legendary Caesar. From the furthest reaches of Central Europe to exotic flavours of the Mediterranean, Caesars Imperial Afternoon Tea explores the exotic ingredients discovered on Caesar’s odyssey across Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. The Sandbar and Grill offers the freshest seafood inspired by sun-soaked afternoons in the South of France, while Cleo’s Table hosts Breezy Rose: a lazy Saturday afternoon when you can enjoy unlimited handcrafted artisanal pizzas amid stunning views of the Dubai skyline. The resort’s piece de resistance when it comes to dining is rooftop restaurant Paru – boasting the most spectacular views on Bluewaters and a modern Japanese menu by Michelin-star chef Akira Back. The perfect spot to watch the sun set across the Arabian Gulf, guests can expect a bustling crowd on two open-air rooftop terraces, tucking into exceptional contemporary cuisine. Families looking for sheer indulgence, island seclusion and a fully packed roster of entertainment for all ages will love Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai. The 301-guest room resort includes two outdoor pools – one family-friendly and one for adults only – and access to a private beach, as well as versatile event spaces for up to 800 guests. Bringing loved ones together at
mealtimes, Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai boasts a host of restaurants and bars to cater to every culinary whim. One dining highlight is Bacchanal – the sister restaurant to its original stateside outpost, named the best buffet restaurant in Las Vegas twice by USA Today. Here in the UAE, the restaurant follows the same ‘more-is-more’ concept, with oversized open kitchens serving up a wealth of decadent dishes and a popular FamilyFest Brunch which has become the best family day out in Dubai. Another handy feature for parents and kids alike is the Empire Club – a kids’ club for Cherubs (ages 0-2), Gladiators (ages 3-7) and Centurions (ages 8-12) available to all junior guests – and ROAM, a teen’s club for young adults. Accessible to all families staying at the resort, the colourful and activity-filled kids club and trendy teens hang out will help younger Caesars guests shape their own vacation schedules. At Qua Spa, an elevated spa experience
lifts guests above the realm of modern-day stresses and transports them to a onestop destination for wellbeing and beauty. Located at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and accessible to all guests, Qua Spa boasts eight treatment rooms including two rooms for couples, signature facial and massage treatments, relaxation lounges, and male and female facilities with rock saunas, aroma steam rooms, experience showers and ice fountains. For contemporary luxury living combined with high-end hospitality, The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai offer 80 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments for short and long-term lease, with the advantage of having two world-renowned resorts on its doorstep. Conveniently located adjacent to Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai, residents have access to all dining, leisure and entertainment experiences – giving the term ‘living like a Caesar’ a whole new meaning.
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Gulfood 2020’s 25th edition, which ran from February 16-20 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, offered its grounds to thousands of enthusiastic visitors, dedicated exhibitors, influential speakers, celebrity guest stars, sponsors and partners. The anniversary edition was a celebration to be remembered and played a vital role in encouraging the public to Rethink Food for a brighter, more sustainable future.
Singapore’s food offerings – healthier options with an Asian twist Forty three food manufacturers and two F&B companies from Singapore took part in this year’s Gulfood. Jimmy Soh, deputy president of the Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association (SFMA), who led the delegation, shares about some of the new food offerings and healthier food options that were launched at the Singapore Pavilion in Dubai: Singaporean company Doki Doki specialises in producing functional fruitbased beverages using 100% fruit puree, combined with premium superfoods such as acai and collagen. The beverages are packed with added vitamins and minerals, and free from artificial flavouring and colouring. First-time exhibitor Sol Agri Resources is a producer and exporter of rice and rice derivative products, including healthier options such as brown and black rice. With a network of more than 16,000 farmers in the Mekong Delta, the company ensures high-quality rice from farm to table. These newer players are following the footsteps of seasoned companies such as Tat Hui with an extensive business footprint in the Middle East. Tat Hui is known for its healthier range of instant noodles, including gluten-free options and steam-baked 34
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noodles packed with antioxidants. Through participation in trade shows such as Gulfood, Singaporean companies have a better understanding of consumer preferences and stay ahead of food trends. With support from the SFMA, companies can also leverage Singapore’s food innovation ecosystem by partnering with food science experts or research institutions, to develop new products to meet the taste
preferences of different markets. Interested in partnering with Singapore food companies? Connect with Enterprise Singapore, the country's enterprise and trade development agency, at mary_intacto@ enterprisesg.gov.sg or +971 4 3020105. Watch the interview with Alex Goh, manager director of Doki Doki at: https://bit.ly/2VmrowB. www.hotelnewsme.com
Laurent Damiens COO, CNIEL
On Gulfood 2020 and the market: Dubai has always been an important market for us, and we always come to Gulfood to do business. This emirate is of particular interest because it’s very diverse. The GCC as a whole is booming, and we’re anticipating even more with the arrival of Expo 2020. On what CNIEL has to offer: Every year, we have more and more products, especially cheese because France is known for its extensive variety – it’s the land of milk. We also
have butter, the best for cooking and consumption, and cream. Upcoming developments: France is the first world sector to commit to a sustainable food system. The French Dairy sector has launched a new plan, offering healthy food. We have a commitment to the future, until 2025, on food safety, animal welfare, the environment, the socioeconomic situation of farmers and more – with goals that we can measure and follow, communicating all points of action to NGOs and concerned parties.
Managing Director, Casino Global Partnerships On the brand: Our brand was established in 1991, so it’s been more than 100 years – we’re pioneers in the private label sector. Casino Group defends the vision of the trade-centred through two strong points: on the one hand, the proximity which it maintains with its customers thanks to its 227,000 collaborators in the world, and its ability to adapt to extremely varied local realities.
On Gulfood: We chose this event as it’s the biggest for the industry, not only in this region, but also for Africa and Asia. On star products: Coming up, we’re opening new stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We’re aiming to open more than 20 stores, and have opened 26 this year. On June 26, 2019, the Franprix Galleria Al Barsha store in Dubai opened its doors to the public.
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Sales and Marketing Director, La Tourangelle On the brand: We strive to be the best artisan oil producer, dedicated to making carefully crafted, sustainable, natural products. Using artisan care, we extract the seed's essence and hidden natural treasures to create tasty oils. We’ve also just introduced vinaigrette and mayonnaise. On Gulfood: Our star product here is the walnut oil, I invite everyone to try it. We chose to exhibit at Gulfood as we would like to be
more present in the Middle East and Asia; we’ve partnered with IFFCO. We also want to expand our line of products, so we can share good food with the world. Upcoming developments: We’re a family company with an outlet in California, in addition to the one in France. We’re expanding very quickly, and aim to do so more, in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas, helping people make, and share, the best meals.
Business Development Manager, White’s On Gulfood: Gulfood has been great for the White’s business, especially for building relationships with distributors. We’ve been in the market for the last 10 years. Most recently, for the past four years, we’ve been focusing on execution, on the ground in the GCC. On the brand: We take time to craft our 178 years of heritage and milling expertise into every single oat kernel, and by doing so we make sure that every oat tastes as it should. We pride ourselves in 36
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taking our time to carefully select only the finest quality grain to deliver the distinctively creamy taste and texture of White’s Oats. Today, we’re a market-leading and multi-award-winning porridge and oat cereal brand. From traditional and organic oats, to instant oats and ready-to-eat oat clusters and granolas, there really is an oat for everyone to enjoy. On sustainability: We have CSR initiatives in place and are always working on reducing, and even eliminating, plastic in packaging. www.hotelnewsme.com
National Sales Manager, UK & Ireland DELI-LITES On the brand: We’re here to showcase our frozen range, which we’re excited to bring to customers. We believe everyone deserves to enjoy great food every day. That’s why we insist on the finest ingredients from the best of Irish producers. Inspired by global emerging food trends, our development chefs ensure our award winning sandwich and food-to-go products are healthy, wholesome and nutritious. On Gulfood 2020: This is our first time at Gulfood, and we have received amazing feedback from prospective partners. We’re here
to look for wholesale distributors and build relationships. On the market and sustainability: There’s very high demand here. We see a real opportunity for everything from burritos to quesadillas for cafes, hotels and more. Frozen food minimises waste and is consistent, it’s just as good as any locally made products. Our purely-plant based range has been created specially by our team of chefs who have researched and taste tested numerous product compilations. Purely Plant-Based gives today’s consumer a vibrant and tasty range to please any palate while being a fulfilling eat. The range is in fully recyclable packs and is kinder to the environment.
CEO, Bidfood Middle East On the company: Bidfood Middle East is a foodservice distributor of food, beverage and non-food related products located in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Jordan. BME serves customers in a wide range of sectors within the foodservice and catering industries, including hotels, restaurants, cafés, QSRs, sub-distributors, wholesalers, entertainment, as well as many independent operators in the hospitality industry. Bidfood Middle East is part of JSE-listed Bidcorp. On Gulfood: We’ve always been present in Gulfood, usually through partners and supplier stands. This year, we decided to exhibit as a regional entity to showcase our new brands, growing categories and latest innovations, as well as our regional team. Our innovations are our suppliers’: we’re here with FlavOil, offering the latest frying solutions with their High Oleic
Sunflower Oil, Violife, with its ground-breaking vegan cheese range, Haagen-Dazs with its gourmet Barista Collection – which won the Gulfood Innovation Awards for Most Innovative Frozen or Chilled Food – and our most recent partnership, Kraft Heinz, revealing new product developments. On the market: The UAE is more advanced than the rest of the region: you see a lot of fine dining, more renowned venues and chefs, and this is due the readiness of the landscape. From sourcing products, to location, talent and designers, there’s also the influx of international travellers who appreciate different cuisines. The rest of the market is catching up, especially Saudi Arabia with the growing entertainment sector – a lot of the barriers have been removed, and you see new government investments. Newcomers from the region as well as home-grown brands are expanding rapidly in Saudi Arabia. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
Managing Director, Pom Alliance On Pom Alliance: Pom’Alliance is one of France’s leaders in the collection and packaging of fresh potatoes, marketing 250,000 tonnes each year. In 2015, the company joined the cooperative group Cap Seine, an alliance that has strengthened both its links with the world of agriculture and its expertise in cultivation, and opened in Dubai, first selling its own produce and later representing other French companies. Solpom is a subsidiary of Pom'Alliance specialised in potatoes and condiments
sold on the French wholesale food market, the Rungis International Market. On Gulfood: We came to this event to showcase our star products, including our own brand of grape, and later have a cheese festival taking place at a big Dubai venue. On Sustainability: We try to work with environmentallyfriendly companies, ones that are healthoriented, and many of them are now using less or no plastic.
Business Executive Officer – MENA Region, Nestlé Professional On Nestlé Professional: We look after the out-of-home channel for Nestlé, to ensure that our brands and great products are meeting the needs of customers across all channels. On Gulfood: The exhibition is a great place to meet our target customers, firstly. A lot of chefs are here, as well as all of our competitors, so we get to see what’s happening from a food trend perspective, the new ingredients, and showcase our new products like we’re doing at the moment with Sweet Earth. Sweet Earth is a plant-based meat alternative range which offers great taste, a concept that is really on trend at the moment. The range is targeting flexitarians, also giving an option to 38
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vegetarians as its 100% vegan. We’re further developing the range. We started with burgers and chicken fillets, but moving on we’ll add meatballs and sausages. The range that has been launched in Europe will be coming here, leveraging the great work that our R&D colleagues are doing. We already have a lot of interest, and you’ll see it in a lot of restaurants. We’ve never seen such a wave of enthusiasm and demand from, not only customers, but distributors and partners, too. So far, we’ve launched in the US, UK, and Germany: it’s been a great success. We all have a responsibility to make this a successful launch because it’s doing good for our planet. The first bite is important, so don’t forget to try it! www.hotelnewsme.com
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Frozen Fruits Director, Mazzoni Group On the brand: We produce fruits from A to Z, we have R&D, nursery departments and fields in some countries. The Mazzoni farms cultivate quality over a surface area of around 2000 hectares. Fruit, vegetables and cereals grow in the most suitable locations only. Mazzoni started exporting Italian fresh fruits to European markets back in the 1950s. It’s one of the first Italian companies to deeply understand the importance of integration throughout the entire chain of fresh products. Today, Mazzoni Group manages R&D activities for new varieties, produces fruit trees and strawberry plants, and is one of the primary Italian producers of fruits and vegetables. It stores, packages and markets a wide variety of fresh, conventional and organic fruits and vegetables, and frozen berries. Mazzoni Group has always invested in development: today each
part of the chain has the most breakthrough technologies and is seen to in detail to guarantee only the best to all end consumers. Knowing the origin of all their products, Mazzoni is a partner of the most important European distributors and can guarantee quality and wholesomeness to consumers. Here in Dubai, we sell fresh and frozen fruits, mainly puree in plenty of flavours. Target clients are hotels, as well as gelato, confectionary, and chocolate shops. We started selling our products here four years ago, and business has been increasing ever since. On Gulfood: This exhibition brings clients from all parts of the worlds, so it’s good for us, and it’s our fifth time here. Mazzoni is a family company, and HORECA, restaurants hotel and catering are new businesses sectors for us, so we have plans to develop new products.
Export Manager, Oranfrizer in Sicily, and has the largest cultivation of fresh red oranges. This has been the core business of the company for 50 years, we package the fruits for the biggest supermarket chains in Italy and Europe. Twenty years ago, the company made a decision to start processing the red orange. Today, we offer a new line of products, which are the citrus juices. Blood oranges have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, protect from UV damage and other sources of free radicals including pollution, certain recreational activities and physical exercise – mainly through their action as potent antioxidants.
On the company: Oranfrizer is a family business, based 40
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On Gulfood: We always choose to come to Gulfood as the UAE is a very attractive market,
people here come from all over the world so there’s demand for different types of products, including for our juice. Even if some season we don’t sell, we come back the year after. In the pipeline: We have the land, very fertile, and any kind of fruit and vegetable is very high quality. Ten years ago we started a plantation of pomegranate, which contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices. It also has three times more antioxidants than green tea. The antioxidants in pomegranate juice can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage, and reduce inflammation. Today we’re able to offer fresh pomegranate and fresh pomegranate juice. www.hotelnewsme.com
International Trade Representative, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection On the Department: For the last three years, the Department has been bringing a host of companies to Gulfood. We find that it’s a great opportunity to showcase our products. This year, we predominantly have cheese products, and we feel like this is a great market as we have over 600 varieties produced in the state, and this is a fantastic market to introduce them to
the GCC foodservice and retail sectors. I think there’s still a great opportunity for traditional cheeses such as cow’s and goat’s milk. We do have a rise in plant-based foods, but we predominantly produce natural cheese, so we still see it as a great opportunity. On farming: Our farming communities really are
sustainable, we’re all about preserving our land and keeping it clean. Our animals are well-cared for. Animal husbandry is of great importance to us. We have large to small farms, a thriving animal feed industry in our state and we do the best to take care of our cows: there’s a whole industry that makes comfort equipment – as we want healthy cows, so that they can produce healthy milk and healthy cheese.
General Manager, MONIN – MEIA On Monin: Our internationally-acclaimed, premium French brand delivers innovative, gourmet flavour solutions built on a bedrock of more than a century of traditional artisanal beverage know-how. Having remained a family-owned company since 1912, MONIN is now a trusted partner and a brand of choice for hospitality professionals in more than 150 countries. Today, with the third generation of the MONIN family driving the company forward, we champion premiumquality, creativity and innovation, while remaining faithful to our French heritage. A dynamic market leader and major player on the international stage of the industry, we offer an unrivalled product portfolio. Our five ranges include syrups, fruit mixes, sauces, frappes and more, and
are available in more than 150 flavours. Combined with our local knowledge and five production facilities worldwide, this means that our international product development is second-to-none. We oversee 17 markets from our Dubai office. On Gulfood: We’ve been participating at the show for the past thirteen years. This year, we’re
showcasing our innovations; we have La Sauce de MONIN Pistachio, Le Concentre de MONIN Cold Brew and Lime Fruit Mix. It takes us 12 months to penetrate the market through media and more, and we work with importers in each market. Beverage innovation directors and managers create recipes around flavours, the marketing team researches trends, and we develop products around them. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
chain of the month
Jumeirah Group Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts is a luxury hotel company, which has had a distinct impact on the global hospitality market for the past two decades. Jumeirah has transformed the way luxury is defined as exemplified by its flagship hotel, Burj Al Arab. Today, Jumeirah operates 6,697 keys (excluding Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens), in 24 properties, across eight countries and employs 13,400 colleagues from 140 nationalities.
Current properties in the MENA region • Burj Al Arab • Jumeirah Al Naseem • Jumeirah Al Qasr • Jumeirah Beach Hotel • Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf • Jumeirah Mina A'Salam • Jumeirah Zabeel Saray - Palm Jumeirah • Jumeirah Creekside Hotel • Jumeirah Emirates Towers • Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre Residences • Jumeirah At Etihad Towers • Jumeirah At Etihad Towers Residences • Jumeirah At Saadiyat Island Resort • Jumeirah Royal Saray • Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa
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chain of the month
Upcoming properties in the MENA region Jumeirah Group is always considering key capital cities, emerging cities and leisure addresses for new properties, with upcoming projects including Jumeirah Hotel Guangzhou in China and Jumeirah Bali in Indonesia. With regards to the MENA region, the Group os working towards the launch of Jumeirah Muscat Bay in Oman as well as Jumeirah Jabal Omar in Makkah.
Developments and programmes Jumeirah Group provides a full suite of client-driven provisions such as the Sirius Loyalty Program, catering to repeat guests by offering rewards. In addition to this, the Jumeirah E-Butler further facilitates a seamless stay. The new 24/7 service allows guests to communicate via mobile quickly and efficiently to request room service, book spa treatments, request housekeeping services, make dinner reservations or even book a future stay. The service can be used by WhatsApp in all hotels with the exception of the hotels in China where Jumeirah E-Butler will be available through WeChat. Environmental programmes are also a key element in the development of the brand, an example of which is Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island’s partnership with the Dubai-based water treatment company to reduce single-use plastics. Guests are offered a personal reusable bottle and can obtain locally-sourced filtered still and sparkling water from the resort’s water stations. The resort has also eliminated the use of plastic straws. Jumeirah Group also places immense significance on its employees as it recognises the importance of guest interaction on the overall guest experience. The Group has recently brought on board Muneera Al Taher as Director of Emiratisation - Talent Acquisition and Development, with a focus on driving local talent recruitment and development across the group. Her appointment forms part of increased efforts by the company to grow and develop its local workforce and support the nation’s Emiratisation vision leading up to Expo 2020 and beyond.
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chain of the month
Alexander Lee | Chief Commercial Officer leading the market in terms of occupancy and rate, and with the growing choice and arrival of more luxury brands into the city, we’re focused on being competitive, relevant and desirable. What do you think are the most important criteria for a smooth flow of F&B operations? We have two priorities that we strive to achieve. One is delivering world-class dishes our chefs are known for, on a scale that meets the expectations of our guests. The second, is consistency. We can raise the bar with signature dishes, that people will come back for, and must then deliver those consistently and at scale, day in day out. The restaurant scene in Dubai is expanding all the time, with more than 12,000 restaurants currently operating in the city. We’re focused on getting the word out in a competitive landscape to ensure guests get to experience our culinary destinations. Our guests include hotel guests, but also the Emirati community, local expats, and other visitors who may not stay with us, but who would like to dine with us.
What are the main challenges you face in hotel management and operations? Jumeirah is in a strong position, having built our reputation as the darling brand of Dubai with incredible locations including 2.5km of stunning beachfront in Dubai. We understand the importance of curating truly memorable experiences. The global economy is one
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we watch closely, however, while one market may become more challenging, others thrive and we’re seeing growth from markets like India and the Ukraine as well as new markets that are discovering Dubai helped by expansion of Emirates flights to destinations across the world. In Dubai, we’re now in what we see as a maturing market with increased competition. We’re pleased to be
How do you see the future of the chain? Our focus is to be continually working towards achieving our vision over the next five years. We’re focused on three key areas – growing our global footprint from our position as a darling brand of Dubai, further defining our luxury proposition to meet the ever-evolving needs of our guests and ensuring we create family-led social experiences and environments.
We Mean Business Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, vice president Premium & Select Brands at Marriott International, Middle East & Africa, shares her insights on the latest in the world of business travel How do you see the nature of business travel shifting? Business travel is shifting, heralding a new era of business travelers, led by millennials. The new breed of travelers is creating a new mindset and attitude about the value of the corporate travel experience and the expectations from it. Making up the largest segment of the workforce, millennials are more willing to travel, as they consider it an enriching experience. Similarly, employees who travel often feel more empowered and engaged. More and more employees are seeing business travel as a perk. According to recent surveys, international business travelers consider travel as valuable to professional and personal growth. Travel can even help improve confidence and interpersonal relationship skills. More and more companies are acknowledging these effects and seeing the link between business travel, productivity and performance. and brands are more focused today than ever to make travel as simple and seamless as ever. Guests are seeking consistency, reliability and a brand that delivers against the critical fundamentals of travel and allows them to achieve the purpose of their trip. Delta Hotels is one of the brands within the Marriott International portfolio that 46
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plays within this space built around the mantra of "simple made perfect". Our guests are constantly reaching for efficiency, so we want to harness the power of efficiency, meticulously focusing on whatâ€™s actually important to our guests and delivering it flawlessly. What we also see is that loyalty programmes will be and are still important â€“ the difference being that travellers today are inclined towards using accumulated points to make a trip inherently better, instantly, by bringing convenience and personalisation to the overall experience. Delta Hotels offer instant benefits for members via the Marriott Bonvoy travel programme. Members can earn, redeem and enjoy benefits at more than 7,200+ hotels and resorts across the portfolio with instant benefits including mobile check in and mobile key, making travel seamless and allowing for more time to be productive. Would you say that business and leisure now go hand in hand in the current climate? Business and travel are here to stay. The surge of travellers mixing business and leisure trips continues to grow. Leisure travel is increasingly seen as an inextricable component of business travel. As the
Guests are seeking consistency, reliability and a brand that delivers against the critical fundamentals of travel and allows them to achieve the purpose of their trip. www.hotelnewsme.com
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popularity of combined work and leisure trips grow, business booking platforms and corporate travel managers are adapting to allow for more simultaneous booking of business and leisure travel. Additionally, more corporate travellers prioritise comfort and proximity to leisure activities while choosing a hotel. This brings us to the point about how important the location of the hotel is for the success of your trip based on purpose. Delta Hotels by Marriott Jumeirah Beach is a great example of how a hotel 48
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balances the needs of seamless travel with those of combining business with leisure. Within easy access from key business hubs including Media City, Internet City and Knowledge City, this hotel is ideally located in the heart of one of Dubaiâ€™s most vibrant destinations, the famous Jumeirah Beach Residences (JBR). With direct beach access, it rises tall between the Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach and The Walk, Dubaiâ€™s first shopping and dining promenade. Offering a simple and hassle-free travel experience,
it allows guests to achieve a perfect balance between their work and personal life whether they are on business or on leisure, or combine both in a single trip. What are the major pain points in the business travel sector? Travel can be disruptive. The stresses of corporate travel continue to add up, sleep disruption, time away from family and unhealthy habits all weigh upon business travellers. Organisations and hotel groups are increasingly recognising the need www.hotelnewsme.com
to redesign travel experiences to allow those travelling on business to be more productive on the road. How does personalisation work in the business travel sphere? We’re communicating with a generation of consumers who are used to receiving personal recommendations because of the power of digital marketing, and this is being reflected in the hospitality sector where the expectation is for their products and experience to be curated based on
their passions and preferences. The demand for a “return to humanity” has been a growing theme among business travellers, who are increasingly tired of robotic customer service operators and automated flight cancellation emails. Technology can be efficient, but not always, there has to be a balance between automation and the human touch. How do you see business travel as being key to a company’s success? Business travel has never been a more
valuable or important function to ensure company success. Delta Hotels understands that decisions made about business travel extend way beyond the bottom line. In fact, in order to grow, forward-thinking organisations of all shapes and sizes are coming to this realisation. The Big Idea of the Bare Maximum does perfectly describe our core philosophy for our Delta Hotels brand and our commitment to providing a seamless flow for our guests by meticulously delivering the key essentials they need and eliminating everything they don’t. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
GulfHost 2020: The Future of Hospitality in Dubai
GulfHost, an event of Gulfood, will take place from April 6-8 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Bringing suppliers of a wide range of kitchen solutions and dining apparel to Dubai, it offers an opportunity to connect with the biggest hospitality buyers in one of the fastest-growing markets in the world
Show Features GulfHost Restaurant Development Conference The GulfHost Restaurant Development Conference, powered by the Middle East Food Forum (MEFF) is an open-door, transformative learning platform hosted by the brightest lights in regional F&B. Over three days, more than 60 high-profile speakers take to the floor to share their proven methods for navigating the latest shifts in local and regional foodservice. 50
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UAE National Barista Championship Join an all-star line-up of world leading coffee brands and aficionados coming together to craft precision patterns and designer coffee in various formats. Running parallel to the brand new Café & Bar segment at GulfHost, regional baristas now have the chance to compete for industry acclaim at this internationally renowned platform certified by World Coffee Events
(WCE) and organised by the Specialty Coffee Association UAE Chapter (SCAE).
Sub-Category Zones include: • Café and Counter • Gelato & Bakery • HORECA Find out more at gulfhost.ae www.hotelnewsme.com
Meet the Exhibitor: RATIONAL Laura Wagner
Manager Marketing Communication EMEA RATIONAL International AG What hospitality products are you offering visitors this year? RATIONAL is going to offer visitors a unique experience: the latest cooking technology with the SelfCookingCenter® intelligent combisteamer and VarioCookingCenter® multifunction device. Live. Our RATIONAL chefs will cook during continuous live shows and show visitors the benefits they will get from using these two units. What made you decide to exhibit at GulfHost? GulfHost is a renowned trade show in the food and hospitality industry, and therefore a mandatory platform for RATIONAL. We
want to show industry professionals the benefits they can get out of RATIONAL’s unique products. We expect visitors from all over the UAE, such as dealers, consultants and many end-users. What’s in the pipeline for your company? RATIONAL’s primary goal has been to focus on customer benefits. Therefore,
we continue to seek the best solutions for our customers. ConnectedCooking is our latest innovation, where a unique platform on the web enables you to connect your RATIONAL products to the Cloud and benefit from the chef’s network. The product comprises HACCP data easy retrieval, control over your devices on your PC or SmartPhone, and much more. What do you think makes this market unique? We have many new and existing projects in the pipeline, in this market. We see Saudi Arabia, for example, growing very quickly in terms of new projects in the next three to six years, so we’re also expecting many visitors from there.
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Transformation through Technology Floor Bleeker, CIO MEA and Global Strategic Programs at Accor, and president of HTNG says: If you Google "disruptive technologies" buzzwords like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will appear, but will they really have the potential to transform the global hospitality industry? Historically, the adoption of new technologies in hospitality has been slow. The check-in process at a typical hotel today is pretty much the same as it was 100 years ago, while airlines, taxi companies and car rental businesses have totally transformed this process. And although travel agents have largely moved their services online, they still do pretty much what they have always done, albeit at a bigger commission. But this is about to change. One of the main reasons that innovation is slow in our industry is because of the closeness of our technology platforms, which means that it’s hard and expensive to connect or extract data from hotel systems. Ask any hospitality technology start-up what it took to connect to any of our systems and you'll hear painful stories about year-long certifications and large investments that had to be made, just to connect. Most major hotel groups are working on the next generation of their property management and central reservations (PMS and CRS) platforms and one thing they all have in common is that they will be open for anyone to connect, allowing for quicker deployment of new services and innovation. At Accor, we recently announced a partnership with Sabre to accomplish this, among other things. The intent is to build a single platform combining PMS and CRS that will allow new ways of selling, distributing and revenue-managing hotel products. With open platforms like these, the 52
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sky will be the limit and they will open up the hospitality technology eco system to innovation. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) feeds off data, lots of it. With unlimited access to CRS and PMS data, AI could do so much for our industry, from personalised pricing of products to energy optimisation in rooms, just to name a few. Robotics, on the other hand, may take over many interactions a hotel has with its guests, but without us even realizing it. Robots aren’t just the physical machines as we know them from the movies, they can be a physical or virtual tool that’s programmable to complete autonomous, complex tasks. Once third-party apps have unrestricted access to hotel PMS and CRS data, many of the traditional front office and reservations processes can be replaced by robots making them much quicker and more user-friendly. Through the Internet of Things (IoT),
i.e. the connection of everyday hotel devices from light switches and towels to door locks and displays, we can create a truly personalised guest experience. Imagine your preferred music, lighting, artwork, photos and temperature following you throughout the hotel premises during your stay. But what if you don't belong to a big hotel chain that’s building its own platform, or if your company has just invested in a new PMS system? Don’t worry, there are some really smart startups in our industry that can accomplish almost the same, by providing a middleware layer designed for hospitality. Companies such as Hapi and Impala are well-funded and are building data exchange layers to unlock the innovation potential of legacy PMS and CRS systems globally. These systems use what’s called open APIs, often specified by Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG), the world’s largest not-for-profit industry association, where hospitality CIOs and technology vendors work together on the next generation of hotel systems. What hotel executives can do to drive the transformation of the hospitality industry through technology, is to support organisations such as HTNG, to invite as many technology start-ups as possible to pilot new solutions in their hotels, and to continue to put pressure on the traditional technology vendors to open up their systems to enable innovation. Bleeker will be kicking off the Day of Disruption on the first day of AHIC 2020 in Dubai on Tuesday, April 14. www.hotelnewsme.com
Uncover a world of ideas 2,500 exhibitors ready to inspire and help grow your business Find out more at arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com Follow us #IdeasArriveHere
Products of the Month
Villeroy and Boch
When balanced proportions, clear lines, harmonious colours and creative décors full of inspiration come together, the results are objects that defy short-lived trends. Icons for Eternity is Villeroy & Boch’s newest Hospitality tableware line. As a renowned lifestyle brand, Villeroy & Boch offers Bathroom and Wellness products, and Tableware, and is active in 125 countries.
Civic Tables by Herman Miller Civic is a comprehensive table collection that lends itself to a wide variety of applications for work, home and hospitality. It includes meeting, conference, café, lounge, collaboration and side tables, each offering a choice of shapes, colours, materials, and finishes. The foundation of Civic is a base design for each table which gives harmony, elegance and coherence to a space, allowing them to be specified across a diverse range of environments. Accompanied by tabletops with curved edges and fluid shapes, Civic encourages people to gather round; it’s collaboration without hierarchy. 54
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BOREDOM FUN COMESIS PROHIBITED GUARANTEED ROOFTOP SWIMMING YOU DECIDE WHEN THEAND PARTY TABLE WINNING. STOPSTENNIS WITH 24HR FOOD & DRINK. NOW OPEN AT DUBAI DIGITAL PARK. RADISSONHOTELS.COM/RED
Hotel & Catering News Middle East to host GM Leaders Conference 2020 in April Hotel & Catering News Middle East’s GM Leaders Conference 2020 is set to take place on April 6, 2020
It is no secret that Dubai’s tourism industry is built on strong foundations, reinforced by its location, the local government’s support, extensive investment, attractive regional offerings and initiatives. One of the most visited cities in the world, its hospitality sector is a vector for growth. Dubai’s hospitality performance remains resilient, with KPMG studies showing that occupancy levels are among the highest in the world (78%). The tourism and hospitality sector is critical to Dubai’s economic future: it is predicted to sustain its share of the emirate’s GDP at 10% over the 56
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next ten years. The emirate’s Expo 2020 agenda has driven considerable activity and investment in the sector. Now that a number of commitments are underway, it is important that participants in the industry begin thinking about the future, to ensure the success of Dubai’s hospitality industry beyond Expo 2020. Hotel & Catering News Middle East’s GM Leaders Conference 2020 is expected to attract more than 200 general managers and hospitality professionals from across the region to discuss the challenges, trends and
opportunities. Our panels of experts will discuss some of the most pressing topics, including changing industry dynamics amid the rise of mid-scale properties, women in leadership, redefining luxury and contemporary offerings, promoting hotels in light of new social media rules and more. Our panels of experts will discuss some of the most pressing topics, including changing industry dynamics amid the rise of mid-scale properties, women in leadership, redefining luxury and contemporary offerings, promoting hotels in light of new social media rules and more. www.hotelnewsme.com
Spoilt for Choice: Hotels, holiday homes, serviced apartments and the market
Happier Guests: Improving guest experience in a competitive market
The provision of incredibly luxurious, lavish experiences can often be an indicator of little regard for the environment – however, the hospitality industry in the Middle East has proven otherwise. With consistent ‘green’ global certifications and one initiative after the other, the region’s top chains have shown that prioritising sustainability is no longer an option – it’s a necessity in order to survive a highly competitive market, and maintain CSR promises.
The Middle East and Africa regions continue to actively broaden their tourism and hospitality accommodation offerings to address increasingly diverse and more sophisticated traveller requirements, ranging from hotels and serviced apartments, to short-term rental accommodation options. Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has announced an administrative order outlining regulations for operators, homeowners and authorised tenants who wish to obtain a holiday home license.
A hotel’s profitability directly correlates to guest experience and customer service, which starts long before a guest even arrives and doesn’t end when they leave. Excellent customer reviews are the pinnacle of success for any hotel, but what’s the one industry secret that guarantees optimal guest experiences every time? Is the secret maintaining the flow of communication between team members? What about implementing different technology applications?
Sustainable Hospitality: Is the industry keeping up with its CSR promises?
• Hind Al Hammadi, Head Of Hospitality at Manazil Group (Pullman Sharjah and Marjan Island Resort and Spa) • Jan Hanak, General Manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek • Werner Anzinger, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai • Colin Baker, Regional Director, Park Regis Kris Kin • Sophie Blondel, General Manager, The H Dubai • Monther Darwish, Chairman and Cofounder, Palazzo Hospitality, Managing Director, Palazzo Versace Dubai • Omar Souab, General Manager, Sofitel Dubai Wafi Panelists will discuss: • How hospitality’s sustainable initiatives have changed over time • The region’s top CSR initiatives of the decade • The battle against single-use plastic and harmful waste management practices • The long-term impact of environmental issues on tourism and travel
• Frank Bechemilh, Cluster General Manager, ibis Styles and Grand Mercure • Gladvin Francké, General Manager, Canal Central Hotel Business Bay • Vipin Khattar, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Hotel & Residences • Kosta Kourotsidis, General Manager, Fairmont Ajman • Glenn Nobbs, General Manager, Millennium Place Barsha Heights • Fredrik Reinisch, Complex General Manager, Al Habtoor City Panellists will discuss: • Market dynamics with a look towards Expo 2020 and the rise of mid-market hotels • Supply and demand trends for different types of stays • The impact of holiday homes on the hospitality industry • Catering to millennials and their travel preferences across all property types
• David Allan, Cluster General Manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Canal View, Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah • Georges Farhat, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina • Luke James, General Manager, Zabeel House by Jumeirah The Greens • Sabine Renner, Hotel Manager, Park Hyatt Dubai • Hany Samuel, General Manager, First Central Hotel Suites Panellists will discuss: • Making marketing mobile-first for a better guest experience • Easy booking and smooth check-ins • Personalising guest experiences to the fullest, in the room and outside • Diversifying F&B offerings to suit different guests and cater to their needs *Panellists subject to change, venue to be confirmed Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
The Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2020
Regionally, studies have shown that there are 500+ hotels under construction, totalling 153,000 rooms in the MEA. The hospitality industry is predicted to reach $550 billion dollars globally, an increase of almost $100 billion dollars in the past 5 years.
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That is why, we at Hotel & Catering News ME believe that it’s only fair that we celebrate the very best that the region has to offer in hospitality. From luxury brands to mid-market hotels, we pay tribute to those who make the region’s hospitality world so unique.
Over the last number of years, the Leaders in Hospitality Awards event has quickly established itself as a key happening on the sector’s calendar, and the 2020 edition – a very special one taking place on April 6 – is guaranteed to be bigger and better.
Hotel Categories LEADING NEW HOTEL A property which has brought something brand new to the market, the Leading New Hotel will combine all aspects of exceptional service and operations with a flair. The winner of this award must be a newcomer, a property which has opened on January 1, 2019 or later.
MID-MARKET HOTEL OF THE YEAR The best property at offering high standards at an accessible rate, this award will go to a hotel that caters to all ages, with a focus on the millennial market, which is seeking high-end options without sacrificing on quality of service.
LEADING HOTEL GROUP A hotel group that thrived amid fierce competition, the leader in this category has taken over the market with flair, innovation and all the right ingredients to make it all the way through – over and over again.
RESORT OF THE YEAR The Middle East’s leading resort, this trophy will go to an outlet which has a proven track record of offering a relaxing, fun experience for guests. The winner will have shown creativity and the ability to think laterally when it comes to providing an all-inclusive package.
SERVICED APARTMENTS OF THE YEAR The top serviced apartments in the region, the winner of this category will have demonstrated a new approach to customer service, introduced new amenities and more. LEADING HOTEL BEACH CLUB The winner of the Leading Beach Club award will have abided to its commitment to offering an entertaining environment for the young and young at heart, with a dedication to what makes a beach club ambience unique. CSR INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR Whether it’s a contribution to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature, this award category covers the different ways through which a property can “give back” – whether in or out of season – all year long. LEADING LUXURY HOTEL Attention to detail and outstanding customer service are the pillars of this category, and must be high up on the winner’s agenda. The property must consistently provide guests with an experience that caters to the needs of luxury travellers.
LEADING HOTEL F&B OUTLET Offering a high-quality food and beverage offering, this award will go to an outlet that enhances guest experience, and has demonstrated a strong ability to compete with both standalone restaurants, and other in-hotel venues. LOBBY OF THE YEAR Designed to evoke what any hotel offers, this is a category where first impressions matter. Showcasing the true essence of a property, the Lobby of The Year award will be handed out to a setting that is truly deserving of the accolade. HOTEL SPA OF THE YEAR A haven of relaxation, the winner will provide an extensive menu of treatments, coupled with an exceptional guest experience. The leading hotel spa will demonstrate a dedication to the health and well-being of both men and women.
BEST HOTEL INTERIOR DESIGN A region known for luxury, elegance and cutting-edge interior design when it comes to hotels, this award is the talk of the town. The winner will be a property that has shown a clear focus on delivering an interior like no other. INNOVATION OF THE YEAR The region’s top hotels are always in a race to offer the latest. In this category, judges are looking for innovation through a concept that has garnered attention, while leading the way for the industry. LEADING OTA OF THE YEAR One of our newest awards, this win is for an online booking platform. When it comes to booking stays, guests now have more choices than ever. The winner of this award will be an online platform that cuts through the hassle and provides guests with a satisfying, user-friendly experience without compromising on quality. FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTEL OF THE YEAR A family-friendly wonderland, the winner of this award will have created winding paths of blooming gardens, past pirateship playgrounds, fairy-tale escapes for visiting tribes, and more: it’s about much more than simply having a kids’ area. LEADING HOTEL NIGHTLIFE VENUE When it comes to partying, it’s not usually a good idea to just wing it. The best nightclubs in the world offer the most unique experiences, and the winner of this award would have simply nailed it.
SUSTAINABLE HOTEL OF THE YEAR From saying no to plastic, to turning off the taps, this award will go to a hotel that demonstrates excellence in sustainable practices in terms of energy efficiency, waste management and social responsibility. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
People Categories always comes up with quick and effective marketing strategies to push their brand will make the Hospitality Marketeer of The Year. This individual will be a proven leader in conceptualising, planning and implementing effective campaigns that have taken the industry by storm.
GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR Demonstrating outstanding leadership and inspiration, this year’s winner will possess a strong passion, while being prepared to go the distance to deliver excellence across operations and represent their brand. HOTEL TEAM OF THE YEAR The winning team in this category will have displayed operational excellence with outstanding efficiency, productivity and quality. They will have demonstrated a seamless communication process that facilitates outstanding customer service across the property. EXECUTIVE HOUSEKEEPER OF THE YEAR Maintaining rooms to the highest of standards, the winner of this award will also demonstrate superb communication and leadership skills to ensure their teams share their commitment to excellence. PROCUREMENT MANAGER OF THE YEAR The winner in this category will have demonstrated the ability to oversee a procurement programme that delivers excellence and value for money across the board. The recipient of this award will have provided tangible results in terms of purchasing goods that have boosted their company’s strategy both on the long and short term. 60
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IT MANAGER OF THE YEAR An integral part of the successful flow of any hotel, this category will be awarded to the nominee who has kept their company at the forefront of technology. The winner will also have demonstrated the ability to show superb communication skills and offer hardware and software support at all times. REVENUE MANAGER OF THE YEAR With the statistics to show it, the winner of this category will have grown the hotel’s revenue under their leadership through key strategies. F&B MANAGER OF THE YEAR This award highlights the achievements of an individual who has showcased outstanding ability in exceeding KPIs, developing and enhancing hotel restaurant concepts while streamlining processes and team leadership. HOTEL CHEF OF THE YEAR Open to executive chefs, the winner of this category will demonstrate outstanding creativity, passion and culinary flair, along with exceptional skills in overseeing an entire kitchen operation in an efficient, cost-effective manner. HOSPITALITY MARKETEER OF THE YEAR A marketeer who has understood the challenges of the market and
RISING STAR OF THE INDUSTRY This is someone who is making waves in the Middle East’s hotel scene. This person demonstrates tenacity, creativity and the potential to make a significant impact on the region’s hospitality landscape. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT This award will go to a hospitality veteran who has dedicated their life to the pursuit of excellence across the hotel industry. Their achievements will have made the industry a better place for, not only those who have worked with them, but the entire sector. LEADING HOSPITALITY ENTREPRENEUR The winner of this award will have shown commitment to identifying opportunities in the industry and putting their money where it matters. The Leading Hospitality Entrepreneur will be someone whose absence from the hospitality sector would have made it a very different place. LEADING HOSPITALITY HEAVYWEIGHT The Leading Hospitality Heavyweight will be someone who is known in the industry for their expertise in the sector. The winner will be a leading light in the industry who has the reputation of being an expert, and the charisma and personality to be the heavyweight. www.hotelnewsme.com
Meet the Judges
Raki Philips Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) since June 2019, brings a wealth of industry experience to aid the continued growth of Ras Al Khaimah as one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world.
Dawn Gribble CEO and Founder, Virtual Solutions Global Ltd. and TV Personality Dawn Gribble has over 20 years of experience working with hospitality, and food and beverage brands, and has partnered with award-winning boutique hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, international food brands, celebrity chefs and influencers.
Gustavo de Hostos Managing Partner, H-Hospitality Dubai Gustavo is the managing partner of H-Hospitality for the MENA region. He has spent the last seven years establishing and heading up the main office in Dubai, with a weekly presence in the KSA to oversee high-end hotel and restaurant projects for the upscale segment.
Martin Kubler CEO, sps:affinity – Strategic Partnership Solutions Martin Kubler is a hotel GM and hospitality and service industries consultant with 20+ years of executive-level management experience in hotels, in Europe and the Middle East, and interim-and board-level consulting experience in Africa and Asia.
Ali Manzoor Partner – Hospitality and Leisure, Knight Frank Manzoor has been in the Middle East since 2011, primarily working on hospitality development projects throughout the MENA region. In this time, he has worked with developers, investors and governmental institutions on feasibility studies, concept definition, pricing strategies and optimum site use for both large-scale multi-use projects and stand-alone assets.
Talal Al Rashed Hospitality Consultant and Social Media Influencer A Kuwaiti hospitality consultant and social media influencer who has been based in Dubai for the past six years, Al Rashed has shifted from his career in accounting, investment banking and real estate, to hospitality by studying in one of the world’s top hotel schools: Glion, and worked at different hotels and restaurants in Switzerland, Turkey, Saudi and the UAE. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME
Alpine Brunch – Publique If you’re looking for three hours of pure nostalgia from the European alpine season (and it may just stretch into a whole-daylong affair), we have the brunch for you – and it’s right here in the city of summer. Located in Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Publique is your quintessential “where everybody knows your name” bar-slashrestaurant. As we make our way to our table, our first thoughts are – what a view! Publique overlooks the best of Madinat, and the welcoming servers happily greet us, as they carry our welcome drinks with their smile. First up, duck rillette with Apero cake loaf for the arrival experience, along with cornichons and exotic sauce. If you thought cake couldn’t possibly get any better, this olive-filled twin is bound to prove you wrong. Now for a cold starter selection to cool things off a bit, roasted vegetables with honey sauce and stuffed veggies with cheese and tuna are on the menu. The hot selection comes next with cheese tartine, gratin dauphinoise, sausage rolls, rustic fried cheese and cheese fondue
(have we mentioned cheese before, because yes – more cheese). The feast is a winner for those who love everything fried, and we thought pairing the cheese with bread alone was brilliant, as it turned what could have been a food coma into an opportunity to take a break before eating more. For the main course, we get pierrade, a type of barbecue in which thin slices of meat are cooked on a heated stone. Tender meat, veal and chicken made for the perfect sizzles, and we proceed to grill each and every piece to our liking: it’s an
experience like no other. The sweet ending comes in the form of a chocolate fondue: with marshmallows, fresh pineapple and cantaloupe, and almond crunch to dip, it’s a total Alpine party at Madinat now – and worth every minute of our lazy Friday afternoon. The Alpine brunch is truly an experience like no other. There are no metres-long spreads of seafood, but rather cooked-withlove creations brought straight to the table in one of the most relaxed ambiences you’ll find, highly recommended whether you’re a serial bruncher, foodie or all of the above.
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