Hotel & Catering News ME - October

Page 1

October 2019

All the latest from the Middle East hospitality industry


Palm Views

Two of Palm Jumeirah’s top hotels on operations and revenue

The Biggest Events of 2019: Reviewed IntervIews, hIghlIghts and InsIghts from the hotel show and future food

A warm Welcome P46 - The Big Food & Beverage Forum’s hottest topics revealed

October 2019

On the web Read the latest news, features and much more on our website.

October 2019 // Issue #016

Contents 28

08 News


24 Chain of the month

Event preview

Movers & Shakers

Features 08 //

News Marriott International to add 40 properties across Africa by 2023 and more

18 //

COVER STORY Radisson Hotel Group’s star team

24 //


28 //

EVENT REVIEW The Hotel Show 2019

34 //

MOVERS & SHAKERS Owner’s Representative/ Managing Director, Sofitel The Palm, Dubai

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019 // Issue #016


On the web Read the latest news, features and much more on our website.



Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

40 //

GM INTERVIEW Rixos The Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites

42 //


44 //


46 //


48 //


52 //

EVENT PREVIEW Leaders in F&B Awards

54 //

Further Afield Cheese of France

58 //

EVENT REVIEW Future Food Forum 2019

60 //

REVIEW Al Bait Sharjah

62 //

0PINION M D Warrier

Business Opportunity Call for Restaurant Operators Saudi Arabia – Eastern Province We are inviting experienced, creative, imaginative food and beverage operators with an ability to deliver high quality food and beverage concepts to register for a business opportunity at large cultural tourist attraction. Responses from suitable qualiďŹ ed potential operators shall be emailed to:

Responses should include: 1. company proďŹ le; 2. point of contact with email and phone numbers.

October 2019

Editor's letter

A note from the editor

D i n a Maa t y

Director Rabih Najm CEO Wissam Younane Group Commercial Director

Samer Alloush Editor

ith so many developments on both the hospitality and F&B fronts, it’s often difficult to pinpoint the source of change. Emerging trends tell us a lot about where we’re going, but seldom reveal where they’ve come from, often leaving us guessing and formulating our own equations to come up with the answers. What we, however, as industry experts can track are the movers and shakers, key players, biggest events and more, and these past few months – along with the coming ones – are proving to be some of the most important in years. From The Hotel Show and Future Food 2019, to our very own upcoming The Big Food & Beverage Forum and The Leaders in F&B Awards, things are far from boring on our end. According to investment bank Alpen Capital, hospitality revenue in the UAE is forecast to increase by 10.8 percent annually from last year to $9.8 billion by 2020. A steady growth in international tourists at 7 percent annually, and the opening of new attractions such as theme parks, are expected to drive the increase. The UAE Government’s spending on travel and tourism development is expected to grow by 2.2 percent this year and by 4.3 percent over the next


Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

decade, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). For capital investment, it’s 2.8 percent growth this year and 6.8 percent in the next decade. Ahead of the curve? We sure think so. In terms of F&B, the appetite for more is certainly on the rise. Demand within the UAE's food and beverage sector is expected to gain momentum over the next three years, supported by the country's fast-growing population, rising number of tourists and expanding halal food market, according to new analysis from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The analysis, based on recent data from Euromonitor International, projected fresh food sales in the UAE to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3 percent over the 2018-2021 period. When we look at the latest statistics and studies, numbers speak much louder than words. While a lot is behind us, there’s more to come, and it seems like the momentum is at an all-time high. As for where it’s all coming from, we can attribute the region’s success to the leaders behind it all, working tirelessly towards a future that never fails to surprise us. And we know that the best is yet to come… Regards, Dina

Dina Maaty Contributors

Marouane Al Mandri Mark Setchfield Art Director Aaron Sutton Photographer

Farook Al Saliq Cover Feature Photography

Alex Jeffries Photography Group Marketing Executive

Vince Celestial

SUBSCRIBE PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196

For all commercial enquiries related to Hotel & Catering News ME contact 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


October 2019


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

Ras Al Khaimah hits new record with almost 118,000 visitors in August 2019 Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) announced a record-breaking visitor numbers to Ras Al Khaimah in August 2019, with almost 118,000 visitors choosing the UAE’s northernmost Emirate to visit. The Emirate of Ras Al

Khaimah has witnessed a 5% growth in overall visitor arrivals YTD, with the peak reaching 117,995 visitors in August 2019. Reports also revealed an 8.4% increase in domestic visitor arrivals which indicates a rise in the Emirate’s popularity as a preferred staycation desti-

Radisson Hotel Group signs 11 new hotels Radisson Hotel Group, one of the world’s largest, has announced the signing of 11 new hotels in Africa within the first nine months of 2019. This brings the Group’s African portfolio to almost 100 hotels and over 17,000 rooms in operation and under development across 32 African countries, and firmly on track to reach 130+ hotels and 23,000 rooms by 2022.

nation amongst UAE residents. As for international markets Poland, Russia, India, Kazakhstan and Czech Republic have significantly contributed to the record-breaking number of visitors recorded MTD August 2019 with growth percentages of 26.6%, 25.3%, 13.7%, 9%

and 8.3% respectively. With almost 118,000 visitors arriving to Ras Al Khaimah in August 2019, hotels and resorts also reported a 3.7% increase in occupied rooms propelling a 3.1% growth in occupancy rates compared to the same period last year.

Emirates Flight Catering announces major investment in solar energy

Marriott International to add 40 properties across Africa by 2023 From the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Addis, Marriott International announced plans to add 40 properties and over 8,000 rooms across the continent by the end of 2023. The company also announced signed agreements to open its first property in Cape Verde and further expand its presence in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria. Marriott’s devel8

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

opment pipeline through 2023 is estimated to drive investment of over $2 billion from property owners and is expected to generate over 12,000 new jobs in Africa. Marriott International’s current portfolio in Africa encompasses close to 140 properties with more than 24,000 rooms across 14 brands and 20 countries and territories.

Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) has commissioned a solar power system across its premises, expected to deliver an annual reduction of three million kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions. EKFC’s latest initiative supports the Dubai Clean Energy

Strategy 2050, which was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, in 2015. Under the strategy, the Emirate aims to produce 75 percent of its energy requirements from clean sources by 2050.

October 2019



Emaar Hospitality Group names Address Fountain Views general manager The latest upcoming addition to the award-winning Emaar Hospitality Group portfolio, Address Fountain Views Hotel and Residences, will be opening under General Manager Ahmed Elnawawy. According to the property, Elnawawy has spent the last year leading the hotel’s development and pre-opening operations. Focused on guest experience, he will drive the entire operation of the hotel, overseeing guest rooms and suites as well as residences and diverse dining experiences, and be tasked with driving strategic growth and revenue for the property. Address Fountain Views is the seventh addition to the Ad-

dress Hotels + Resorts brand in Dubai. Located in Downtown Dubai, the three-tower hotel and

serviced residences development encompasses 193 guest rooms and suites, in addition to six res-


Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah promotes director of operations to hotel manager


InterContinental Hotels at Dubai Festival City announces promotions, appointment

InterContinental Hotels at Dubai Festival City has announced the latest promotions and an appointment across flagship hotels in the UAE. Sayed Tayoun was promoted to hotel manager at Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City. Tayoun has been part of IHG for nearly 15 years across nine properties. With Tayoun’s move, the hotel has announced the appointment of Michael Borges as area director of Sales & Marketing for InterContinental Hotels at Dubai Festival City. Juliana Khalife was promoted to cluster director of sales for InterContinental Hotels Group at Dubai Festival City.

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah has announced the appointment of Marco Pedna as hotel manager, from director of operations. According to the property, in this new role, Pedna will oversee all aspects of the operations and strategic performance for Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. With more than 14 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Pedna has worked for the Conrad Algarve in Portugal and The Augustine – Rocco Forte Collection in Prague, Czech Republic.

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


Your window to expand. Introducing Business POS for cashless payments with better transaction rates.

October 2019


Nestlé Professional conducts first-ever ‘Specialised Nutritional Training’ programme

In line with Nestlé’s Purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future”, Nestlé Professional conducted the first-ever Specialised Nutritional Training programme designed and specifically developed to educate and enrich the knowledge of young chefs and support them in offering more nutritious, healthier dishes. Moreover, how chefs can positively impact the out-ofhome environment and help improve the health of individuals in the Middle East. The spe12

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

cialised course is being implemented and delivered to chefs in collaboration with Tathqeef Health Treatment Organization Undertaking Services. Not only does it enable the chefs to learn and refresh their nutritional knowledge, but it’s also accredited by two bodies, the Department of Health (DOH), granting each certified chef 5.75 CME hours and Highfields University in the UK for its international accreditation. The programme was split into a three module theoretical sessions led by Joumana Dab-

bagh, market nutritionist at Nestlé Middle East, who took the chefs through an in-depth learning on nutrition basics and practical techniques they could employ in their everyday work to provide healthier food choices. This was then followed by a practical session conducted by Nestlé Professional Senior Advisory Chef Mohammed Al Ghazzaoui, which included multiple tasting exercises and ended with a cooking competition, allowing the chefs to experiment with the hands-on

implementation of the techniques demonstrated in the theoretical session. This course is just in the beginning of its path; there will be several sessions executed by Nestlé Professional in October and November to empower and equip a greater number of young chefs in the UAE with nutrition knowledge, leading to a positive change in the outof-home environment. For participation, and more information, please visit

CREAM Cream infusions, for unique signature tastes Beyond the aesthetic effect and a set of textures, European dairy cream refines, lightens, brings a smoothness, a roundness, and in addition to all this, it fixes and distributes flavors.

Being very pliable, you can add vanilla or soak mint in it, and you will end up with a different cream. European cream has the ability to bring different tastes and flavors to the forefront. A secret of French pastry chefs is to keep coffee cream on hand for special uses. In fact, coffee is revealed in all its subtleties in a cold infusion which allows all of its nuances and notes to be released. Pierre Hermé, uses a Corsican technique by performing a double infusion for his favorite coffee infused tart: first hot, then a long cold steep. He creates a ganache with the coffee infused cream and white chocolate, then enriches it with a coffee flavored Chantilly cream, which is made by boiling and infusing it with spent coffee grounds.

After straining, the mixture is kept cold overnight before being used the next day. Colors and flavors mix, becoming a subtle exercise in pastry creation, the process of infusion makes each European cream unique, both in its creation and the way in which it’s used.

By inserting different flavors into their pastry, through various concentrations and refining methods, chefs are able to create truly unique signature tastes. Whole or scraped, Cédric Grolet, allows Tahitian vanilla pods to steep in the dairy cream for 48 hours before slowly floating to the top. For Benoit Couvrand, the choice of method is sometimes a matter of the time available “steeping vanilla for 15 minutes in a boiling cream is just faster.” These hot preparations are perfect for ganaches.

The content of this advertorial represents the views of the author only and is his sole responsibility. The European Commission do not accept any responsibility for any use that may be made of the information it contains.


October 2019

Supplier watch

The Home of Irish Dairy:


Ornua is Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products, with annualised sales of over €2 billion. Here, Ravneet Aulakh, foodservice manager – Middle East at Ornua, walks us through the supplier’s formula to success

Can you introduce Ornua to our readers? Ornua is a dairy co-operative which markets and sells dairy products on behalf of its members, Ireland’s dairy processors and, in turn, Irish dairy farmers. The group exports to 110 countries worldwide. Headquartered in Dublin, it has annualised sales of over €2 billion and a global team of 2,200 employees. Ornua operates from 10 business units worldwide, including 14 production facilities, and has sales and marketing teams working in-market across all four corners of the globe. The group is structured across two divisions: Ornua Foods and Ornua Ingredients. Ornua Foods is responsible for the marketing and sales of Ornua’ s consumer brands including Kerrygold, Kerrygold Dubliner, Pilgrims Choice, Forto and BEO milk powders. Markets are served by production facilities and in-market 14

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

sales and marketing teams in Africa, Asia, Germany, Ireland, the UK, the rest of Europe, Middle East and the US. Ornua Ingredients is responsible for the procurement of Irish and non-Irish products and the sale of dairy ingredients to food manufacturing and foodservice customers across the world. The division also responsible for managing volatility through de-risking and trading strategies. What are the key challenges the industry is currently facing? The global milk market is largely influenced by global trade issues, economic uncertainty, weather extremes and more. As a result, market volatility presents a challenge for Ornua and its customers. Ornua has over 55 years' experience in operating a strong and agile network of routes to market premium Irish dairy

products. To effectively manage market volatility, the group has continued to invest in trading expertise, fixed-term contracts and other risk-mitigating mechanisms, and has invested in premium brands and value-added dairy ingredients. What do you think of the vegan scene? Ornua constantly monitors the diverse changes in consumer motivations in markets. While alternative milk is readily available, you can’t underestimate consumers’ preference for dairy. Dairy products are an excellent source of essential nutrients and play a vital role in a healthy and balanced diet. Long-term demand for dairy is good, which is largely due to increased global populations and the Westernisation of diets. Today’s consumers demand natural, sustainably produced dairy products and Ornua is well-positioned to meet this

October 2019

Supplier watch

demand due to Ireland’s unique grass-fed family farming system. What types of technology are you most interested in investing in? Consumers’ tastes are changing, and as a result innovation is a key component of Ornua’s strategy for growth. To support the global reach of many of Ornua’ s retail partners and manufacturing and foodservice customers, the group has innovation teams based in centres in Ireland, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK and the US who are continually working on developing new products and technologies. In 2016, Ornua opened Kerrygold Park, a state-of-the-art butter production and packing facility, which greatly improved its innovation capability and ability to deliver dairy products to consumers around the world. More recently, in 2018, Ornua Ingredients developed TSC Technology, innovative equipment which produces consistent pizza cheese with a rich, creamy flavour. What are your bestsellers and why? The Kerrygold brand is hugely popular in the retail sector. Within foodservice, Palatina Mozzarella is popular due to its mild, creamy flavour. Its texture and cooking quality are excellent, coverage and stretch are easily controlled, and a generous

melt gives exceptional consistency. Palatina White Cheese Feta, produced in Ornua KSA, is a big favourite too. This soft, white, brined cheese is smooth and creamy, has a mild to sharp, tangy, salty flavour, and delivers all Palatina’s high standards of taste and performance.

and the wider GCC region when it comes to provision of talent to the dairy sector, academia and medical resources. Over the last ten years, more GCC nationals have chosen Ireland for thirdlevel education and post-graduate studies in technology, research and health-related sciences. Ornua’ s investment in a facility in Saudi Arabia uses pioneering technology developed by Ornua and Teagasc (the agricultural advisory board in Ireland) to produce a range of bespoke fresh white cheeses for the MENA region. The technology allows milk ingredients to be re-combined for fresh white cheese production, placing key consumer needs at the forefront of our growth strategy. Ornua also sees the West African country of Nigeria with a population of 190 million as a key growth market for the group in the future and has invested in a milk powder re-packing facility in Lagos that will facilitate this growth.

How can business ties with Ireland be an asset to enhancing this sector in the UAE and region? Strong historical ties with Ireland, Ornua’ s own foreign direct investment and the quality of Irish dairy sees Ornua wellplaced to further enhance its strong regional position. Ireland has always had a special place in the minds of the UAE

Any upcoming expansion plans; where do you see Ornua in the next five years? Ornua is always looking for opportunities within the region that complement our existing investment and infrastructure. In the GCC, we will see a continued focus on re-combined dairy technology, with Ornua well-positioned to meet these demands over the next three to five years. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

openings & Launches

The Slice dessert shop launches on Deliveroo The Slice: Cakes and More, a virtual dessert shop, has launched on online food delivery platform Deliveroo. The launch aims to be the answer to an increase in demand for desserts, and cater to vegan and gluten-free consumers. The Slice’s menu includes high-grade desserts for Deliveroo customers to pick and choose from including salted caramel cookies, filled, chocolate, and sugar donuts, muffins, cheesecakes, red velvet cake, carrot caramel cake, as well as vegan and gluten-free cheesecakes and fudge cakes. All of The Slice’s items will be sold to customers through the Deliveroo app and delivered through the operational power of the Deliveroo Editions Kitchens, the company’s off-site kitchens which cater to non-chain restaurants located in Hessa Street, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) and Business Bay.

Olea at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates introduces ‘Eat.Play.Brunch’ Olea, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates has launched a new brunch starting September 27. Visitors will start the day with a lavish Parisian breakfast at Aspen by Kempinski from 10am-1pm, and can choose from a selection of freshly baked croissants, muffins, pastries and baguettes alongside egg dishes. Following that, they can head to Magic Planet where thrill seekers and little adventurers alike can choose from rides and games. From 1pm – 5pm, guests can brunch to their hearts’ content at Olea.

BOCA rolls out autumn menu, Argentinian night DIFC’s BOCA has launched a new menu featuring ‘more concise, seasonal and local’ dishes. Releasing menus four times a year following the seasonality of local produce, seafood and fish in the Arabian Gulf, BOCA’s new dishes include starter-type offerings such as Dibba Bay oysters and sweet potato hummus. The Pizzettas and Paellas section includes classics and vegan options, followed by mains such as charred squid, spatchcock baby chicken, Emirati seabass linguini pasta and more. On a sweeter note, desserts feature a black forest chocolate bar and a matcha tiramisu. BOCA also offers a tapas section starring vegan tacos, mini Wagyu beef burger and other options. 16

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME




Tastefully Italian

Distributed by Bidfood UAE | T: 04 805 2000 | E: | W:

October 2019

Cover Story

A warm Welcome We interview David Allan, cluster general manager at Radisson Hotel Group, Odile A. De Groot, hotel manager at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View and Anni Timonen, hotel manager at Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront for a look into the magnificent world of Radisson, one of the world’s largest chains

David Allan

Cluster General Manager, Radisson Hotel Group What has the cluster GM role added to your career progression? I would say that, in terms of broadening my horizons as a GM and exposing me to a scale of operation(s) bigger than I’ve experienced previously, it’s proving to be a great challenge. I trust that it will set me up for further growth once we have all three hotels ramped-up and operating successfully. How has your background in F&B helped you across the years as you climbed the hospitality ladder? I think F&B gives you a grounding that 18

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

other departments don’t always offer. This isn’t a snobbery thing, it’s simply that F&B has so many facets to it and, at its core, offers opportunities for success and progression for those who are willing to get stuck-in and work hard. As with a multitude of others, I’m used to working long hours, difficult shifts and forgoing the usual time off on weekends and over holiday periods: that gives you empathy for others that continually do the same. It’s so important to recognise that people in our industry make sacrifices in order to make our guests happy every day.

Tell us a bit more about the awards and recognition you’ve acquired, and which ones are the closest to your heart. I’d be clear in saying that I’ve been ludicrously fortunate to work with outstanding teams and individuals in my career both in hotels and at an area level. The level of support afforded to me by Radisson Hotel Group is exceptional. Being named GM of the Year on two separate occasions (once for Park Inn by Radisson and once for Radisson Blu), fills me with satisfaction and reminds me of all the help I’ve had along the way. What would you say are a few of your most significant career accomplishments so far? Our biggest, without hesitation, is the successful opening of Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront and its positioning as the Friendliest Five Star Hotel in Dubai. As with any opening, it involved masses

October 2019

Cover Story

Anni Timonen, Hotel Manager at Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront Odile A. De Groot, Hotel Manager at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View David Allan, Cluster General Manager at Radisson Hotel Group

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Cover Story

As with a multitude of others, I’m used to working long hours, difficult shifts and forgoing the usual time off on weekends and over holiday periods: that gives you empathy for others that continually do the same. of hard work by everyone involved, but in positioning ourselves this way we gave ourselves another challenge and additional pressure on how we could actually deliver against such a bold statement. The hotel and our culture have garnered so many positives from our guests, owners and press that it makes me very proud of all our team, and it’s a joy to see so many of them develop themselves in their own careers while retaining the Friendly element to all that they do. I’m also extremely proud to have 20

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

two highly accomplished female hotel managers who support me tremendously and drive our hotels forward.

also been able to introduce new selling/ incentive schemes which benefit each of the hotels and our employees alike.

What new initiatives or programmes have you introduced as a cluster GM? We’ve broken down barriers on clustering the less traditional roles such as those involved in operations. We’ve challenged and reduced the traditional number of FTE’s required to properly run five star hotels in Dubai without impacting our service levels (quite the opposite). We’ve

What are some industry challenges you foresee, and the opportunities that arise from them? The biggest challenge will always be service delivery and maintaining this at the level our guests expect, while being mindful of costs and pressure on revenues. We’re constantly looking at how we can best balance the complexities and I’m happy to say that we’re doing so.

October 2019

Cover Story

Odile A. De Groot

Hotel Manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View You went from working at a brasserie while studying, to eventually being a director of food and beverage. Tell us more about the dynamism of this industry and how dreamers can make it big. First of all, you have to love and be passionate about your job, especially in the hospitality industry where long hours are the norm and you need to talk to all kinds of people all the time; you need to enjoy what you’re doing and I’m happy to see more young women joining the field. Whether it’s in Africa, Europe or the Middle East, the part of my job that I like the most is seeing talent grow and develop, bearing in mind their attributes as well as challenges. In Nairobi, 50 percent of the F&B team were female and more than half of them were single mothers.

You need to enjoy what you’re doing and I’m happy to see more young women joining the field. What motivated you to go into the hotel industry? Firstly, being able to work and engage with so many different people. Secondly, to be able to work in different countries and really understand the culture and reasons

why certain things are done in a specific way. And last but not least, the suspense – you never know what can happen within the next few hours and that always keeps you on your toes. It’s also a very dynamic industry – you constantly have to be innovating, in order to stay ahead of your competitors. What prompted you to work for Radisson? The restaurant I was working in, while studying, was located right next to the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Brussels (it was still SAS at that time and not yet Blu). Some of the heads of departments used to come in and they were a very diverse and dynamic group. I’ve been with the Radisson Hotel Group ever since as it’s a young, fastmoving and fast-developing company.

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Cover Story

Working in a hotel has multiple aspects and it’s up to each individual to take on maximum opportunities to learn new things and grow. What are the most challenging issues you think you’ll face in your upcoming position? The supply of guest rooms, meeting venues and outlets is definitely increasing in Dubai. The key is to create a team that will work together, not only when challenges arise, but every single day. Returning guests and positive word-of-mouth are the best marketing any hotel could ask for.

Personality was the key decision factor when making the final selection. In an operational hotel, equipment and service flows have been tried and tested, over time, in order to get as close to maximum efficiency as possible. In an opening hotel, where everything is new and shiny, not everything goes as planned – it’s up to people (employees) to try their very best to make a wrong situation right and even turn it into a positive memory. Being friendly means having the confidence to take ownership of making sure that as many guests as possible leave the hotel happy.

In 2017, you joined the “friendliest fivestar hotel in Dubai”, tell us more about what a label like this entails. From the initial interview, we explained to candidates what we wanted to achieve.

Tell us more about your plans for the upcoming hotel, and what makes this property unique. Our aim is to become Dubai’s new, distinctive and design-led hotel, one


Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

which offers delightful service. The development of the Business Bay area is moving at a very rapid pace. This adds to the distinctiveness of the hotel’s location, which is close to Dubai Mall, Al Khail road and Dubai Design District. One example of why our hotel is designled is that we’re one of only a few hotels with parquet flooring in our rooms. We hope that as many people as possible walk through our doors once we open and see for themselves the other reasons why our hotel is design-led. Last, but definitely not least, carrying on from the “friendliest five-star hotel in Dubai” philosophy, we aim to offer delightful service at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View. This may sound cliché, but we aim to offer good service with a smile and not try to be overly pretentious in what we do.

October 2019

Cover Story

Anni Timonen

Hotel Manager, Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront Tell us a bit more about your career journey and what sparked your passion for the industry. My first full-time job was as in the housekeeping department. I knew I would not be cleaning the rooms for the rest of my days, but also immediately felt at home in the international environment of the hotel. I was quickly promoted to minibar, from there to breakfast as a buffet attendant, and after a few months I moved on to meetings and events as a hostess and eventually to front office. This was the beginning of my journey 20 years ago, which has given me the confidence and passion to operate a largescale international hotel. Having had the support and opportunity to undergo and graduate from the Mentee Program by RHG, which develops future GMs, I have the faith that one day I’ll become a GM. What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far, and how did you find a solution? My biggest challenge is the most recent one that probably most working mums in Dubai can relate to, the way to balance between a healthy family and work life and at the same time keep up with exercise to stay healthy. Guilt shadows me daily, leaving my daughter for long days and, at the same time, leaving work early at times to care for the family. The solution for me is to try to stick to a routine so that everyone around me knows when to expect me to be there for them and empower the people in my team to lead tasks and projects when I’m not at the hotel. Also, I’ve realized that when I exercise and keep myself in shape I’m far more productive and efficient. At the same time, I would not be able to do what I do without the support I’ve

Expo 2020 will bring the eyes of the world on Dubai and us working and living here, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to both pick up ideas, trends and solutions from around the world and convert those into initiatives that create memorable stays for our guests. received from Radisson Hotel Group and my GM both during my extended maternity leave and in my current role. Our company offers fantastic flexibility and support, and focuses on the results rather than attendance. How do you see the hotel industry in the next five years, and in light of Expo 2020? I’m foreseeing a dynamic and diverse future, where we gain from looking into more efficient, sustainable and smart ways to operate. A sustainable way of living and

operating businesses is slowly, but surely making its way to Dubai, coming from Finland where sustainability is integral part of everyday life: this is something that I’m keen on enforcing in my hotel. Expo 2020 will bring the eyes of the world on Dubai and us working and living here, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to both pick up ideas, trends and solutions from around the world and convert those into initiatives that create memorable stays for our guests. In your opinion, what’s the single best quality your employees can possess? We want to position ourselves as the friendliest 5-star hotel in Dubai, therefore friendliness is the key to deliver memorable moments to our guests. How important is a hotel manager to their frontline employees? My job is to shine the light on the path the teams are to follow. I see my job as partially strategic, where I push my teams to a certain direction. At the same time, I need to remain operationally involved by jumping in to help out when the hotel gets busy. I need to make sure the teams have the means to do their jobs in the best possible way, and that while working for us they can develop and reach their full potential. What’s next for Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront? We’re only on the second year of operation after opening and have already shown tremendous growth in standards and service delivery since. Yet, we have so many great ideas left to implement. One of my objectives is to unleash the power of my team, to fully maximise their potential as we have many brilliant minds working for us who can deliver a brilliant future for our hotel. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

chain of the month

Rotana Rotana is one of the leading hotel management companies in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey. Since the opening of its first property in Abu Dhabi, the company has pursued an expansion strategy to establish its footprint in every major city in the region and beyond, making it a homegrown success story.

In Numbers

68 45

Current properties

Upcoming properties


Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

October 2019

chain of the month

Rotana’s Key Programmes • People are a key component of Rotana’s success. Through its TAROT (‘The Accelerated Refinement of Talent) initiative, the company aims to up-skill its passionate employees and also equip ambitious college or university students with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive the future of the hospitality sector. • A socially responsible organisation, Rotana places significant emphasis on nurturing local talent through its Duroob programme. We have a keen focus on attracting, training and hiring local students and graduates in every market in which we operate. • Sustainability lies at the heart of Rotana’s operations. The company’s corporate sustainability platform, Rotana Earth, has vision to become an industry leader in implementing sustainable business practices that minimise harm and maximise benefits to the environment, economy and local community. • Rotana’s loyal repeat guests are supported by our strong product offerings and exceptional levels of service we aspire to. Our award-winning Rotana Rewards loyalty programme currently has more than half a million members across three tiers, namely Select, Exclusive and Classic.

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

chain of the month

Guy Hutchinson Acting CEO, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation What are the main challenges you face in hotel management and operations? Many markets around the world have been witnessing an increasing supply of hotel rooms. For instance, major cities in GCC countries are expected to launch an additional 58,000 keys in 2019. The rising inventory will lead to substantial pressure on room rates, and as a result, hotel operators will be required to take measures to protect profit margins in their properties. Similarly, continuously changing patterns of consumer demand will be a challenge. However, we recognise this as an opportunity to engage further with our guests through product and service innovations. A better understanding of customers will be key and investment in data collection and analytics technologies will be critical. What do you think are the most important criteria for a smooth flow of F&B operations? Hotels can build a successful F&B portfolio by presenting unique and fresh concepts that will offer simple, but excellent experiences for guests. However, sustaining business growth should remain a priority and hotel operators will need to have a keen focus on improving operational efficiency and rationalising costs to maintain margins in view of the changing and challenging market conditions. At Rotana, we have a collection of more than 300 unique dining venues, which have remained a major pillar of our transformation as a hospitality industry leader in the


Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

region. The concept of blending great food, service and entertainment is our recipe for success. Our F&B outlets are increasingly recognised as lifestyle destinations catering to the evolving needs of guests of all ages and tastes, going beyond food and beverage to deliver great experiences. How do you see the future of the chain? Rotana’s growth strategy hinges on the expansion of its footprint and diversification of its portfolio of offerings to fulfil the company’s promise to deliver truly treasured experiences for guests, colleagues, and owners. Further strengthening its repute as a key player in the establishment of the region’s indigenous hospitality industry, Rotana

will continue to pioneer new concepts as it has in the past, for example the recent signing of a direct distribution agreement with Airbnb. In line with its measured expansion strategy, Rotana will deepen its presence in its home market of the UAE as well as the wider region, while also exploring opportunities to further extend its pipeline to leading global markets, building on its existing portfolios on the African and European continents. Rotana will also continue to invest in technology and innovation to further elevate the customer experience at its hotels and offer guests highly personalised service and exceptional levels of quality and comfort.

29-31 2019 29-31 OCT Oct 2019 DUBAI WORLD TRADE Centre CENTRE Dubai World Trade

Food production, reinvented

Register Now!


Organised By

An Event By

Powerful Co-Location With

Official Saudi Arabia Partner

Platinum Sponsor

Strategic Partner


Hosted Buyer Lounge Sponsor

Official Knowledge Partner

Official Africa Knowledge Partner

Official Media Partners

Supporting Media Partners

Official Publisher

Official Airline Partner

Official Courier Handler

October 2019

Event review

The Hotel Show

35,000 Visitors Attend the Inaugural Edition of Middle East Design and Hospitality Week The first edition of Middle East Design and Hospitality Week (MEDHW) 2019 welcomed over 35,000 visitors from over 110 countries at Dubai World Trade Centre from September 17-19. The Hotel Show Dubai, The Leisure 28

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

Show, INDEX, Workspace, Surface Design Middle East, FIM, INDEX Home and FM Expo came together to form MEDHW. The design and hospitality-focused event offered a compelling platform for

companies and industry leaders from the respective sectors to showcase products, services, latest innovations, share knowledge, discuss and forecast trends and celebrate the industry’s ‘best in class’ over the three days.

October 2019

Event review

Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek Overall Champion of The Chefs Table competition Eleven teams participated in the second edition of The Chefs Table competition which took place during The Hotel Show Dubai. Each team, comprising seven participants, were judged on hygiene, kitchen skills, creativity, cooking skills, and taste while recreating the complete experience that a diner has from the moment he or she steps into a restaurant. The competition had four gold and seven silver medal winners. “We had a fantastic competition this year. The four gold medal winners were only a point and a half apart from each other and overall the teams this year were neck and neck”, says Chef Uwe Micheel, president of the Emirates Culinary Guild. In the gold category, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek emerged Overall Champion, Best Kitchen was claimed by voco Dubai, JW Mariott Marquis won Best Service and Best Bar was secured by Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai.

Al Manzil Downtown Hotel took home the ‘Best Housekeeping Team’ title

Forty six housekeeping teams battled it out for the Best Housekeeping Team title at the third Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions, sponsored by Restonic, at The Hotel Show Dubai. Al Manzil Downtown Hotel’s team claimed first place in the competition this year followed by Address Dubai Mall in second place, and the Westin Mina Seyahi came in third.

The best alcohol-free speciality drinks

Godwin Austen Johnson won the Hotel Room Set Design Challenge

Three of UAE’s leading interior designers and fit out contractors each created a conceptual hotel room at The Hotel Show based on the theme Dubai: A World of Possibility, A Lifetime of Stories. Visitors at the event voted for their favourite hotel room design; Godwin Austen Johnson secured over 50% of the votes. The other two contenders were Gensler and STYLIS NSG.

ICCA Dubai in collaboration with Alembic-Liquid Education Experience presented an exciting competition that put the showmanship and mixing skills of participating bar professionals to test, in a brand new feature at The Hotel Show. The bartenders received a mystery box and three minutes to prepare three ‘alcohol-free’ speciality drinks that would woo the judges’ palates. Roman Tanasiev from the Cave at Conrad Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai secured first place in the ‘Outdoor Pool & Garden’ category, Cedrick Anthony from Luigia at Rixos JBR bagged first in the ‘Aperitif ’ category and Rich Mar Mostar of KIM'S Singapore Seafood claimed the top spot in the ‘Food-Friendly ’ category. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Event review

The Hotel Show Exhibitors and Visitors Manit Narang

Vice President, MEAI, ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions On the company: We’re part of ASSA ABLOY, a public-listed company with a turnover exceeding $8 billion dollars. Our division is leading in the hospitality and technology sectors, with the provision of access control and backof-house services, in-room safes, location service solutions, and more.

On products: I’m most excited this year about staff location services, as we offer them an ID which they can carry, and press whenever in distress for rescue.

On The Hotel Show: We’ve been taking part for 14 years and it has been great; we have no regrets whatsoever as we’re always happy with the show and outcome. The Hotel Show has been maturing, for the better, and we’re very excited about the HTNG tie-up, which involved technology speakers and personnel.

On the UAE: The UAE is a very dynamic market when it comes to hospitality, with a growing number of tourists and hotel rooms: this business will surely continue to flourish in the years to come. 30

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME




STRONG PERFORMANCE AND SCULPTING POWER Remarkable whipping rate Outstanding hold Fresh and light taste: flavour enhancer Airy texture, easy to incorporate

WWW.CORMAN-PRO-ARTISAN.COM Corman products are exclusively distributed by Greenhouse Foodstuff Trading L.L.C in the U.A.E. | @greenhousefoodstuff

October 2019

Event review

Alexandra Popa

Marketing Manager, MonViso Trading On the company: MonViso is a UAE-based company that distributes MonViso Italian Natural Mineral Water and more products exclusively. The Hotel Show is a unique concept, so we thought that – as an F&B company – we would stand out from the crowd. We’re very happy to take part, there are some amazing brands here. On products: MonViso is a 100% natural mineral water. The source of the water is Monviso mountain, in the Italian Alps, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve area. At 2,042 metres altitude, this is the highest one in Europe. The higher the source, the greater the guarantee of a pristine environment and good water quality.

In the pipeline: This year, we’re very proud to be the Official Water Sponsor of the Dubai 30 Days Fitness Challenge and be able to create additional awareness over our “Take Water. Give Life” initiative. For example, one of the packages has a retail price of AED 307 for eight packs of 1.5 litres (pack of six bottles). Throughout the event period, we will be selling it for AED 205, with almost a 30% discount applied to 72 litres of water. On sustainability: We recycle and ensure the free collection of water bottles from customers. We’ve also partnered with a company to transform plastic into fibres, which are later used to make t-shirts.

Alexandra Harasiuk

Mohamed Karam

On The Hotel Show: Today, we’re exhibiting products from the best companies at the Pomeranian province. From hotels to interior designers, we expect the industry to be headed towards art and modernity, so we offer good lighting, wooden floors, and the best of art and design from Poland.

On the company: I work for Emerson, the company behind the InSinkErator, part of our solutions for food waste and water dispenser technology. The Hotel Show is one of the oldest platforms, it’s nice to be back. We as a company have been participating, and are always keen on visiting.

Senior Business Export Broker, Pomerania Development Manager, Development Agency Co. MEA at Emerson

On products: We’re focusing on lighting for concerts, festivals, reality shows, all the needs for entertainment. We have products that were used from everything including an Ed Sheeran concert, to The X Factor. We also represent the best engineers and project managers. 32

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

On the market: Every market changes and shifts; we see a shift, and the priorities of end users are changing, so as suppliers and manufacturers, we should take this into consideration and find products for new trends.

October 2019

Event review

Ghizlane Benzakour Owner, Table & Beyond On the company: We’re specialised in supplying hotels with operating equipment, and believe in art of hospitality; I always say, what about the square metre? On The Hotel Show: This is our third year; we like The Hotel Show, it’s specialised and we have end users and interior designers coming to see us. This year, they have more than one exhibition taking part at the same time, so we strike partnerships and learn from other companies as well. Everyone who works in the industry has to come to The Hotel Show. We brought new lines, and everyone has done the same. This is a must-visit event.

Geeta Pahlajani

Founder, The Goodness Company

On the UAE: We’re very positive: that’s why am here, I believe in the UAE and its leaders, and we’re excited about 2020 and beyond. The UAE has never stopped surprising people; everyone wants to come to Dubai.

Kevin Boitrelle

Marketing Management, Eolisair On The Hotel Show: This is our first time here and we’re glad to participate and raise awareness over indoor purification. In the UAE, 20-25% of the population suffers from asthma, allergies and breathing problems – key statistics for hospitality. However, there’s a new solution now.

On products: Our main product is the professional air purifier. First, it was being used in healthcare, then we discovered issues in hospitality that would require this offering. This product removes odours as well, which is very important as hotels do have problems with smoke, food and more – this is crucial for pollution.

On the company: The Goodness Company is a sustainable lifestyle brand for consumers and businesses, and the HORECA industry. This is the first time we’re here, as we’ve been seeing an increase in demand from HORECA, and we’re exhibiting sustainable lifestyle solutions. On products: Our star product is the flagship line Chocolatier, which has no added sugar, is healthy, comes in vegan variations and contains no palm oil: it’s the perfect sustainable choice. On sustainability: Sustainability is extremely important. We’re seeing an increase in demand, so HORECA needs to be at the forefront; I feel like now it’s all about embarking on this journey as a collective. The Hotel Show is a good platform, as it helps us reach out to HORECA. The chefs are using our products and creating vegan desserts here, and we’re seeing interest from the wider GCC market. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Event review

Fereshteh Tasdighi

Anna Trushkina

Director, Product Brand and Merchandising Management (Hotels & Activities), Manager, EMEAI at International Hotel Supply Company

On the company: We’re the largest online travel marketplace in the MENA region. I never miss a show, and this is my fourth The Hotel Show. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with everyone, with all aspects of hospitality brought together; from the housekeeping competition, to the technology efficiency forum, it’s all here in this one-of-a-kind event. On new features: is the biggest brand in its field. We compare prices, so when you plan travel, it’s the app to go to. This year, we introduced new features, you can check the Explore pages for inspiration, and all the countries that are visa-free, we aggregate travel deals in one go with discounts, so users can book holidays for much cheaper prices.

On the company: Our company is the biggest hospitality group in the world; we design, develop, produce and distribute hotel-related products. We have our own brand, and license many others – from luxury cosmetic brands to amenities, it’s all there. We’re experts in everything you can see at hotels. One thing that differentiates our company is our focus on innovation; we try to bring change and make a difference by introducing products such as modern luggage racks. On sustainability: We’re working on sustainability, as we want to have eco-friendly products and try to use recycled plastic and introduce dispensing bottles. The key message is “new and green”. 34

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

Get Free Entry to the Conference and Meeting Programme

Register Now

October 2019

Movers & Shakers

A Haven on The Palm From representing the owner, managing assets and approving budgets and capital expenses, to selecting operators, negotiating contracts, analysing hotel operations, and enhancing profits and product value, Nijat Aliyev, owner’s representative/managing director at Sofitel The Palm, Dubai knows the formula to operating a successful property

Sofitel The Palm, Dubai

What makes the Sofitel The Palm, Dubai property unique? With 546 rooms, suites, villas and apartments, and a total of six swimming pools, Sofitel The Palm comprises accommodation and facilities that fit any guest’s needs, whether it’s a couple, family or guests who prefer lengthier stays. Our range of accommodation is extremely diverse and offers a flexible and plentiful choice for guests looking at a Palm Jumeirah getaway. With an abundance of stunning organic architecture and lush vertical gardens created by renowned botanist Patrick Blanc, the resort graciously reflects a timeless spirit and tropical allure. The Polynesian theme, coupled with “magnifique” French elegance, bring a relaxing and unique tropical hideaway to Dubai. Furthermore, our drive as an organisation to implement and overachieve through our sustainability programmes enhances our position in 36

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

the community and promotes our ethical culture and practices.

Nijat Aliyev

What are your F&B offerings, and what do you think guests are looking to see nowadays when it comes to this sector? With 12 diverse restaurants on offer, guests can indulge in extensive international choices of F&B at Sofitel, The Palm. We have the award-winning Porterhouse serving succulent meats in a classically elegant atmosphere, the commended Moana Seafood Restaurant offering poolside chic vibes and delicacies from the sea, The World Eatery, our international restaurant with dishes from all over the globe and Laguna lounge, featuring the best sunset views and sumptuous cuisine, to name just a few. With offerings ranging from fresh seafood, high-grade meat, an array of vegetarian options and sumptuous beverages, there really is an endless plethora to choose from. In 2019, Dubai

October 2019

Movers & Shakers

is an extremely competitive marketplace when looking at the F&B scene. Consumers are increasingly looking for well-priced, innovative and ethical food options. There’s a rise in sustainable living and guests really want to know where their food comes from, how a restaurant is reducing waste and how healthy the food they’re eating really is.

Lodge Villa

Sofitel The Palm, Dubai from above

View of the pool

What are some of your most important sustainability initiatives? Sofitel, The Palm remains one of the most sustainably designed resorts in the region, and we continuously strive to better our practices and performance through technological advancements and various other efficiency models. This year, we were certified gold status by Green Globe for our continuous efforts over the past five years, and also follow Accor Hotels’ sustainable development programme “Planet 21”. Additionally, through our efficient segregation programme, the hotel has recycled over 120 tonnes of plastic, eight tonnes of canned materials and over 60,000 litres of used cooking oil to date. On top of this, we’ve also eliminated the use of 4,800 kg plastic bags, replaced plastic with biodegradable products in all our outlets and reduced overall energy consumption by 20% this year. How do you see the future of hospitality in the UAE and region? As we are fast approaching the muchanticipated Expo 2020, the UAE is expected to grow its supply of hotel rooms to an estimated 165,000 by then. This brings an ever increasingly competitive market driving all hotels across the UAE to ensure that their properties stand higher than the rest. With this competition, hotels need to offer more than just a standard hotel experience, if they ever want to ensure that they catch a portion of the country’s estimated 45 million visitors by 2021. It’s vital that hotels across the region take heed from consumer opinions, follow trends and stay up to date with what guests are really looking for when it comes to hospitality. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019


Dynamic Pricing

A monthly column by Martin Kubler, CEO, chief cook and bottle washer of sps:affinity – Strategic Partnership Solutions Q: How much does a pizza cost? A: It depends on who you are. Welcome to the world of dynamic F&B pricing. A quick reminder: It’s 2019. We have hotels using robots as butlers. We have restaurants constantly chasing the latest trends. Kombucha? Done. Bone broth? Yesterday’s news. We have POS systems that can do anything short of making coffee. We have Uber, Deliveroo, Zomato, etc. – and yet: F&B pricing and loyalty are still broken. Restaurateurs still flock to The Entertainer, Zomato Restaurant Week and other rigid 50% off schemes. Nobody dares to question The Entertainer: “Look, it’s a homemade success story – from kitchen table to untold riches!” I get it. It had its moment, but – it treats everyone equally and offers no flexibility for restaurateurs or guests. What’s the one untold truth behind BOGOF vouchers? That’s right, guests will only come when your restaurant is busy, anyway. Do you need people paying half price when your place is busy anyway? About as much as a hit on the head with a stick of celery… From a guest perspective, the situation isn’t that much better: 50% off is nice, but if everybody else gets it, too, it won’t make me feel special and, if I don’t feel special, I won’t come back. It’s time, when it comes to F&B pricing and loyalty, to learn from airlines or hotels. Why? Because not every restaurant is the same and not every guest wants a BOGOF. What’s needed is a more refined, datadriven approach to loyalty and pricing. I’ve long argued for dynamic/surge pricing in the fast-casual delivery sector. In other words: the price of a product fluctuates according to demand. A pizza ordered for breakfast (when very few people order pizzas) is cheaper than a pizza order on a busy Thursday night. Equally, pizzas with less-in-demand combinations 38

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

(say pineapple + anything) are cheaper than pizzas that feature in-demand combinations. On the technology side: it’s time for data-driven apps to do their thing. What do we want? Intelligent loyalty and discounts. When do we want it? Preferably yesterday! Hala Kiwi made a start a little while back, by empowering restaurateurs and making it possible for them to offer “off peak” discounts and changing discount offers frequently. In the end, loyalty and discounts have to work for both sides, restaurants and guests, to be successful on the long run. If one party’s constantly exploited, it’s not going to end well. Even more interesting, perhaps, is a recently launched app which rewards repeat visits – because that’s really what

we should be interested in, isn’t it? The question should be: “what can I do to make my guests come more often and buy more?” rather than “where can I find new guests?” Some clever folks came up with an app called “Repeat” and it does just that: the more often I frequent a place, the better of a deal I get. Why should someone who visits a place five times a week and spends AED 120 every visit get the same BOGOF discount that everyone else? In short: it’s time to use data and artificial intelligence to do more than just dole out BOGOF discounts to random punters. Get ready for a future where a pizza costs whatever the restaurant thinks you deserve, and where consumers laugh in the face of BOGOF vouchers.

What if sustainable sourcing was simple? Origin Green, the world’s first national food sustainability programme is Ireland’s commitment to a safe, secure food supply far into the future. Members are audited at every step, making it the only independently verified programme of its kind. With over 90% of Irish food and drink exports coming from participating members, finding a sustainable supplier has never been easier. So make sustainability key to a reliable food supply for your business and your customers for generations to come. Visit to learn more.

The world’s first national food sustainability programme

October 2019

GM Interview

All-Inclusive Luxury Murat Zorlu, general manager at Rixos The Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites, tells Hotel & Catering News ME about leading the getaway-style resort Please share your career journey with our readers. I started my career with Rixos right after my university education in Istanbul. I joined Club Hotel Rixos (the first-ever Rixos property) in Belek as a front office team leader in 2001. In 2009, I had the privilege of serving as operations manager at Rixos Premium Tekirova, before I was moved to Rixos Lares two years later to be its assistant general manager. I furthered my experience with the group when I looked after Rixos Sungate for three years, both in the capacity of assistant GM for Food & Beverage for two years and then assistant GM for Rooms for one year. In 2013, I held a general manager post at Rixos Beldibi and in 2018, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented itself to me to be the general manager of Rixos The Palm Dubai. How did you find your passion for working at luxury hotels? My passion for the hospitality industry started when I was eight years old, having visited Hilton Bursa for the first time with my father. We attended a gala dinner event and I remember how excited I was. It was there that I had first experienced what it was like to be in a grand environment. What truly left a mark on me was the smiling staff that looked after all of the attendees. To me, it seemed as though it was a happy place to be in and I wanted to be a part of that place. What advice would you offer future GMs in the making? Be decisive. The general manager is usually expected to make quick, but also important decisions, whether it’s 40

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

Empowering staff is one of the best gifts you can extend to your employees.

October 2019

GM Interview

to resolve guest issues or execute a business strategy. Despite successfully climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, strive to remain a people person and retain a certain amount of humility. A leader should be able to listen well and hold open conversations with staff. Empowering staff is one of the best gifts you can extend to your employees. Always strive to be a good role model by practicing what you preach. Be a leader instead of a manager. What do you think is the most important leadership aspect in hospitality and why? You need a clear vision in order for a company or organisation to reach its objectives successfully. Effective leadership starts with identifying and outlining those goals, then inspiring a team to follow. My role as general manager of Rixos The Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites is to set, then clearly communicate, our brand vision and company’s targets, and encourage my team to share and implement them. What are the most unique features of the hotel and what’s your primary guest/ traveller category? Currently, our main market is Leisure, coming principally from CIS countries (mainly Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine), then the UK and Germany. We’re also focusing our efforts towards growth in the Middle East; the GCC market is very

important to us, we’ve allocated a lot of our attention to improving our services and unique selling points in order to become more attractive in that capacity. Our hotel is a unique luxury resort located on one of Dubai’s most prestigious destinations, the iconic Palm Jumeirah, and boasts one of the longest private beaches on the man-made island with completely unspoiled views of Dubai’s skyline. With four pools, a variety of mouth-watering restaurants (including two all-day dining venues) and bars, a newly renovated kids club that boasts its own private screen room and first in-hotel amphitheatre, Rixy Kids Club, as well as a portfolio of 82 recently upgraded suites, we offer an outstanding resort experience which caters to everyone. With our ultra, all-inclusive package, everything is already taken care of upon booking, it’s this ‘leave your worries – and wallet - at home’ kind of mentality which has made us become so successful in what we do. How does the hotel adapt to different guest preferences? This year, a greater emphasis was placed on improving our guests’ expectations and personal experiences, which has led us to invest in and upgrade our facilities and leisure attractions. We’ve dedicated a lot of care towards improving our services and unique selling points to be more attractive to our GCC guests, for

example, whom we know prefer larger accommodation for added privacy. With the launch, this year, of our new Luxury Suite Collection, we’re able to offer a spacious layout and homely touches of a private residence, alongside the resort’s unparalleled service and amenities. There, guests looking for exclusivity and discretion can choose from a collection of two, three, four and fivebedroom family suites. As we pride ourselves on being familyfocused, we’ve also recently upgraded our Rixy Kids Club. From sushi-making at the culinary workshops, to exploring the sandy beach with archaeological activities, it curates a dynamic itinerary to cater to all interests and provide educational yet entertaining activities. As the GM, what’s the most important day-to-day task for you? As a general manager, you’re responsible for managing the hotel’s executive team and overall hotel targets and are responsible, first and foremost, for delivering an excellent guest experience. For me, it all starts and ends with guest satisfaction, so I make sure I read all the reports compiled by my team every morning, and spend time talking to our guests, collecting their feedback and assessing how to enhance their experiences and anticipate their needs. What’s next for Rixos The Palm? How do you stay ahead of competition? Last year has been a very successful year for Rixos, and has seen us become market leaders in terms of hotel occupancy, ADR (Average Daily Rate) and guest satisfaction, which were monitored by the increase of returning-guest ratio. Rixos The Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites was the first to launch an ultra, all-inclusive concept in Dubai in 2012, and we’ve since successfully positioned ourselves as the UAE’s first luxury multi-concept resort – with multi-board packages including UAI, full board, half board, and bed and breakfast. 2020 is set to become another milestone year for us, as we will be fully transitioning to become Dubai’s first and only ultra, all-inclusive resort starting January 1 of next year. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Event Preview

PRIME Expo Dubai

Inaugural Private Label and Licensing Middle East expo to shine light on soaring opportunities across region’s food and non-food FMCG sectors

Private label products are poised to take up more space on offline and online retail shelves as major retailers around the world listen ever-more-intently to their customers when it comes to price, quality and product options. That’s the verdict of industry heavyweights ahead of the first Private Label and Licensing Middle East Expo, the MENA region’s first dedicated private label and licensing exhibition, which will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from October 29-31. As consumer preferences and buying habits continue to evolve around the world, retailers spanning the full food and non-food FMCG sectors are constantly searching to expand their product offering to meet demand. Multinational corporations have 42

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

succeeded in latching onto the growing global private label trend. Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, which provides a platform for brands to sell their own private labels, recorded $450 million in sales of its own branded products in 2017. MENA region primed for private label growth The trend is also gathering pace across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). While private labelling is entrenched in sectors such as commercial aviation, hospitality and cosmetics, more brands across the full retail spectrum, from grocers to fashion retailers, are recognising the opportunities afforded by private labels. Such is industry demand for a dedicated platform, the inaugural Private

Label and Licensing Middle Expo has attracted more than 130 specialist manufacturers from more than 50 countries, with more than 5,000 local and international visitors expected to descend on the three-day event to network and do business. Carrefour, the Retail Excellence Partner of Private Label and Licensing Middle East, has witnessed private label success with the introduction of its Bio line and Carrefour-branded products across the region. Miguel Povedano, COO of UAE & head of Operational Excellence, Carrefour of Majid Al Futtaim Retail, explains that while the private label trend offers opportunities for brands to compete, it also encourages retailers to consider quality control and the end consumer. “Retailers have a responsibility

October 2019

Event Preview

to instil trust and demonstrate to customers that private label products are on par with their counterparts. The process with private label products starts with benchmarking exercises, where retailers conduct research to identify the market-leading brands,” says Povedano. “The entire development cycle is intense and can take up to seven months. However, we don’t stop there, we make sure to put all our products through quality assurance tests up to ten times a year.” The private label brand of Lulu Group, meanwhile, covers more than 2,500 products, and having first hit the shelves a decade ago, Lulu-branded products are now among the retailer’s bestsellers in its 179 stores across the UAE and wider Middle East, North Africa, India and the Far East. The first Private Label and Licensing Middle East expo, which will run alongside Gulfood Manufacturing 2019 allowing participants to explore the full business potential of the food industry supply chain, has come at an opportune moment for the UAE-based group as it looks to double its private label portfolio by next year. “We listen to feedback from our loyal customers and understand that we need to constantly innovate our products to meet those needs. We’ve seen strong growth in brand loyalty through our private label products. That loyalty is very important, which is why we’re constantly on the lookout for

new products to expand our portfolio,” says Shamim Sainulabdeen, head of the Product Development Division of Lulu Group. “Our customers are looking for value for money and there’s a shift in demand for locally produced products. Having our own private label brand allows us to deliver this as we source as many quality ingredients as possible from local suppliers. We also source high-quality products from the most reliable leading manufacturers around the globe.” As more retailers demonstrate agility to meet consumer demands and make their own mark in the private label space, the first Private Label and Licensing Middle East Expo is a significant step in shaping the sector’s future, say show organisers. “With more businesses across the food and non-food FMCG sectors realising and maximising the potential of private label, the inaugural Private Label and Licensing Expo is the industry meeting point that will help set the future agenda,” says Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, Events and Exhibitions, DWTC. “Leveraging the co-location with Gulfood Manufacturing and Dubai’s strategic position as a business incubator, accelerator, and gateway to new markets, the three-day expo will be abuzz with industry-defining discussions, game-changing business opportunities and unprecedented networking.”

About the Event

The dedicated expo focused on private labelling, brand licensing and contract manufacturing includes a range of features. A dedicated Hosted Buyers Programme has attracted prequalified buyers, from F&B to FMCG, with a purpose of sourcing new products, meeting with global suppliers and manufacturers, and offering new business opportunities, while the Meetings Programme will enable retailers and FMCG players to meet and network with providers. The Private Label & Licensing Middle East Summit will provide a tailored knowledge-exchange arena for industry experts to share insights on product innovations and the latest market trends, including sessions on ideation, distribution and customer loyalty. Private Label and Licensing Middle East 2019 will take place from 10am-6pm on October 2930 and 10am-5pm on October 31. For more information, visit

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Special Feature

Armenian Hospitality

A nation of many traditions, Armenia has skyrocketed onto top destination lists in the last few years, but what makes it a favourite among travellers? Budget-friendly stays Traveling to Armenia suits every budget. Whether you prefer top-rated hotels, where presidents and famous artists have spent a night, or simple hostels, where every guest is treated to a taste of Armenian hospitality, you will make your own journey in Armenia. Travellers can certainly catch a good deal on top-rated hotels, which include Radisson Blu Hotel, Grand Hotel, Armenia Marriott Hotel – all in Yerevan – and more. Amazing eats Food in Armenia is good and cheap: most 44

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

local foods are priced at around a dollar or two. In some tourist areas, and in Yerevan, prices are higher towards the centre, but if you leave the main area and head to side roads and alleys, you can find more affordable options. Depending on the time of the year that you arrive in Armenia, some foods will be a lot cheaper than others; just look through the marketplace, and you will find a lot of great deals. Another way to eat on a budget while traveling is to cook your own food. Armenian marketplaces are full of cheap, fresh and incredibly tasty products. The

locals know all the best cheap spots, so you’ll get a chance to experience local, authentic cuisine without breaking the bank. WCIT 2019 Congress in Yerevan From October 6-9, the 23rd World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT 2019) will take place in Yerevan, one of the largest and most prestigious ICT events in the world. WCIT 2019 will host internationally renowned speakers Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian, VaynerX Chairman Gary Vaynerchuk, Infosys Founder Narayana Murthy and reality show celebrity Kim Kardashian.

October 2019

Event preview

The Big Food & Beverage Forum 2019

Agenda and panellists revealed

BNC Publishing and Hotel & Catering News Middle East’s The Big Food & Beverage Forum 2019 will take place on Wednesday, November 13 at Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City BNC Publishing and Hotel & Catering News Middle East’s The Big Food & Beverage Forum 2019 will take place on Wednesday, November 13 at Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City. From founders and CEOs, to F&B managers, key players, professionals and


general managers, the biggest names in the industry come together every year at Hotel & Catering News ME’s Big Food & Beverage Forum to engage in gamechanging discussions and network. Attendees will share their expert

analyses on the F&B, tourism and hospitality sectors. Join 160+ professionals at the event this year, where Hotel & Catering News Middle East will be partnering with some of the biggest names in the UAE, region and globally.


Registration and networking


Welcome address: Hotel & Catering News ME


Keynote address: Du


Panel 1 – Going out or staying in? The balance between restaurant experiences and delivery services in the market • Yousef Al-Barqawi, regional manager, Deliveroo Editions – EMEA • Naim Maadad, chief executive and founder, Gates Hospitality • Sudqi Naddaf, executive chef, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates • Spero Panagakis, co-owner, BB Social Dining Despite the costs of maintaining delivery vehicles and allocating the right talent, global reports have revealed that mobile app delivery platforms are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27.9% — to $16.6 billion — by 2023, a jump from $3.79 billion in 2017. The main drivers of this growth include high internet penetration, higher standards of living in developing countries and an increase in mobile phone usage. While offering convenient experiences to consumers, a number of restaurateurs and industry professionals are debating whether delivery has affected in-restaurant dining experiences, and if the two can co-exist in harmony. In this panel, attendees will discuss the creativity behind reinventing and rebranding dining experiences, convenience versus quality, rising demand for discounts and deals, shifting consumer patterns and more.


Expert session


Panel 2 – The right people: Attracting, and retaining, the right talent in the regional F&B landscape • Lynne Bellinger, director of Food & Beverage Development, Marriott International Middle East & Africa • Kelly Anne Luker, Head of HR, The Entertainer • Reif Othman, chef and founder, REIF Japanese Kushiyaki • Piers Burton, owner/executive director, Eagles Spearing Consulting • Abdul Kader Saadi, managing director, Glee Hospitality

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

October 2019

Event preview

• Jeremy Vercoe, manager, One of the biggest challenges facing industry professionals in the region is finding the right talent, and offering a combination of work-life balance, compensation and working conditions that is lucrative enough to make employees want to stay. In addition to industry trends, which have a direct impact on employment patterns, business owners and hiring managers constantly face the need to adapt to ever-changing markets – so how can a winning human capital formula be achieved? Panellists will discuss top strategies for employee engagement and retention, development and training programmes, head-hunting tactics, the possible shortage of qualified candidates and – an important topic – female leadership in hospitality. 10:50am

Coffee break


Panel 3 – The perfect match: How suppliers can help make F&B operations a success • Wael Al Jamil, CEO, Bidfood • Kyra Bommelje, director of food & beverage, JA The Resort • Stefano Iorini, managing director, Monviso Trading • Monal Malhotra, Head of F&B operations and business development, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority – Shurooq • Danny Planter, founder, D&T Group • Dragan Susa, chef de cuisine, Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai Quality suppliers can make or break F&B operations. How can a match be made between the right suppliers and F&B venues for a smooth flow, and how can the former help the F&B sector achieve the tricky balance between quality and speed? From researching everything from reputation to success rates, to considering costs versus results, F&B outlets will spare no efforts when it comes to choosing the right suppliers, but how do suppliers ensure they’re a good fit for the task at hand? Panellists will discuss the challenges facing suppliers, trends and developments in foodservice, the newest products and services, the role of technology in delivering optimum guest experiences and more.


Expert session


Panel 4 – The customer isn’t always right: Calorie counts, ingredients and everything in between – how far should F&B establishments go in an effort to cater to consumers? • Omar Chihab, founder and general manager, BOCA • Ziad Kamel, owner, Couqley French Bistro & Bar • Martin Kubler, CEO, sps:affinity – Strategic Partnership Solutions • Love Mansukhani, founder and managing director, Ribbon Consulting • Mariangela Ruggiero, executive chef, Radisson Blu Media City According to a report issued by the Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) sector in Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, the total number of restaurants and cafés in Dubai reached 427 during the first four months of 2019. This included 258 restaurants and 169 coffee shops, a growth of 25 percent compared to the same period in 2018. With more options in the market, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their power to choose, while venues often risk a full-on identity change as a result. Topics of discussion in this panel include changing consumer preferences, the rise of plant-based eating, menu calorie-count requirements, restaurant staff communication tactics and more.


Lunch and networking *More panellists due to be added, please check for updates. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019


Marketplace Water

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


Stefano Iorini, Managing Director

What was your most important product launch? In 2018, we launched the 750 ml and 375 ml glass bottles for MonViso Italian Natural Mineral Water, with both still and sparkling options. We aimed for a minimalistic design for the bottles, as we wanted to ensure the product would stand out based on its properties: springs from the highest source in Europe and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the lowest sodium content in the world and a very low count of minerals. MonViso stands out in the competitive water industry as being a brand with a heart. Actually, the most important launch for us will always be our “Take Water. Give Life” initiative. For every litre sold through designated partners, AED 1 is directed to Al Jalila Foun48

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

dation. Together, we’re preparing for a better future as we believe in transforming lives through medical education and research. A rapidly growing population means a growing need for medical capacity. At Al Jalila Foundation, they work to discover innovative solutions to address the medical challenges of the future. On a monthly basis, we respect our commitment and direct the litres raised to Al Jalila Foundation. With the support of all our partners and clients who made the choice to “Take Water. Give Life” until August 31, we raised 460,069 litres together. What are some of the most unique properties of your water? MonViso is a 100% natural mineral water. The source of the water is Monviso mountain, in

the Italian Alps, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve area. At 2,042 metres altitude, this is the highest one in Europe. The higher the source, the greater the guarantee of a pristine environment and good water quality. With only 0.33 mg/litre, MonViso has one of the lowest sodium levels in the world, making it perfect for low-sodium diets. MonViso is extremely light with a count of 48 mg/litre of dissolved solids. A water with these characteristics is, not only safe to drink in large quantities, but also helps avoid physical fatigue, promotes diuresis and is recommended for controlling hypertension and kidney problems. The taste of the fabulous dishes prepared by top chefs will not be affected when drinking MonViso. The balanced


Strategic Partner

Host Sponsor

Culinary Partners

Def ining Innovation in the Food, Beverage & Hospitality Industry

9TH - 11TH DEC 2019

An Event By

Host Venue

Official Travel & Destination Management Partner

Retail Partner


1,000+ exhibitors from 50+ countries 20,000+ visitors from 90+ countries 500 fully hosted VIP buyers 10+ events and features including Hosted Buyer Programme, La Cuisine, UAE National Coffee Championships, SIAL Innovation and The Mercury Awards

October 2019


composition of the water ensures a seamless tasting experience. Why should businesses purchase your product? Partnering up with MonViso, a business will have ensured the following three advantages: • Offering, at a competitive price, a premium 100% natural Italian product for their clients • Giving back to the community by being part of the “Take Water. Give Life” initiative • Being an eco-conscious brand and recycling; we would develop the ideal logistic solution for our clients to provide free collection of the empty glass or plastic bottles We’re a brand with a heart and, by association, our clients will become brands with hearts. Our aim is to have many more companies become part of the “Take Water. Give Life” initiative. Less is more and, with joined forces, we would be able to do a lot of good together. Moreover, we believe in developing longterm partnerships with our clients to ensure that common goals are achieved. We aim to establish proactive communication with partners and generate successful logistical, distribution, marketing and sales activities. What’s in the pipeline for your company and its product offerings? On the corporate side, we’re working on creating tailor-made solutions for our partners in the different industries we’re active in. Retailers have certain demands in comparison to the hotel industry, but we will make sure to develop a suitable set of actions and ensure the best service for them. For our end users, we’ve been actively sponsoring more than 500 sporting events since the beginning. We believe exercising and hydrating properly go hand in hand. This year, we’re very proud to be the Official Water Sponsor of the Dubai 30 Days Fitness Challenge and be able to create additional awareness over our “Take Water. Give Life” initiative. Hydration will play a vital role for all participants at the event during this period and we created two special bulk packages for clients who are keen on being part of our initiative. For example, one of the packages has a retail price of AED 307 for eight packs of 1.5 litres (pack of six bottles). Throughout the event period, we will be selling it for AED 50

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

205, with almost a 30% discount applied to 72 litres of water. However, the most important part is that from the price of AED 205, AED 72 will be directed to Al Jalila Foundation for future medical research. We will provide free delivery and collection of the empty plastic

bottles. Everyone participating in the challenge can easily give back to the community and help create a better future. The choice is theirs to be part of the “Take Water. Give Life” initiative.

October 2019


Bidfood What was your most recent product launch? We recently had two great launches. Firstly, the limited edition Diamond S.Pellegrino 1 litre bottle in celebration of S.Pellegrino’s 120 years. The special edition glass bottle comes with a silver-lined 120 Year Anniversary label and diamond-shaped rivets that reflect S.Pellegrino’s timelessness, purity and complexity. The special edition bottle can be found exclusively in Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah. Secondly, and in terms of our product range, our latest product launch is the new Acqua Panna bottle design. It’s now a sleeker, more modern bottle with a minimalistic, bold visual and logo – with the same, classic taste that we all know and love. The new glass and PET bottle sizes include 1ltr, 750ml, 500ml, and 250ml.

What’s this product’s selling point? It’s the “Smoothest Taste on Earth”. Acqua Panna’s new bottle design and the campaign that comes behind it tell the story of the water’s 14-year journey through the hills of Tuscany, which is the contributing factor behind its balanced composition which gives it its popular smooth taste. The design also features the iconic Florentine fleur-de-lis, the family crest of the historic Medici family who founded the water, and Acqua Panna’s signature orange colour. What’s in the pipeline for your company and its product offerings? We have a new and exciting product range from S.Pellegrino, as well as a new coffee brand coming soon.

Al Ain Food & Beverages FIJI Water PJSC, Agthia Zero Sodium Al Ain ZERO was developed to address the increasing demand for reduced sodium intake, with less than 0.0001% sodium. It’s the first pH neutral, sodium-free, regulatory-approved (ESMA) water produced in the UAE. Al Ain Vitamin D Al Ain Vitamin D is the only Vitamin D plain water in the world uses Al Ain’s low sodium composition to which Vitamin D is added without any preservatives, colours or flavours. It also contains extra calcium to assist the absorption of the vitamin. Al Ain Bambini Water Babies have a much more delicate system than adults. They require intensive care and optimal nutrients, not just from their food but also from water. Al Ain Bambini Water for babies is balanced with

essential minerals, and is manufactured using an upgraded filtration and disinfection system. Al Ain Bambini Water contains no sodium, nitrate, fluoride or bromate. Al Ain Zero Bromate Bromate is present in drinking water and depends on several factors such as the source, original concentration of bromide ions and the manufacturing process. Al Ain Zero Bromate is the first zero bromatebranded bottled drinking water in the UAE and GCC. All bromate has been completely removed through an advanced process at the Al Ain factory so that it’s lighter on the kidneys, and safer for pregnant women.

FIJI water is sourced on a remote island in Fiji and filtered through volcanic rock that gathers in an aquifer deep below ground. It gathers natural electrolytes and minerals that give our water its unique soft, smooth taste. FIJI is the #1 premium imported bottled water in the US.

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Event preview

Leaders in Food & Beverage Awards 2019

Meet the Judges

BNC Publishing and Hotel & Catering News Middle East’s Leaders in Food & Beverage Awards 2019 will take place on Wednesday, November 13 at Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City International brands and home-grown concepts are invited to take part in the Leaders in Food & Beverage Awards’ ceremony, which will recognise top players

in the industry bringing excellence and innovation to the market. Judges are invited to participate based on their experience, business acumen and expertise. They

are independent F&B and hospitality industry leaders which we have selected in such a way so as to ensure objectivity and benefit from their breadth of expertise.

Daniel During Founder and Principal Managing Director, Thomas Klein International (TKI)

Conrad Gallagher CEO Food Concepts 360

During has spent most of his life living and working across the globe including 10 years with Hyatt International Hotels in executive positions in luxury urban and resort properties in the Middle East, Serbia, Spain and Kazakhstan. In 1997, During joined Wafi City and spearheaded the project from its conceptual stages, to design, development and opening. His duties as Pyramids general manager were further extended to Wafi City and MKM Group of Companies, heading up the Food and Beverage division and tasked with the opening and operations of 17 outlets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In April 2001, During established Thomas Klein International in Dubai Media City.

Finian Conrad Gallagher is an award-winning, Michelin Star chef and multiple cookbook author with over 30 years of culinary experience. A visionary entrepreneur and formerly the owner and creator of his own world-renowned brands, as well as being the CEO of Aura Hospitality, a company with 30 brands and 42 outlets, Gallagher is spearheading the development of all-new concepts around the globe from London, New York, Cape Town and Dubai. After spending many years in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York and most recently Abu Dhabi and South Africa, and now bringing his unique flair to Food Concepts 360 brands, the company has continued its successful expansion under Gallagher’s leadership with the creation of new concepts.


Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

October 2019

Event preview

Guarav Sinha Founder and CEO Insignia Worldwide Sinha founded Insignia Worldwide Group in 2003, and stands as the visionary mastermind behind the world’s first brand enrichment company, specialising in travel and destination creation. As a creative protagonist, he has accumulated a formidable portfolio of achievements which has solidified his status as an internationally recognised leader in his field. Based in Dubai for the past 22 years and before launching Insignia, Sinha spent a decade in advertising at Lowe. He then took on the illustrious role of head of marketing for Hilton Worldwide in the Arabian Gulf between 1998 and 2002.

Martin Kubler CEO

sps:affinity – Strategic Partnership Solutions

Martin McLean Founder-Director Compass Project Consulting

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 interimand board-level consulting experience in Africa and Asia. Kubler is the founder of Iconsulthotels, a boutique hospitality, leisure, and tourism consulting firm, and the CEO of sps:affinity, a Dubai-headquartered business advisory and consulting company. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a frequent speaker at hotel, marketing and customer service conferences and events, and a regular contributor to industry websites and publications.

McLean has managed the development of a number of retail and F&B projects in Australia, Singapore and China, before taking up a project management role in Dubai where he consulted for Nakheel Shopping Malls and later, Emirates Leisure Retail. Along with his Partners, McLean co-founded the multiaward-winning Compass Project Consulting in 2014. To date, the team has successfully delivered over 150 F&B as well as hospitality projects throughout the region, representing respected owners, operators, designers and landlords to deliver memorable destinations. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Further afield

“Fromage” Heart to Yours By Mark Setchfield

It’s no secret that the Middle East is home to some of the world’s most popular varieties of cheese. European Union statistics have revealed that the UAE imported 18,485 tonnes of cheese from Europe in 2018.

The French cheese industry employs nearly 300,000 people and is the second-largest producer of milk after Germany; from mass production to remote organic farms, the French love cheese. I travel to Lyon and

Annecy in France to meet some of the heavyweights of cheese production, and to a remote farm up at the heights of Bouchet-Mont-Charvin to find out why the Middle East is demanding so much French “fromage”.

Beaufort Cheese Cooperative Stepping forward I was the first volunteer to milk a cow, it was the freshest milk you can get. I had travelled 2,400 metres up to the alpage (high mountain pasture) where a herd of Taurine cows were grazing, ready for the second milking of the day. Farmer and landowner Christian Juglaret, president of the cooperative, Laitiere de HauteTarentaise and Beaufort cheese producer, owns pretty much as far as the eye can see. Beaufort is a mountain cheese, like Gruyère, produced in the alpine regions of Savoie. From June to November, the cows are grazed on the sunny side of the mountains where the grass is green and lush. Milking starts at 3 am then again at 6.30 am. The milk is then transported by road into town, to the factory where the cheese process begins: only milk produced that day can be used to make Beaufort. The cows' excrement is used to fertilise the grass, putting vital nutrients back into the soil. In June, there are lots of flowers, which enrich the taste of the milk. By November, the temperature drops dramatically. The cows make the four-hour descent down the mountains, where they spend four to five months in barns feeding on hay and cereal. The initial investment for the factory was €19 million, set up to exclusively produce Beaufort, a risky decision Juglaret explained, as the machinery can only make one type of cheese. They now also produce mountain butter and fondue cheese as part of an everexpanding business. 54

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

October 2019

Further Afield

Sodiaal Cooperative Annecy, France

Our host Jack Fahed, the sales manager from Otramont who looks after the Middle East region, was our guide for the Emmental cheese plant. Unlike the previous manufacturing sites I'd visited so far on the trip, this was on a huge commercial scale. Milk is transported to the plant from as far as Brittany, as rural grazing gives the Emmental its distinct taste. Like much of the cheese production I'd seen in France, this plant is now fully automated. Each cheese wheel starts its long journey through the plant by being off-loaded from the trucks manually, then the machines take over. During the three-week ripening process, each wheel is inspected weekly, there three tests that can determine the stage of ripening. If the surface of the wheel is rounded, this indicates that air pockets are forming. In the third test, using a special tool, a section of cheese is taken from the wheel to check the size of the holes. The ideal size should be the size of a cherry, much like the cheese you would see in Tom & Jerry cartoons. Once the orders are placed, the electronic system selects the wheels from the caves, depending on the age, ready for processing. Robots remove the wheels from the caves. Each wheel is then transported to the processing plant. First, they are blasted with 80-degree water, the computer then selects one of three channels for the cheese. Sliced, shredded or cut into huge 5 kg blocks, these are sent to catering companies and hotels. As we follow the three processes, we stop briefly at a fourth, the cream cheese production unit, still in its prime and on a much smaller scale. Cream cheese is produced for commercial use, for restaurant dessert recipes such as cheesecake and pastries. Within two hours, I had seen the huge wheels stacked, flipped washed, sliced and shredded in a seamless production process, but like the other facilities, I had visited the original

process of cow’s milk and rennet is still the same. One of the questions I asked was, if the wheels are cut into blocks, what happens to the excess? Jack replied, nothing is wasted: the cheese is shredded, just

like what you would buy and use to top a pizza. This completely changed my attitude to buying pre-grated cheese in bags, I have now seen where it actually comes from. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Further afield

Abbaye de Tamié Tamié Abbey is a Cistercian monastery, situated in the Bauges mountain range in the Savoie region of France, bordering Italy and Switzerland. It exists today as a Trappist community of thirty monks who are well-known for their cheese-making: Abbaye de Tamié. The cheese is soft and made from unpasteurised, locally sourced cow's milk from three different breeds, Tarine, Abondance and Montéliarde. The monks use a whopping 4,200 litres of milk daily to produce 400 kg of cheese from fourteen farms across the Tamié valley. The cheese is 20 cm in diameter and 4 cm thick, and similar in texture to Reblochon. However, the Tamié is larger than Reblochon cheese with a less creamy pâte, but the taste is often stronger and more perfumed. The mechanisation of the production process has made the factory more efficient and less labour-intensive. Cheesemaking is the main source of income for the monks; tours can be booked and the gift shop sells, of course, cheese, and other local delicacies, which also adds to their income. Frère, (brother) Nathanael who manages the factory was our host for the morning, and speaking via a translator he explained the cheese-making process, a recipe that has remained the same since the 12th century. Unpasteurised whole milk is warmed to 34°C, then rennet is added. Once the mixture is sufficiently firm, the curd is cut using special blades to separate the curds and whey. The mixture is then left for twenty minutes to drain, placed in moulds with small drainage holes and then mechanically pressed to remove any remaining whey. After pressing, the cheeses or wheels are removed from the moulds and immersed in a brine for two to three hours before being transferred to caves, where they are stored for three weeks at a constant 13-14 degrees in 95% humidity. 56

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

October 2019

Further Afield

The Farm of Pézières My last visit was 1,300 meters above sea level. On the heights of Bouchet-MontCharvin, the farm of Pezières stands at the foot of the mountain of Sulens. Barely accessible with an SUV, we made the journey in a tour-sized bus, as our skilled driver cautiously drove us up to meet Fabrice Ruphy and Mathilde Duthier, two young farmers in their early 30s. The couple has 22 cows: Ruphy uses a mobile milking station that milks the cows and pumps into the storage vats. With a 4.30am start and twelve hours between milking, their working days are long, but they don't count the hours they say. After Ruphy’s first milking of the day, Duthier starts the cheese-making process, first adding natural rennet to the morning's milk in a deep stainless steel vat located in the cheese-making room. Within less than an hour from cow to processing, life in the form of yoghurt is added to the milk, the bacteria eat away at the sugar. This, in turn, produces lactic acid which helps the curd form. The blade slowly cuts through the curd, and Duthier can feel its density. She knows when it has reached the correct texture and grain size. However, she says no two days are ever the same, it depends on where the cows have been grazing and what they’re grazing on: this can dramatically alter the process timing and taste. Once she feels the grains are at the right size, the vat is left to stand so the curd falls from the whey: this is when she prepares plastic moulds. The moulds are washed and lined with cheesecloth, a traditional method, also compulsory as part of the Reblochon production regulations. Then, whey is then poured over the cloth: it adds heat and helps the fermentation process. The cheesecloth's function is to block the small holes in the moulds so the curd doesn't drain out, along with the whey. In theory, four litres of milk will make one Reblochon wheel, weighing around 500g. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019

Event review

Future Food 2019 at Address Hotel, Dubai Mall

Powered by top regional leaders from the food and beverage manufacturing business, the forum took place in attendance of Her Excellency Mariam Al Mehairi, Minister of State for Food Security, UAE, His Excellency Abdulla Al Maeeni, director-general, Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), UAE, Saleh Lootah, chairman, UAE Food and Beverage Manufacturers Group, Abdulla Aujan, executive chairman, Aujan Group Holding, KSA and Mella Frewen, director-general, Food and Drink Europe, Belgium. 58

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

Also in attendance were Tariq Ahmed Al Wahedi, CEO, Agthia Group, UAE, Thamer Temairik, CEO, Halwani Bros, KSA, Nadim Nakfoor, SVP, Pepsico Middle East, UAE, Tarek Sakkam, CEO, Dubai Refreshments, UAE and Ahmed Belyouha, Chairman, Emirates Macaroni Factory. The forum analysed the measures required to sustain strong growth and innovation in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, in an event which was held on September 25-26 at Address Hotel, Dubai Mall. • The platform addressed the

challenges faced by food and beverage manufacturers, producers, brand and label owners, retailers, logistics and technology service providers, government organisations and other law enforcement agencies involved in the business of food manufacturing. • Among the hot topics discussed were: The role of the food industry in securing a robust National Food Security Strategy, the merits and pitfalls of promotion-focused food retailing, e-commerce trends that are redefining traditional food business – how the industry should re-position,

October 2019

Event review

understanding the possible emerging best practices and adapting to challenges within, etc. • Headlined by: Agthia Group, Dubai Refreshment PJSC, IFFCO, Nestle and Pepsico. The sponsors for this event were Al Ain Farms, Friesland Campina, Yellow Door Energy, Food People, Tate & Lyle, Dubai Industrial City, SGS and Rakez. Media Partners are Eye of Dubai, Caterer Middle East, Hotelier Middle East, My UAE guide, Eye of Riyadh, Packaging & Food, Hospitality News Middle East, Food & Beverage Networker, Foodbev Media, Hotel & Catering News Middle East, CHR Magazine, Food Magazine, EME Outlook, Small Enterprise and Food Business Gulf and Middle East. The unprecedented food and beverage event, hosted by UAE Food and Beverage Manufacturers Group, brought together the manufacturing industry, developers, leaders in the sector and industry experts, food and beverage manufacturers, packaging industry experts, equipment manufacturers and other thought leaders. “We’d like to support F&B manufacturers in reducing both their energy costs and environmental footprint through solar power generation,” says Rory McCarthy, chief commercial officer of Yellow Door Energy. “We’re honoured to be a part of this esteemed forum that brings together industry magnets. Together, we can harness the

sun’s energy to achieve economic and sustainability objectives.” Discussing key trends and innovations in the F&B sector, Shashank Vengsarkar, managing director of Dohler Midde East highlights: “In line with the health trend, one of hottest topics at the moment is definitely the sugar taxation in the beverage industry, which will be extended to JNSD as of December 1 in the GCC. We’re working strenuously with both our development teams and customers to come up with solutions to help them mitigate the additional tax, and also upgrade their products for the end consumer’s benefits.” "There can’t be a better time to discuss food transformation than to stand at the doorstep of Expo 2020 with its theme ‘connecting minds and creating the future’,” says Dr Suheel Ahmed, CEO of Arabian Foods. “We’re glad to support Future Food 2019, an important platform for F&B manufacturers and leaders to meet and discuss the current trends and challenges that surround the industry,” says Ramy Jallad, group CEO of RAKEZ. “At Rakez, we’re home to over 960 F&B companies, covering the complete supply chain from dairy, confectionary and beverage productions to F&B processing, packaging and many more. Participating in events like this definitely gives us an in-depth insight on how we can better support the growth of our F&B cluster, as well as attract more companies from this segment to take advantage of the

About the Event

The forum was a two-day event featuring panel discussions and workshops. The Food and Beverages Manufacturers Group (FBMG) is an association that brings together all F&B manufacturing firms in the UAE. Formed in 2012, under the auspices of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, FBMG is committed to the development of the food and beverage industry. This event was organised by Ejtemaat Knowledge Network.

cost effective, efficient and businessfriendly ecosystem that RAKEZ and Ras Al Khaimah offer.” “As people are at the core of every business, we identified Future Food Forum as the perfect opportunity to share insights and discuss common challenges around attracting and retaining human capital in the food and beverage industry. Food People is a food and beverage talent solutions business, born in Dubai, operating across the MEA region and beyond, that partners with organisations to create tailored solutions to support their human capital strategy,” says Luke Truin from Food People. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019



Al Bait Sharjah When it comes to dreamlike stays, we often feel the need to choose between luxury and comfort. However, there’s a hideaway that lies – literally within the heart of Sharjah – that takes the pressure off having to compromise one for the other. “Welcome home” is the default greeting at Al Bait Sharjah, and it really is home, because everybody knows your name. Situated a mere 25 kilometres from Dubai, Al Bait Sharjah is one of GHM’s newest destinations and a member of The Leading Hotels of The World. Having opened its doors in December 2018, the resort brings together the best of modern comfort and amenities with echoes of old-world UAE. The property transforms historic manor houses to create a magnificent escape that’s home to 53 exquisite rooms and suites, four unique dining destinations, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a 15-metre outdoor swimming pool and a luxurious spa. Al Bait Sharjah also features a variety of breath-taking cultural experiences and architectural sights including the UAE’s 60

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

only round wind tower. Plus, an authentic ‘elephant door’ that has been restored from one of the heritage homes – not surprising since the property houses a mini museum and library. Every room and suite within the hotel reminisces traditional Arabic influences with contemporary design aesthetic to ensure that each space is unique to itself. The Patio Room, our abode for the night, is spacious, well-lit and unmistakably Arabian-styled. The ladies will feel like they’re the Jasmines waiting for their Aladdin to arrive through the terrace, but the magic carpet awaits inside just opposite the bed. With a channel selection that includes a variety of handpicked options, it can be hard to leave the comfort of the elevated bed, but once you hop off – don’t forget to leave the glass teardrop so that housekeeping won’t change the sheets, a fantastic initiative that’s part the hotel’s sustainability efforts. At Al Bait Sharjah, they welcome you with a magical, sparkly lavender drink and popping chocolate, and your room is stocked with a healthy beverage-filled mini bar, a

coffee machine, Middle Eastern treats and even gold and silver sugar to enliven your sips. The hotel takes food very seriously, with carefully crafted dishes and surprises that you’ll find nowhere else in the UAE. The Restaurant offers a one-of-a-kind tray, think Alice in Wonderland, featuring everything from golden egg fondant to giant meringues and gift-wrapped mini sandwiches. Breakfast at The Restaurant is a la carte, and you can order as much as you want from an artfully-presented menu of charcuterie, cheese and even truffle eggs and foie gras – you’re in the land of wonder after all. The Arabic Restaurant, on the other hand, offers a more authentic experience that will bring you back to the roots of Middle Eastern cuisine. From crispy falafel and spicy potatoes, to grilled fish with rice and a very special carrot cake, nothing beats a night at the elegant yet cosy dining venue, which boasts exceptional service too. The restaurant exudes Emirati elegance with a modern flair, welcoming guests with high, wood-beamed ceilings and interiors adorned

October 2019


with stunning textiles. The Ice Cream Shop, a hidden gem in the Heart of Sharjah, creates indulgent homemade ice cream in a variety of flavours, using either camel or cow milk as a base. Served on a bed of ice, you can try everything from gold charcoal to mastic and honey – and they’re all as good as they sound. If you’re in the mood for some relaxation, and we would highly encourage this notion at Al Bait Sharjah, you can head to the beautiful outdoor swimming pool. You can also discover a whole new level of beauty and wellness treatments at The Spa, paired with the most effective healing techniques of the Far East. A sanctuary in its truest sense, it’s divided into two spaces to offer men and women dedicated havens – each with its own relaxation lounge, hammam, steam and sauna as well as individual reception areas and spa boutiques. Over-thinkers and those who carry their stress with them can make the most of the spa experience with the India Oriental Ritual, a full journey that includes an aromatherapy foot polish, ayurvedic abhyanga massage, marma point head massage with a hair masque and more. The therapist was very professional, carefully explaining every part of the ritual, and leaving time for some blissful solitude by the hot and cold baths, or at the tropical shower where you’ll be transported to another world through light and sound. A retreat by itself, Al Bait Sharjah sits in the one of most central areas of the emirate with convenient access to a variety of cultural sites and destinations, including Sharjah Art Foundation’s ever-magnificent Rain Room. From inspiring museums, art galleries and handicraft centres to a number of quaint souqs and shopping streets as well as the wonderful Al Noor Island and Mleiha Archaeological Centre, the property welcomes guests to embark on a nostalgic journey that will take them back to the roots and heritage of old-world UAE. Al Bait means “home” in Arabic, and whether you find it in the alleyways of the hotel on a starry night, or while relaxing in your room before a swim, there’s something about Al Bait Sharjah that will make you feel like you just have to come back – and we’d be delighted to. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME


October 2019


CV under-talk or over-talk? M D Warrier, managing director at Bin Eid Executive Search, gives us an in-depth look into recruitment challenges and the best ways to overcome them Over the past 23 years, I’ve been screening the CVs of 130 plus nationalities for various roles including general managers, COOs, VPs, department heads, middle management, and even supervisory and junior roles. Often, I notice that CVs don’t communicate what’s required: • Candidates can mention preferred roles, up to two positions. • Start with the current job or the most recent employment. The employer name, country and work location should be mentioned, in addition to job title and the role reported to. Also, indicate direct reports under the role. • Start and end dates of employment are essential. A brief description of job responsibilities, ideally within 175 words, comes next. • If an applicant has 25 years of experience with five organizations, for instance, they should appear on the first page if possible. • Academics and professional qualifications with length of the course and the names of the institutions /

better perspective. • In today's rapidly transforming marketplace, executives particularly at leadership roles are expected to have global mobility. • Relevant language proficiency needs to be highlighted. • Notice period is essential. One month’s to three months’ notice period are widely seen these days. • It’s advisable to mention the preferred email, Whatsapp and mobile numbers. • Even though a one-page CV is ideal, a two-page CV is practical. Mention employment history in the first page.

universities give the assessor a proper understanding of the applicant. • Applicants can also highlight training and self-development courses undertaken, if any. Major accomplishments, key competencies and skillsets need to reflect the candidate’s journey. • Family status, and number of children, will help the employer understand the background of the job seeker from a

The hospitality industry has been evolving as a knowledge society over the years and this poses challenges and opportunities. In order to navigate successfully in a competitive global marketplace, the industry needs high-performing employees in all disciplines. The above is mentioned to emphasise the vital role of human capital in all walks of life, commercial growth, national development, business and world-class ventures.

BIN EID EXECUTIVE SEARCH (Specialised in 5* Hotel Sector) Since 1995

Celebrating 23 years in Executive Search (Hotels & other Hospitality segment) We thank our Clients, Candidates, well-wishers who directly and indirectly helped us in our wonderful & blissful journey. We also thank the Almighty, Bin Eid team members, ex-employees, associates and numerous unseen souls who supported us to navigate in our 23 years of spectacular journey. Thank you for the trust and confidence placed on us.

Our Services: • Salary & Compensation Survey • Pre-opening recruitment from 20 countries • Executive Search & Head Hunting

Currently Hiring: • General Manager • Director of Sales & Marketing • Sales Manager / Executive • Director of Engineering • Front Office Manager

• • • • •

HR & Training Manager Hotel Manager Director Finance Executive Chef F&B Director

PO Box 5455 Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Email: Tel: +971 6 5686144 Website:


Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

Your window to expand.

Introducing Business POS for cashless payments with better transaction rates.

Standards rise where expectations are met Call us to offer your guests a recognizable daily ritual 600-595950 |