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Senior Manager - Dossier Business Unit Shivkumar Gaitonde Senior Media Executive Girija Shankar Mohanty Senior Art Director Sandesh S. Rangnekar Senior Designer Shameer Moideen Cover Photo Cedit Desert Nights Camp Translator Mustafa Kamal Production Manager Govindraj Ramesh Photography Rajesh Burman Motasim Abdullah Othman Al Balushi Corporate Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Vice President Ravi Raman Senior Business Support Executive Radha Kumar Business Support Executive Zuwaina Said Al-Rashdi Published by United Press & Publishing LLC PO Box 3305, Ruwi, Postal Code - 112 Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Tel (968) 24700896 Fax (968) 24707939 Email:

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Copyright © 2011 United Press & Publishing LLC Printed by Ruwi Modern Printing Press

Food for Thought The Food and Hotel sector in Oman never looked better. In the past five years, Oman’s food and hospitality industry has experienced a dramatic upswing and positioned itself among one of the top places to visit in the Middle East. The Government has accelerated efforts to cater to the growing numbers of tourists from Europe and other parts of the world, in terms of the right infrastructure, cultural offerings, as well as significantly upping marketing and promotions related to developing tourism. Oman’s natural beauty, peaceful atmosphere and world-class tourist facilities and infrastructure have been some of the key factors that have drawn more and more tourists every year. In the recent past, tourists had a limited choice of hotels but today, the scenario is quite different. From lavish resorts by the seaside to luxurious desert camps – local and international travellers are indeed spoilt for choice. Lonely Planet pegged Muscat as the second best city to visit in their ‘Best in Travel 2012’ list and 2011 was a landmark year for the hospitality sector. Recent reports claim that as many as 1400 new rooms have been added alongside high-end development projects in different parts of the country. In fact, Muscat exhibited one of the biggest percentage price rises in H1 2011 as compared with H1 2010. A 44 per cent increase on a year on year basis – a steep rise but greatly indicative of the demand for rooms in hotels across the city. Muscat was the second-biggest riser on the list which was topped by Ibiza, new high-end accommodation, ensured the city stayed the most expensive in the HPI as the city positions itself as an upmarket, exclusive destination. Food & Hotel Oman 2011, formerly known as Food Expo showcases an extensive array of hotel equipment and supplies, kitchen and catering equipment, food packaging products, technologies and more. And the Dossier Food & Hotel Guide, a Media Partner for the event, aims to serve as an effective platform to expand your existing business network and get up-to-speed about the latest developments in the food and hospitality sector.

cover story Travels Abound


sourcing Going Local



INNOVATION The Cutting Edge

aquaculture Waves of Change



trends Table-Talk

38 social media




sponsored features Falcon Trading LLC Sharikah Fanniyah Omaniyah (Muscat) LLC Salman Hotel & Restaurant Equipment co LLC Abdul Khalik Abdullah Habib Najwani & Partners LLC Diversey Inc. Majan Continental Hotel Desert Nights Camp, Oman Hotel Al Halabi Kitchen Equipment Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC Services & Trade Co. LLC


Armani Hotel Milano now open The new Armani Hotel Milano is the second hotel to be launched within the Armani Hotels and Resorts project and marks the continued collaboration with Emaar Properties PJSC. Following the success of the Armani Hotel Dubai, located in Burj Khalifa, the Armani Hotel Milano opens in the heart of the city, within the extraordinary palazzo at Via Manzoni 31, originally designed by Enrico A. Griffini and completed in 1937 in the rationalist style of the time. Inside this building with its austere and powerful exterior, Giorgio Armani has created a world of harmony and privacy, with uncompromising attention to the requirements of guests. Here luxury, calm and beauty are fostered in pure Armani style, imparting a new aesthetic excellence to the concept of comfort. The 95 rooms and suites offer a variety of options: from Armani Deluxe rooms (up to 45 square metres) to Armani Signature and Armani Presidential suites, ranging from 170 to 200 square

metres, on two levels connected by a magnificent stairway that makes a striking architectural impact. The Armani/Ristorante is located on the seventh floor, where it offers superb traditional Italian gastronomy, a private dining room and a Chef’s Table within the kitchen itself. On the opposite side, the Armani/Lounge with the Armani/ Bamboo lounge looks out over the skyline: the double height ceiling, the wall with its huge window softened by louvered blinds and sections in backlit onyx and a good choice of music ensure a relaxed ambience in which to enjoy an informal meal, or an afternoon tea. The eighth floor, covering an area of 1,200 square metres, is entirely devoted to beauty and relaxation, bringing together a range of treatments and therapies that promote physical and mental harmony and wellbeing. Interestingly, this Armani hotel, created within a palazzo, is shaped by the

75% occupancy at Sharjah Hotels, Q3 According to recent reports by Sharjah’s tourism authority, the Emirate’s hotels reported 75 per cent occupancy in the third quarter of this year – a four per cent increase over the same period last year. The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) said the rate of occupancy for hotel apartments stood at 69 per cent which represented a three per cent rise from the earlier period. The number of hotel and hotel apartment nights jumped 15 per cent during the third quarter with a total of 1,302,950 nights, compared to 1,126,187 nights during the same period last year. According to SCTDA Chairman, Sheikh 6


Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, added that Sharjah was “keen to explore international avenues and opportunities that could increase the investments in the tourism sector and improve the services and facilities for the tourists.” And that, “The SCTDA strategy to promote Sharjah goes hand in hand with the amazing progress and tremendous development the emirate has been witnessing.” He also said the SCTDA expects a further increase in the tourist inflow and hotel occupancy in the last quarter this year because of events such as the Sharjah Water Festival, the F1 Powerboat World ChampionshipSharjah Grand Prix 2011 and the Sharjah International Book Fair.

architectural ground plan as an immense “A”. This can be seen in the original Griffini drawings, and is something that is only visible from above. Maybe it was destined to be!

Tourism sees 6% drop The World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2011 said the region would see a 1.8 per cent decline in incoming tourist receipts and also predicted that airlines would see a 10.3 per cent drop in USD receipts while hotel income would fall by 3.6 per cent compared to the previous year. However, hotel developments are likely to carry on apace across the region with a total of 119 hotels set to be built in the Middle East/Africa region this year. According to the latest by STR Global, year-to-date, 50 hotels have opened in the region supplying a further 9,663 rooms with another 69 hotels (15,420 rooms) in the pipeline for completion before the end of 2011. During 2012, 131 hotels are planned to open with 36,205 rooms.

Abu Dhabi hotel rollout promises jobs

Over the next six months, hundreds of jobs are to be created in Abu Dhabi as the first in a wave of new hotels open their doors in the capital city. Four luxury properties are slated to launch in November alone, providing jobs for more than 1,200 service staff and behind-the-scenes employees, hoteliers have said. A further six new hotels are scheduled to open in early 2012, opening up a fresh source of job creation for the emirate’s economy. The UAE plans to attract 15 million

tourists by 2020 under efforts to diversify its economy and Abu Dhabi is spending billions on visitor attractions such as the Yas and Saadiyat Island developments, in a bid to establish itself as a global travel hub. Abu Dhabi’s state tourism arm said in September that 1,347,782 guests had stayed in the city’s hotels and hotel apartments in the first eight months of the year, putting the emirate on track to reach its target of two million hotel guests in 2011. Tourism currently accounts for 3.2 per cent of the UAE capital’s GDP.

Sony’s latest hospitality solutions Japanese multinational conglomerate, Sony, held a seminar highlighting its latest hospitality solutions, including its range of Bravia hotel interactive televisions, with innovative integrated features including an LED clock and bathroom speaker connectivity. It featured exclusive exhibits of Sony guest room solutions and Sony professional solutions. The Bravia hotel interactive series has screen sizes ranging from 22-inch to 55-inch and includes the 2011 edition of Bravia LED TVs and 3D LED TVs. Available in 32inch, 40-inch and 46-inch screen sizes, the LED TV hospitality series has innovatively integrated features such as an LED clock and bathroom speaker connectivity. A

highlight of the showcase event was the company’s 3D solutions packages, which feature 3D Bravia LED hotel TV series from 40-inch to 55-inch screen sizes, offering hotel guests a superior entertainment experience through extending their in-room entertainment options to include PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Sony 3D Blu-ray disc players. The seminar additionally offered a first-hand experience of the increased levels of comfort and entertainment provided by its guest room solutions, which include Sleek 2, a new life-style hi-fi multimedia system, bed-side iPod dock clock radios, media hubs for connectivity to devices and 10inch digital photo frames.

Rising food prices drive consumer costs The first ten months of 2011, consumer prices in Abu Dhabi have climbed 2.1 per cent primarily driven by rising food prices. According to reports by the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi, the consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.9 per cent in the month of October when compared to 2010, representing a 22month low. Month-to-month prices also rose 0.3 per cent. Food and non-alcoholic beverages contributed the largest share (64.2 per cent) of the rise in the index during the first ten months of 2011 and the largest increase within this group was in the prices of meat and coffee, tea and cocoa, which advanced by 14.3 per cent each. Other goods that saw marked rises were fruits (up 11.4 per cent), soft drinks (up 8.7 per cent), and bread and cereals (up seven per cent).

Accolades for Oman Air

Oman Air’s luxurious lounges at Muscat International Airport have just been awarded ISO certification, following an audit by Intertek Semco Certification AB. The First Class and Business Class lounges, which were unveiled earlier this year, have been awarded the ISO 9001:2008 certificate in recognition of its quality management systems. The audit which preceded ISO 9001:2008 certification examined every aspect of Oman Air’s airport lounge management systems, ensuring that they are robust, adaptable and applicable to all areas of the lounges’ operations. The award of certification to Oman Air’s lounges at Muscat International Airport follows the recent ISO certification of the airline’s supply chain management and is the latest step in Oman Air’s programme of ensuring the highest possible quality in all aspects of its business. DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12



Medical tourism in Oman sees new light The Apex Medical Group signed its first land acquisition deal as part of a plan to set up a one billion US dollar medical city in the Sultanate. According to reports, this medical tourism complex which will be situated in Salalah shall turn the medical tourism industry around and put Oman on the global medical tourism map. The plans include a 530-bed hospital, regional organ transplant, rehabilitation centre, diagnostic centre, healthcare resort and a medical prevention centre. It has been reported that the project will be developed initially on 500,000 square metres of land but has approvals to expand on further 300,000 square metres of land. This state-of-the-art facility is being

developed just a 15-minute drive away from Salalah International Airport, which is currently undergoing expansion and is slated for completion in 2014. The project is in line with the

Oman government’s five-year tourism development plan and is the first healthcare infrastructure development project in Oman being set up by a private investor.

Food hub shows Four Seasons comes to Bahrain promise Freezone Sohar signed an agreement with a consortium of leading South African and Omani companies to set up a food hub in the logistics park of the zone. The food hub in the Freezone Sohar is aimed to grow into a facility to position Oman as a regional food consolidation and distribution centre in the GCC region and beyond. Thanks to the geographical location of Sohar the food hub will have a logistics advantage to cater for regional demand and exploit the seasonal differences between the Gulf/Middle East region and South Africa for reverse trade. Furthermore, the consortium plans to build reefer and temperature controlled warehousing facilities in a phased manner. Phase 1 of the project cost is estimated to be RO7 million and the facility is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2013.



Bahrain Bay, the USD 2.5bn waterfront community project, has been awarded the main contract for the construction of a Four Seasons Hotel to Belgian-based Six Construct. The move signals the

beginning of phase two of the project, which includes the podium and tower construction. Work will begin on November 30 with a target construction completion date of April 2014. Six Construct has previously worked on construction projects including, the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai, Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace Hotel, and The Armani Hotel, Dubai and was picked from an original list of 21 firms. The Four Seasons Hotel at Bahrain Bay will be the latest in the five-star chain’s prestigious portfolio of international properties. The 50-storey building will include 263 guest rooms, a five-star spa and leisure facilities, and suspended ‘Sky Pod’ restaurant. Phase one of the Four Seasons Hotel project was completed in the summer and included the moving of over 40,000 cubic metres of earthworks, and over 7000 cubic metres of concrete poured into over 800 separate piles.

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Travels Abound


Once considered an ‘exotic’ place to visit Oman’s efforts to promote the Sultanate as a tourist destination has breathed in new life into the food and hospitality sector. Here’s a look at some of the major milestones in the recent months


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n just under a decade, Oman’s food and hospitality industry has experienced a dramatic upswing and positioned itself among one of the top places to visit in the Middle East region. The Government has accelerated efforts to cater to the growing numbers of tourists from Europe and other parts of the world, in terms of the right infrastructure, cultural offerings, as well as significantly upping marketing and promotions related to developing tourism. Oman’s natural beauty, peaceful

Image Courtesy: Omran


atmosphere and world-class tourist facilities and infrastructure have been some of the key factors that have drawn more and more tourists every year. In the recent past, tourists had a limited choice of hotels but today, the scenario is quite different. From lavish resorts by the seaside to luxurious desert camps – local and international travellers are indeed spoilt for choice. The Sultanate has even seen an increasing diversity when it comes to cuisine; fine-dining restaurants to more relaxed ‘chill-out’ joints, Oman caters to all gourmands. Indeed, the food service industry is in a new era of growth.

And to add to the honour, Lonely Planet – the definitive guide for globe trotters – pegged Muscat as the second best city to visit in their ‘Best in Travel 2012’ list. Hotel prices give an indication of current economic trends, and perhaps something of a foretaste of what might yet be. The first half of 2011 saw the occurrence of certain political events and saw the market betting on recovery from the global crisis. Despite the uncertainties, however, hotel prices and occupancy rates continued their path of spectacular recovery from the pricing trough. 2011 has seen the largest impact from

political, and even geological, events that naturally curtailed demand for a series of important leisure and business destinations. Nonetheless, 2011 was a landmark year for the hospitality sector. Recent reports claim that as many as 1400 new rooms were added alongside highend development projects in different parts of the country. In fact, Muscat exhibited one of the biggest percentage price rises in H1 2011 as compared with H1 2010. The price per room per night in H1 2010 was approximately GBP 165 and that in H1 200 rose to GBP 238 (as indicated by reports). This marks a per

cent change on a year on year basis of 44 per cent – a steep rise but greatly indicative of the demand for rooms in hotels across the city. Muscat was the second-biggest riser on the list which was topped by Ibiza with its 44 per cent hike, bolstered by new high-end accommodation, ensured the city stayed the most expensive in the HPI as the city positions itself as an upmarket, exclusive destination. Hotel rates served as a good barometer of the growing importance and development of cities and this was fuelled by a

combination of growth in the number of rooms as new hotels opened, the rising cost of flights from the increase in fuel, and the likes. Hotel occupancy also saw a healthy rise in statistics. A recent report by the Ministry of National Economy exhibited key indicators such as the rise in the number of guests, occupancy rates and the likes. The number of Omani guests in hotels saw a rise or 10.2 per cent – a jump from 63,875 guests in 2010 to 70,416 in 2011. GCC guests and other Arab guests saw a rise of 3.9 per cent and


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25.5 per cent respectively while Asians, Europeans and Americans saw similar rises of 14.2 per cent, 14.3 per cent and 14 per cent respectively. Although the occupancy rates in both five star and four star hotels dipped slightly, the statistics remained healthy and on the higher side of 44.9 per cent and 50.9 per cent respectively. (Note: at the time of print, these statics were available until the end of August and by the end of the year could reflect different numbers.) In 2011, Oman really upped its tourism and hospitality momentum with regard to the opening of new places of attraction and a record number of tourism and leisure properties. Along with the opening of 1400 new hotel rooms, Oman also saw the inauguration of the Royal Opera House Muscat – a historic landmark of sorts. Among the new boutique hotels, Muriya’s Sifawy Marina Boutique Hotel launched in Jebel Sifah has been one of the most prominent launches this year. The Sifawy Boutique Hotel marks Muriya’s foray into the hospitality industry and crowns its strong presence in the market as a reliable developer and builder. Its reputation as a prominent player in the Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC) sector has been strengthened recently with the handing over of its luxurious apartments at Jebel Sifah. Located in the heart of the picturesque Marina Town, which will be the resort’s main entertainment hub with a range of restaurants, cafés, shopping avenues and nightlife activities, it is all set to welcome guests at its 55 elegantly appointed guestrooms – 25 standard rooms, 30 fully furnished suites and three suites equipped for physically challenged guests. All rooms have private balconies with comfortable seating, overlooking the beautiful marina or the swimming pool. Marina Suite guests may also avail the services of a private butler. 14 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

The Hotel, designed by renowned Italian architect Alfredo Freda, is equipped with all the essential amenities and services, catering to even the most discerning guests. It has on offer a wide range of activities and excursions, including a large swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, fitness centre and treatment room. The ambience within the Hotel is warm and friendly, reflecting Oman’s typical hospitality. Having already established 80 per cent Omanisation, it is all set to welcome guests to an experience that is a contemporary blend of European design with a strong essence of traditional Omani influence – in concept as well as service. For guests and visitors looking for a slice of serenity in a nature created haven, Jebel Sifah is the place to be. Spread over an area of 6.2 million square meters with luxurious residences of diverse and distinct styles, a 100-berth marina and marina town, an 18-hole Golf Course, other retail venues and food outlets, etc. Apart from this several boutique properties such as the Platinum and Rotana Hotels opened late last year, and 2011 began with the unveiling of the City Seasons Hotel Muscat (268 fourstar rooms, three restaurants and three banquet halls) and the 153-room Golden Tulip Inn in Al Khuwair. Several midrange and budget hotels are also said to be opening in late 2011 including the Swiss-Belhotel in Muscat’s cultural and sports district. Holiday Inn Seeb, a four star development (176 rooms), Millennium Resort Musannah, yet another four star development (234 rooms and 74 apartments) and Salalah Beach Resort Hotel (50 rooms) are further additions to Oman’s tourism development. On the horizon, Crowne Plaza Duqm Hotel a 4-star beachfront business hotel to serve the development of world-class industrial and commercial facilities in the new town of Duqm, holds much promise. Expected to open in the

fourth quarter of 2012, the hotel will be developed in traditional Omani style and will include 218 deluxe rooms. The hotel will provide a diverse range of dining options featuring an all-day dining restaurant, seafood grill, pool bar and a lobby lounge. Leisure facilities will include a fitness centre and exterior pool. Business needs will be fully serviced by a business centre, ballroom and full state-of-the-art meeting and conferencing facilities. Omran, which is mandated by the Government of Oman to deliver major projects and manage tourism assets and investments, has also spearheaded the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, a major new project which will become one of the region’s leading facilities for conferences and exhibitions. The key components of the centre include an auditorium with total seating capacity for 3,000 people, exhibition halls with 25,000sqm exhibition space and with the ability to seat 10,000 people in the first phase. The development will also have banquet halls, meeting space, 85,000sqm of office space in a grade-A business park, four hotels with a total of 1,000 rooms and a large shopping mall. Oman’s first international-standard convention centre which represents a major investment by Omran, this will allow Muscat to become a regional destination serving the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector, providing an additional boost to Oman’s fast-growing tourism and hospitality industry. Yet another feather in Oman’s tourism cap would be the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM), Oman’s premier venue for musical arts and culture. Officially inaugurated on October 12, 2011, with a production of Turandot, conducted by Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo, and is believed to ‘change the way the arts are viewed and practiced’ in the Sultanate. The Royal Opera House reflects contemporary Omani architecture, and


Tel: 24703392/24797904/24703590 Fax:24799002

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Image Courtesy: Omran

has a capacity to accommodate maximum of 1,100 people. This opera house is first in the world equipped with Radio Marconi’s multimedia interactive display seatback system, Mode23. The opera house complex consists of a concert theatre, auditorium, formal landscaped gardens, cultural market with retail, luxury restaurants and an art centre for musical, theatrical and operatic productions. Consumer foodservice saw dynamic growth for the review period as a whole, this underpinned by a number of factors particularly by rising income 16 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

levels. Oman’s strong economic growth during the period resulted in an increasingly affluent consumer base. In addition, ongoing urbanisation not only offered consumers greater access to consumer foodservice but also resulted in changing lifestyles. This boosted demand for convenience and thus also for consumer foodservice. With the global economic recovery now well under way, the priority for operators is now to repair the damage done, or consolidate the gains made, during the global downturn. While fast food brands continue to lead the way, the market is fragmenting rapidly in

terms of market share, categories and consumer groups. Some themes and trends come through as more or less general all across the key categories– mainstream; top-end; trendsetters. The keynote in today’s gastronomy is definitely “Local”. What is typical for a region in terms of produce and cooking styles – regardless of where – attracts locals as well as visitors and it covers the whole spectrum from simple eating establishments to the more exclusive. Authenticity and origin is another dominant trend but basically it’s about quality. Freshness is a fundamental

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quality factor in most food and, when sourced locally, freshness takes on a cache of credibility. In addition, sourcing locally is appealing from an environmental standpoint. What affects the health of the planet seems to be much easier to understand and agree upon than what affects one’s own. The ascendency of “fun dining” also extends to restaurant concepts. Bistronomy, foodie lounges, atéliers, star establishment attest to this burgeoning accessible gastronomy scene, where good food can be enjoyed by more people, more often. Casual, fun dining, with a genuine focus on good and exciting food, has been successful. In this vein, among chain restaurants, T.G.I. Friday’s that opened in the latter half of 2011 has seen the most promising opening. It is an American restaurant chain focusing on casual dining and well known for its appearance, with red-striped canopies, brass railings, Tiffany lamps and frequent use of antiques as décor. Chili’s, the popular restaurant also opened a new outlet in Qurum City Centre and is further testament to Muscat burgeoning dining-out scene. Shang Thai known for its exceptionally fresh and flavourful dishes abound on a delightfully extensive menu as well as exotic flavours, friendly service and relaxing ambience recently opened another outlet at Almouj Marina at The Wave Muscat. Alternatively, the opening of the aforementioned tourism complexes has seen a rise in the number of restaurants and grills. Travellers searching for the best in hotel accommodation need not look any further as Oman addresses everyone’s needs – and then some. Those looking for the high life but wanting to spend substantially less can find some great options in the ‘luxury for less’ options available throughout the Nation. But those who are looking for truly luxurious options can be extremely spoilt for choice. All in all, a truly remarkable year and given the developments in the pipeline 2012 holds even more promise. DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 19


Going Local Local sourcing has been a widely growing trend in Oman, a digression from international sourcing that many have previously favoured


concept that has been extremely popular in the Western hemisphere is slowly but surely catching up in the Middle East as well. Local sourcing has been a growing trend in Oman over the past couple of years and distributors as well as suppliers are trying to achieve a balance between international sourcing to meet the large volumes retailers need and local sourcing to meet the surge in demand for products sourced within the Sultanate.

The obvious and most direct benefit of local sourcing is the cost benefit – local sourcing implies shorter supply chains and this leads to greater certainty and predictability of delivery times, particularly for those working on a just-in-time basis. As such, delivery costs are also normally lower. In times of high demand local suppliers can also be more reactive as opposed to international suppliers with longer lead times. Local suppliers can act quickly, increasing speed to market and also allow for some agility. The inklings of promoting local goods and services perhaps started with Origin Oman, a campaign aimed to encourage both consumers and organisations to choose locally made products and 20 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

services. These products carried the official Origin Oman logo – a symbol that was soon visible throughout grocery stores and hypermarkets across the Sultanate. According to the Origin Oman website, the campaign in a nutshell aims to provide ‘every Oman-based resident an opportunity to help promote the sultanate’s products and services and by doing so help create employment opportunities, stimulate the national economy and reduce carbon emissions.’ Origin Oman began focusing on the importance of locally owned businesses and its impact on the economy, in terms of job opportunities, innovation and the likes. Oman offers a vast repertoire of locally manufactured products – from bottled mineral water and food preservatives to locally grown vegetables. And many companies have stepped into the light to promote their businesses as ‘local friendly’. Smaller suppliers are more agile and can often be very innovative; The proximity allows for close relationships to jointly develop the business and products, which could reap rewards and Origin Oman has managed to tap into this idea quite successfully. More recently, Omaran’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, Intajee, has taken retail outlets by storm. During the first week of sales, it

was reported that more than 1000 local products sold out completely. Intajee provides consumers with products such as eggs, honey, dates and vegetables produced by families from the Al Batinah region. All the families enrolled in the programme receive 100 per cent of the profits generated and produce is available at places such as LuLu Hypermarket in Bousher. In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and

Image Courtesy: Omran

Fisheries, the Agriculture Association for Al Batinah Farmers, Intajee is centred on empowering families with the necessary skills and training to sustain themselves through their own micro-businesses. Selling local also helps foster closer relationships with customers and according to experts, promoting the use of local suppliers can result in good PR for any organisation, particularly

if it is a large employer in an area, and demonstrates investment in the community. However, it is not only retailers that are moving towards stocking local produce. Many hotels are currently incorporating more and more local products into their menu, especially when it comes to seafood and meat. However, as much as customers and

corporates enjoy the idea of supporting local businesses and suppliers, it means little if there is a substantial price difference. In today’s climate, costeffective local sourcing remains more important than ever. There is no doubt that the recession has affected sourcing strategies. But as retailers continue to look for closer and more flexible supplier relationships, local sourcing can certainly deliver in many circumstances. DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 21


The Cutting Edge From high-tech kitchen systems to revolutionary ingredients, the food service industry is rapidly changing. Here’s a look…



he drive to develop and deliver ground-breaking kitchen equipment in the foodservice market is an important part of the industry, be it for restaurants or foodservice operators. These products as services enable operations to run faster and more efficiently by increasing productivity, quality, safety, cost-efficiency and environmental sustainability. When restaurateurs evaluate whether to adopt technologybased product/service innovations, they consider not only the costs and benefits of that technology, but also customers’ reactions to the procedural changes accompanying the innovation. Kitchen appliances, be it in industrial or commercial kitchens play a vital role in streamlining processes and the right equipment serves to provide high quality results using cost-effective measures. Cambro is a name synonymous with high-end kitchen equipment and have been servicing the food industry for over 60 years. Their latest offering, the Camduction Complete Heat System is perhaps one of the most innovative designs available for modern-day kitchens. This efficient hot meals delivery system charges 20 heat retention bases in one unit, allowing for a base to be ready every 12 seconds with reliable temperature holding for 60 minutes along with drying base cart and transport cart. Captive-Aire Systems, Inc. has a UL300 approved fire system, known as the CORE Protection Fire System™ and is considered the most robust commercial kitchen hood fire suppression system on the market. The system includes a self-cleaning hood to reduce the risk of fire with daily cleaning and superior fire protection. In the event of a hood fire, the UL300 listed Core Protection Fire System™ is activated, rapidly cooling the duct and plenum in a fire situation to reduce the risk of re-ignition. Both, the Camduction Complete Heat System and Core Protection Fire System™ have DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 23


been recipients of the 2011 Kitchen Innovation Awards. When it comes to issues of sustainability, scientists are always cooking up new ways of satisfying the world’s ever-growing hunger for meat. And how? The answer is ‘Cultured meat’ – burgers or sausages or other meat products grown in laboratory Petri dishes rather than from livestock. It may take a while to catch on and it certainly won’t be cheap but experts say the meat’s potential for saving animals’ lives, land, water, energy and the planet itself could be enormous. He also hopes the ability to tweak and change things will mean scientists will ultimately be able to make meat healthier – with less saturated and more polyunsaturated fat, and/or with more nutrients. According to the World Health Organisation, annual meat production is projected to increase from 218 million tonnes in 1997-1999 to 376 million tonnes by 2030, and demand from a growing world population is seen rising further beyond that. Hanna Tuomisto, who conducted a study into the relative environmental impacts of various types 24 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

of meat, believes that the lab-grown stuff has by far the least impact on the environment. Her analysis, found that growing our favourite meats in-vitro would use 35 to 60 per cent less energy, emit 80 to 95 per cent less greenhouse gases and use around 98 per cent less land than conventionally produced animal meat. The rising prevalence of food allergies across the world has increased the need to improve screening for allergens. Upon consumption of contaminated food, the allergens enter the bloodstream, eliciting the body’s immune response, which can cause a variety of reactions, ranging from mild rash and nausea to anaphalaxis or severe allergic reactions. AB SCIEX, a global leader in life science analytical technologies, recently introduced a solution in the form of the world’s first commercially available and verified mass spectrometry-based method for detecting and measuring allergens in baked food products. Verified in a multi-lab collaborative study to meet food industry requirements, the AB SCIEX Allergen iMethod Application is designed for food testing laboratories to determine the presence of egg and milk

allergens in baked goods. Prior to the availability of this, food testing labs were limited by other technologies and methodologies, including Real-time PCR as well as commonly used ELISA assays, which are plagued with frequent false-positive or false-negative results while also failing to deliver truly quantitative results. As an advancement over these other approaches, LC/MS/MS not only directly detects the allergenic proteins from multiple types of allergens simultaneously but also provides highly reliable and specific quantitation. Innovations like this promise to have a truly substantial impact on the efficiency and success of a restaurant’s kitchen and ultimately the success of the restaurant itself, and help restaurant operators reduce costs while boosting profitability. As the industry recovers from tough economic times, these products have the potential to make a difference in commercial kitchens across the globe. And the ultimate result: foodservice operators and restaurants delivering better customer service and the highest quality products to their customers.

Waves of Change aquaculture


Aquaculture in the Sultanate of Oman is still at early stages of development, both in terms of basic or applied research and private sector growth. However, much has been done in this regard over the past few years‌




he Government in collaboration with FAO developed a national strategy for aquaculture development in the year 2007 and since 1997 the Ministry of Fisheries has been engaged in research projects on fish and shellfish culture. These included the investigations on abalone hatchery, mussel and oyster culture, shrimp farming and pilot trials on cage and pond culture of finfish. In addition site selection and feed development projects have been successfully completed. At present, three funded programs are ongoing which include: Abalone aquaculture, aimed at developing novel hatchery technologies and examining the potential of enhancing the natural fishery; and Seacucumber aquaculture which investigates the feasibility of artificially producing the seeds and the farming of various species of holothurians while also considering the potential for fishery enhancement and commercial aquaculture production. Experience gained from Ministry-funded projects and subsequent technology transfer has stimulated entrepreneurial interest in commercial aquaculture ventures. An outcome of this extension exercise has been the establishment of two private aquaculture companies which concentrated on shrimp and finfish production respectively. The shrimp facility has recently completed its second successful harvest and has increased its production capacity with addition of another 100 ha of ponds. Saltwater intrusion along the coastal zone has stimulated interest in the production of tilapia by some smallscale producers. Aquaculture in Oman began in 1986 with a production trial of the giant tiger prawn conducted in a private farm in the AlSharqiyah South Region, Sur. However, this venture was halted prematurely by some technical difficulties. As a result, the Government became aware 28 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

of the sector’s need to improve the utilisation of the country’s natural fishery resources as means of livelihood hence, the establishment of the Aquaculture Laboratory at the Marine Sciences and Fisheries Centre (MSFC). In 1994, research work on broodstock maturation and seed production of the native abalone Haliotis mariae, locally known as “a’sufailah”, was initiated at the Mirbat Aquaculture Facility in Dhofar. One important study conducted by Aquaculture Laboratory was the identification of sites suitable for aquaculture development which is crucial to the success of commercial aqua-ventures. The Laboratory also conducted a series of experimental trials that dealt with the hatchery and culture of two indigenous shrimp species. As the outcomes of these research activities were encouraging, two privately operated commercial cage farms belonging to the Quriyat Aquaculture Company were established. The government gives priority to species for aquaculture that are endemic to Omani waters. However, exotic species with high aquaculture potentials are strictly screened for consideration. Current research on the breeding and seed production of grouper Cephalopholis hemistiktos, goldlined seabream Rhabdisargus sarba, sea cucumber Holothuria scabra and the Omani abalone Haliotis mariae, carries the objectives of developing the technology and sharing knowledge on the controlled propagation of these four indigenous species. Amongst the species commercially farmed in Oman were introduced species, namely the gilthead seabream and the European seabass. Gilthead seabream was the subject of research by the aquaculture laboratory and proved to be economically viable for marine cage farming. The European seabass and thin lip grey mullet (Liza ramada) however, were introduced by

the Quriyat Aquaculture Company in 2001. These species were farmed in response to their importance and value on the export market. With assistance from the Government, the company also began to farm two local endemic species, the yellowfin seabream and orangespotted grouper which were imported from private hatcheries in Kuwait. Experimental trials on the hatchery and grow-out farming of shrimps Penaeus indicus andP. semisulcatus have been conducted with so much promising results. For freshwater aquaculture, the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) is now popularly farmed in many areas in Oman. This is in response to a high demand mainly from expatriates living in the country. The tilapia fry were imported from Egypt and Thailand. Small-scale Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) farming is now a widespread activity in different areas of Oman. The majority of the production is consumed locally and valued about 3 USD per Kg in local market. There exist a number of species of finfish that are of interest from food and non-food perspectives. Fish of commercial merit include breams and basses, groupers and cobia, as well as mullet, rabbitfishes and others that are indigenous to Omani waters. Hatchery technologies for many of these species, and or their close relatives, already exist, although in some instances considerable improvements in larval survival are required (e.g., various grouper and cobia). Several ornamental species are of high value and this is especially the case for Omani clownfish, various species of butterfly and angel fish, as well as seahorses. Crustaceans of relevance include the Indian white shrimp and potentially certain species of crab and the indigenous species of edible lobster including the slipper lobster. There may be also one or two species of highly coloured ornamental reef shrimp but this remains an unknown. The native abalone Haliotis mariae, is the singularly most important molluscan of concern, DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 29


mainly due to its apparent scarcity and social and commercial importance. Nevertheless, other species, such as the pearl oyster, mussel and clams may also offer potential for cultivation. Sea cucumbers, sea urchins and perhaps Nereid and lug worms represent other invertebrates that may have latent food and biomedical promise. Freshwater species include the giant river prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, which can be polycultured with tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and common carps Cyprinus carpio. The shrimp farm owned by Bentoot Seafood Products is located in the AlWusta region in the Wilyat Mahout. The Bentoot shrimp farm is presently the only operational facility in the country. The targeted species for culture is the white shrimp Penaeus indicus. The site used by the farm, which has an area of 252,000 sq. m., was rented from the Government and the first harvest was 30 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

hauled during the last quarter of 2007. The second harvest was taken in October 2008. The company is presently in the process of expansion which is expected to continue through to 2013. Their current production is between 100 and 150t shrimp per year. The operation also possesses its own hatchery to the east of the facility proper, using an area of approximately 10,000 sq. m. There are eight levee-based one hectare earthen ponds and four ponds of approximately two hectare surface area. The Quriyat Aquaculture Company is the only privately owned company operating cage culture in the country. It has two cage sites located in the Muscat area, one of 2400 sq. m. and the other 3500 sq. m. The cages are made of high density polyethylene (HDPE). Sea breams are the main species being cultured. Integrated farming systems: The freshwater culture of Nile tilapia

(Oreochromis niloticus) is practiced in various areas in Oman, in particular in the northern part of the country. This type of aquaculture is carried out in small farms where high levels of saline groundwater prevent or reduce normal agriculture activities. The tilapia was originally introduced by the Ministry of Health to control mosquitoes. As a result of the adaptability of this species to the environment their numbers increased and local people began to rear tilapia on their farms. There is only one agricultural farm, located in the north of Oman, which produces Nile tilapia on a commercial-scale. Irrigation water is used in the production process. The farm has four concrete ponds each with a volume of 140 m3. Commercial fish production in Oman began in 2003. Total production increased from 352 tonnes in 2003 to 514 tonnes in 2004, with the production of gilthead seabream representing

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89 per cent of the total. In 2004, aquaculture production was valued at USD2.5 million compared to USD1.5 million in 2003. The gilthead seabream represented about 82 percent of the total production value. The majority of aquaculture production during 2003 and 2004 was exported as whole fish products to the United Arab Emirates with only very minor quantities having been consumed on the domestic market. There were two reasons for this, firstly the relatively high price of aquaculture products and secondly, as a result of the local customer preference in Oman, as it was fresh caught marine fish. The 2004 price of exported gilthead seabream was 4.5 USD/kg, while for European seabass was 5 USD/kg. Production from the tuna fattening project was exported directly to Japan. Tuna are headed and gutted prior to being export. Strict quality procedures are applied to the harvesting and packaging process. Exported tuna fetched a price of around 20 USD/kg, while tilapia fetches about 2.57 USD/ kg on the domestic market. Marketing of cultured white shrimp is wide- spread in Oman and other Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. Currently, the annual production reaches 100 tonnes. The local price of cultured shrimp may fetch seven to nine USD. The quantity and value of aquaculture production is still small compared to the contribution from capture fisheries. However, contribution from aquaculture towards the national economy is seen to increase in the nearest future as the sector progresses. Small-scale aquaculture production also contributes in terms of providing livelihood and income for local communities. Aquaculture Center: This recently established Centre is responsible for conducting scientific research dealing with all aspects of marine and freshwater aquaculture. The Centre also provides


scientific and technical advice to the General Directorate of Fisheries in Oman on aquaculture and related topics. Aquaculture Development Department: This office was established in 2000 within the General Directorate of Fisheries Development following an increase in the level of interest, as well as in the number of applications, received from the private sector regarding investment in aquaculture. Investment proposals are received by the Department and then forwarded to the Aquaculture Laboratory for technical evaluation. Fish Quality Control Centre: The Centre was established in 1998 to ensure the quality of exported fish. The Centre has a department responsible for ensuring the quality of fish products. A second department is responsible for ensuring that companies comply with existing hygienic and quality assurance norms and regulations including the application of an appropriate HACCP system. Companies wishing to invest in aquaculture are required to obtain a quality control number from the Centre after meeting the conditions outlined in its quality regulations. Aquaculture Committee: This Committee is responsible for the evaluation of applications received from the private sector, it is chaired by the Director General of Fisheries and is composed of representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment and Water Resources, the Ministry of Housing, Electricity and Water, the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications and the Oman Chamber for Commerce and Trade. Other areas of responsibility include the determination of appropriate sites for each application and monitoring the development of the projects. The National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development

in Oman has also been prepared and published in 2007 by the Aquaculture Centre for the development of the aquaculture sector. The Plan covers areas such as legislation, environmental and disease monitoring, and best practice in sustainable management and development. The Plan furthermore provides guidelines for engaging relevant Government authorities and private sector in the management of the sector. The main objectives of the Plan are to: Promote orderly development of a viable and professionally run aquaculture industry; Streamline the approval process of aquaculture investment applications; Promote environmental sustainable aquaculture; Ensure proper water utilization and control environmental contamination; Control the introduction and escapees of introduced aquatic species; and control the introduction of pathogens and monitor disease outbreaks. Sustainable aquaculture in Oman can be achieved through environmentally and socially responsible utilisation of the country’s natural resources through the cooperation of the private sector. The newly published Code of best practice for the aquaculture sector is seen as an important step forward. The code sets the guidelines on site and species selection, business planning as well as proper farm management. It also serves as the link to the existing government regulations in order to ensure proper interaction with the environment. The Government in fact recognises the importance of an environmental monitoring programme which includes surveillance, monitoring and reporting systems on aquaculture activities. More applied research in various areas of aquaculture is still required in order to promote the development of the sector.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

good manufacturing practices


In Safe


Quality approach to manufacturing, enabling companies to minimize or eliminate instances of contamination, mixups, and errors which in turn, protects the consumer from purchasing a product which is not effective or even dangerous


ood Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are two tools for a foos processing facility that help for the production of high quality and safe products. The programmes established for GMP’s and SOP’s will provide the basis for other programs the help to assure the level of product quality such as standards for ISO 9000 and for product safety in the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. Many companies like to view these systems as a pyramid with the GMP’s and SOP’s supporting the more advanced program of HACCP and all three programs being important for the ISO 9000 system. The general principles of plant design and construction is necessary to assure sanitary conditions are given in the plant and grounds section of this subpart. Adequate lighting and ventilation are


good manufacturing practices

required under this subpart. The sanitary operations section establishes general maintenance requirements and provides specific requirements regarding the storage and use of cleaning and sanitizing agents and other toxic substances. Pest control and the storage and handling of cleaned equipment and utensils are also addressed. In the sanitary facilities and controls section minimum requirements are established for: water supply, plumbing, sewage disposal, toilet facilities, hand-washing facilities and rubbish and offal disposal. Protection against contamination of food with lubricants, fuel, metal fragments, contaminated water and other contaminants must be provided. Instrumentation used to control critical parameters like pH, temperature and


water activity must be accurate and adequately maintained. GMPs describe the methods, equipment, facilities, and controls for producing processed food. As the minimum sanitary and processing requirements for producing safe and wholesome food, they are an important part of regulatory control over the safety of the nation’s food supply. GMPs also serve as one basis for FDA inspections. The current GMPs are the result of an extended rulemaking process that spanned decades. The food industry has undergone considerable change in the almost 20 years since the food CGMPs were revised. Ready-to-eat foods now represent a larger portion of people’s diet. Ready-to-eat fresh produce salads are a popular replacement for salads prepared

in the home. Refrigerated foods and heat-and-serve foods are more popular than ever before. Today, consumers are more likely to purchase foods that need little or no preparation or cooking before consumption. This means that if these foods are contaminated with harmful microorganisms, there may not be a consumer preparation step that will reduce or eliminate the hazard. Therefore, greater attention must be paid to the importance of controlling foodborne pathogens during the manufacturing and holding of foods, and for ready-to-eat foods in particular. What you as a business should do: You can develop your own procedures based on the principles of HACCP. You must keep your premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition; And

the layout, design, construction, site and size of your premises must allow adequate maintenance, cleaning and/ or disinfection; avoid or minimise airborne contamination (i.e. contamination carried in the air); provide enough working space for you to carry out all, tasks hygienically; protect against the build-up of dirt, contact with toxic materials, shedding of particles into food and forming of condensation or mould on surfaces; allow good food hygiene practices, including protection; provide, where necessary, suitable conditions for handling and storing food while keeping it at appropriate temperatures. Rooms where food is prepared, treated or processed do not include dining rooms and the design and layout of the room must allow good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination between and during tasks. Floor surfaces must be maintained in a sound condition and be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect. This means that floor surfaces need to be made of materials that are impervious, nonabsorbent, washable and non-toxic, Wall surfaces must be maintained in a sound condition and be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect. This means that wall surfaces need to be made of materials that are impervious (i.e. do not allow fluid to pass through), non-absorbent, washable and non-toxic, and must be smooth up to a height appropriate for the work you do. Ceilings and overhead fixtures must be constructed and finished in a way that prevents dirt from building up and reduces condensation, the growth of undesirable mould and the shedding of particles. Windows and other openings must be constructed to prevent dirt from building up. Windows and other openings that can be opened onto the outside must be fitted, where necessary, with insect-proof screens that can be easily removed for

cleaning. Doors must be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect. This means that the surface of doors needs to be smooth and non-absorbent. Vehicles and/or containers used to transport food must be kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition, to protect food from contamination. Where necessary, they must be designed and constructed to allow adequate cleaning and/or disinfection. Items used to hold food (e.g. boxes) in vehicles and/or containers must not be used for transporting anything other than food where this may cause contamination. Where vehicles and/or containers are used for transporting anything other than food, or for transporting different types of food at the same time, you must separate products effectively, where necessary. Where vehicles have been used for transporting anything other than food or for transporting different foods, must be cleaned effectively between loads to

avoid the risk of contamination. Food waste must be removed from rooms where food is present as quickly as possible, to avoid them building up. You must put food waste and other rubbish in containers that can be closed, and these containers must be of appropriate construction, kept in sound condition, be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect. You must have adequate facilities for storing and disposing of food waste and other rubbish. You must get rid of all waste in a hygienic and environmentally friendly way, The waste must not be a direct or indirect source of contamination. Good food hygiene is essential for you to make or sell food that is safe to eat. So even though there might not be a specific legal requirement, it is still very important for you and your staff to understand what good food hygiene is and to follow advice. DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 37




Selecting the right kind of tableware might play a bigger role in setting the mood for your restaurant more than you thought was actually important


he glassware and stemware you choose is one of the key components of offering that delivers a strong message to diners about how serious you are about the quality of the food and beverages you’re serving. While it might not break an experience for your customers, it sure can help to make it. Using quality tableware creates an impression for the diner of a high level of service at the same time delivering style and good looks. Technology and the advent of new designs are making it more viable for foodservice operators across the spectrum to offer lovely tableware whether they operate a fine diner or a local café. Glassware Many venues these days are more aware of the role glassware plays in improving their customers’ experience. Glassware can improve the overall presentation for both the venue itself as well as the presentation of the beverage and the perceived quality and value of the 38 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

beverage they are served. Operators are realising they can still get longevity out of a glass by choosing products that incorporate the new technology.

to the most frequent forms of breakage in the hospitality industry including washing, twisting, and maintains its strength over time.

There is a growing demand for more premium glassware. People recognise quality in their hospitality products when they go to restaurants and they are using quality glassware at home, and appreciate its effect on beveragesand so they also expect the same when they go out. And glassware is so tactile, people really notice it.

Plastics One of the other major focuses for drinkware manufacturers is the development of a wider range of unbreakable drinkware with a premium look and feel. In some instances there are bigger requirements for toughened glass and polycarbonate drinkware and when using polycarbonate drinkware consumers want a premium quality product that presents as similar to glass as possible.

One of the exciting developments in commercial glassware is the continuing emphasis by glass manufacturers on new technology, as they continue to make stemware designed for the rough and tumble of the hospitality industry that’s more robust and resistant to breakages and chips. Technology enhances both the durability and also the presentation of stemware. Xlasting treatment is an innovation created by Bormioli Rocco to protect and strengthen glass stems that means the stemware is more resistant

Trends in tableware are influenced by fashionable foods and the way in which we eat them. Gone are the days when ‘proper’ dining meant dusting off the best china and serving up on a full dinner set. Think of jewel-like nigiri or seaweed-wrapped California rolls served on a round dish – somehow not right? Graphic foods like these look best lined up in regimented rows on square



plates. Tables of chic eateries everywhere have increased the popularity of simple white serving ware in kitchens. A favourite with the majority of chefs and restaurants, a plain white plate can provide a ‘frame’ for food, transforming even the most basic beans on toast into a culinary delight, while still proving the perfect foil for more adventurous dinner party dishes. The resulting tableware is both glamorous and functional. Some trends in tableware include: Eco green: The push for environmental awareness is reflected with shades of green from electric jades to subdued olives. Look for leaves and other foliage forming bright, attractive patterns. Orange and Yellows: Fun and vibrant these statement colours are making a big impression everywhere. When used in 40 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

interiors these hues stand out against subdued backgrounds and add warmth and drama to any living situation. Gothic Glam: A return to old school Hollywood glamour, with a darker twist. Materials play a big part of this style in fashion with lace, sequins, pearls and patent leather paired with gold metallics. On the table, black is here to stay and it’s more dramatic than ever. Ethnic Brights: Vibrant ethnic prints are raising their profile using this season’s oranges and yellows. Native American patterns using feathers and coloured leather as well as African motifs and Asian batiks make a great look for interiors. Whimsical Graphics: Quirky, hand drawn patterns are making their way on to more surfaces. Originally seen in illustration

and paper goods, their popularity in blogs and hand made products are bringing these playful patterns into the mainstream. Eccentric and abstract, they can add humour and interest to the table Linens set the stage for your diners’ meal. By mixing and matching your linens to create different looks, you can “dress” your table to fit any mood or season. Have fun experimenting with different colours and combinations of table linens. Don’t be afraid to mix patterned dinnerware with patterned, floral or striped linens. Your entire table will come alive with a whole new personality. Vera Wang, Kate Spade, Missoni, Calvin Klein, Zandra Rhodes and Versace are not only some of the biggest names in fashion, but also in tableware. The great thing about designer tableware? It’s more affordable than clothing and will last you

a lifetime! Following in the footsteps of fashion’s biggest names are food’s biggest names. Jamie Oliver, Tyler Florence, Nigella Lawson, and now Gordon Ramsay all have their own lines of signature tableware. Celevrity chefs partnering with companies like Royal Doulton is truly one of a kind and they are the obvious choice to design pieces that work beautifully with food. Square plates, teardrop olive dishes, daisy-shaped dessert plates – anything that is not traditional is hip. These items will look ultra-fresh on any table. If you are worried about different-shaped items being too trendy, register for just a few smaller ones. Crisp, clean and fuss-free, white tableware is timeless. White can be dressed up, or dressed down, and basically styled any way. Remember, designs that are timeless will never lose its splendour. DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 41



A Green Issue The food service industry is buzzing with the idea of “going green.” As the earth’s resources are strained and rising costs continue to squeeze profits, implementing environmentally friendly practices has become a responsible and smart business strategy


ven if the environment were not an issue, going green would still save you a lot of money on utilities in the long run. Lower energy bills, An upgrade to energyefficient equipment can almost halve your energy usage; Lower water bills, Taking steps to conserve water can save you a surprising amount of money on your next utility bill, and water prices could soon begin inflating as rapidly as energy costs; Studies also show that using energy-efficient equipment and green cleaning supplies improves worker productivity by reducing heat levels and the presence of hazardous chemicals.

Estimates show that the commercial food service sector spends USD 10 billion a year on energy, 80 per cent of which is wasted due to inefficient equipment. With escalating energy costs, it is necessary to make energy saving changes now before profit margins disappear completely. Most commercial kitchen equipment lasts for 10 to 15 years. Over this time frame, any cost difference between energyefficient and standard models (if there is a difference) will quickly be offset by energy savings. And any energy savings beyond the initial payback can add up to a lot of money when compiled for a decade or more.

Going green sells. Manufacturers and growers all over are realizing this fact and are jumping on the bandwagon. While a number of companies are actually greening-up their acts, an unfortunate majority are simply changing their advertising and making false green claims to improve sales. Beyond green equipment, bio-plastics, green cleaners and bleach-free paper are the products making the biggest splash in the food service sector. As with any new green product, the majority are actually ‘greenwashed’. But there are some easy methods of uncovering whether or not the product is green. Words like ‘Completely Biodegradable’ and ‘100 per cent Compostable’ are used often when referring to new bio-plastics. They sound eco-friendly, but without proof, there is no way of knowing whether the claims are true. BPI Certification: The Biodegradable Products Institute awards certification to any products that have been tested in an approved facility and are compliant with ASTM standards D6400 and D6868. If you see this logo on a product, this is definitely a good purchase. ASTM Standards: The American Society for Testing and Materials standards D6400 and D6868 set specific conditions for bio-based products. They have to DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 43


biodegrade a certain amount within 180 days or less, leaving behind no toxic materials. If a product is labelled as compliant with one of these two ASTM standards, it is probably a good purchase. Time on Biodegredation: This specification goes back to the ASTM standards just mentioned. If the manufacturer advertises a product as biodegrading in x amount of days, then you can be confident in buying the product. Most bio-plastics will only meet the ASTM qualification on biodegrading under commercial composting conditions. Green Seal Certification: Products bearing the Green Seal have been third-party tested in accordance with international standards for eco-preferred products. Several commercial cleaners are on the list of Green Seal certified goods. Beyond buying paper containing 100 per cent recycled content, the only other certification you need to look for when seeking eco-friendly paper is the TCF seal. One of the hardest certifications to achieve, the Totally Chlorine Free seal on paper products means that no chlorine or harmful chemical compounds were used during the entire paper-making process. Many paper products tout being whitened using a chlorine free bleaching process. But without the TCF seal, you can be certain that the manufacturer is using chlorine based or harmful chemicals elsewhere when making paper. As the name suggests, greenwashing is just a way to hide a product’s non-green practices. Simply researching a product or the manufacturer will uncover a product’s greenness. Look at the product’s entire life cycle. The majority of greenwashed products tout one eco-friendly feature while ignoring the harmful aspects of the rest of the production cycle. 44 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

fine dining

Fine dining at its best Certain restaurants may please the palate but don’t tug on our emotions. The selections we have gathered here have that certain je ne se quoi that leave a lasting impression on diners. the most exclusive and simply the best…

Noma: Run by René Redzepi in Copenhagen, Denmark, Noma ranked No. 1 in S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants (2010 as well as 2011) by Restaurant magazine. Well-known for its imaginative cuisine, the restaurant aims to bring to the world, Nordic gourmet cuisine. Noma is more than just food, it’s an imaginative journey deeply rooted in its heritage. The name is an acronym of the two Danish words ‘nordisk’ (Nordic) and ‘mad’ (food), and the restaurant is known for its reinvention and interpretation of the Nordic Cuisine. (Image courtesy: Ditte Isager)


Chez Dominique: Chez Dominique, run by chef Hans Välimäki, offers diners a combination of Nordic and French cuisine. Located in Helsinki, Finland, the cuisine has been created with a strong focus on flavours and ingenuity and with a fine balance between classic and experimental. The food has French and Finnish influences and the most popular items on the menu are four, six and nine course surprise menus.

Mugharitz: Set in the quiet premises of San Sebastián, Spain, this gem of a restaurant with its artistic cuisine is run by Andoni Luis Aduriz. At Mugharitz, the science of food is taken to a whole new level. It is said that Andoni dedicated two whole years studying about the chemistry behind coagulation just in order to make the perfect poached egg. What else can you expect other than the best from his kitchen?

Hof van Cleve: Hof van Cleve is situated in rural Kruishoutem, Belgium. Peter Goosens, the chef (and genius) behind the restaurant says his inspiration comes from his surroundings. It is that the décor, food as well as the service here make for a dining experience like never before!

Arzak: This award-winning restaurant is again, from San Sebastián, Spain and is known world over for its New Basque cuisine. The father and daughter duo that run the establishment – Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena – have been creating dishes are best described as innovative, as they recreate signature Basque dishes with a modern twist.

Osteria Francescana: Osteria Francescana is a two Michelin star restaurant owned and run by chef Massimo Bottura in Modena, Italy. The restaurant was voted 4th best in the world by Restaurant magazine in 2011 and is rated with 3 stars by the Michelin Red Guide and holds the first position on the authoritative Italian food guide ‘l’Espresso - Ristoranti d’Italia’ with a score of 19,75/20.



Balancing Act It has been found that nutrition is a top trend this year, with several healthful-food trends — such as low-fat dishes, whole-grain bread and side fruit —ranking among the top 20 trends for the year


any operators today are offering diners a choice when it comes to portion size and calorie count. Applebee’s offers menu items that are “Unbelievably Great Tasting and Under 550 Calories,” as well as Weight Watchers-endorsed dishes. Texas-based T.G.I. Friday’s features smaller portions for 50 per cent less than the cost of a regular entrée. Wendy’s allows customers to substitute a side salad, baked potato, Caesar side salad without dressing, small chilli or Mandarin oranges for fries. All this primarily spearheading alongside increasing consumer awareness when it comes to food choices. Research shows that 73 per cent of adults say they try to eat healthier when dining at restaurants than they did two years ago. Some operators are not only serving nutritious foods but also dishing out information to help consumers live more healthfully. Darden Restaurants recently became the first restaurant company to join the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, and several of its concepts put nutritional content of their menus at the fingertips of guests looking to make informed decisions about the food they eat. Also, nearly two-thirds of U.S. quickservice operators say they offer more healthful choices for children than they did two years ago. In the fullservice segment, about half of family-dining operators in the United States report offering more healthful choices for children than they did two years ago; two out of five casual-dining and a third of fine-dining operators report the same. Here are some examples of how restaurateurs around the globe are answering consumers’ demand for more healthful food options.


Helping Consumers Find Healthy Options: Consumers who want to eat healthfully need dining information that is easy to access no matter where they are. With, nutrition information is only a click away. The National Restaurant Association is a founding partner of, which was launched in 2007 with 30,000 participating restaurant locations. Currently more than 70,000 restaurant locations have joined the program to offer a selection of healthy dining menu options. Providing Nutrition Information to Customers: The National Restaurant Association strongly supported the nutrition information provision that became law earlier this year. The Association worked in conjunction with several of its chain members for more than two years groups to come to this historic agreement establishing the national menu labelling standard. In the end, the provision had support from more than 77 health organizations. Developing Tools for Good Information: Nutrition-analysis tools help members plan and enhance their menus. Because different types of restaurants have unique needs when it comes to nutrition analysis of menu items, the Association partnered with three providers that offer distinct forms of analysis. MenuCalc, a FoodCALC® product, is web-based recipe nutrition-analysis software exclusively designed for restaurant operators providing easy-to-use, low-cost options based on individual needs. Healthy Dining offers a team of masters-level nutrition professionals, registered dietitians and a doctoral level researcher to provide nutrition consultation and analysis services.


vacation rentals



Are vacation rentals the next big thing? due to the recent economic downfall guests are searching for alternative accommodation products for their leisure travel



vacation rentals


acation rentals are capitalising on this trend and finding ways to reinvent their offer and look for new online distribution channels. Firstly, there are now important distribution sites like Homeaway to sell their units. Secondly, vacation rental owners and managers finally understood that having their own website and a reliable ecommerce system with social marketing tools can help them grow their business. These two aspects, coupled with consumers’ willingness to accept lower levels of service, are now turning vacation rentals into real alternatives to hotels for leisure travellers. But what aspects of the environment are influencing the shift to vacation rentals? Guest search is intensifying Industry studies show that the overwhelming majority of travellers (up to 80 per cent) select their accommodation through the Internet and over 50 per cent end up booking online. In addition, online search is intensifying and consumers are searching tens of sites for experiences outside the “normal” hotel before booking. New accommodation products are emerging with an experience and budget orientation; vacation rentals, design hostels and couch surfing are now all valid accommodation alternatives for leisure travelers. Specialised distribution networks are being established Searching for and booking vacation rentals online has been difficult to date. Mostly, vacation rentals have been rented out via intermediaries and word-ofmouth. But, since HomeAway acquired VRBO in 2006, the vacation rental online distribution business has grown very rapidly as an alternative to traditional mediation agent. has been the unifying force that has taken a highly fragmented and localised business


and made it easy for consumers to search for vacation rentals on a global scale. This rapid adoption of distribution sites is similar to the adoption of online travel agents like Expedia as a preferred tool to search for and book hotels in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and is the foundation of establishing e-commerce and distribution networks for vacation rentals. Professional website design and high quality pictures are affordable A successful online business starts with a website that transmits quality, professionalism and credibility through professional design and good pictures. With today’s technology it is extremely easy for vacation rentals to have a professional website that: Communicates their property’s unique look and experience to web visitors; Is quick and easy to setup, avoiding long and complex web design “projects”; Can be kept updated without external involvement; Provides a pay-as-you-go model, so that upfront investment is minimized. When setting up a website, images are paramount, as they are the second factor right behind pricing in terms of influencing the choice of property to stay in. With the proliferation of digital cameras, it is now extremely easy even for amateur photographers to create good pictures that provide renters with the experience at the property. E-commerce solutions are readily available 82 per cent of hotel guests prefer to book directly at the website of the property if they can get a good price and a trustworthy experience. While vacation rentals are not experiencing this level of direct business yet, industry studies show that direct rental business is increasing at good pace, and it is expected that the same behavior as for hotels will apply.

If you tie these results with the rate of growth of online bookings in 2009/10, then now is the perfect time for vacation rentals to capitalize on the online opportunity. A powerful ecommerce offer enables properties to maintain good levels of occupancy rates and decrease distribution costs. Social engagement is the new word-of-mouth The use of social media like Facebook and Twitter has changed the way people communicate, forever. Word-of-mouth is now amplified by millions. This creates the perfect opportunity for vacation rentals to overcome the SNAD (significantly not as described) curse, as positive reviews of a property distributed by a network of friends can generate immediate referral business. Satisfied customers will always provide and share good reviews and comments about their stay. Hence, no matter the size of the property it is very important to have direct communication with guests in order to promote and sell their units and understand their needs. This will reflect on an increase in people that follow the property and create a snowball effect on the property’s brand. New technologies simplify this social interaction and provide the necessary information to create strategic viral marketing campaigns to increase market share. Vacation rentals are behaving like mini-hotels by looking for new online distribution channels, establishing their own websites, e-commerce systems and leveraging social media to overcome the SNAD (significantly not as described) curse, and create referral business. By adopting this strategy, vacation rentals are becoming mini-hotels that can compete for business and improve occupancy rates and profitability and weather difficult economic times. DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 53



Sourcing Challenge

When it comes to the proteins on foodservice menus these days the area of seafood seems to be one around which there are the most issues and challenges for chefs. How do I make sure the seafood I’m buying is sustainable? Is farmed fish the answer? Should I only use fresh or is frozen okay? Local or imported?


eafood experts say being thoughtful about the seafood you buy — and having a knowledgeable and hardworking seafood supplier who is committed to protecting as well as growing the seafood industry — is the key to responsibly sourcing your seafood and also offering your customers the best range of delicious fish. The rise of aquaculture and the industry’s reputation as some of the world leaders in the field has been one of the biggest revolutions in seafood in past years that has had a massive impact on foodservice menus and will continue to be an increasing source of seafood. Aquaculture has become bigger and bigger and companies have 54 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

become very good at farming seafood as close to nature as possible. The remarkable thing about farmed fish is that it is consistent and stable and moreover sustainable. Chef Colin Barker at Sydney’s Boathouse on BlackwattleBay restaurant sources a wide variety of seafood from different sources as part of his quest to offer diners the most interesting range he can. He uses a mixture of farmed fish intermingled with wild line caught fish with a keen emphasis on seasonality and the use of some of the under-utilised species one won’t always see on restaurant menus. They include several that are certified sus­tainable under the Marine Stewardship Council programme. “It’s



just good to see exactly what’s down there on the floor,” says Barker, whose restaurant is just across the bay from the markets. “Even if you’re not going there to purchase but just to see what’s available is great.” Barker says while he’s had a lifelong interest in fishing and seafood and is committed to doing what he can to preserve seafood stocks, when it comes to the sustainability issue he says he’s “not one to get caught up in the debate”. “I think a lot of it comes down to sensibility rather than sustainability and being thoughtful about sourcing your fish and finding out as much as you can,” he says. Barker says that while he uses MSC certified fish on his menu, and is keen to use it as much as possible, he needs to offer a wide range of seafood because of the na­ture of the restaurant. 56 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurants in London and Amsterdam use all certified sustainable seafood. So there are a few people doing it and there’s a lot of awareness about the certification. More and more there is a push for sustainable seafood starting to come from consumers. Seafood loving chef Richard Ptacnik always has a large variety of seafood on his menu. He says having a very knowledgeable supplier and also talking to other chefs who are fanatical about seafood is the way he ensures he’s sourcing the range and quality he needs, as well as being confident the seafood on his menu is sustainable. He uses a mixture of farmed and wild caught and some imported and frozen product. He changes his menu often and speaks several times a week to his suppli­ers about what’s available. “We always have a lot of seafood on the menu

especially as we are coming into summer when people really want something nice and light,” Ptacnik says. “We always have two fish mains, both filleted and deboned plus a whole fish special, and two entree seafood dishes and at least one, sometimes two, pastas dishes with seafood.” While most of his seafood is local, Ptacnik will use imported when he finds a good product. He uses Canadian scallops that he receives frozen which he says is a terrific product. Ptacnik says another reason for having good knowledge about your seafood and its provenance is the diner. “People are asking where the fish are coming from, and how they are fed and how they are treated,” says Ptacnik. “Being able to answer those questions is a big part of our business as well.”

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Going Global to Serve Local Falcon Trading LLC the premier wholesaler and distributor offers the widest range of exotic fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from all over the world to meet the needs of Oman and beyond


or 30 years, Falcon Trading LLC has specialised in wholesale and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Sultanate of Oman. Today, they are the key players in the market and their clientele include (but is not only limited to) all the major five-star hotels, hypermarkets, Ministries, The Diwan of Royal Court of Affairs, airport, ship chandlers, restaurants, households and the likes. Combining both local sourcing of seasonal fruits and vegetables with a comprehensive global network, Falcon Trading ensures a consistent supply of produce each day, throughout the year. Not only do they work round the clock to make sure that the produce is available at all times, but they also go the extra mile to ensure all their deliverables meet the highest possible standards. Falcon Trading takes immense

pride in its ability to tailor its offerings to the specific needs of each and every single client/chef and firmly believe in providing personalised, value-added service, where ever possible. The company is based out of the Mawaleh Central Fruits and Vegetables Market is connected to all their suppliers and distributors via a comprehensive network – sited with direct access to the motorway network, the ports and the airports and each channel ensuring that products remain fresh, sterile and fit for human consumption. Over the years the company has positioned itself with an impeccable track record, reliability of service and the guarantee of providing top quality goods at competitive prices. Staying true to this dictum, Falcon Trading is actively seeking out the ISO 22000 certification (which specifies requirements for a food

safety management system in order to ensure that food is safe at the time of human consumption); ISO 9001 as well as the Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification. Obtaining all three certification with respect to food safety standards will the first of its kind undertaken by any organisation in Oman or in the Middle East and is clear testament to the company’s commitment towards its clientele. The company also constantly strives to remain committed to being fair and ethical every step of the way with regard to vendors and suppliers and keeping this at the forefront, Flacon Trading is seeking to build upon its present-day success to take the market to its next stage of evolution.

Contact: Tel: 24539705, Mob: 99322996 E-mail: Website: DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 57

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Sharikah Fanniyah Omaniyah (MUSCAT) LLC

Spearheading Innovation

Sharikah Fanniyah Omaniyah (Muscat) LLC, one of the top most renowned and leading corporate brand in the Sultanate of Oman, specialises in design, manufacturing, sales, installation and service of commercial kitchen and laundry equipment Established in 1967, Sharikah Fanniyah Omaniyah (Muscat) LLC, popularly known as SFO, is the most renowned and leading corporate brand in the Sultanate of Oman. SFO is having the state of the art manufacturing setup for switch gear and controls manufacturing, stainless steel fabrication factory for commercial kitchen equipment. SFO also represents over 60 leading global brands in wide spectrum of business and services in Oman. These diverse activities and services of SFO make it as an integral part of life for everyone in Sultanate of Oman for more than 45 years. SFO is specialised in design, manufacturing, sales, installation, commissioning and maintenance of wide range of products and specialties. Principally, these are Complete Interiors solutions - from tiling to flooring, office furniture, storage and security solutions, home furniture, modular kitchens and appliances, Catering and laundry equipments, commercial air conditioning and refrigeration, Water treatment and bulk chemicals, Steam boilers, RO plants, Technical sales and service, Switch gear and controls and Stainless steel fabrication factory. SFO is having ISO 9001 certified and the state of art manufacturing facility for switch gear and controls and stainless steel fabrication, with the team of Engineers and technicians to deliver the high quality products and ensure the customer satisfaction. The ‘Qualifab’ brand from the house of SFO is the best quality stainless steel fabrication product brand in Oman. SFO is having the team of Professional 58 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

Managers, Sales Executives, Engineers and high skilled Technicians who work towards offering the choice of world class products, value and services to ensure the customer delight. Commercial Catering and Laundry Equipment Division : SFO is the pioneer in commercial catering and laundry equipment services in sultanate of Oman. Started the operations in 1967, the catering and laundry division has grown in strengths and always exceeding the customer satisfaction thru the world class designs, products and services to the customer. No wonders we are the first choice of the customers in sultanate of Oman for commercial catering and laundry equipment. We have a dedicated team of managers, engineers and highly skilled technicians for the complete solutions from design to installation for commercial catering and laundry customers. We also have the strong team for after sales service which gives the service back to our esteemed customers on 24x7 basis. We are proud to design, supply and install the biggest commercial kitchen setup for one of the Ministry projects in Sultanate of Oman. We have completed many of the prestigious projects in sultanate of Oman which includes the commercial kitchens for private institution, small and five start hotels and for government offices like Royal court affairs, Ministry of Defence, Petroleum Development Oman, Royal Air force of Oman, Mobile kitchen for Army, Air Force and Royal Flight to name few. We also specialize in Marine kitchen and

mobile kitchen design and installation. We are flexible and offer the complete tailor made solutions to our esteemed customers. SFO Catering and Laundry division represents the following brands: •

MKN, Germany

Williams Refrigeration, UK

Falcon, UK

Victor, UK

Ice-O-Matic , USA


BONGARD, Germany

Bravillor Bonamat, Netherland



Sofinor, France

Santos, France

Commercial Refrigeration and Air-conditioning SFO has been in the forefront for commercial refrigeration and air conditioning since 1967 and have unending list of successful installation and satisfied customers for years. Our success story of commercial refrigeration and air conditioning installations could be viewed throughout various locations in the sultanate of Oman. The installations include Palaces, Ministries, PDO offices, Defence, Hotels, Hospitals and many other commercial business centres.

Contact: Tel: 24704400 E-mail: Website:

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Salman Hotel & Restaurant Equipment co LLC

Promising Growth

Salman Hotel & Restaurant Equipment co LLC (SHARE) is a part of Salman Corporation – a leading household name with its retail chains like salmanstores, FotoMagic, Elegance and City Watch


HARE was established in 2009 with the objective of becoming a one point source for all hotels and restaurant professional needs in non-food segment. Over the past three years, SHARE has done some valued projects and is becoming a known name in kitchen equipments, cold rooms and tableware supplies. SHARE has state of the art showrooms in Mutrah and Salalah with a wide range of display facilitating customers to decide products for their kitchen and table from the various choices – most of them in stock. They represent some of the best brands in industry like Alpeninox by Electrolux Group, Dito Electrolux, Berto’s, Ozti, Unox ovens, Bendoni, Lavamac, Enofrigo, Mastro, Berjaya, Gourmet Display, Spring, Leela Baralee, Paderno – Sambonet, Blendtec – USA, Frucosol, Dynamic, Kingo and many more; Most of the items in stock and displayed at the showrooms.

Nabeel Abdul Munem Sulaiman, Director, Salman Corporation

Their strength is in being able to undertake 100 per cent turnkey projects with wide choice of products. Their strong technical support team are experienced and well trained by suppliers to undertake jobs of any size and magnitude.

operation appliances, cold rooms, bakery equipments, kitchen ventilation systems, fabricated items, buffet setups and counters, packing machineries, in addition to pots and pans, crockery and cutlery, service and housekeeping products, maintenance and repair works.

They also carry out supply and installations for walk in chillers, as per customised size by delivering best of the brands and top quality panel work. Furthermore, they also do supply and installation of kitchen equipments, laundry equipments,

Some of their represented brands are approved by the best food chains in the world and are a part of the many kitchens in the Sultanate. SHARE’s range of products is a benchmark for many consultants and catering companies and has become a part of

their specification sheets for their new projects. Their current client base includes major hotels and restaurants, catering and contracting companies, ministries and clubs, Royal Estates and is still growing. SHARE aims to grow their range of products in near future to deliver more products to the growing HORECA sector.

Contact Tel: 24796925 E-mail: Website: DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 59

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Kitchen & Laundry Equipment The product range of the company is very diverse and has over 4000 stylish, durable yet essential utility products of superior quality


rom a modest beginning in 1956 as a retailer of household items, Abdul Khalik Abdullah Habib Najwani & Partners LLC, has established itself as a pioneer in bringing sophisticated kitchen appliances to the catering, camping, and cleaning industries in Oman. Founded by Abdul Khalik Abdullah Najwani, the company is a survivor and a winner in its chosen field of business. Oman progressed, so also the company, catering to the needs of its industries. Gradually, the focus shifted to kitchen equipment from household objects. For decades, Abdul Khalik has been representing reputed brands from the major principals from the West and the USA. Among them, mention may be made of products from Rieber and Mastro of Germany; Aladdin, Hatco, Cambro, Greenfield of USA; Paderno, Olis, Desmon, Renzacci, MetalTechnica, Scotsman, Moretti-Forni, Cofrimell of Italy; KT from Finland; Sammic, Zummoval, ITV of Spain; Caplai, Santos, Robot-Coupe of France; Row and Sons, Burco, ETI of UK; Ist Serv, Zanuff of India; Paramount of Pakistan; ICEL of Portugal and others. While the company brings equipment from across the globe, Omani products also give fillip to company’s presence in the market in a big way. The product range is very diverse and has over 4000 stylish, durable yet essential utility products of superior quality. The company showroom, sprawling across 800 sq mt, is located in Darsait which is a “One Stop Shopping Centre” for chefs in the city. Whether for domestic or commercial kitchen, the showroom offers every requirement of kitchen – big or small. Today A.K.A.H. Najwani and Partners LLC, is in a position to deliver high-tech 60 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

Major Products Cooking ranges and without oven Combi steamers, covections & microwave ovens Fryers & fry-tops Bainmaries Hot cup-boards Front Cook – Varithek – air circulatory and cooking systems Hot buffet & cold buffet Bakery equipment & utensils Coolers, freezers, refrigerators Thermoports and food mobile systems product ranges to its customers within a short period of time. It is a competitive advantage for the company and gain for the customers. More so, because the after sales service that the company provides is mention-worthy. “The equipment that we supply are of high quality and importantly very hygienic. We take care in ensuring that the customer gets the best choice possible without compromising on the quality. Our equipment adhere to the HACCP regulations and the European standards for food hygiene. Moreover our showroom is

Trolleys, cart and kitchen wagons Bin, containers and canisters Cutlery & crockery Baskets & caddies Laundry equipment Mop buckets & housekeeping products Tents & tarpaulins Kitchen furniture Cold rooms

a market place for all kitchen and laundry needs from a small teaspoon to the large Varithek systems and from a laundry basket to the large dry-cleaners,” says Abdul Munim Najwani, Managing Director, Abdul Khalik Abdullah Habib Najwani & Partners LLC, with lot of self-assurance.

Tel: 24703392, 24797904, 24703590 E-mail: Website:

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Diversey Inc.

Sustainable solutions Diversey Inc brings the expertise of kitchen hygiene, personal care, floor/building care, fabric wash, food safety, food & beverage to the market


ounded in 1923 in Chicago, Diversey, Inc. is a leading global provider of cleaning and hygiene solutions to the institutional marketplace, serving customers in the lodging, food service, retail, health care, food and beverage sectors, as well as building service contractors worldwide. In 2002, Johnson Wax Professional acquired Diversey Lever and the combined company became JohnsonDiversey until March 2010, when the name was simplified to Diversey. With sales into more than 170 countries, JohnsonDiversey is a leading global provider of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions. It brings the expertise of kitchen hygiene, personal care, floor/building care, fabric wash, food safety, food & beverage to the market. Following are the product range of Diversey: • Suma Kitchen hygiene • Clax laundry • Taski floor and room care • Diverchick poultry bio-security • Deosan dairy • Dicolube track treatment

• I ts products, systems and expertise make food, drink facilities safer and more hygienic for consumers and for building occupants

• Diverflow CIP systems

• H  ealth, Safety & Environmental Responsibility

The company is committed to being our customers’ best partner in maintaining safe, healthy, high performing facilities.

• P  erformance & Operational Efficiency based on leading products, tools, training, service and professional advice

Solutions that Diversey provide: • J ohnsonDiversey Inc. is committed to a cleaner, healthier future

COMMITMENT TOWARDS HEALTHY FUTURE Diversey is committed towards providing total solutions in cleaning & hygiene areas to the food & beverage industry,

hospitality sector, healthcare industry and the retail sector. It also caters to the needs of building contractors and the overall construction industry worldwide. With presence in more than 170 countries worldwide, Diversey brand offers products and services to make food and drink consumption safer and more hygienic, testifying its commitment towards making its customers’ world healthier and better place to live in. Contact: 24477931, Mob: 99475025 E-mail: Website: DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 61

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Majan Continental Hotel

The Right Choice

Majan Continental Hotel offers guests exceptional accommodation facilities and is sure to make each stay a memorable one


hen you need a business partner in Oman, look no further than the Majan Continental Hotel. Whether you are in Muscat for business or pleasure, Majan Continental Hotel makes you feel at home all the time. Majan is a four star hotel and features 159 rooms and suites, a selection of restaurants, 24-hour room service, meeting and banquet facilities. Majan Continental Hotel will certainly be a preferred place for your clients. Location: Located in the heart of the city with just a 10-minute drive from the Muscat International Airport and walking distance from landmarks like the Grand Mosque, Lulu Hypermarket, Sultan Qaboos Sports Stadium etc. Lobby: Fully renovated in October 2009, this luxurious 4-Star Hotel offers stylish contemporary accommodation and modern facilities in the reception area, the banquet hall etc. The hotel’s stylish contemporary interiors and well equipped modern accommodation mirrors its state-of-the-art facilities. It also boasts free car parking facilities for more than 300 cars at any given time. Rooms: In each of our 159 spacious and stylish air-conditioned Deluxe, Executive and Suite rooms, every minute of your stay will be memorable with our home like comfort. Our modern facilities will facilitate your every wish. Offering a warm welcome, pleasant ambience and convenient facilities to make your stay a memorable one, The Majan Continental Hotel is an ideal place to stay for business or leisure travels while in the city of Muscat. Banquet Hall/Business. Lounge: Nesnas, our fully equipped 62 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

meeting and function room provides a stylish, elegant setting for your business meetings, conferences, conventions, banquets or special events. Relieve yourself of all your worries as we cater to all your needs by taking care of every minute detail. Health Club Facilities: The Majan Continental Hotel is exceptionally well equipped with Health Club options. The Majan Health Club offers fitness classes to suit all levels, along with an extensive gymnasium housing the very latest in cardio-vascular and resistance health technology and is equipped to accommodate the most demanding follower of fitness, with ample facilities and trained professionals. Our Health Club is supported by a massive swimming pool for adults and children.

Contact - Tel: +968 24592900 e-mail: Website:

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Desert Nights Camp, OMAN HOTEL

A Visual Delight

Enter a world of discovery, luxury and comfort at the Desert Nights Camp, Wahiba Sands…


estled among the dunes of Wahiba Sands, Desert Nights Camp is the ideal place to enjoy the beauty of Oman in style. Now, well established among the international tourism fraternity, the camp is the perfect way to escape the chaos of city life into the tranquillity of the desert. Desert Nights Camp celebrates the concept of affordable luxury wherein the pricing structure has been succinctly maintained to cater to both locals and expatriates. The Camp comprises 30 luxurious Bedouin style tents in Wahiba. Guests are provided with air-conditioned Bedouin-style tents comprising of a lounge, bedroom and ensuite bathroom. The lounge provides beautiful panoramic views of the desert and is great for cosy sit-outs. Take a camel safari, brave the sand dunes on a quad bike or simply sit back and gaze at the stars. Once the sun goes down, there’s a traditional majlis where you can unwind with friends and family, enjoy some dates and khawa while listening to some enchanting music. Later sit around the campfire and have a relaxed, traditional meal and play some board games until you’re ready to call it a night. Whatever you chose to do, we promise, you won’t be disappointed. The camp provides guests with the finest traditional fare. You can opt to dine under the stars and make the most of your desert experience or dine in luxury in air conditioned comfort. “The Camp is a small luxury concept,” says Althaf Mohammed Ali, CEO, Oman Hotels. “We are not a mass product and believe that people should be given their privacy and space to enjoy the real traditional Bedouin life.” Not only for families, the Camp is also an ideal place

for corporates to organise getaways, meetings, group building exercises and the likes. The Two Dunes Restaurant, is where the main meals are served. With a cosy ambience and unparallel service, this restaurant can seat around 68 people and is tastefully furnished with traditional Omani wooden furniture. The restaurant offers a wide range of cuisines including Indian, Chinese and Arabic. Special meals are also available on request. Use this opportunity to venture several kilometres into the pristine desert and take a moment to gaze at the endless vistas of red gold dunes. If you’re feeling more adventurous, then hire a quad bike and quench your thirst for adventure. Even if you’ve never driven a bike before, you can learn the ropes in a

matter of minutes. Experience the sheer exhilaration of riding up and down the ever shifting sands of the dunes and enjoy a crazy adrenaline rush. During the morning hours, guests can also enjoy fun a camel ride around the camp site. At the end of the day, when night has fallen, you and your family and indulge in some star gazing with a telescope, play Scrabble, Chess, Dart, Monopoly or watch movies from their exhaustive DVD collection. The women can get Henna applied on their hands and on special request, a local Bedouin band can provide entertainment for the evening, thus setting the ambience for a truly Arabian evening.

Contact: Tel: 92818388 E-mail: Web: www. DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 63

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Al Halabi Kitchen Equipment

Fresh Approach

Out of total range of Al Halabi products, 70 per cent are manufactured locally and 30 per cent are imported from Europe and Far East to meet the needs of Omani market


uess which company from Oman enjoys a pride of place in the Guinness Book of World Records? It is Al Halabi Kitchen Equipment from Muscat. As is clear from the name itself, Al Halabi, a manufacturer and importer of kitchen appliances, made its presence obvious in the Guinness Book for the largest shawarma (1850kg) it cooked on a shawarma grill, measuring 6m x 6m x 6m and thereby creating a worl record at the Dubai Festival, UAE, 2000. It is an indicator of technical capability and performance of Al Halabi Refrigeration and Steel, UAE. Established in Sharjah in 1970, the company from UAE expanded remarkably with opening up branches in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain and lastly in Oman in 2008 under the brand name of Al Halabi Kitchen Equipment. Product Portfolio Al Halabi brings to Oman 30 years’ experience of its parent company in the manufacturing and marketing of industrial kitchen equipment, which plays a leading role in the food service industry and hospitality sector in UAE. Out of total range of Al Halabi products, 70 per cent are manufactured locally and 30 per cent are imported from Europe and Far East to meet the needs of Omani market. With 200 specialised manpower in the factory, Al Halabi manufactures a wide range of products: Cooking ovens of different types and sizes, Lebanese bread oven (automatic and semi-automatic), coffee shop counter displays, stainless


At present, Al Halabi has 7000 Al Halabi product line and carry exclusive distributorship of around 20 branded products of international repute. To keep up with international developments, Al Halabi has set up a new section for research and development that resulted in obtaining the ISO 9001. One of the main dealers for four and five-star hotels like InterContinental, Hilton, Ramada, Crystal, Damas, Al Maha. Al Halabi circle of clients includes restaurants like Chili’s, KFC, Muscat Pizza and Bread & Co.

Walid Soubra, Branch Manager, Al Halabi Kitchen Equipment

steel table and shelves unit, washing basins, kitchen cupboards of different shapes and sizes, falafel tables, chicken feather removers, and shawarma grill. Cooling storages manufactured by Al Halabi Factory are considered one of its premium products, freezer and chillers, coldrooms and customised worktop chillers and upright freezers. Apart from this, the imported products consist of ice maker, coffee machines, potato fryers, Brosted machines, meat and bones cutting machines, hot dog machines, sandwich toaster, hamburger grill, meat and vegetable cutters, dough mixer vertical and horizontal fridges for beverages and dairy products.

The palace project in Sohar, catering companies, tourist establishments, Oman sail club, Oman Dive Centre, Ministry of Defence, Aviation Club, Coffee Shops as TORQUE in Mitsubishi car showrooms, Mood Café, Colombian Aroma and many more. All its clients receive customised kitchen appliances from the house of Al Halabi. This is the core strength of the company. It can tailor any of its appliances to the requirements of its customers. Approved by the Ministry of Health for providing food safety appliances, Al Halabi has plans to open outlets in other Gulf countries. “The most important thing for the Oman market is that we need to save people’s time and money by giving them better service,” says Walid Soubra, Branch Manager, Al Halabi Kitchen Equipments.

Contact: Tel: 24614183 Website:

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Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC

Commercial Laundry Solutions MHD LLC’s commercial laundry department represents various international brands such as SpeedQueen, Girbau, Ghidini, Realstar, Firbimatic and Forenta.


HD LLC’s commercial laundry department offers complete solutions to its customers with a dedicated team to support detailed design engineering, estimation, supply, installation and commissioning, backed up by an effective after sales service capability. The department has a good track record with an array of major installations in Star hotel chains, industrial and commercial laundries, officers camps, labour camps, and small laundry and dry-cleaning units. The department represents various international brands such as SpeedQueen, Girbau, Ghidini, Realstar, Firbimatic, Forenta and so on.

medium laundries and Industrial Laundry Division for heavyduty laundries. From the outset, Girbau’s philosophy has always been its closeness to its customers. In 1989, it began a process of internationalisation which continues to advance. It currently has 11 commercial branches around the world, together with a distribution network and a technical assistance service in more than 90 countries.

Nearly 90 years ago, Ecolab began with a single product and a single employee, doing business in a single market. Now Ecolab is the global leader in hygiene cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection control products and services.

The department also represents Ecolab exclusively for Oman market under its product portfolio and offers customers the laundry, kitchen, stewarding and housekeeping cleaning hygiene chemicals. efficient, high quality solution. Alliance Laundry Systems spareparts At Alliance Laundry Systems, offers solutions to a worldwide customer base through the delivery of premium quality laundry products and parts. The corporate focus on putting the customer first drives our commercialquality product development strategy, marketing programs and technical support. Whether the buyer is a large-scale hotel looking for a Central laundry or commercial laundry or an on-premises laundry or a family in need of a washer and dryer for their residence, Alliance Laundry Systems is dedicated to providing the most

GIRBAU S.A. is a family company that has established itself as one of the main international groups in the manufacture of equipment for all types of laundries, regardless of size or activity sector. Four production centers in Spain and France specializes in different product lines covering all the processes in an industrial laundry facility. Also, Girbau has created two specialized divisions to deal with customer’s singularities -- Commercial Laundry Division for small and

Ecolab’s institutional business unit offers Cleaning and sanitizing products, programs and services for the foodservice, hospitality, healthcare, retail, building services industries, including ware washing, on-premise laundry, housekeeping, food safety products, specialty kitchen and laundry products. With over 3600 patents and 26000 associates worldwide Ecolab is truly a global service provider for all your cleaning and sanitation needs.

Contact - GSM 95828938 Tel: 24732479, 24732366 E-mail: DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 65

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services & trade co. llc

Timeless Elegance

Services & Trade Co. LLC (S&T) is one of the leading names, in the business of turnkey interior décor & furnishing, in the Middle East.


ith over 33 years of experience in the field of interior decoration, joinery and furniture manufacturing and a turnover of over 70 Million USD, S&T is committed to deliver high quality products, matching the highest industry standards using state of the art technology. In the recent years S&T has tie up with the Colombini Group to bring to Oman the best in modular kitchens. A company that can truly match the quality and standards of S&T, Colombini (established in 1965) represents the first manufacturing force in Italy in the production of children>s bedrooms and bedroom furniture. Located in the Republic of San Marino

with a total covered industrial structure in excess of 200,000 sq. m., Colombini’s products are distributed in Italy, Europe, North America, Far East, Africa and Middle East.

Rossana: Truly a high end range, the wealth and the variety of the elements available in Rossana makes this range of products a great system of kitchen designed by renowned Italian designers.

This tie up of S&T with Colombini is a synergetic one in the sense that, it combines the vast project based experience of S&T with that of Colombini’s well acclaimed international reputation as a manufacturer of Modular Kitchens. With wide range models and accessories, Colombini (www.colombinigroup. com) has to offer a lot for both the institutional & individual clients.

Febal: A world famous brand of modular kitchens known for their high-quality materials, sophisticated design, and extreme innovation, offering a wide range of products for the mid to-high end of the market. S&T has been working on many private residential villas with Febal.

Colombini has three ranges of kitchens namely, Rossana, Febal and Artec.

Artec: Being highly competitive in the commercial residential segment of kitchens, this range offers a balance between quality and price. Amongst the modular kitchens for the commercial residential projects, Artec kitchen are competitive and renowned for highly quality and designs; a dynamic and continuously updated product line; use of technologically advanced materials and a strong production time of eight days along with guaranteed delivery performance. S&T has been actively undertaking many prominent ventures in residential as well as commercial projects like multiple residential and mixed use developments.

To view the exquisite range of products, visit S&T’s exclusive kitchen showroom at Jawarat A’Shatti Complex next to Intercontinental Hotel, Muscat.

Plant in San Marino, spanning 200,000 sq. m


Contact Tel: 24604647/ 97200096 E-mail: Website:

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Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC

Time to make the right choice Projects & Building Material Division of MHD LLC, which deals with commercial kitchens and built-in kitchen furniture & allied appliances possesses some of the world renowned brands

production capacities hence reducing operation and maintenance costs.


ohsin Haider Darwish LLC has been successful in enriching people’s lives through retailing some of the best international brands for discerning customers in the Sultanate of Oman. The Projects & Building Material Division of MHD LLC deals with commercial kitchens and built-in kitchen furniture and allied appliances. The well-known brands are manufactured in state of the art plants in Europe and meet superior quality of standards in terms of durability, reliability and aesthetic solutions. MHD LLC’s commercial kitchen department offers a complete solution to its customers with dedicated team to support detailed design engineering, estimation, supply, installation and commissioning and effectively backed up with an after sales service capability. The department has a good track record with an array of major installations in star hotel chains, industrial cafeterias, chain of fast foods & restaurants, hospitals, aviation, prominent villas and residential complexes.

Invented the first convection over & The Only Self Cooking Centre in the world. With its ability to turn night into day as you many imagine arriving at your kitchen in the morning and finding the roasts already done with the touch of a button. This Self Cooking Centre works for you in the kitchen earning value for money in the most cost effective solutions with the most advanced technology and hygiene needs. The new Self Cooking Centre White Efficiency has been in the market since September 12, 2011.

The Smart Choice in Ice, Scotsman has been providing ice for the world since 1950 and pioneered the development of affordable, reliable ice-making machines. Half a century of research, innovation and customer service Scotsman is truly the largest manufacturer of ice maker in the world. Scotsman offers unique medium to high production capacities with total hygiene concept and low water content system and the bacterial protection for the models has ensured high

Invented the world’s first commercial pressure fryer. Founded in 1957 and remained the industry leader in category of pressure fryers, Henny Penny has expanded its product line with open fryers, rotisseries, heated merchandisers, warming cabinets and much more. Henny Penny has always been about developing new concepts, value-added services amd customised solutions for foodservice operators in every corner of the world. It’s about a global network which has the ability to delivery the highest standard of representation and service in the industry.

Cimbali has been producing espresso and cappuccino machines since 1912. The extraordinary passion for quality and a renowned talent for innovation led the company to become an ambassador of the espresso coffee culture in the world. Today as ever, Cimbali keeps focussing on technological innovation to satisfy local market demands. In fact, today’s machines are designed to prepare much more than traditional espresso and cappuccino. Cimbali equipment is able to deliver an excellent coffee experience wherever you are around the globe, from a small ristretto to a 20 fl oz steaming cappuccino.

Contact: Tel: 24793387 E-mail: Website: DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12 67

social media

ON THE WEB Social media sites have grown immensely in terms of usership and popularity and are replacing conventional forms of internet communication like email. What are the implications of social media on the hospitality industry? Here’s a look‌ 68 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12


social media


ocial media is, for the most part, user-generated content published on sites like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr. It’s not advertisement, and should not be measured or perceived in the same manner. A successful social media campaign is not sold out of a box, and it is not delivered using a clever sales tactic. It requires meaningful participation, authenticity, and real engagement. The goal of investment and participation in social media should be to open new channels of communication and foster lasting relationships with potential customers. Research shows that there is a growing proclivity among web users to tune out «corporate speak» that has come to define the landscape of business websites. More than likely, your message is being diluted by the tidal wave of meaningless prattle and vapid website copy on competing hotel sites. However these ‘controlled’ messages are now being replaced by what customers say on third party travel and hotel sites like Expedia and Trip Advisor. Therefore past visitors to your hotel are now influencing the decision making process of your future guests. With the advent of social media, the need to differentiate yourself has never been greater, and the way in which you adapt to this new climate will have a profound impact on your bottom line. Therefore it’s a good time to shift focus and increase participation in social media related initiatives. There are many ways that a hotel or hospitality-related business or service provider can leverage social media to further their business objectives. Here are some of the best ways to do so: Hotel and Traveller Reviews: As web users become savvier, they become better at filtering information. Therefore the user’s perception about authenticity and reliability become important factors in determining the credibility of the


message. For this reason, sites that feature user reviews like Expedia, Yahoo Travel Planner, and Trip Advisor are being relied on in increasing frequency to provide an honest depiction of hotels and travel destinations. First, keep an eye on your brand and the discussions surrounding your product and/or services. Check in regularly with the top review sites to monitor what people are saying about your hotel. This would mean sites like Trip Advisor (a review site that also provides

bookings), Expedia (a booking site that incorporates user reviews) and Yelp (a user review site). Comprehensive monitoring tools like Google Alerts and Technorati Watchlist allows you to keep tabs on what other websites and blogs are saying about you on the web. Designate a staff member at your hotel to do the monitoring, and make sure it’s being done in regular intervals - daily, if possible. Second, when you do encounter an

the most widely used social media applications on the web with about 200 million active users. Generally there are three ways for businesses to use Facebook - through targeted, contextual advertisement, through the use of pages and groups, or by creating applications that promote your product or service. Facebook is not for every business, and the number of abandoned pages and groups littering the site is a testament to this fact. Like other social media initiatives, the onus is on you to create some «perceived value» for the users being targeted. In terms of advertising, Facebook is different from other advertising platforms because of its reach and the ability to target your audience with much greater accuracy. You can filter your ads according to age, gender, location, interests, networks, etc. You can also advertise your Facebook page or application within the site. Using Twitter: As of this writing, Twitter is experiencing a massive, exponential growth in usership. While traditional usage of Twitter was focused around personal use, more and more businesses are finding clever ways to use the service to engage their audience and improve their service.

unfavourable review, have a plan in place to respond appropriately. You only need to respond to highly favourable reviews, negative reviews that contain factual errors, and negative reviews that are warranted. If you are confident with the consistency and level of service provided by your property, encourage your guests to write a review on Trip Advisor by providing a link (for example, on your hotel’s internet access home page). However be aware that you may inadvertently be facilitating the submission of negative reviews. A

customer who had a bad experience may be more inclined to voice their opinion, rather than one who is satisfied. It goes without saying, but make sure the actual service provided by your hotel is as good as you claim. Unsatisfied guests will sometimes revel in the opportunity to show the world that you don’t practice what you preach. Regularly gauge your service quality with a neutral third party stay. Using Facebook: Facebook is one of

Twitter is a great tool for keeping in touch with your customers, and getting your message out quickly. Again, it’s important to note that people follow others on Twitter because they see some form of perceived value - this can mean they are getting information about topics that interest them, getting free advice, being notified about upcoming events, listening to «experts», or simply finding links and other resources. There are many innovative ways to use Twitter in the context of providing better customer service. Due to the speed and efficiency of communicating on this platform, businesses are able to respond to their customers in real time. For example a concierge desk could monitor


social media

media sites are increasingly becoming the primary channel in which people communicate. Generally, it was the younger demographic who jumped on board social networking first - but it’s safe to say that there is more and more buy-in across all demographics. This is a trend we expect to continue in the near and long term. Considering the above scenario, we believe the active participation of hotels in social media means more credibility and greater relevancy in the eyes of the user. Whether they use it or not, seeing a «share» button from Facebook provides the user a familiar context within their interaction with your website. It also offers an additional channel for the user to share and passively promote your hotel and/or services.

a Twitter feed for guest service requests, or a hotel restaurant could have a feed for its daily specials. This not only allows a business to solve problems quickly - it also shows to the world that you are actively engaged in discussion with your customers, which has a profound impact on user perception in your favor. Media Sharing: Media sharing sites like Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo allow users to share their experiences with others through photos and videos. In the process, these sites have become massive repositories for media items. Most of the items here are under public domain, and the ability to use these 72 DOSSIER GUIDE TO FOOD & HOTEL 2011-12

resources is further enhanced by the programming tools and interfaces (APIs) provided by these sites. This means you can create custom filters to pick and choose the media items to use for your own purposes. Aside from having more photos and videos to promote your hotel, featuring content from social media sites provides your website with an «authenticity factor» typically associated with these sources. Media content provided by users through social media sites is thought to be more authentic and reliable because it is created and provided by (what is perceived to be) neutral third parties. As we touched on previously, social

Unlike traditional media and advertising campaigns, much of the benefit derived from social media is simply the engagement with your customer and exposure for your brand. This might potentially lead to a future sale or positive word-of-mouth that contributes to a sale - but know that it may be intangible, and realized in uncertain intervals. If done correctly, a social media campaign can also generate good publicity for your business. But if you do it ostensibly to market and promote your business, you will likely have little success in this medium. Social media users are typically savvy, and they are easily offended by those who use this channel for self-promotion. About the Author: Stephen Saugestad – Stephen is a Designer and Project Manager with ten years of experience designing, building, and managing web projects. He has a broad range of experience in technology that includes networking, web development, usability, strategic planning, project coordination, and SEO. He is also a seasoned conceptual thinker with years of experience developing creative for the web.