As countries and businesses prepare to ease lockdown measures and open back to normal life, solidarity and joint efforts are more important than ever. Partnerships are becoming the new norm for businesses in the same industry to sustain, survive, and move forward.
Hospitality News spoke to Naim Maadad, cofounder of Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA) and chief executive & founder of Gates Hospitality to know more about MERA and how it will help the F&B industry.
- Why did you decide to kick off this association during this specific time period?
The Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA) has been in the making for around two and a half years now. We decided to launch the initiative now because the time is most appropriate and the industry needs the synergy and unity to survive the challenges together. We are an entity to assist the food and beverage industry stakeholder. We provide a common platform to hear their opinions and bring their voices heard at the highest levels in the country for the common benefit of all.
- How important and crucial its role would be?
It is very important and extremely crucial in making sure that the best of interests and voices of all industry stakeholders are heard in unison. We all know that the food & beverage industry along with hospitality and tourism are very important pillars contributing hugely to the GDP of the country. Hence, it is vital that there is a strong representation of the culinary industry sector so as to unitedly fight the survival battle of the pandemic and ensure we emerge more stronger than ever before.
- Do you have any executive decisions to assist the industry at this time?
As an industry platform, we share the best practices and actively engage through our webinars and other media with multiple authorities at vertical levels exploring all avenues on how we can support and represent the best of interests in a unified and disciplined manner.
- Do you have any plans to expand your activities beyond the UAE?
The Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA) certainly would work with like-minded associations in the region to learn from their successes / failures – and work in synergy so as not to duplicate efforts / initiatives and ensure we do not go about re-inventing the wheel!
- What do you advise industry stakeholders during this very tough situation?
There is no doubt that 2020 is going to be a break-even year – where the battle will be focused on survival rather than make profits. All stakeholders including the authorities need to shoulder their respective responsibilities equally and focus truly on long term gains. If the focus is on short term benefits only – then nobody will survive the financial and commercial trauma from the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.
- How important is for similar coalitions to work hand in hand on the regional level?
Extremely important that this battle is fought unitedly like never before. The industry as I said before is a huge contributor to the GDP of the country and the region. Hence it is vital to have clarity, unity, transparency to ensure the success and survival of the sector as well as the overall economy of the country.
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