The ‘Restaurants, Cafés and Lounges’ event kicks-off in Dubai

The ‘Restaurants, Cafés and Lounges’ event kicks-off in Dubai

The ‘Restaurants, Cafés and Lounges’ event kicks-off in Dubai

Restaurants Cafes and Lounges’, was organized by Great Minds Event Management, with the goal of attracting a specialized group of F&B and hospitality experts. It aims to discuss ways to improve efficiency and deliver an improved holistic experience to cater to the rapidly changing consumer behavior in the F&B sector. In addition, it is designed to help restaurants, cafés and lounge owners and F&B stakeholders to discover the latest strategies that can drive innovation across all business functions to survive and grow in an ever-changing business environment.
Chef Manal Al Alem known as the queen of the Arabian kitchen and Chef Thomas Gugler, President of the International Chefs Association shared their thoughts and insights at the first edition of ‘Restaurants Cafés and Lounges‘ Conference and Exhibition. It was held over a two-day period in October at Roda Al Bustan Hotel with the theme of optimizing efficiency and delivering an improved holistic experience to cater to the rapidly changing consumer behavior. The event’s activities included onstage celebrity chef interviews, in addition to workshops and emerging brands spotlight sessions.

In attendance were some of the most famous experts in the hospitality sector to discuss improving efficiency and the recent methods of providing a distinctive consumer experience in the F&B sector discovering the latest trends followed by professionals and decision-makers in the design and construction of restaurants and the latest trends in furniture selection, in addition to topics such as the importance of employing technology.

The questions were aimed at finding answers to issues such as: are we listening to what the consumers want, how to tweak business models to ensure business continuity, how much change is needed to be made in order to compete with new trends and what should casual dining do to regain momentum? Moderated by Martin Kubler, Chief Executive Officer, sps: affinity, and joining the discussion; Ravi Chandran, Chief Executive Officer, Liwa Minor, Spencer Ayers, Managing Director, Jumeirah Restaurant Group; Tony Habre, Chief Executive Officer, Addmind Hospitality Group and George Kunnappally, Managing Director, Nando’s Restaurants.

Another panel discussion explored the role of technology in improving the business bottom line. The talk was moderated by Martin Kubler, Chief Executive Officer, sps: affinity who was joined by Dean Murphy, Director of Operations, Jumeirah Restaurant Group; Mohamed A. Farrag, Chief Executive Officer, Al Thiqa Holding Company; Shadi Dawi, Business Development and Digital Marketing Consultant, RoboCafe Hospitality and Digital Marketing Guru, Al Arabiya Consultancy; Naveed Dowlatshahi Chief Executive Officer, Kash Global Group.

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Another topic covered was the delivery business and consumer buy-in where the panelists answered questions such as: How is food delivery impacting the business, how can one ensure that the food is delivered the way it should be served, as well as understanding the offer culture in the region, how to benefit from it and how to deliver without losing the quality of the experience?

Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of Great Minds Event Management said, “We organized Restaurants Cafés and Lounges to bring together all the stakeholders involved in creating business models from menu selections, growth strategies, location mapping, to technology implementationfrom across the MENA region. The number of F&B outlets in the region is increasing, with new concepts popping up daily, while the existingrestaurants, cafés and lounges are actively scouting for new strategic locations to expand theirbusiness. However, we noticed in the last few years, the F&B sector has been struggling to catch up with the rapidly changing consumer trends, behavior and habits. Technology greatly disrupting the market and the economy’s effect on consumer’s spending patterns have made many previously successful businesses obsolete, losing their business and customers to rising competition. We saw the necessity to invite top experts and stakeholders to brainstorm new strategies to cope with the ever-changing consumer behavior and maximize the gains from technological advancements,” Masinaei added.

Arvind Shekar, the Event’s Director, said, “More than 250 participants from 25 countries, most of whom are business owners, operation chiefs, chefs and food and beverage hospitality experts, gathered to discuss the latest consumer trends and growth strategies in the MENA market to share their experiences.”


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Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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