February 14, 2024 | By Anurima Das

Duo Gastrobar, Dubai’s latest addition to the culinary scene, and the brainchild of culinary visionaries Dmitry Blinov and Renat Malikov, had a vision to provide affordable gastronomy that transcends boundaries. Nestled in the new heart of Dubai at Dubai Hills Business Park; their menu has been carefully curated to captivate diverse palates, seamlessly merging modern European cuisine with tantalizing Asian influences. 

In conversation with Chef Dmitry Blinov to get to know more about the business prospects and how the team is eyeing the growth of F&B in the region.

Tell us a little about the prospects and potential that you see in the Middle East
market, which helped you decide on opening DUO here.

We recognized the immense potential in the Middle East market, despite its current
size and competitiveness. The decision to open DUO here was driven by the belief
that the region is at the initial stages of global growth. With a decade of industry
influence in our home country, we aimed to bring our experience and expertise to a
new market. The aspiration is to not just participate but to succeed by offering an
interesting and in-demand product.

What are the top 3 food service industry trends that are visible and according to
you will change the face of the sector in the coming days?

● Chef’s Personality: The industry is witnessing a growing emphasis on the
personality of chefs. Already, bright culinary figures are popular, and the
anticipation is that in the next five years, numerous local stars will emerge.
● Democratic Restaurant Segment: A notable trend is the growth of small,
non-copyrighted projects initiated by entrepreneurs. This shift towards a
democratic restaurant segment is driven by the need for quality, given the
constraints on marketing budgets, especially when compared to larger,
tourist-oriented establishments.
● Attention to City Residents: The industry is increasingly focusing on the local
population, with a rise in the segment of everyday, local restaurants. This
shift necessitates an elevation in the quality of offerings to attract and retain
regular patrons.

Since its opening here, how has the restaurant been received by the consumers

The initial reception in the Middle East has been promising. Constant monitoring of
online platforms for reviews has allowed us to maintain a consistently high rating.
Operating for only five months, we closely listen to feedback, make necessary
changes, and respond to comments. The fact that 90% of our guests come through
recommendations provides confidence that we are on the right path.

Operating within a niche your menu offer and the pricing are a little unconventional.
Does that pose any challenge?
Our approach to creating a comfortable, long-lasting restaurant experience is
reflected in our unconventional menu and pricing. We view a restaurant as a
long-term commitment rather than a short-lived venture. With over 20 years of
culinary experience, our focus is on delivering high-quality, democratic food that
resonates with our vision for a lasting impact.

What about sustainability and environmental goals? Are you also looking at ways to
give back to the earth with your approach?

While our sustainability efforts haven’t reached significant milestones yet, we actively
minimise waste and limit the use of certain materials. Working with local products is
part of our strategy, but we acknowledge that achieving broader sustainability goals
requires time, specific objectives, and partnerships. Our commitment to
environmental consciousness aligns with our overall business approach.

What are the future expansion plans you have in mind for DUO in the region?
In St. Petersburg, our seven restaurants with diverse concepts showcase our
adaptability. Considering the potential popularity of our concept in the Middle East,
the idea of a second DUO is under consideration. However, our immediate focus is
on perfecting our existing restaurant and staying true to our commitment to longevity
and quality in the face of future expansion possibilities.

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