Middle East Restaurant Association to connect, promote & support the industry

RetailME Bureau

Keeping in mind the major challenges faced by the local F&B industry during this unprecedented global crisis, the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) has taken the crucial step of launching the Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA).

MERA, a non-profit organisation, will act as a hub that connects, promotes and supports its members, while helping to frame the agenda for the UAE’s restaurant industry. A platform for collaboration, innovation and education, MERA advocates for sustainability, responsibility and food safety, securing longevity and, ultimately, a better future for the industry.

Now more than ever, the Middle East’s F&B community needs to come together and support each other through these challenging times, and MERA will be a vital source of help, advice and information that concerned business-owners and members of the industry can come to for assistance and guidance. The association aims to look after everyone in the industry, at all levels, not just owners and management.

The founding board members of MERA include Naim Maadad, chief executive, Gates Hospitality; Duncan Fraser-Smith, vice president, TFG, Food & Beverage; Ramzy Abdul-Majeed, founder & managing director, Whissle Hospitality Group; Ravi Chandran, CEO (MENA), Liwa Minor; Amit Nayak CHA, vice president & board member, HAMA MEA; and David Singleton, partner, Socius Group. MERA’s founders are currently in the final stages of registering the non-profit incorporated organisation as a legal entity.

The MERA founding members will be on hand to listen to the industry’s queries. If they are unable to provide answers to certain questions, they will endeavour to assist and facilitate connections with those who are more qualified. MERA is anticipating that, during its first virtual discussion, common threads will emerge around rents, employment, VAT, licensing, WPS finance and more.

Other founding board members of MERA include Rene Beil, managing director, Beaufort Global Partners; Lynne Bellinger, director of food & beverage development, Marriott International MEA; and Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, co-founder of GRIF & managing director Middle East of Bench Events.