Restaurants are uniting in the face of crisis

Rupkatha Bhowmick

According to a directive from the Dubai Economy, while restaurants and cafés are supposed to close down for a couple of weeks from now to contain the spread of COVID-19, customers can order for takeaways and delivery.

We spoke to Naim Maadad, chief executive & founder of Gates Hospitality, to understand what restaurateurs are doing in the face of on-going crisis. The Gates Hospitality portfolio includes food & beverage (F&B) brands such as Social Reform & Grill, Ultra Brasserie and folly by Nick & Scott, to name a few.

Naim Maadad, chief executive & founder of Gates Hospitality

How are restaurateurs uniting?

Maadad: It has been a great uniting force among restaurateurs in recent times. We have united on a common platform, and are communicating daily amongst ourselves, sharing information, seeking government initiatives and support. Importantly, for stakeholders to realise their responsibility and accountability.

Have you seen enough increase in online orders to partially recover losses on dine-in?

Maadad: At the current moment, we have not seen a drastic increase in the online orders – as our brands are not known for deliveries. Our brands are not seen as delivery friendly. In times of crisis, the natural tendency of people, in general, is to focus on saving money and not spending on food deliveries. As days progress, we are hopeful to see a splurge in delivery orders in week two and three when boredom sets in and people explore variety in their cuisine. At such times, F&B brands that benefit would be the 2-for-1 kind of deals from pizza and fast food delivery brands. Other F&B brands would have to wait for the climate to clear and a medical treatment solution to be found globally.

Are food delivery platforms charging similar commission as before?

Maadad: Unfortunately, the delivery platforms are charging the same hefty commission as before and taking undue advantage of the situation. We have terminated the agreement and parting ways with one of the top three delivery platforms.