Receiving departments can be bribed by fruit and vegetable vendor to receive less, according to one hotel purchasing manager Receiving departments can be bribed by fruit and vegetable vendor to receive less, according to one hotel purchasing manager

Bribery in the sale of poor-quality food and beverage products to hotels in Dubai is common, industry sources have told Hotelier Middle East.

Yesterday, Hotelier Middle East reported that the head chef and the butcher at the Burj Al Arab were being tried in court for taking kickbacks of nearly AED 900,000 in return for buying poor-quality food at inflated prices from four suppliers.

“It’s getting quite bad; it makes it really difficult to do business. For somebody that doesn’t have deep pockets or is not open to these unethical practices, it is very difficult,” commented one Dubai-based Halal-food supplier, who asked to remain anonymous.

Story continues below

He said the suppliers were driving the practice of offering kickbacks: “But these individuals in the hotels shouldn’t buy into such unethical practice, and they’re the ones encouraging it by accepting it,” he added.

A Dubai hotel purchase and cost control manager, who did not wish to be named told Hotelier: “Kickbacks are not only in food and beverage, but also in engineering, pre-opening projects, purchase of furniture fixture and equipments and operating stocks and equipments.

“Kick backs are received in all levels. For example how many financial controllers make it a point to check engineering-related items? Did they check their prices in the market? Were these really needed? To whom were annual maintenance contracts awarded? These are higher kickbacks,” said the manager.

“Lower level employees, for example the receiving clerk who is in-charge of receiving goods. He can be bribed by a fruit and vegetable vendor to receive less. If the order was for 35kgs of tomatoes, then he would be receiving only 25kgs physically whereas the invoice would show 35kgs. These are some of the examples and there are more," he added.

Former Taj Hotel Dubai executive chef Joe Vock also claimed that bribery was a "problem" in the market. 

"It affects all hotels here as a lot of them aren't buying the best product that is available because the guys are taking kickbacks, especially in the purchasing departments."

Marcus Dudley, director of food and beverage, Moevenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, said he personally hadn’t been offered a bribe.

“But we had suspicions about six months ago that one of our employees was involved in that, but no proof and we called in about five different suppliers and asked them directly and of course they said 'no' and were highly offended, whether they were involved in it or not,” he said.

Article continues on next page...