Peter Skudutis is the general manager of Zero Gravity. Peter Skudutis is the general manager of Zero Gravity.

Brunch is a weekly tradition in Dubai and competition is fierce with venues slashing prices and offerings. However, at what point does the discounted offering impact on the quality of the experience? At Zero Gravity, our Saturday brunch concept — SuperNatural — is attracting record figures. Every week the queue starts at 9am and we have more than 2,000 guests through the door, but the decision to implement this brunch and the pricing strategy didn’t come without risk.

We knew that value offerings are what the public was looking for, and calculated the point at which the event would achieve a sweet spot for both our guests and our business at 1,000 covers — a very ambitious target for any weekly brunch offering in our city.

 The challenge is to retain our customers in this market where customers are always looking for the next deal or outstanding experience. Customer loyalty is high on the agenda and to stand out, you need to provide a service, and offer that is unique, authentically enjoyable and that provides a true value transaction to your guests.

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The market is flooded with new venues and although the outlook of the F&B market in Dubai remains one of resiliency, the size of the pie is perhaps not increasing at the same rate as we are seeing new openings, and this amplifies the need for existing venues to innovate in ways that sustains their business long-term. This innovation and sustainability is not created through an aggressive pricing strategy alone, but rather through a combination of price, service, quality of products, creative inclusions and peripheral entertainment or customer engagement elements.

Data shows that there is a sweet spot with regards to brunch pricing in Dubai of between AED 100 (US $27) and AED 300 ($82) and this is where we see most brunch-goers fall into; however, there is no point in simply reducing pricing to a level that is in line with this sweet spot. That is not enough.

People have more choice than ever before, so we need to tick more boxes when it comes to creating memorable experiences for our guests. The more boxes we can tick, the better chance we have at driving higher volumes over time, starting the spectacular snowball effect that comes with customer loyalty and guest satisfaction.

Once we feel that we have our value proposition in the right place and we are seeing consistently strong numbers, there needs to be complete integrity in what we are offering our guests. To maintain positive growth, the value of what we are offering needs to increase over time and run adjacent with the increased success. Patience will be virtue here and greed has no place.

Yes, food and beverage costs may increase, and yes, there will be additional costs of providing increased guest engagement elements, but these costs cannot be the focus or we will find ourselves back at square one before we know it, scratching our heads and wondering why the people are not coming back.

Don’t try and rinse profits for short term gain; do the opposite, spend more on the guest. Spend more on innovating, spend more on activations, spend more on better quality products — and in return, your guests will be happier, your volumes will be higher and your business will be healthier.

About the Author: Peter Skudutis is the general manager of Zero Gravity, a venue he launched in 2013. He entered the world of hospitality at the age of 13, moved to Dubai when he was 23 to Barasti Beach Bar. From there he moved to Accenture Investments, an arm of the Al Habtoor group, as general manager of several outlets including XL Beach Club and Horizon. Email: