Fine dining outlets told to downgrade to casual

Report finds QSRs get payback far quicker than fine and casual outlets

Managing director of Viability Guy Wilkinson.
Managing director of Viability Guy Wilkinson.

The ability to serve alcohol makes the biggest difference to the profitability of casual dining outlets in the Middle East according to a report by hospitality consultancy, Viability.

Managing director, Guy Wilkinson, announced the report findings in conference at the Gulfood fair on 1 March in meeting room Ajman D.

Looking at all of the 260,000 F&B outlets throughout the Middle East, the report analysed the distribution of costs and revenues in three types of outlet: fine dining, casual dining and quick service outlets.

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Results showed that, while fine and casual dining outlets were found to take between two and 10 years to achieve a return on their investment, quick service outlets generally gained payback within just four years.

The outlets best able to weather the recession were found to be those either with well-recognised brands, those associated with celebrity chefs, set in a good location or “offering an opportunity to see and be seen”.

In the current F&B climate Wilkinson advocated the downgrading of fine dining outlets to casual dining outlets as a wise strategy.

“Fine dining has really suffered since the recession. Some hotels such as the Park Hyatt are downgrading their fine French restaurants to bistros and I think this is a wise move in the circumstances.”

Alcohol was found to be a bone of contention with casual dining outlets in particular.

“It’s a little known fact that many of the Dubai mall restaurants were told that they would have an alcohol licence, only for it to be cancelled later on. It makes a big difference to profitability for casual dining outlets,” said Wilkinson.

Visit meeting room Ajman D to watch the rest of the conference, which will run until the end of the Gulfood show.

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