Time for homegrown to take charge, say experts

The region's diners are increasingly open to independent brands

RMAL Hospitality recently opened homegrown concept Ten Street in Dubai’s JBR area.
RMAL Hospitality recently opened homegrown concept Ten Street in Dubai’s JBR area.

The region is ready to embrace homegrown F&B concepts over franchises, said industry experts at The Hotel Show Dubai’s Vision Conference last week.

RMAL Hospitality operations manager Dani-Jan Gicquel Billington said that while franchises from the US and the UK were opening in their droves a decade ago, over the last couple of years more homegrown concepts have “started to pop up”.

“The market is more open to it now and appreciative of what we’re trying to do,” he commented during a panel discussion.

Purple Honey Group MD Akshay Oberoi Dosay added: “It’s time for home-grown concepts to take charge and I think they have an edge over foreign brands because they understand the local market. You can’t always bring in a foreign concept — it might not work and the name will only carry it so far. After huge queues for the first month or two, it oftendrops off if people realise they have been sucked in by a fad and if the underlying product is not that special.”

Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay Dubai EAM manager Stephen Meredith said: “People are as knowledgeable in the food concepts that they want to experience as we are in delivering them. It keeps you on the front foot and your concepts fresh.”

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