Technology is key for Middle East F&B Industry

Nearly two-thirds of social media users in the Middle East use social networks for restaurant recommendations

Nearly two-thirds of social media users in the Middle East use social networks for restaurant recommendations.
Nearly two-thirds of social media users in the Middle East use social networks for restaurant recommendations.

With 77% smartphone penetration across the GCC, the emergence of a new digital customer has put pressure on the food and beverage sector to stay relevant and for outlets to keep a competitive edge.

From embracing social media to developing apps, the inaugural GulfHost 2017 trade show provided access to industry experts to discover the best technology solutions to stay ahead of competitors.

The dedicated platform for hospitality and catering equipment solutions introduced “The Restaurant Development Conference”, powered by International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai and Middle East Food Forum. The conference delivered practical insights into running a successful F&B business in the region, with core themes including marketing and growth in digital and the emerging role of social media.

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“Technology is changing the way restaurants interact with their customers, with apps impacting operators’ topline and becoming an essential contributor to success. It has never been more important to embrace technology, particularly as the region’s digitally savvy population continues to grow. The adoption of smart technology, use of mobile apps, and social media to enhance guest experience is vital for long-term business success,” said Exhibitions & Events Management (DWTC) senior vice president Trixie LohMirmand. “GulfHost is the ideal platform to learn how adapting to technology can result in success.”

Social media is a key driver for restaurant recommendations, with nearly two-thirds of social media users in the Middle East regularly using social networks for recommendations. Food apps have also been a major catalyst of change, according to KPMG. Consumers use their smartphones and food apps to find new restaurants, and read online reviews, with 40% of respondents also buying meals through their device.

GulfHost showcased a variety of technologies to help F&B owners create more Instagrammable moments within restaurants to promote image sharing, enhance the experience along the full customer journey, and develop tech-savvy promotional opportunities to reach new target audiences.

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