Dubai’s restaurant industry expects a boost to business in the new year when the weekend changes to Saturday and Sunday come into effect on January 1.
Restaurateurs in the emirate said more tourists should visit at weekends as international schedules will align.
They also expect more corporate lunch bookings on Fridays and the emergence of a Sunday brunch culture.
On Tuesday, the UAE announced federal government departments would switch to a four-and-a-half-day working week from January 1. Schools will also switch to the new work week.
“An extended weekend will provide more opportunities in the F&B sector,” said Sweety Mungra, owner of Eggiterian Cafe in Dubai. “Especially on Friday, a half-day at work culture will definitely boost the number of corporate lunches and create a culture of hanging out with friends and colleagues after office hours.”
While the weekend change has only been confirmed for federal government employees, business experts believe the private sector will follow suit.
Rayyan Rizvi, the managing partner at Dubai’s Yoko Sizzlers, said more tourists should visit as it will be easier to plan holidays with Sunday being a day off. “Expect an influx of tourists as people from nearby European and Asian countries will visit their families here a lot more because of the aligned holidays which will generate more revenue for the hospitality industry,” he said.
Residents who work with international teams in other countries will also visit restaurants more often, said Jugal Parek, director of Yummy Dosa, an Indian restaurant in Dubai. “Many residents working with international markets will now have the liberty to take a day off on Sunday, which will convert into higher footfalls in the restaurants,” he said.
Friday brunches have long been a mainstay of the Dubai restaurant scene.
While many businesses have already advertised new Saturday brunches, one restaurateur believes Dubai could soon be home to a burgeoning new scene – replicating the UK and Asia, where early Sunday brunches have become an institution.
“Sunday brunches will become the new thing to do,” said Rohith Muralya, Concept Cuisine director for the SFC Group, that has several restaurants in the country. “It’s very positive from UAE’s position as a global player in the global market, to conduct business more effectively and efficiently.”
The changes announced to the working week are good news in creating a work-life balance, which will lead to happier customers, said Sanjay Vazirani, chairman and managing director of Foodlink Global Restaurants and Catering. “The additional leisure time will definitely give a boost to the lifestyle, recreation, and entertainment industries,” he said. “People will look for new ways to spend their extra free time. They might want to go out more and try new experiences and explore the various recreational things on offer in the UAE.“Families will get more time with each other and this will boost products and services that cater to this market.”
Source: The National