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Five things to consider when opening a restaurant in Dubai

Overlooking important areas of the restaurant business could see the closure of your venue. These five aspects of opening a restaurant in Dubai should never fall by the wayside.

Dubai’s bustling F&B scene sees the opening of new restaurants regularly, and sadly, closures near as frequently. While there’s no specific touchpoint responsible for doors closing, there are a range of contributing factors, including areas of the business often forgotten about during an outlet’s launch period.

Before opening a restaurant in Dubai, I’d advise any restauranteur to consider and manage their resources to ensure they’re able to effectively deliver on a few key areas.

Firstly, consistent menu engineering is a must. Dubai is an extremely trend conscious market, which means restaurant menus must be re-engineered every three to six months to stay relevant. The market is always evolving, drawing inspiration from all major leading food capitals around the world. It’s important to ensure you have the right talent on board in-house or use F&B consultants to develop head-turning signature menus and to manage these unavoidable updates regularly, effectively and creatively.

A downfall in many restaurants is the high turnover of staff, so budgets should be allocated for staff training and experiences. Losing employees is costly when accounting for UAE hiring costs such as visas, healthcare, accommodation, etc. High staff turnover is a real financial loss to any business. Considering that an average employee needs six months to be fully productive and thoroughly understand the business, losing them frequently means you are constantly fighting with a rookie team instead of retaining your strong people, who you’ve invested trainings and operational synergy in, just when they are finally becoming an asset to you. It’s important for businesses to include training and incentive budgets into their P&L. Employees who feel taken care of and valued will always put more into making success of a restaurant – or any business for that matter.

The next area to consider is waste management. Too many restaurants don’t have waste management systems in place that results in too much stock on shelves and in fridges that goes in the bin. You should implement a strong POS system as well as kitchen management systems for inventory control that ensures you sell what you buy. A JIT system is perfect for the current market scenario of unpredictable sales and can help minimise stock levels and rotating products so that they don’t go off. Food wastage is a massive global issue, and costs restaurant owners thousands every year.

Having budget set for social media marketing is essential. Instagram marketing in this part of the world is more effective and crucial to a brand’s positioning and communication than anywhere else globally. A budget will also be needed for hiring the right candidate with the relevant skills. High quality imagery is a must, so don’t skimp on photography. Building great content through lifestyle and professional imagery and videos is the way to go in the UAE. We’re living in an age where so many consumers choose where to dine through feed scrolling. Restaurants need to make their grid count.

Lastly, you should select your kitchen and built contractor carefully. Be prepared to pay a premium price if you want to open on time and produce a quality venue. While it may seem attractive to go with the lower priced contractor to start, this will ultimately result in spending more in the long run. Delayed openings and poor delivery are commonplace for low-cost contractors in Dubai. Tender out your build contracts and ask for references. Check out if the contactor has done restaurants before because the fit out of F&B units is very different from usual contracting.

Image credit: Arabian Business