Post-F1 challenge for Yas Island restaurants
Yas Island’s hotels will have to focus on building a strong local customer base if they wish to fill their F&B outlets after the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, outlet operators have said.
Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites Abu Dhabi Yas Island F&B director Rhys Owain admitted it would be “a challenge” attracting diners to Yas Island, given the development’s distance from the city centre.
“But with the Saadiyat freeway scheduled to open in the near future, commuting time will be reduced dramatically,” he pointed out.
“And we mustn’t forget that we have a target market on our doorstep, which we will of course be working hard on developing strong customer loyalty with.
“Areas like Al Raha Gardens, Khalifa A and B and Mohammed Bin Zayed city are all within a 20-minute drive from our hotels.
“And by ensuring that we have a constant stream of events and regular promotions, we will ensure that we develop a strong local customer base.”
Aldar Hotels and Hospitality managing director Paul Bell pointed out that the island would feature a total of 34 restaurants, “all offering a very different dining experience”.
“We expect these restaurants will be welcomed by the Abu Dhabi community as a refreshing addition to the city’s existing dining options,” he said.
Meanwhile Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi Yas Island executive assistant manager in charge of F&B Tim Van Veen agreed that a pro-active approach from all Yas Island properties would be integral to their success.
“We have many promotions and interesting events planned at our restaurants, in both the Radisson Blu Hotel and the Park Inn,” he said.
“Furthermore, all hotels on Yas Island will work together to promote the development as a major dining and entertainment destination in Abu Dhabi.
“So we are positive that, even after the Formula 1, Yas Island will soon be popular amongst the people of Abu Dhabi.”
Commenting on whether the large F&B teams required for the launch would still be necessary after the Formula 1, Van Veen explained: “Our F&B teams at both the [Yas Island] properties have a task force of several members from our sister hotels from across the UAE and other parts of Middle East and Europe.
“This task force is here to assist us in making our F&B offerings a success during the Grand Prix; then after the event, these additional members will be back at their respective properties.”
Yas Island Rotana and Centro Yas Island director of F&B Rinaldo Boscaro said the property had been “selective and conservative” in its recruiting.
“We are extremely fortunate to have more that one sister hotel assisting us during the pre-opening,” he added.
Similarly, Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites Abu Dhabi Yas Island have reaped the benefits of being part of international hotel group IHG when it comes to F&B staff.
“We will have support from our sister hotels in the region during the busy F1 period,” explained Owain.
“But a hotel opening doesn’t stop operating once the doors are open; post-Formula 1 there will still be plenty of work to do to get the hotel to a level we are happy with.
“Training will be ongoing until our service standards are second nature to all team members. So there will still be plenty to keep everyone busy once the F1 is over.”
For more on preparations for F1 food, see the October issue of Caterer Middle East.