Riyadh can be the next Dubai, says Marriott VP of F&B

Christian Abell believes the Saudi Arabia capital is next big growth area
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Riyadh, Marriott, Dubai, F&B

Riyadh is the city most likely to rival Dubai when it comes to F&B in the Middle East, as it continues to grow year-on-year.

That’s the view of Marriott International vice president, food and beverage Christian Abell who told Caterer Middle East that the past two years have seen Saudi Arabia change for the better.

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When asked if Riyadh could become the next Dubai, he said: “Yes I think so. There’s obviously differences but the pace of the way it’s moving if you ask me in another two years I’ll probably say yes. Is it there now? No. In two years? 100%.”

Abell said that Riyadh is “catching up real fast” with Dubai, calling Saudi Arabia’s citizens “more liberal in the cuisine they’re eating and apportioning it to them becoming more well-travelled. He said: “They’ve seen things in London and New York and they accept it and they want it back in Riyadh or Jeddah.”

The man in charge of Marriott’s entire F&B output in the Middle East said he believes that in some respects Riyadh has already caught up with Dubai, saying “the architecture and the design is definitely there already” and said if he was to open a restaurant with his own money he would “100%” do it in Riyadh.

It comes as Sunset Hospitality revealed it will be opening two Black Taps in Riyadh, while Jeddah Seasons recently saw the likes of GAIA, Scalini, and COYA open their doors in the city.

Cairo was another city named by Abell as up-and-coming in the region when it comes to F&B.

You can read his full interview with Caterer Middle East in the August issue. Subscribe now.

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