As more hotel operators enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa president Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi has said they should work with restaurateurs to ensure the best possible F&B.
In an exclusive interview with Caterer Middle East at the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), Alzaabi said hotels must understand the F&B industry and the hotel catering industry are separate entities.
He said: “We as hoteliers only understand all-day dining and banqueting but with real restaurants, the market has changed.” He continued that hotel operators, Millennium included, must let the “professionals of that industry” handle F&B operations of a hotel.
With that in mind, he revealed Millennium Hotels is currently partnering with a handful of restaurateurs so that it can better understand the F&B industry and create better F&B concepts in its properties.
He explained: “We don’t want to be the masters of everything; hoteliers and restaurateurs are totally different people.”
Alzaabi was asked whether Saudi's F&B industry is at a disadvantage compared to Dubai, where a lot of the most popular restaurants are in prime-location hotels Alzaabi urged: "In Dubai, all the best restaurants are not in hotels! I think the location is not really the problem. If you can build up the right concept and right demands then location isn’t a problem."