Despite the negative impact of the coronavirus lockdown that saw restaurants in Dubai shut down for over a month and currently operating under social distancing requirements, business during June was “back in line with last year, like for like”.
That’s according to Gates Hospitality chief executive and founder Naim Maadad, who was speaking at the Arena webinar on Hospitality Reopening – The Global View.
Although not all of Gates’s venues are yet to reopen, Maadad said that those that have are managing to attract an audience, with the Reform and Folly operator confident that consumers still want to dine out, despite continued fears over the pandemic.
“As human beings, this is how we live and I don’t think we’re about to change,” he said. “it’s embedded in our culture. Dining out is part of our living. What we will witness as soon as there is a vaccine in place is people will have the confidence to go back to their old norms.”
Joining Maadad on the global panel was Catherine Roe, CEO of contract catering company Elior UK, and she backed up his assertion that customers are looking forward to dining normally again.
“People are yearning to go back to their own life,” said Roe. “I think there’s a great future. We just have to be a little patient, navigate what we’re going through now and get the best we can out of it.”
The discussion was hosted by Robert Willock, director of the Economist Corporate Network Dubai and also featured Barry Westrum, chief marketing officer of Taco John’s in Los Angeles.