Despite the upset caused to the industry by the coronavirus, Atelier House Hospitality managing director Panachali Mahendra believes there is cause for optimism, saying that the UAE “is performing a lot better than many other countries”.
Comparing the country to others where the company operates, such as the USA, Mahendra was positive about the outlook and said that between July and September some outlets were even outperforming the previous year.
Mohalla, Atelier House’s Indian street food concept in Dubai, which just revealed plans to expand into Saudi Arabia next year, is one venue that has seen an increase in customers over the past few months, with Mahendra putting it down to Emiratis who have been unable to travel due to coronavirus restrictions.
She said: “The fact is that the locals are always the highest spenders. They love their food and they love stepping out of their home and enjoying a great meal. Because of that fact and because the locals are still here and are not travelling out of the country, they are going out a lot more.”
While noting a sound of caution, Mahendra said she is optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the year.
“I definitely feel that the F&B market will remain strong this year,” she predicted. “I’m just waiting to see if there’s another ripple effect of Covid next year, but if it doesn’t happen and we are able to sustain this then I think the F&B market will be able to survive. People should be able to break even or even make 5-10 percent profit, and if that happens then we are way luckier than other regions.
“I’m sure there are going to be more closures coming in, but the strong are going to survive. That is what is going to happen not just in this market but any market that opens up.”
You can read the full interview with Mahendra in the upcoming October issue of Caterer Middle East. Subscribe here.