Dubai’s restaurant and café industry needs a series of taxi-style regulations this summer – to prevent a potentially damaging oversupply of food and drink businesses in the city.
Naim Maadad is the CEO and Founder of Gates Hospitality, which currently operates a range of outlets in the emirate such as Folly, Reform Social & Grill, Bistro Des Arts and Ultra Brasserie.
This year more than 500 new restaurants and cafés have opened in Dubai with many more set to be launched after summer as owners look to take advantage of the returning population, new arrivals and cooler weather.
But Naim believes that unless the food and drink sector is regulated in terms of licenses there are worrying signs for 2019.
He said: “It is simple – we cannot have a situation where there are far too many restaurants and cafes for the population of Dubai and the tourist numbers coming in.
“The food and beverage industry should be treated in precisely the same way as taxis and public transport.
“Taxi licenses are handed out to cope with the number of people who use them – which means you have the perfect situation of taxis being used all the time and not doing nothing all day long.
“Everyone who owns and runs a restaurant or café wants the industry to develop but it is an industry that needs protecting and we need that to happen this summer.
“There is a fear that many new outlets will open after summer which will mean many of them and others already open cannot survive for long. To solve that the numbers of new openings should be monitored closely.”
The oversaturation of the Dubai restaurant and café sector has been widely discussed for a number of years – with the reporting of regular closures common.
Naim added: “Dubai is rightly proud of being a food and drink leader and innovator on a global scale and that is something to be protected.
“What many of us want is the opportunity to thrive and grow in a market which is advanced in terms of which outlets it allows opening – where and when.”