DRG aims to unite the “fragmented” F&B industry and give it a collective voice.
Members of the board of the Dubai Restaurants Group (DRG) made a first public appearance at The Hotel Show Dubai 2021 and outlined how the body aims to help the F&B industry.
With board member Naim Maadad hosting the session, chairman Mubarak Bin Fahad of The Tashas Group, secretary general Kunal Lahori of Pret to Go, and board members Walid Fakih of McDonald’s and Max Grenard of Wasl Hospitality, discussed the overall aims of DRG and took questions from the audience.
The four main areas it is set to focus on as the hospitality industry gets back on its feet are: Food delivery aggregators, landlords, financial institutions, and the supply chain.
Explaining the reasons behind these choices, Bin Fahad said: “Landlords are one of the major issues. Many restaurants owners and operators feel badly hit with the lockdown and then having to survive on two-metre social distancing. The landlord came and applied the base rental formula and there were a lot of closures because they could not sustain going forward. If you have 10,000 sq m and according to social distancing the best occupancy rate is 4,500 sq m, how can you charge a full rate?
“So we reached out to landlords and said we can’t all continue honouring those leases. We worked with the landlords and going forward they agreed to apply a percentage of turnover, so if we do well, they do well.”
While aggregators have been in the spotlight since the beginning of the pandemic, Bin Fahad revealed that DRG has been in contact with the government about capping their commission rates, saying that although the GCC is the most profitable area for aggregators around the world, it hasn’t translated into any savings for restaurants.
Secretary general Lahori said he believed that aggregators would drop their commission rates once the likes of Noon Food, which will only charge restaurants a flat 15 percent, come online.
Bin Fahad also highlighted the lack of support that banks had shown for the F&B industry in light of the pandemic and with Expo on the horizon. “How can this sector grow or build something new closer to the Expo area if the financial institutions don’t support them? It’s a major problem.”
By uniting as one voice, the DRG aims to be able to accomplish real change through high level discussions with government, but Lahori also highlighted its efforts to improve the supply chain, with the creation of a central supplier library that all members will be able to access and receive discounted rates.
“You can’t control aggregator rates or rent, but with food costs we can help with this direct purchasing,” he explained.
McDonald’s UAE GM Fakih pointed out that in order for the DRG to achieve its goals, it would require funding. As such, it is looking for partners with similar values that it can collaborate with on events or in exchange for visibility with its members and on its newsletter.
If you wish to join the DRG as a member or as a sponsor, you can get more details at its website, www.drg.ae.
Image credit: Caterer Middle East