DUBAI, UAE – The fast-food service sector is expected to grow at 5.8 percent per year to US$4.51 billion in 2022, up from US$3.66 billion in 2018, according to a report by Statista.com, a digital market intelligence provider. The news comes as experts join the key industry stakeholders at the Middle East’s first Fast-Food & Café Convention taking place at the Conrad Dubai Hotel, where more than 250 delegates discuss the future of the industry and how to steer its growth amid changing global economic environment.
The full-service restaurants revenue in the UAE is expected to reach US$2.34 billion in 2022, up from US$1.94 billion recorded in 2018, while the sales revenue of the coffee and tea shops is estimated to reach US$705 million next year, up from US$584.5 million. The ice cream parlour market is the smallest, with revenue expected to reach US$42.2 million in 2022, up from US$35.4 million in 2018, the report showed.
The total number of operational restaurants and cafés in the emirate of Dubai reached 11,813 at the end of 2018, according to the Department of Economic Development (DED), making Dubai the food capital of the Middle East. In 2018, the number of fast-food chain outlets in the UAE reached 996, followed by coffee and tea shops at approximately 850 outlets.
“Regardless of how the society shapes up in future, consumers will continue to drink tea or coffee – or a karak chai – depending on their lifestyle choice. Therefore, it is important to talk about this important sector that generates so much revenue and talk about those whose livelihood depends on this important industry – starting from the farmers who grow the ingredients, workers at the tea and coffee processing plants, suppliers, restaurant operators and the people who serve them to the consumers,” Mini Jacob, Co-Founder of Oddbox, organiser of the Fast-Food & Café Convention.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic created challenges as well as opportunities for the sector. It is important to find out the best way forward for the industry, in line with sustainable farming, sourcing and new way of serving the consumers.”
The day-long Fast Food & Café Convention will feature key industry officials including Ajay Jain, Country CEO of Rebel Foods; Tapan Vaidya, CEO of Papa Johns in UAE and Saudi Arabia; Damian Conway, Advisory Board Member of the Dubai Restaurant Group; George Kunnapally, Managing Director of Nando’s; Karim Hajjali, CEO of Foodquest; Ketaki Shah, Head of Marketing at Jollibee; Ravi Chandran, CEO at Liwa Minor; Savia Vaz, Head of Marketing at Citymax Hotels and Foodmark; Abdul Kader Saadi, Founder of Eighty6; Mohammad Al Madani, Chairman and CEO of Al Madani Group; Mohamed Al Fayed, CEO of Grubtech; Prashanth Menon, Director of Operations at Pizza Express, UAE; Naji Haddad, General Manager ME at Deliverect; Nadine Benchaffal, Founder of Abfab Foods and Stephane Cherel, Managing Director of O’Tacos, among others – who will discuss key issues faced by the industry and the way forward.
The Fast Food & Café Convention was launched in 2017 in India with an ambitious vision to create a platform for all stakeholders in the Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR), Café, Fast-Food, Casual Dining, Cloud Kitchen, and the Food and Beverage industry. Following its success in India, Oddbox has launched the Middle East version in Dubai, to be co-located at the Middle East Retail Forum at Conrad Dubai Hotel.
Innovation, food-technology, cloud kitchen, change in consumer behaviour and change in customer touchpoints are some of the key industry trends that came under radar at the event.
“As the economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE leads the recover with its effective handling of the pandemic. With the faster return to normalcy and the opening of the country’s borders to coincide with the Expo 2020, it makes a perfect case for the launch of the Middle East edition of the Fast Food & Café Convention in Dubai,” Mini Jacob says.
“At the Fast Food & Café Convention, delegates will get a clear direction to where the industry is heading, including any challenges and opportunities – so that the participants can re-think their growth strategy.”
The global restaurant and foodservice industry is worth around US$34.25 billion and is estimated to grow to US$56.3 billion by 2027. According to estimates for 2020, the worldwide number of foodservice establishments was around 23.13 million. Only around 300,000 of those were based in the Middle East and Africa, says Statista.
With the high purchasing power capacity of the UAE residents, the market is becoming more robust with every passing day. Food outlets in the UAE have now become synonymous with a place to celebrate occasions and enjoy with family members.
High disposable income, cosmopolitan environment, diverse dining choice from Mexican to Korean, the UAE is a haven for diners – from fast-food to casual dining to fine-dining – the country offers the best when it comes to the choice of food and dining experience.
A report by Mordor Intelligence shows close to 32 percent Emiratis are willing to spend Dh100-300 while eating outside. Those willing to spend Dh 50-100 is about 39 percent.
In 2018, within the restaurant subsector, fast food restaurants had the largest sales value in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at approximately US$ 3.6 billion. Fast food restaurants were expected to reach a sales value of approximately 4.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, followed by full-service restaurants at a sales value of approximately 1.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
The Fast Food & Café Convention is supported by Ecolab, Grub Tech, Vio Life, Deliverect, among others.