Five key trends to expect in the F&B industry this year

UAE Restaurant consultancy, Restaurant Secrets Inc. says Dubai will see the heightened openings of delivery-only brands, the launch of more community-driven outlets in new neighbourhoods and licensed restaurants in residential areas, as well as the continued export of homegrown brands to international markets and furthered demand for health-conscious concepts and plant-based products this year Looking at the year ahead UAE restaurant consultancy, Restaurant Secrets Inc.’s founder & CEO, Gabrielle F. Mather shares her outlook on 2022’s top trends in F&B and where the industry will witness substantial growth this year. Rise of delivery-only brands Delivery brands will find better representation and standardization of aggregator fees at negotiated industry standards this year, as we see the launch of more delivery-only concepts. As the landscape of how we dine at home and work changes positively, the delivery business is seeing a renaissance in the quality and variety of offerings available. We forecast the shift to a four-and-a-half-day work week and emphasis on life/work balance to be a game changer to how people invest their leisure hours. With more time and disposable income, couples, singles and families will order in more than ever. It’s the best time to launch high quality delivery brands. More non-licensed standalone brands in new neighbourhoods New neighbourhood locations will become prime options for non-licensed standalone brands in 2022 as the city expands and demand for suburban living rises, bringing with it an audience looking for accessibly-priced, family-friendly restaurants close to their homes. Further openings of licensed venues in residential areas More licensed restaurants in prime neighborhoods with licensed pavilions will emerge in 2022, as Dubai residents living in communities around the city seek to enjoy a quality F&B offering without having to travel too far from their place of residence. Continued international export of Dubai homegrown brands As more and more quality, original concepts are born and successfully operated in Dubai, we will witness the continued export of homegrown brands to international markets – particularly to KSA, London and other major destinations. A demand for health-driven concepts and plant-based products 2022 will bring a heightened look at health-driven dining experiences, with high demand for immunity booster juices, nutritious menu items, as well as plant-based products, as consumers become increasingly educated on what they are putting in their bodies, as well as being more mindful about food nutrition because of health risks from viruses like Covid-19. For more information about Restaurant Secrets Inc. call +971 56 216 1511, e-mail [email protected], visit or follow @restaurantsecretsinc on social media.

Five key components to creating a successful dark kitchen in Dubai

With a rise in dark kitchen openings in Dubai, there are few important elements to consider before launching, says Gabrielle F. Mather, CEO & Founder of leading UAE-based restaurant consultancy Restaurant Secrets Inc. Here, she shares five tips to operating a successful dark kitchen in Dubai. In a city where delivery-only restaurant models thrive, Dubai has seen a steep rise in dark kitchen concepts launching over the last 12 months. As consumer demand heightens – particularly in suburban areas of Dubai where delivery radius’ often don’t reach – interest to open new dark kitchens surge, especially given the attractiveness of a lower overall investment cost when compared to opening a fully-fledged dine-in restaurant. For those looking at opening a dark kitchen, either to start your first virtual restaurant in the cloud or to expand your current operations into new territory, here are five key things to consider and build into your operations: 1) Consider your location and its delivery radius  Location is key for any dark kitchen. It’s imperative that a dark kitchen’s surrounding areas be densely populated with residential accommodation. A delivery radius should be limited to around 10km – 15km, so you want to make sure there’s enough people living in that area to order from you regularly. Barsha South, Hessa Street, Al Quoz, Deira and Karama are all great locations for a dark kitchen. 2) Offer a small, focused menu Dark kitchens thrive on crave product. Menus should be concise and focused, whether that be pizza, fried chicken, burgers, pasta, ramen or doughnuts – pick one thing and do it really, really well. When a consumer can relate the best bowl of ramen with your brand specifically, you’ll see return custom time and time again. Dishes on your dark kitchen menu should be created with delivery and travel in mind; some food items simply do not travel well – no one likes soggy chips – so be mindful of your packaging and travel time before placing a dish on the menu.  3) Get quirky and fun with your branding & packaging People love brands and concepts that spark playfulness and fun. When you’re competing with so many brands on a delivery platform, it’s important that you stand out. Focus on high-quality imagery and intriguing branding to attract your customers – not only does it draw them in, it also encourages social sharing when a delivery shows up to someone’s home in packaging that’s fun and ignites conversation. Packaging is a big part of a delivery model’s brand identity, and while high-quality packaging is vital for a successful delivery, be sure to design and develop your packaging collaterals with trends and cost-effectiveness in mind as you’ll be using a lot of it, and the cost will add up quickly. 4) Create a strong sales strategy that features regular promotions Not only do people love getting a deal, delivery platforms feature special promotional sections that help you get noticed. Whether it’s running a buy-one-get-one deal twice a month, a free size upgrade, or a free dessert with every main course, promotions like this help you to get noticed, attract new diners and draw previous customers back for more. Having a strong sales strategy is key to success, and using digital platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok to voice your activations helps to get the word out. 5) Build strong relations with key suppliers and aggregators Delivery platforms rule the roost where dark kitchen business models are concerned. The bottom-line after you do all your strategic math is that these platforms do offer value for money when you compare the benefits. An aggregator is a partner in marketing your brand, building your product awareness, managing your logistics of delivery as well as acting as a mediator on customer service and feedback. Building good relations and activating all marketing channels with your aggregators can be the difference between success and failure. For more information about Restaurant Secrets Inc. call +971 56 216 1511 or e-mail [email protected] for a free one-hour consultation. Visit or follow @restaurantsecretsinc on social media for further background.