The bigger picture - The Middle East Food Forum 2016 - Radisson Blu, Deira Creek, Dubai
The keynote address was an early highlight: Stefan Breg, the Director of F&B for Starwood Middle East. It was a meaty presentation, with stats aplenty. Stefan shared some eye-opening information with regards to where F&B was going between now and 2020. His look at malls vs hotels vs free standing restaurants was particularly fascinating. Did you know that table service in malls was growing and that malls were becoming more and more of a player as a restaurant destination? Also, I realised thanks to his figures that Abu Dhabi is actually doing well in terms of mall space, at 2.2 million SQM compared to 2.9 million in Dubai. This is even more telling when you consider that there are some mega mall projects coming up in places like Saadiyat, Reem and Al Maryah Islands. Interesting! Finally, as to the question about which format will dominate, Stefan believes hotels and malls will share the market - the pie is big enough to be shared.
After lunch, when I looked at the programme, I saw that the next item on the agenda was a Masterclass by Majdel Musa from Durkin &Co on Legal Aspects of Leasing, I was tempted to extend my lunch break. I am glad I did not. Her presentation was lively and informative and drew some genuine questions with regards to the rights of the lessor. I got the feeling that if there were time, this could have gone on for a while. Excellent.
Images courtesy of Vishal Pandey http://dataonaplate.com/