Hot Topics

81026 31 May 2021

Opening a Restaurant in Dubai: Five Things to Consider

Gabrielle F. Mather, CEO & Founder of leading UAE-based restaurant firm Restaurant Secrets Inc., looks at five often overlooked aspects of opening a new restaurant in Dubai.

DUBAI, UAE, MAY 31, 2021

1) Consistent menu engineering is a must for any successful restaurant.

Dubai is an extremely trend-conscious market, which means restaurant menus must be re-engineered every three to six months to stay relevant. The market is always evolving, drawing inspiration from all major leading food capitals around the world. It's important to ensure restaurant owners either have the right talent on board in-house or use Fand B consultants to develop head-turning signature menus and to manage these unavoidable updates regularly, effectively and creatively.


2) Budgets should be allocated for staff training and experiences.

A downfall in many restaurants is the high turnover of staff. Losing employees is costly for restaurant owners when accounting for UAE hiring costs such as visas, healthcare, accommodation, etc. High staff turnover is a real financial loss to any business. Considering that an average employee needs six months to be fully productive and thoroughly understand the business, losing them frequently means you are constantly fighting with a rookie team instead of retaining your strong people, who you've invested training and operational synergy in, just when they are finally becoming an asset to you. It's important for businesses to include training and incentive budgets into their PL. Employees who feel taken care of and valued will always put more into making a success of a restaurant or any business for that matter.


3) Waste management must be taken seriously.

Too many restaurants don't have waste management systems in place, which results in too much stock on shelves and in fridges that goes in the bin. Owners should implement a strong POS system as well as kitchen management systems for inventory control that ensures they sell what they buy. A JIT system is perfect for the current market scenario of unpredictable sales and can help minimize stock levels and rotating products so that they don't go off. Food wastage is a massive global issue and costs restaurant owners thousands every year.


4) Investing in Instagram marketing is a must.

Instagram marketing in this part of the world is more effective and crucial to a brand's positioning and communication than anywhere else globally. Have a budget for social media marketing, and also for hiring the right candidate with the relevant skills. High-quality imagery is a must, so don't skimp on photography. Building great content through lifestyle and professional imagery and videos is the way to go in the UAE. We're living in an age where so many consumers choose where to dine through feed scrolling. Restaurants need to make their grid count.


5) Select your kitchen and build contractors carefully very carefully.

Restaurant owners should be prepared to pay a premium price if they want to open on time and produce a quality venue. While it may seem attractive to go with the lower priced contractor to start, this will ultimately result in spending more in the long run. Delayed openings and poor delivery are commonplace for low-cost contractors in Dubai. Tender out your build contracts and ask for references. Check out if the contractor has done restaurants before because the fit-out of FB units is very different from usual contracting.


For more information about Restaurant Secrets Inc. call +971 56 216 1511 or e-mail for a free one-hour consultation. Visit or follow @restaurantsecretsinc on social media for further background.


Restaurant Secrets Inc.

Restaurant Secrets Inc. (RSI) is a team of expert Restaurant Consultants Business Incubators in the UAE that has served over 300 brands since its inception in 2001. The ISO 9001 certified firm provides full solution FB incubation in-house. Nothing is outsourced at RSI. This unique business set up ensures synergistic results as teams work together to develop all elements of a restaurant including concept development, menu engineering, feasibility studies, business plans, layouts interior design, branding marketing, talent requisition, franchise development, pre- and post-opening operational support and more. To name a few, some of RSIs most significant projects recently include Montauk Boutique Cafe, Colt, Roti Rollers, La Serre Bistro Boulangerie, Clintons Baking Street, So Tea, OPSO, Mitts Trays, and The Loft at Dubai Opera.


Gabrielle F. Mather

CEOandFounder, Restaurant Secrets Inc.

Gabrielle Mather,acreativesoul inthepursuitofexcellence, has lived in the UK, Singapore UAEand allofher diverse international experiences are illustrated in both her business personal life. She is a seasoned restaurateur, operator and as a trusted FB consultant she has been incubating FB businesses since 2001. Gabriellehasled the development ofover 300 FB Concepts with 360 degrees handsonexperienceinBOHand FOHexperiences withparticular expertise in concept creation, menu development, interior design and brand development. Her leadership as Co-Founder of Lincoln Hospitality, oversaw the rebranding operational turn-around of four prime Emaar properties La Serre, The Loft at Dubai Opera, Taikun and Distillery in the 2018 acquisition of the 100 million Capex venues by Restaurant Secrets Inc. With a Business(Marketing)degree from theUniversity of Hartford, she is also a BVQI - ISO certified Quality Auditor trained in luxury product development at the University of London.