Dubai's Zuma confirms ban on cigar smoking

Popular restaurant and bar brand says cigar ban extended to evenings; cigarette smoking will still be allowed
By Staff writer
Wed 16 Apr 2014 02:19 PM

Popular restaurant and bar brand Zuma on Wednesday announced a ban on smoking cigars in its bar and lounge areas in the evenings, effective immediately.

This move follows the ban on cigar smoking in the bar and lounge areas during lunch service that was introduced by the Zuma team in April 2013 and the Dubai Government's anti-tobacco law that came into effect earlier this year.

Cigarettes are still allowed during both meal times within these areas, Zuma said in a statement.

Smoking is still allowed in bars and lounges in Dubai, depending on the management’s policy.

Ajaz Sheikh, managing director of Zuma Middle East and Turkey, said: "Whilst we don't wish to intentionally alienate any of our guests, it was becoming increasingly hard to justify cigar smoking in the Zuma bar and lounge in the evenings, with growing numbers of complaints, especially from females.

"Irrespective, of government laws, I felt it was necessary to lead the way in terms of banning cigars in all areas of  Zuma at all times of day and I'm confident that other fine-dining venues will follow.  It will be interesting to see how quickly Dubai falls into line will with other global culinary centres in terms of anti-smoking legislation."

Earlier this month, Rainer Becker, the founder of Zuma, revealed he sees a market in Dubai for his other brainchild, Roka.

In an exclusive interview with Caterer Middle East, Becker said: "We are looking to bring Roka one day to Dubai."

No further details were revealed but Becker added: “I think there is definitely space for this mid-market concept in Dubai.”

Roka is hailed by many as the sister brand of Zuma, but Becker said he doesnt' refer to it as that "because it’s a full-fledged successful restaurant in London and it’s based on the robatayaki grill" concept.

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