Sector Food and beverage
Salt isn’t so much the most conspicuous success story of the recent trend of homegrown, urban casual dining venues as its pioneer, a venture in whose tyre tracks every burger chain and food truck have since followed. Developed by Deem Al Bassam, a Saudi with expertise in creating F&B concepts, and Amal Al Marri, a UAE national with hands-on design and event knowledge, Salt quickly evolved from its food truck origins to become a unique alfresco eatery with locations on Dubai’s Kite Beach, Abu Dhabi’s Mushrif Central Park and Ajman promenade. Arabian Business asked Amal Al Marri about its growth.
What was the original concept behind Salt?
Salt’s founders recognised that we live in a fast-paced, routine-driven world, and we wanted to inspire people to pause for a moment and take things back to basics. Salt celebrates unique locations within the UAE with the aim of bringing people together to enjoy a simple but premium experience by freeing them from shopping malls and fine dining restaurants. Sharing food is a part of our community and culture – a chance for us to connect and communicate.
Why the name?
Our name refers to a flavourful ingredient that is vital to good food as well as being an enriching element that adds significant value to all of our lives.
Why has the Salt brand resonated with the public so strongly?
With the vast changes in the economy and the throng of new buildings, streets and shopping malls, we felt that the city had a missing ingredient. Starting with the #FINDSALT campaign, we asked people what mattered most to them, and we discovered it was the simple things, from reading a book, to a walk with the family on the beach, etc. The public really helped us shape the concept, creating the mission of adding life to under-served locations and creating new, simple experiences.
The food truck trend has continued apace in Dubai and the UAE and that’s the way you started. Where do you fit into that space now?
We are beyond a food truck. We knew that one day trucks would be legalised and everyone would have one, and we wanted to always differentiate ourselves from that. What Salt offers is beyond that. It’s a full lifestyle experience, from the food to the atmosphere, destinations and events. I would say Salt is not a light traveller.
There is a distinct “urban” aesthetic in Dubai right now. What is that tapping into?
That urban aesthetic was not there when we first started and that’s what we humbly wanted to add to Dubai. We started four years back, before a lot of the new outdoor developments, and were the first to launch a pop-up in Kite Beach when the running track was under construction. We knew that one day this would be a great destination and we were right.
What is the key to creating an F&B brand in Dubai?
People in Dubai are smart and have experienced almost everything. Unfortunately, we see a lot of duplication of ideas in the market and not many pushing boundaries. Getting inspired and innovating is the key to long-lasting success.