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Mon 22 Aug 2011 11:51 AM

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Slow economy doesn’t eat into UAE dining habits

Despite downturn, residents in the Gulf state eat out twice a week, poll finds

Slow economy doesn’t eat into UAE dining habits
Some 75 percent of respondents said they eat out twice a week for social and family gatherings, the Table Talk poll found

More than two thirds of UAE residents admit to eating out at
least twice a week, choosing food quality over price, new research has shown.

Some 75 percent of respondents said they eat out twice a
week for social and family gatherings, while three percent confessed to dining
out daily, a survey by UAE-based Table Talk found.

Almost half of the 592 respondents - 49.5 percent - said they
prioritised the quality of the food over its cost and service, suggesting a
rebound in consumer spending.

Just 27 percent of respondents said they chose restaurants
based on receiving value for money.

“As the [F&B]
market has matured it has given people more choice and so the propensity to eat
out increases,” managing director of Jumeirah
Restaurants Phil Broad told Arabian Business.

“You can eat out at all the different price points, and
there are so many different occasions for people to go out and celebrate. So
[these results] don’t surprise me at all.”

Jumeirah, whose brands include Rivington Grill and The
Noodle House, has reported a rise in the number of covers at its restaurants.

 “Year-on-year our
business is up,” said Broad, without specifying the size of the increase. “We
are also doing well on the delivery side of the business,” he said. 

The findings suggest the UAE has largely absorbed significant
increases in the global cost of staple foodstuffs. World Bank data showed
prices of maize and wheat have increased by more than 60 percent, while sugar
has seen a 21 percent price increase.

In June, the OPEC member said it would fix the price of 400
basic food and household items across 70 retail outlets in the Gulf state. The
scheme was backed by Carrefour, Lulu, and a number of cooperative societies
that together hold 75 percent of the UAE’s retail market.

In the run up to Ramadan – which traditionally spurs a jump
in food sales - stores were also been asked to slash the costs of basic
commodities by 20-50 percent.

Broad said Jumeirah Restaurants had been able to manage the
rise in food prices by bulk buying from a mix of countries around the globe.

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