New restaurants also offer staff higher salaries on account of high footfall promised to them
Some developers in Dubai provide new restaurants with false or inaccurate footfall numbers, leading them to shut down soon after opening, according to the founder and managing partner of hospitality company Bulldozer Group.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Evgeny Kuzin said restaurants end up paying high rent and receiving little visitors.
“Of course there are issues in the market like everywhere. [Some] developers are concentrating a lot on building developments around F&B. They are selling space at high prices to new tenants who come to town with no experience,” he said.
“They sell them the dream and convince them that footfall is going to be amazing; that they should expect 35 million visitors over the year. And then the restaurant opens and nobody comes,” Kuzin added.
The managing partner said new restaurants also offer higher salaries to staff on account of the footfall promised to them.
“The new restaurants still come and pitch offers to our staff and offer them better salaries. They want to take them because their expectation is a lot of footfall. So you end up having a lot of restaurants opening then closing fast. People who are experienced know to request for lower rent,” he said.
Bulldozer Group is known for bringing global concepts including Italian restaurant Cipriani to Dubai. The firm also opened its own concept Greek restaurant Gaia in DIFC in 2018, which hosted over 12,000 guests in December alone last year. It is headed by Chef Izu Ani, who is famous for launching successes La Petite Maison and La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie.
Kuzin said the group is performing well despite the market having become more mature and challenging when compared to a few years ago.
“Now you need to clearly identify the concept and what type of clientele you’re expecting to host and the average spend per head you’re targeting. If you don’t miss these [elements] then the place can work very well,” he noted.
“It’s really great. I can’t complain,” he said, adding that Cipriani’s sales rose 7 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.