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Thu 19 Mar 2020 02:09 PM

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UAE gov't should 'lock down' F&B venues, says Gates Hospitality CEO

Gates Hospitality CEO Naim Maadad says that a government enforced closure of venues would force landlords to help

UAE gov't should 'lock down' F&B venues, says Gates Hospitality CEO

Maadad added that he has personally reduced his income by 50 percent, and has asked his management team to volunteer for cuts. Image: ITP Media Group

The UAE’s government should “lock down” all public venues and F&B outlets, which in turn would encourage landlords to help businesses survive, according to Gates Hospitality CEO Naim Maadad.

Gates Hospitality has a portfolio that currently includes restaurants such as Folly, Reform Social&Grill, Bistro des Arts, Asia de Cuba and Publique.

In an interview with Arabian Business sister publication Caterer Middle East, Maadad said that Gates is “anticipating a 50 percent drop in business.”

As a result of measures imposed by Dubai Municipality, Folly has closed its rooftop bar and Reform has had to limit its offerings.

Additionally, F&B outlets have seen revenue drop as more and more residents are encouraged to remain at home and self-isolate.

“We’re asking the government to step in and lock us down,” said Maadad. “We are living in a crisis world at the moment, and when we have that clarity from the authorities then landlords will have to help. Utilities, rates, visa costs, licensing and taxes will all have to help, but until then it’s the business owners and employees who suffer.

“The landlord’s still going to hit you when a cheque, [and] fees on trade licences are still applicable,” he added. “This is when the government needs to step up.”

Maadad added that he has personally reduced his income by 50 percent, and has asked his management team to volunteer for cuts.

“I’m not going to impose anything yet, but if it gets worse than I’ve got no measures left. It’s not what we believe in as a business. It’s not in our DNA, but if that’s what we need to survive then we have to.

“Our position is we will come out stronger if we protect our people. Our people are our business. Without our community we have no business,” he added

Earlier this week, Dubai Municipality introduced new rules for restaurants to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including not selling more than 50 meals per order, limiting the amount of customers inside and forbidding people from congregating in waiting areas.

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