Glee Hospitality Solutions, experts in the food and beverage industry in the Middle East, has lined up seven top tips to help restaurant owners and investors guide their business through the region’s shifting economy

Abdul Kader Saadi, managing director and owner of the Dubai-based hospitality solutions provider, has helped launch more than 20 restaurant concepts, and operates over 40 dining outlets across the GCC.

With more than two decades of expertise in the hospitality industry and having worked with top brands in Europe and the UAE, Abdul is an expert on what it takes to maintain a successful restaurant business in today’s tough market conditions and offers this helpful list of seven tips that can help a hospitality business survive and prosper.

  1. Don’t panic and remember you are your greatest asset!
    When the market gets tough, some business owners think of cutting key staff positions as an immediate solution. On the contrary, at this crucial time it is important to retain employees that are integral to the success of a restaurant. Many times, decision-makers fail to identify these staff members.
  1. Invest wisely in marketing
    Some businesses are destined to crumble because they give importance to short-term ROI. A successful entrepreneur has a deep appreciation for ongoing marketing. The key is to invest in marketing with a focus on long-term goals. Remember, marketing is food, not medicine. It isn’t something to invest in only when things go wrong; instead marketing needs to be regular to sustain a successful business.
  1. Be creative, but don’t create a price war
    The hospitality industry is known to be competitive. As a restaurant owner, it is more important than ever to create attractive offers to stand out from competitors. The key is to create unique offerings that attract a customer’s interest. Customised packages are the way to go.
  1. Be open to change
    Being adaptable is not only advisable, but mandatory for businesses trying to succeed in the current economy. In the hospitality business, this applies across all categories – from the casual dining start-up to internationally-acclaimed fine-dining. The challenge lies in reacting effectively towards unexpected change. Companies that survive in the long run often plan for flexibility.
  1. Maintain high quality
    To gain loyal customers, a restaurant must give attention to consistency – both in its offerings and attention given to customers. While food quality is central to the success of a venue, it is the dining experience that counts. This cannot afford to waiver no matter how tough the market gets.
  1. Manage expenses sensibly
    Smart restaurateurs kick off their venture with a well-defined annual operating budget, which is separated into phases with reasonable revenue goals. When the entire team is aware of this plan, they have a clearer picture on how to manage expenses efficiently. Also, overlook the allocation of funds and assign them where you are likely to get better returns.
  1. Renegotiate with suppliers
    Every business is adapting to the market conditions. Investors often assume negotiating the right deal means getting what they want at the lowest price possible. Doing business with a supplier should be thought of as a long-term partnership. Try to negotiate other factors such as delivery times, payment terms, and the quality of the goods as well.

For information on how to keep help your cashflow, read our article here.


Abdul Kader Saadi,
Managing Director of Glee Hospitality Solutions