Five Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Restaurant Business If you're running an F&B business in the UAE and want to ensure the long-term sustainability of your enterprise, here are five ways you can do just that.

By May Rostom

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With the UAE's tourism sector flourishing as always (and Expo 2020 being right around the corner), the country continues to lead the F&B market in the Middle East region, falling second only to Paris in restaurant footprint (number of restaurants per million residents). But this means that the F&B sector in the UAE is rather crowded, and it's known that almost 80% of newly opened outlets, in highly competitive markets around the world, don't make it through their first year. As such, if you're running an F&B business in the UAE and want to ensure the long-term sustainability of your enterprise, here are five ways you can do just that:

1. Join the delivery revolution With the rise of operational costs, rent, and license renewals, the home delivery and takeaway market in the UAE alone is growing at a rate of 6% annually, and this is set to continue for at least the next five years. Stimulated by increased mobile usage and the emergence of a wide range of food delivery apps, the market has undergone a global metamorphosis over the past couple of years. Whether by using the help of third-party platforms like Deliveroo or Zomato, or even by launching your own delivery platform, moving towards digital in the F&B sector is inevitable.

2. Offer more than just food Over-delivering on the service you promise your customers could possibly be the best thing you could do for your business. Facilitate reservations, offer an experience, give your loyal customers a special discount, offer unsurpassable service, or even a personalised greeting at the door would make all the difference in the world. After all, the key to success in most businesses is excellent customer care.

3. Get creative You know the old adage that says "if you build it, they will come"? Yeah, that's not necessarily true. Putting a solid marketing strategy and setting aside a proper marketing budget is essential for your business to grow. And in order to stand out in a highly competitive market like the UAE, you have to get creative. Using social media platforms, influencer marketing, email or text marketing, and even radio and television ads, are all essential to get the word out on your newly opened outlet or thriving food business.

4. Don't be afraid to stand out While Arabic and Indian cuisines continue to be very popular in the UAE, culinary creativity will always put you back on the map. As a KPMG survey states, Asian cuisine, especially Vietnamese and Korean, are expected to see a greater acceptance in the near future. Consumers don't want just another Italian restaurant.

5. Be consistent Wanna know what's harder than getting an A grade? Keeping one. Or at least that's what our parents used to teach us growing up. Delivering excellence is easy; consistency, however, is not. Building customer trust and loyalty starts with consistency. While keeping up with trends is the best way to shake things up at your restaurant, staying true to your sense of style and service is essential to create a comfort level that is familiar to your customers. If you consistently please your existing customer base, you'll inevitably build a new one through word of mouth and referrals.

Related: From Japan To Dubai: Founder Ahmed Tahnoon On Creating Spheerz To Serve Japanese Takoyaki

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May Rostom

Curator, Entrepreneur Café

May Rostom is the curator of Entrepreneur Café, a new daily digest of stories from Entrepreneur Middle East to fuel your day at work. 

May has been in the fashion journalism field for more than five years, with over 500 articles published in online and offline mediums. Working closely with some of the biggest fashion brands in the region, from creating, curating, and developing content to aggregating and pitching for content from several fashion and beauty outlets in the Middle East, Rostom’s experience is multicultural and vast. She was formerly a senior lifestyle editor/writer at MSN Arabia, and she has also worked with TRESemme Egypt as a fashion expert.

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