In-restaurant dining records strong recovery in UAE: Network International

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Dubai: The UAE’s restaurant industry has achieved close to the same total of dine-in spending in the first three months of 2021 as it did during the same period last year, according to Network International.

Network reported a negligible 1 per cent dip in overall dine-in spending in Q1 2021 in comparison with Q1 2020, before the country declared a lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

Quick Bites restaurant

The fast food category – saw the most growth in dine-in point of sale (POS) in the first quarter of 2021, nearly a fifth more than in the same period of 2020. As outlets continue operating under strict protocols with regular inspections to ensure compliance, spending at cafes also increased by mid-single digits in Q1 2021 versus the same period a year ago.

Preferred cuisines

The upward rebound in dine-in spending has been most rewarding for café food and drink, followed by European and Middle Eastern cuisine. Additionally, the Middle Eastern cuisine category was the only category to record visible growth in spending in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in last year, making low-single digit gains.

With the ongoing pandemic, broadening acceptance of digital and contactless payments, including the option to pay ‘in-app’ even when dining-in, continues to help restaurants cater to changing payment behaviour and reassure customers of a safe experience. Specifically, in the last two quarters, the industry has managed to significantly overturn the steep decline of activity caused by the virus and is continuing to recover at a modestly optimistic pace with more customers opting for contactless transactions.

As the COVID-19 situation escalated the urgency to go cashless, Network International has continued to empower more businesses to keep up with the ever-changing payments landscape.