New weekend boosting business

The recent alteration to the UAE's weekend has proved a ‘blessing’ to business for many restaurants and bars.

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By  Lynne Nolan Published  October 1, 2006

Restaurants and bars in the region have already witnessed a significant boost to business since the recent shift of the UAE’s weekend to Fridays and Saturdays. Food and beverage manager, Alex Siju, from Kempinksi Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, has noticed dining trends have started to change, not only with more guests visiting the outlets, but with eating habits also changing as diners opt for fusion and casual dining cuisine, rather than fine dining, sit-down dinners. “Business has picked up drastically at all of our food and beverage outlets on Friday evenings and Saturdays. However, the effect of the change will also mean innovation and competition among outlets in the region, which is always healthy,” Siju commented. The Renaissance Dubai Hotel described the new weekend as a “blessing”, bringing further trade and making business with the rest of the world less hectic. The hotel has also noticed a demand among customers to extend the brunch at Spice Island to Saturdays, while theme nights at Sails have already expanded to include Saturdays. Spice Island has already started to record an increase in covers on Friday nights, and in order to cope with the rising number of diners, the Renaissance Dubai Hotel has had to increase staff numbers. Dubai is not the only Emirate to take advantage of the new weekend. Hotels across the UAE have had to re-plan themed nights, brunches and opening hours. “The peak has shifted from Thursday to Friday nights, and the brunch is now on Fridays and Saturdays, since we are unsure what days people are going to want it most. However, now that it is Ramadan it makes it difficult to see what will happen, so we will have to reassess the situation after that,” commented Patrick Antaki, general manager, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah. “Until then we are running peak hours on Friday and Saturday until the change has settled a little. Saturday used to be relatively quiet, but now it is almost as busy as Fridays,” he added.

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