Last month we headed to the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh which, as always, brought together the region’s industry leaders for discussions and insights on the continued growth of the Kingdom’s hospitality and tourism sectors.
Our Managing Partner (F&B Consulting) Stefan Breg led a panel discussion about the future of the KSA dining market to establish whether it will follow in the footsteps of other markets or carve out its own unique growth path. We were honoured to have a broad range of talents on stage with us very much representing the future of KSA, each with their own unique and successful track record. The panel comprised of Hashim al Attas of Leylaty, Andrew Williamson of Red Sea Global and Abdulhalim Awlia of NEOM.
The key outtake from the panel was that nothing was likely to stop the Kingdom following its own distinct path of F&B development. A view that matches our own. We have been lucky enough see Dubai develop over the last 20+ years and we’re more convinced than ever that the KSA market will shape its own destiny and ultimately produce something unmatched on both the regional and international stage. There are already signs of a burgeoning entrepreneurially led market as Saudi-owned concepts open.
The panel discussed parallels with how London’s restaurant market developed. In the 80s, London was not a dining market that people talked about and the city wasn’t in Europe’s premier league of dining destinations. There were even signs that London was mimicking the US in many ways, with the arrival of well-known American QSR and casual dining brands and there was virtually no English or British cuisine on offer. This was re-discovered and blossomed beautifully in the 90s to establish itself now as a key part of the offer in London.
The Kingdom can learn from this in some ways and shape Saudi cuisine in a number of formats; traditional, contemporary and progressive. We are excited to be playing our part of shaping the dining market in the Kingdom and are already working on briefs to develop concepts like this; from entrepreneurs to ‘giga’ developments.