Monday, 28th June 2021 | volume 01 | issue 02
DRG to tackle aggregators, landlords, banks, and supply chain
Key aims of the DRG were outlined at The Hotel Show

Having worked quietly behind the scenes for the past 12 months, the board of Dubai Restaurants Group (DRG) made a first public appearance at The Hotel Show Dubai 2021.

Five members of the board took a break from negotiating deals to appear in front of a packed audience and outline how it is already helping its members.

Gates Hospitality founder and chief executive Naim Maadad hosted the session with chairman Mubarak Bin Fahad, secretary general Kunal Lahori, and board members Walid Fakih and Max Grenard. A lively session ensued, with audience members getting their points across and calling out the areas of the industry they feel have let them down.

Having taken the brunt of the displeasure from the F&B industry over the past 18 months, it’s no surprise that delivery aggregators are high on the agenda for DRG to tackle. But will they concede to the demands of the industry?

Bin Fahad revealed that DRG has been in contact with the government about capping aggregator commission rates. Secretary general Lahori said he believed that aggregators would drop their commission rates once the likes of Noon Food, which will only charge restaurants a flat 15 percent, come online fully.

High level talks have already taken place with Talabat and good news for members of DRG will be announced very soon.

We’ve seen numerous F&B operators speak out about landlords since the pandemic began and DRG has been listening.

Bin Fahad said: “Landlords are one of the major issues. Many restaurants owners and operators feel badly hit with the lockdown and then having to survive on two-metre social distancing. The landlord came and applied the base rental formula and there were a lot of closures. If you have 10,000 square metres and according to social distancing the best occupancy rate is 4,500 square metres, how can you charge a full rate?

“So we reached out to landlords and said we can’t all continue honouring those leases. We worked with landlords and going forward they agreed to apply a percentage of turnover, so if we do well, they do well.”

Dealing with banks is rarely easy, but their lack of help for the sector has left DRG distinctly unimpressed. With Expo 2020 on the horizon, now is the time to support Dubai’s F&B, said Bin Fahad. “How can this sector grow or build something new closer to the Expo area if the financial institutions don’t support them? It’s a major problem.”

By uniting as one voice, the DRG will accomplish real change through high level discussions with government, but Lahori also highlighted its efforts to improve the supply chain, with the creation of a central supplier library that all members will be able to access and receive discounted rates.

McDonald’s UAE GM Fakih said to help DRG achieve its goals it is looking for partners with similar values that it can collaborate with on events or in exchange for visibility with its members and on this newsletter.

To become a member or sponsor of DRG, contact

F&B firms gear up as Expo 2020 comes into view   Meet the sponsor:
Neutral Fuels
It's less than three months to the
showpiece event
  The company can help DRG members
meet the UAE's sustainability goals

While Expo 2020 may have felt like a prize that is just out of reach due to its year-long Covid postponement, it’s now almost within our grasp.

The good news for restaurants is that despite the delay, 23 million visitors are still expected to visit the UAE for the event, providing a huge boost for the country and Dubai in particular when it opens in October.

Dubai has the chance to show itself off as a truly global food destination with the event. As a melting point with more than 200 nationalities, the city’s culinary diversity is unparalleled and Expo 2020 will put its talent on display.

Popular restaurant chain Little Bangkok will be managing Thailand’s pavilion and expects to feed more than 100,000 guests throughout the event which runs from October 1 to March 31.

Many local SMEs will give an authentic feel to proceedings, with Arabian Tea House, India’s Al Fawania, Philippines’ Dampa Seafood Grill, and Lebanon’s Al Reef Bakery just some that will be joining more than 200 F&B outlets.

Sustainability is a key theme of this year’s Expo and the UAE will be leading from the front, with Emirates Flight Catering providing fresh produce from the world’s largest vertical farm.

Emirates Flight Catering is also hosting a series of F&B locations across the Expo site’s three Thematic Districts, where its fine dining restaurants will feature rotating menus from a monthly star chef.

With all this and more, Expo 2020 is set to put Dubai on the global gastronomic map for all the right reasons. To help your business take advantage of the Expo 2020 boom, become a member or sponsor of DRG now.

Contact for more details.


“There is nothing more important in the world today than fixing the mess we’ve made of our planet.” That’s the belief of Karl W. Fielder, chairman and CEO of Neutral Fuels.

The company is the GCC’s largest producer of Net Zero Biofuel, a clean, renewable fuel that replaces the fossil fuel responsible for greenhouse gasses that cause climate change, reducing transportation carbon emissions to zero.

Fielder is a proud board member of Dubai Restaurants Group and aims to use Neutral Fuels’ to help make the F&B industry more sustainable.

The firm’s longest-standing client in Dubai is McDonald’s, whose entire UAE logistics fleet has been fuelled by net zero biofuel made from its own used vegetable cooking oil since 2011.

Working with McDonald’s, Neutral Fuels has developed a paper free circular economy oil collection process that provides a peerless management control system for restaurants.

It enables communication directly with the Neutral Fuels cloud portal via two bespoke apps – iCollect and iFuel.

The various oil collection options include the custom built iROC (Intelligent Reusable Oil Container) with in-built sensors that enable automatic collection and replacement when full.

 “This is the first time in the region that a scalable and paper free audit trail had been implemented for a closed loop circular waste recycling system. Now it’s possible for all DRG members to take a significant step towards meeting the UAE’s sustainability goals just by recycling their waste oil correctly,” outlined Fielder.

To take advantage of the offers available to sponsors of DRG, contact

DRG's legal advisors
Get to know Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy

Founded in 2012, Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy (MHLF), is an active boutique firm with international expertise that focuses on select clients and quality mandates. The firm is known for providing solution-oriented and value-adding services to its clients, thanks to its team of internationally-trained lawyers.

MHLF is proudly is recognised as an arbitration and conflict resolution expert in commercial and corporate matters, providing comprehensive legal solutions for complex legal challenges. It specialises in providing advice on mergers and acquisitions, complex business transactions which include but not limited to private equity deals, corporate governance, and legal structuring.

Over the years, MHLF has nurtured a client base including high net worth individuals, major corporations, LLCs, family-owned businesses, private and public stock companies, and governmental and semi-governmental bodies.

As a member of Worldwide Lawyers Association (WLA), MHLF assists clients in countries around the world. You can find out more about them here

For more information, and to express an interest in becoming a board member or sponsor, contact To find out more about becoming an advisor to the board, click here.

The DRG board

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© Dubai Restaurants Group 2021.
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