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In-restaurant dining records strong recovery in UAE

June 8, 2021
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Network International said dining out spend in Q1 2021 almost matched that of Q1 2020

Dine-in restaurant spending in the UAE has shown a strong recovery with spending in the first quarter of 2021 close to what it was in the same period last year, according to Network International.

Spending on eating in restaurants was down just one percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2020, the leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) said.

The company said the Quick Bites restaurant category, including fast food, street food, food trucks and bakeries – 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.

Spending at cafes also increased by mid-single digits in Q1 2021 versus the same period a year ago, it said.

The pandemic had broadened the acceptance of digital and contactless payments.

Figures are based on Network International’s analysis of its POS transactions for restaurants across the country from January 2020 to March 2021.

According to a survey by POSist Restaurant Industry & Market Evolution Report (PRIME) in the UAE, 75 percent of restaurant operators expect higher revenue in 2021 than pre-COVID time.

Restaurant sales continue to improve as diners become more comfortable with contactless dining and ordering food online.

One-third of restaurant operators surveyed mentioned that they are now operating at 60 percent of their pre-COVID-19 revenue levels (as of March 2021), the survey said.

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