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To dine or not to dine?

To dine or not to dine?

Apparently restaurant chains are charging 46 percent more in the UAE than they do for exactly the same menu items elsewhere in the world. Do you agree?

March 8, 2011 5:31 by

Food prices, as Kipp wrote about last week, are on the rise; globally, but also here in the UAE. Of course, what with the unrest in the Middle East – unprecedented political change coming at the expense in the hike in oil prices and consequently food prices – Kipp thought it impolitic and rather trivial to complain about the rising cost of food prices. But, because Kipp enjoys complaining (especially about how very poor we are), we saw this article about how expensive dining out is in the UAE and knew instantly it would be the subject of our blog today.

The Hotelier Middle East recently reported that Stefan Breg, from F&B strategy house Tribe Restaurant Creators, had quite a lot to say about dining out in Dubai when he was in Dubai for Gulfood last week. Apparently, Breg compared the price of items on menus in the UAE with those offered by the same restaurant brands in the US and Europe and found that “Many restaurant chains are charging 46 percent more in the UAE than they do for exactly the same menu item elsewhere in the world.”

Which probably could be justified on higher cost of operation and standard of living, but it isn’t, says Breg: “This makes no sense. There is no sales tax here, and neither the rents nor the payrolls are substantially higher.”

There you go folks, gross injustice if Kipp ever was witness to any. This is about the time Kipp begins an angry rant on exploitation and general rage, but we find ourselves just a little ambivalent to be honest. While on one hand, we are always in the kind of mood to engage in a rant about how we are getting ripped off constantly in the new UAE, what with new extra Salik toll gates being planned, and super hungry parking-ticket inspectors not even honouring a 2 minute grace period; on the other, we aren’t quite on board with Breg’s argument. Kipp knows for a fact that the Dubai-an low on cash is spoilt for options when it comes to super low-budget dining options (we are talking about an entire-breakfast-and-hot-beverage-for-Dh5-low); and when it comes to popular chains, Kipp thinks the prices are rather comparable: take the menu at Chilis or McDonald’s for example.

What do you think? Are Dubai restaurants prices far higher here? Or would you agree with Kipp and say food chains pricing are comparable to their counterparts in the States, for example?

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1 Comment

  1. Stefan Breg on April 29, 2011 8:48 am

    Enjoyed the challenge but bad news Kipp, we ran the numbers comparing a number of casual dining brands in UAE, US and Western Europe. Variance on like-for-like menu items was up to 46% and averaged around 30% higher prices in the UAE. Even allowing for currency fluctuations that’s a lot (and no VAT!).

    Note this is casual dining ie seated table service so we havent compared counter service (commonly known as fast food). Our report has much more than just price comparisons. Buy the report; get informed! [email protected]


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