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People still gotta eat…Part II

People still gotta eat…Part II

The region’s food sector appears to be having a more palatable year than many other businesses, Part II.

October 28, 2009 9:30 by

Click here to read Part I.

Eating out

While most food brands appear to have managed to avoid a fall in sales to date, globally, eating out seems to have fared less well.

Research from food industry consultant Technomic shows that sales at full-service restaurants in the US are expected to fall 6 percent in 2009. The picture is worse for fine-dining restaurants; sales are estimated to drop 12-15 percent. However, if eating in has proved to be a growth sector in the Gulf, eating out has proved to be recession-proof. One sales and marketing director at a five star Riyadh hotel commented on condition of anonymity that both reservations and revenues at the hotel’s numerous restaurants are up this year.

At the other end of the industry, McDonald’s has committed itself to expanding rapidly across the Middle East. The world’s largest quick service restaurant chain raised eyebrows when it announced that it would be actually adding stores over 2009 – 1,000 of them. Announcing the firm’s Q4 results, McDonald’s CEO, Jim Skinner, said: “For 2009 we plan to invest $2.1 billion in capital to open about 1,000 new restaurants and reinvest in our existing locations.”

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