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UAE’s F&B sector find ‘takeaway Christmas’ makes for good business this year

Chicago Meatpackers Turkey
Order ’em! UAE residents are ordering in their Christmas lunches… and F&B businesses are working out promotions to suit their palettes. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Ordering in a takeaway for Xmas?

In a year when COVID-19 has altered consumer behaviors, ordering in is emerging as the go-for-it option for UAE residents. And F&B businesses have put together one-off deals to make it easier for residents to have that festive cheer.

“I was meant to fly to the UK to be with my family… but decided to stay here and host a Christmas lunch for my friends,” said Kirstin Elis, a Dubai resident. “I noticed the takeaway turkeys are a lot more affordable this year, so I’ve ordered one.”

Restaurants are offering take-away Christmas meals that include a massive turkey with all the trimmings thrown in. Prices start at Dh250 for the turkey with side dishes and can go up to Dh1,200 if you are really in the mood to splurge.

“Many concepts have struggled this year for obvious reasons, but it is clear how the agile and the innovative have stayed in the game and, in some cases, made ground,” said Colin Hutton, founder of Umami Communications and a local F&B expert. “This season, delivery-friendly restaurants are winning hearts, minds and market share.”

Tap into safety mode

Which is exactly what Il Passagio, a homegrown Mediterranean restaurant in Dubai, did. “We realise pandemic is still looming and a vast majority are still concerned about going to public places,” said Rebecca Da Silva, the restaurant’s F&B Director. “And if our customers can’t come to us, we will take the experience to them.”

Turkey trappings

LDC Kitchen one of the more popular providers of the takeaway turkey, sold out on the orders completely. “We wanted to create a turkey menu that was special at a reasonable price,” said Florencia Beschtedt at the firm. “Our turkey package was completely sold out before Christmas Day.”

The package serves six to eight people and priced at Dh650.

Eye on the season

CarniStore, a homegrown online butchery and smokehouse platform, launched ready-to-eat festive packages timed for Christmas. “A lot of our customers are hosting their families this year,” said Dan Wanies, co-founder. “Our customers love the fact that they get a North American spin to their turkey, as opposed to the British and European “trimmings” based model.” (These North American sides include stuffing and sweet potato casserole with truffle mac n cheese.)

Handle on delivery

Sahil Anand, Director of Palm Jumeirah restaurant Chicago Meatpackers, had also underestimated how many orders the restaurant would receive. “The initial forecast we gave suppliers for the turkeys we required this season ended up being less than half of what we would actually need to fulfil our orders.”

His team spent the last two weeks to get suppliers to air freight additional produce so they can meet customer orders. “I can see that a lot more people are in the UAE this year with the new lockdowns imposed in Europe.”

With the reduced capacity at restaurants all over town, the F&B industry had to reorganise for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch. Investing in a takeaway service for a traditional turkey is thus proving a good move for many F&B brands in Dubai.

Happy dining in…

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