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Hotel & Catering News ME hosts online discussion on negotiating with suppliers

Hotel & Catering News Middle East has hosted its fourth webinar, addressing some of the toughest challenges facing restaurant operators and suppliers in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this webinar, key industry players discussed how COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of a good relationship with suppliers, and the best strategy to ensure a smooth communication:

  • Choosing the Best Suppliers
  • Sourcing the Right Equipment
  • Finding Quality Ingredients 
  • Drawing Up Contracts
  • Forecasting the Future

Speakers in attendance were CEO & Owner, Cloud Restaurants & Couqley French Bistro Ziad Kamel, Senior Business Development Manager, Middle East & Africa, Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions, InSinkErator Mohamed Karam, and Founder, The Mattar Farm Hattem Mattar.

“No doubt, COVID-19 has changed the supply chain and our business priorities,” says Karam. “Agility and resilience have become important factors when negotiating with suppliers. Plus, digitalisation was an option for our business, but after COVID-19, it has become a necessity.

“We always go with: “Price, Quality & Consistency” when we select our suppliers. A good and fruitful business relationship with suppliers needs to be built on collaboration and partnership. It was a pleasure to be a part of this webinar, as the speakers come from different backgrounds and addressed the subject from different angles. Thanks BNC and the Hotel & Catering magazine team.”

Kamel posits: “The effects of COVID-19 on my two businesses were very different. Our bricks & mortar restaurant business Couqley French Bistro in JLT had to close its dine-in service for more than a month, as required by authorities. This meant we lost 100% of our dine-in revenue. That’s more than 6,000 dine-in customers per month.”

“Luckily, food delivery was designated an essential business, and so we swiftly implemented our delivery-focused plan with upgraded delivery offerings including DIY cooking kits under the #CouqleyAtHome tag. As a result, Couqley’s delivery revenue increased by 250%. Although the increase in delivery revenue was fantastic and ensured our kitchen team continued to work, it did not make up for our lost dine-business,” he adds.

“However, there’s good news! After restaurants were allowed to reopen following COVID regulations, the recovery of our dine-in business was faster than we had anticipated. Post-lockdown performance has almost recovered to pre-COVID levels. What we learned was that over the past 4+ years of Couqley Dubai, we had built a strong brand with a resident community of loyal customers. We consistently deliver on our promise of affordable-luxury French cuisine with personalised and friendly service.”

“As for,” he adds, “it’s a digital-first, delivery-only, online restaurant company. We’re 100% online and our food brands were born and live online. During COVID, our business continued to thrive although we did face challenges such as staff training and protection, the transportation of team members to our seven cloud kitchen facilities (public was shut down), implementing zero-contact deliveries, and ensuring our supply line remained intact.”

“To fulfill a need during lockdown, when most of society avoided grocery shopping and wanted a break from daily cooking, we launched a wider array of value-driven lockdown offerings from our popular brands like Go! Greek, Go! Pasta, and Go! Healthy. We continued to deliver high quality with consistency. We developed family meal-deals and offered cuisine variety from our different brands under one Go! Restaurants platform. We launched Go! Cook with cooking kits. Our business continued its monthly double digit growth throughout COVID. We work with a winning mindset and our goal is to innovate and dominate the online restaurant world.”

“It’s always a big pleasure of mine to be a keynote speaker or a panelist at inspiring conferences, especially in hospitality and entrepreneurship. When Hotel & Catering News ME invited me to be a panelist, I immediately said yes as the platform is credible and well read. I also love negotiation theory and I have applied several winning tactics at my own businesses. I have trained my team on the best way to negotiate and this has positively impacted our company and, believe it or not, improved our relationships with our suppliers,” says Kamel.


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