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Global Restaurant Investment Forum launches association to support UAE industry

The Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) has launched the Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA). MERA, a non-profit organisation, will act as a hub that connects, promotes and supports its members, while helping to frame the agenda for the UAE’s restaurant industry.

MERA will be a source of help, advice and information that concerned business-owners and members of the industry can come to for assistance and guidance. The association aims to look after everyone in the industry, at all levels, not just owners and management.

MERA’s founders are currently in the final stages of registering the non-profit incorporated organisation (NPIO) as a legal entity. The association will host its first-ever ‘MERA powered by GRIF’ online Zoom session this Wednesday, April 1, at 10am UAE time, which will be led by the following founding board members of MERA, along with a leading legal practitioner:

  • Naim Maadad, Chief Executive, Gates Hospitality
  • Duncan Fraser-Smith, Vice President, TFG, Food & Beverage
  • Ramzy Abdul-Majeed, Founder & Managing Director, Whissle Hospitality Group
  • Ravi Chandran, Chief Executive Officer (MENA), Liwa Minor
  • Amit Nayak CHA, Vice President & Board Member, HAMA MEA
  • David Singleton, Partner, Socius Group

These F&B leaders will be on hand to listen to the industry’s queries, and if they cannot provide answers to certain questions, then they will endeavour to assist and facilitate connections with those who are more qualified.

MERA is anticipating that, during the discussion, common threads will emerge around rents, employment, VAT, licensing, WPS finance, and more. Specialised MERA Power Sessions will be set up on Zoom at later dates, which will include representatives capable of expertly addressing specific subject matters. 

Other founding board members include Rene Beil (Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners), Lynne Bellinger (Director of Food & Beverage Development, Marriott International MEA), and Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, (Co-Founder of GRIF & MD Middle East of Bench Events).   

A platform for collaboration, innovation and education – MERA advocates for sustainability, responsibility and food safety, securing longevity and, ultimately, a better future for the industry. All profits generated by MERA will be reinvested into both the association and, indeed, the industry as it is a non-profit incorporated organisation.


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