As more hotel operators enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa president, Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi highlights that hoteliers can’t be expected to provide everything.
In an exclusive interview with Hotelier Middle East at the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), Alzaabi said hotels must understand the F&B industry and the hotel catering industry are separate entities.
He explained: “We as hoteliers only understand all-day dining and banqueting but with real restaurants, the market has changed.” He continued that hotel operators, Millennium included, must let the “professionals of that industry” handle F&B operations of a hotel.
With that in mind, he revealed Millennium Hotels is currently partnering with a handful of restauranteurs so that it can better understand the F&B industry and create better F&B concepts in its properties.
He explained: “We don’t want to be the masters of everything; hoteliers and restauranteurs are totally different people.”
Hotelier Middle East asked Alzaabi whether Saudi's F&B industry is at a disadvantage compared to Dubai, where a lot of the most popular restaurants are in prime-location hotels Alzaabi urged: "In Dubai, all the best restaurants are not in hotels! I think the location is not really the problem. If you can build up the right concept and right demands then location isn’t a problem."