Gates Hospitality chief executive and founder Naim Maadad has called on the UAE government to “lock down” public venues and give them more direction amd financial support to survive the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking exclusively to sister publication Caterer Middle East, Maadad said that Gates, whose portfolio includes Folly by Nick & Scott and Reform Social & Grill, is “anticipating a 50% drop in business”.
Enforced closures of the rooftop bar at Folly and the interior of Reform by Dubai Municipality has limited their offering, while communities have been encouraging residents to stay at home, further decreasing revenue at F&B outlets.
“We’re asking the government to step in and lock us down,” said Maadad. “We are living in a crisis world at the moment, and when we have that clarity from the authorities then landlords will have to help, utilities, rates, visa costs, licensing, and taxes will all have to help, but until then it’s the business owners and employees who suffer.
“The landlord’s still going to hit you with a cheque, fees on trade licenses are still applicable – this is when the government needs to step up.”
Maadad said he has personally reduced his income by 50% and is asking his management team to volunteer for cuts.
“I’m not going to impose anything yet, but if it gets worse then I’ve got no measures left. It’s not what we believe in as a business. It’s not in our DNA, but if that’s what we need to survive then we have to.”
He concluded: “Our position is we will come out stronger if we protect our people. Our people are our business, without our community we have no business.”