How is fine dining thriving in Saudi Arabia’s F&B Industry?

Saudi Arabia’s F&B industry, including the fine dining segment, has been experiencing significant growth and evolution.

The country has been actively diversifying its economy, reducing its reliance on oil, and investing in various sectors, including tourism and hospitality.

This shift has led to an increased demand for high-quality dining experiences, including fine dining establishments.

Nour Yamout Katanani, Director of Marketing and Communications, Advanced Tastes Holding Group, spoke to Campaign Middle East about the industry’s growth.

What’s the current performance of the fine dining industry in Saudi Arabia, and how are marketing strategies contributing to its success?

The F&B industry in Saudi Arabia is currently experiencing significant growth and transformation, driven by factors such as a young population, increased incomes, and a shift in consumer lifestyle. 

This growth is further sustained by the ambitious Vision 2030 plan, which aims to diversify the kingdom’s economy and encourages investment in the food and hospitality industry. 

The F&B industry has been a roller coaster lately especially the fine dining sector. Many investors and companies have encountered numerous challenges in operations, logistics, employment, and sustaining marketing budgets.

It is difficult to thrive in the fine dining industry, particularly when multiple competing brands are opening all at once. While alcohol and entertainment are often publicized as vital components for a complete dining experience, it is important to note that this is not always the case, nor should it be used as an excuse. 

Tell us more about the marketing approaches within the realm of upscale dining in Saudi Arabia

Marketing strategies in the F&B industry in Saudi Arabia have evolved significantly over the years, diving into the changes in consumer behaviour, demographics, lifestyle, technological advancements, and trends. Here are some key marketing strategies:

Digital Marketing: as social media is always an important tool alongside Google SEO and SEM, platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are popular in Saudi Arabia. F&B businesses leverage most of these platforms for brand awareness, promotions, and customer engagement. Influencer marketing, through collaboration with popular social media figures, is also a common strategy.

Cultural Adaptation: understanding and integrating local culture into marketing strategies is essential regardless of if the brand has specific guidelines to follow; there always must be some local impact. This includes the adaptation of food menus, special items, respecting local customs such as Ramadan, and partaking in local catering, festivals, and events. 

Customer Loyalty: in the fine dining industry, maintaining a strong brand is of utmost importance. While promotions and discounts may not be implemented & are not recommended, building loyalty through relationships with guests is the ultimate key.

Keeping guests updated on restaurant activities, extending invitations to exclusive events, and including them in priority lists and databases are effective ways to enhance efforts. By prioritizing customer engagement and personalized experiences, fine dining restaurants ensure a long-lasting connection with their clientele.

Brand partnerships: “which is personally my favourite method” has become a trendy strategy for fine dining to thrive in the market. By collaborating with corporate and governmental entities, as well as luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, Cartier, Boucheron, Dior and others, restaurants not only establish themselves as desired venues but also increase their revenue streams. These partnerships offer more than just financial benefits; they generate significant word-of-mouth and create sustainable relationships.

Experiential Dining: these days, with the rising competition, the fine dining restaurants are focusing on offering unique dining experiences that go beyond food and that includes theme decorations per local, internal, and seasonal activities, entertainment, and personalised services. These experiences drive word-of-mouth and social media sharing leading to always attract more customers and footfalls.

PR: PR is not only a valuable tool for securing exclusive coverages and staying informed about restaurant events and activities, but also provides access to top-rated media channels. Moreover, PR allows businesses to connect with potential business opportunities, brand ambassadors, and influencers, ensuring continued growth and success in the industry.

As the sector continues to evolve, staying attuned to consumer trends and technological advancements is crucial for businesses looking to thrive in this dynamic market.

“As I always say, to succeed in a highly competitive F&B industry, it is important to establish a strong brand identity and maintain it through consistent efforts and exceptional customer services.” 

By Nour Yamout Katanani, Director of Marketing and Communications, Advanced Tastes Holding Group