The restaurant industry in Qatar is booming. According to the february newsletter edition published by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) on local trade activities, 222 commercial registrations were issued for new restaurants and fast food outlets, 59 cafes, 55 bakeries and sweet shops.
If you follow Instagram - one of the fastest growing and popular social media platforms in Qatar - you will notice the increasing number of hashtags and accounts promoting home-based food providers, restaurants, cafes, food delivery companies, hydraulic farms, food bloggers and influencers. People are continuously referring to Zomato and TripAdvisor for recommendations on restaurants in town. The reviews are modest in quantity but bloggers seem to gain momentum. Usually 80% of people look out a restaurant online before visiting for the first time.
Five of the 12 "raffle draw" winners for mobile trucks services held by MEC last week, were in the food sector. There is also a significant increase in the number of malls - 7 new malls are yet to open this year. And each mall has the known food chains in addition to unique brands for cuisine diversification. Qatar's Ministry of Municipality provides public support for local farm owners in an attempt to boost the market with local food supplies. Katara (the prestigious cultural hub) holds a week-end open market for local farmers to sell their fresh products (vegetables and fruits) at lower prices.
"In sum, an ecosystem for food and beverage is in the making in Qatar today."
With such growth and competition in the F&B industry, consumers will be the biggest winners in terms of variety, quality of service and prices. But competition requires adoption of creative marketing and sales techniques to differentiate, gain new customers and generate revenues.
In this blog, we attempt to remind the local restaurant industry that marketing has evolved to more than simply updating signages, distributing flyers or sharing captive images. Whether you're using digital media or traditional tactics, the marketing game for restaurants has changed. Restaurant owners and marketers need to find the right spot to balance their offline presence, digital presence and memorable dine-in experience according to an infographic shared by Oddle, an online ordering system for restaurants.
Oddle's infographic explains that having an updated website alone is not optimal. Restaurants need to have an effective digital presence optimized for search, e-mail marketing and online ordering systems if necessary.
Let's hope the restaurant business in Qatar continue to blossom and bring us (the consumers) more options with affordable prices to meet the growing demand from the different nationalities living in Qatar and the tourists looking for unique experiences in Doha.