Stock – Eating out/F&B in UAE
UAE's F&B scene is back at its bustling best. The frequency of dine-ins too are increasing, but patrons have a few nitpicks - and not about the food. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: F&B outlets in the UAE are starting to take payments in cryptocurrencies as the sector takes to cutting-edge tech and smart payments. But consumers want these businesses to tackle some legacy issues as well, not least having to wait long for their food to arrive.

According to a survey by Oracle, 49 per cent of respondents in the UAE don’t feel like waiting more than 5 minutes for their order to be handed over at the counter or drive-thru window, while 62 per cent on diners at restaurants feel the same when made to wait for longer than 10 minutes.

These UAE consumers believe these delays are happening because restaurants are caught up with servicing their delivery and take-out orders. And 36 per cent of dine-in customers reckon the whole experience is impacted by delivery riders trooping in and out for their orders.

“Online and mobile ordering was a lifeline to restaurants shut-down in the pandemic and continues to provide steady revenue,” said Simon de Montfort Walker, Senior Vice-President and General Manager at Oracle’s F&B focused division. “As already short-staffed restaurants reopen, they are grappling with how to manage both in-person diners and deliveries, while meeting growing expectations on speed and service. Technology that helps kitchens manage and time orders from multiple channels will be key to keeping pace and ensuring diners stay happy and loyal.”

Bustling F&B scene

The restaurants in the UAE are back being packed, more dining options and ‘virtual’ brands keep opening. Cloud kitchens too are sticking to the hot pace of growth from 2020.

According to the Oracle survey, 62 per cent of respondents noted they will eat out daily to several times a week in coming months and showed a growing loyalty to their favorite brands. (This is part of an Oracle F&B survey conducted by Untold Insights, which polled more than 5,700 consumers in 11 geographies.)

Click, collect

While delivery to home or office remains a favoured option, F&B operators will do well to offer curbside pickup, which ‘determines where people chose to eat and their loyalty towards a brand’, the Oracle report adds, which finds

• 78 per cent prefer this way or are more apt to choose establishments offering it;

• 56 per cent say it makes them more loyal to the eatery; and

• 74 per cent say they would spend more because of this service option.

Crypto payments are a slow burner
More F&B businesses in the UAE are allowing payments through cryptocurrencies. Right now, 6% of UAE consumers are fine with doing so with crypto.

But cash is still high in their preferred ways to pay (56%), while restaurants are increasingly adapting to new forms of payments to meet changing expectations:

• 59% of consumers like to pay with a credit card;
• 38% prefer to utilize contactless payment methods such as Apple or Google Pay; and
• 6% are adopting alt-payments such as cryptocurrency.

Messaging is fine

Consumers in the UAE are getting used to receiving ‘proactive recommendations their favorite restaurants’, but want to control access to their own data:

• 60 per cent are OK with receiving notifications about personalized offers from restaurants based on their current location;

• 50 per cent want to be prompted with personalized order suggestions based on their purchase history;

• 53 per cent would be fine managing their dietary preferences with their favorite establishments; and

• 51 per cent would like to have control over who has access to the personal data they share with restaurants and delivery drivers.