“Brunch is not the most profitable business model – but in Dubai where brunch is an institution, it makes it almost mandatory for a venue of the size of ours to offer brunch on Friday,” said David Lescarret, General Manager of Ce La Vi at the Address Sky View Hotel, which has brunches for Dh390.
“I personally think that despite the profit being minimal on brunch, due to unlimited house beverages, it still remains a great marketing tool to allow new guests to experience our venue and our cuisine.”
Pandemic imposed menu change
Chefs are reporting that guests have rejected the buffet approach where large areas of food are on display in the open. Additionally, with people becoming more aware of sustainability will avoid buffets as they are one of the leading causes of food waste at hotels and restaurants.
Restaurants are now preventing food waste – or as much of it as possible – through “controlled buffets”. As a result, a diner still gets the buffet experience, but when someone else is serving, there is less chance of overdoing on the quantity piled up on plates.
Build on the brunch
“The profitability of brunch is much lower than normal service, but there is a definite value in it if you evaluate the whole day’s revenue,” said Tomas Dundulis of Lucky Voice. “It’s a great activation to fill the venue early and manage to pull a good after-brunch crowd.
“What’s missing right now are our karaoke booths, as these are the biggest selling point. But in the meantime, we are doing crowd karaoke.”
“We introduced a gents’ night deal on a Saturday instead. Moving the brunch to Wednesday has increased our sales and it’s performing well so far. I believe with the current market situation, offering something towards the end of the week that is competitively priced is very appealing.” (The Wednesday night brunch at Distillery starts at a wallet-friendly Dh149.)
A beverage-free brunch may sound like an oxymoron to some, but brunches at unlicensed venues, where the focus is more on food, will not have many problems with profitability. Tulum’s chef, Andrés Aguilar-Águila Loustaunau, said: We actually fly all our food in from Mexico each week, so having a brunch means a lot of the food is used up on that day. That’s really what our focus is on.”
Treat it as an event
One entrepreneur even launched a luxury events company – Secret Parties – that works with existing Dubai brunches to enhance the experience. As the name of the company suggests, they enhance brunches with entertainment features.
Throughout the week, these take place at different venues, without ever having to own a space. “For us, brunch has always been a good revenue generator,” said Chris Wright, founder of Secret Parties. “Unfortunately, it’s been tough with our concepts because of restrictions of dancing and distancing with guests. [Even though] the average spend per guest after brunch hasn’t been the same, it has still been profitable.”
Secret Parties’ brunches range from Dh299 up to Dh700 depending on packages and the venue.
With so many brunches around, many will do whatever they can to stand out. Themes, shows and music all help to draw the party starved back.
With the F&B industry going above and beyond to fill up Friday afternoon, why not give the brunch a chance?