UAE Dining Insights: 2023 Restaurant Sentiment Index

MX Bites / March 24, 2024

This year, we decoded flavors, F&B vibes, and customer sentiment toward the UAE’s restaurants. The study explored consumer perceptions and experiences shaping the industry’s reputation. With state-of-the-art text-mining software and a custom-built NLP model crafted exclusively for this research, we sniffed through colossal 420 million consumer data points this year. The data we’ve extracted and interpreted tells the story of the underlying currents that propel the F&B sector.

Overall, the industry shows moderate results across major key performance indicators (KPIs), including Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Sentiment, which holds a 2.31 score. While we’re seeing improvements, it’s not time to throw confetti. CSAT and Sentiment Score are lagging in the rearview mirror, behind the global comp set. The F&B sector is dodging bullets, with consumer critiques honking loudly, mainly aimed at value for money, atmosphere, lack of social engagement, and listening. 

Looking into sentiment by topics, we discovered that service, value, and food quality receive varied ratings across cities. Abu Dhabi scores moderately well in service and food, with a notable dip in ambiance. Ajman, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain show room for improvement across all categories, particularly in ambiance. Dubai leads out with higher ratings, suggesting a more satisfactory dining experience, while Ras Al Khaimah leads in all categories, reflecting high customer satisfaction.  

Dubai comes up as the most balanced Emirate when looked at from a visitor segmentation perspective. In Abu Dhabi, couples and friends lead the way, representing 26.00% and 34.72% of customers, respectively, with families close behind at 25.52%. Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah have a significant family presence at 36.74% and 41.82%, respectively, indicating a strong preference for family dining experiences in these areas. Sharjah has the highest percentage of family visitors, being 45.66%. In Umm Al Quwain, families also lead, but there’s a notable balance, with 29.01% of visitors being friends. 

These insights suggest that while there is a shared appreciation for service and food, the ambiance is an area where many restaurants could enhance the dining experience. The family segment dominates most of the UAE dining scene, which may influence restaurants to create more family-friendly environments. The diversity of dining preferences across the Emirates indicates the need for tailored strategies that address local customer desires and expectations. Armed with these revelations, industry players are poised for rapid responses and the crafting of forward-thinking strategies to elevate their public image and profitability to new peaks. Veni, vidi, vici. Of course, get in touch with us to find out more.

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Text mining and sentiment analysis