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Being Michelin rated is more than just an accolade

Dubai's fine diners are not the only people to benefit from Michelin star quality

Hōseki Japanese restaurant in Dubai is one of 11 restaurants in the city with at least one Michelin star
Hōseki Japanese restaurant in Dubai is one of 11 restaurants in the city with at least one Michelin star

The hospitality industry held its breath last week as the Michelin Guide revealed its highly anticipated inaugural Dubai edition. 

Eleven restaurants were awarded Michelin stars and a total of 69 restaurants were recommended by the anonymous Michelin guide inspectors.

While many may have been left disappointed, the arrival of the guide in Dubai will only enhance the city’s spectacular culinary scene. 

Some may argue that inclusion in the Michelin Guide is a short-term compliment, but I am certain that prestigious recognition in a city where competition is crowded will cause an increase in both attention and revenue. 

Instantly taking restaurants from the local to the global circuit, accolades such as Michelin, or indeed Gault & Millau and World’s 50 Best, can be powerful tools to help differentiate from competitors.

For establishments that want to fully maximise the opportunities that the awards bring, it’s up to them to ensure this is something central to marketing strategies long after the initial excitement of the announcement dies down. 

Just as crucial is what they do to retain and recruit the best talent from all over the world.

Already packed with a wealth of creativity, skill and innovation, young talents who aspired to work for Michelin approved restaurants previously had to leave Dubai to pursue their dream.

As an employer this has been a concern of mine for many years – although we know there is so much talent in Dubai, for those who are on the fast track in their career growth, international recognition and certification are key. 

While having a Michelin rated restaurant is an accolade all industry leaders strive for, we also must not overlook the morale boost that such recognition provides for our teams.

Although the focus is on the food, for those not in the kitchens simply knowing that they work at one of the best restaurants in their city can provide a boost to their confidence and career in equal measure. 

Appearing in the revered red book is the biggest stamp of quality that you can get in the culinary industry. And for those who didn’t make it this time around, I am sure that the motivation to make the cut next year will be even stronger.

This is what excites me the most: this is just the start. 

While 11 restaurants in particular will have been celebrating extra hard this week, we should be all be proud to be contributing to an emerging market with so much potential. 

Offering much more than year-round sun, mega malls and beaches, there is no reason why Dubai can’t be known as a city for foodies who want to indulge in the rich variety of incredible food that we have here.  

That, in itself, brings economic and cultural benefits far beyond extra revenue.

Naim Maadad is chief executive and founder of Gates Hospitality and a board member of UAE Restaurants Group

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