Eat App, the Middle East’s largest restaurant reservation platform has released new data that shows the huge decline in dine-in visits at restaurants across the region as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The data tracks aggregated restaurant reservations and walk-in data through the top 1000+ fine dining restaurants in the Middle East.

The figure below charts the timeline of COVID-19 across the countries with the highest volume of fine dining establishments in the MENA region. 

Key Highlights

Some of the key takeaways and findings from the data:

  • In March 2020, restaurants across the region saw an overall 60% decrease in customers in the weeks leading up to all restaurants shutting down.
  • In Dubai, restaurants saw a 30% decrease in business in the days following Dubai banning shisha being served at restaurants.
  • In Dubai, restaurants saw an additional 20% drop when all bars, lounges and clubs were ordered to shut down.
  • Bahrain, UAE and KSA all saw massive dips in restaurant performance in the days following the first case of the virus in their countries. The real effects of the virus did not become apparent on restaurant performance until decisions were made to protect the public (shutting down restaurants, curfews, etc).

Eat App’s data clearly shows the magnitude of the problem the Middle East’s fine dining and full service restaurants are now facing in light of the global pandemic.

Nezar Kadhem, CEO of Eat App said “Restaurants are the lifeblood of cities across the region and play a vital and massive role for tourism in the Middle East. Compared to other industries, businesses in F&B typically have the shortest remaining lifespan once revenue hits $0. And so we stand by all our restaurant partners during this difficult time and will do everything we can to help them make it through to the other side.”

See Also

The Data

Daily Percentage Changes – MENA Region

This chart shows the daily percentage changes in the restaurant industry across MENA. The downward trend begins on February 26th as people start adjusting behaviour following the first cases announced across the Middle East. The gradual decline over the following days is met by a huge drop on March 11th, the day most lockdown and closure measures come into force.

Country Level Changes – February to March 

When looking at how Covid-19 affected specific countries in the MENA region, it becomes even more apparent how quickly the situation for dine-in restaurants deteriorated.

  • Kuwait: Between March 5th and March 12th, Kuwait goes from 40% to -100% as the country announces a ban preventing people from meeting in public places and restaurants on March 11th. 
  • UAE: The impact on restaurants in the UAE as a result of the virus were more staggered than other countries in the region as changes were spaced out. Following the March 12th ban on shisha, performance dipped 26%, another 20% when bars, clubs and lounges were shut down, and finally -100% on March 23rd when all restaurants shutdown.
  • KSA: Saudi Arabia began to see dips in performance in the days after the first case was announced on March 3rd and quickly plummeted to -100% within a week as all restaurants were ordered to shut down on the 15th.
  • Lebanon: Restaurant performance in Lebanon was fairly consistent until the days leading up to Lebanon shutting down all restaurants on March 12th. 
  • Bahrain: The decline for Bahrain started on February 21st, the same time the first case was announced, and persisted to drop everyday until the closure of all restaurants on March 17th when it hit -100%.
BahrainKSAKuwaitLebanonUAE
4/1/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/31/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/30/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/29/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/28/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/27/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/25/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/24/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/23/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%
3/22/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-89.50%
3/21/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-80.00%
3/20/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-72.70%
3/19/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-68.80%
3/18/2020-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-58.30%
3/17/2020-81.90%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-63.20%
3/16/2020-78.30%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-52.40%
3/15/2020-65.10%-100.00%-100.00%-100.00%-38.90%
3/14/2020-73.40%-61.80%-100.00%-100.00%-30.90%
3/13/2020-72.70%-37.80%-100.00%-100.00%-16.60%
3/12/2020-61.10%-37.40%-100.00%-100.00%10.90%
3/11/2020-58.40%-54.10%-44.20%-80.00%6.10%
3/10/2020-46.90%-33.00%-17.00%-27.70%28.90%
3/9/2020-48.30%-39.10%-45.40%-20.00%36.90%
3/8/2020-60.40%-45.10%222.90%58.10%59.90%
3/7/2020-55.60%40.10%115.80%29.20%35.80%
3/6/2020-41.90%25.90%-6.80%30.90%17.00%
3/5/2020-28.90%17.00%41.60%28.40%39.40%
3/4/2020-45.30%-6.90%24.50%12.80%47.10%
3/3/2020-54.30%35.30%100.60%68.40%69.10%
3/2/2020-36.00%-5.10%24.80%-36.40%41.60%
3/1/2020-25.60%-15.00%-5.90%119.60%70.00%
2/29/2020-46.80%5.90%-5.60%107.60%56.00%
2/28/2020-47.90%81.90%-20.70%146.10%59.30%
2/27/2020-30.50%57.00%-41.70%259.10%84.30%
2/26/2020-26.10%10.60%19.80%170.80%93.80%
2/25/2020-14.80%10.50%-2.60%95.20%80.20%
2/24/2020-0.10%48.00%147.70%18.60%91.40%
2/23/2020-11.50%-8.40%165.80%204.70%98.90%
2/22/20200.40%35.60%96.70%190.40%79.70%
2/21/202013.80%51.80%90.00%179.80%76.80%
2/20/202012.50%59.40%64.30%157.10%79.00%
2/19/20207.90%29.20%76.70%14.00%103.90%
2/18/2020-23.20%42.20%119.30%55.00%148.30%
2/17/2020-11.50%22.80%90.10%32.90%96.90%
2/16/20202.30%19.20%92.50%145.90%110.80%
2/15/202024.70%62.70%96.50%125.30%85.80%

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