Talabat to defer restaurant commission deferrals, waive fees

All renewal fees have also been deferred, while new restaurants will be on-boarded to the platform free of charge

Food and grocery delivery platform Talabat has announced a new ‘community continuity’ plan to support partner restaurants with commission deferrals and fee waivers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it was announced on Tuesday.

According to Talabat, the plan is aimed at supporting the cash flow of 4,500 small and medium-size restaurants, representing a majority of the platform’s partners.

All renewal fees have also been deferred, while new restaurants will be on-boarded to the platform free of charge.

Both commission and renewal deferrals will have a six-month payment plan. Based on market conditions, Talabat will re-evaluate the plan in May.

“In these challenging times, we have set ourselves two very clear objectives,” said Muhammed Yildirim, the managing director of Talabat UAE. “First, we have the responsibility to ensure that we do everything possible to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

“Secondly, we need to ensure business continuity for everyone in our ecosystem, including our restaurant partners, and particularly the smaller ones,” he added.

Statistics from JP Morgan Chase show that small to medium size restaurants on average have a small cash buffer of about 16 days.

“By deferring commission fees with a 6-month payment plan, we are helping restaurant partners to keep on going,” Yildirim added. “We are doing this on top of making weekly payments and many other things we have already been doing for weeks for our restaurant community.”

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Meydan Hotel and Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa temporarily closes

Meydan Hotels and Hospitality announced closure as part of precautionary measures to prevent spread of coronavirus

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa.

The Meydan Hotel and Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa have both closed their doors as a result of the coronavirus restrictions announced in the UAE.

In a statement, Meydan Hotels and Hospitality revealed that both hotels would temporarily close as a precaution against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The UAE currently has 570 confirmed cases, while the deadly virus has claimed the lives of two people in the country.

The statement said: “With people encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing, our main priority is to safeguard the well-being of our community therefore both properties will remain closed from March 26 until 15 April 2020. All facilities, including the swimming pool, gym, spa and restaurants will be closed. The Meydan Grandstand event operations will also be temporarily closed.

“Meydan Hotels and Hospitality is devoted to ensuring the health and safety of its staff, residents and visitors and is adhering to the Government’s regulations and directives.

“It will use the following two weeks to deep clean, refresh amenities and make product improvements to provide guests with unmatched services and experiences upon reopening. Henceforth, Meydan Hotels and Hospitality remains vigilant and will be monitoring the situation in order to support and update our employees and the community.”

Customers who have made a booking for this time can change to a later date, accept a full refund or choose the option of staying at other hotels in the area.

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Coronavirus: Carluccio's no plans to shut Middle East restaurants, despite UK money troubles

Italian restaurant brand was bought by Dubai’s Landmark Group in 2010

Carluccio’s was founded in 1998 by Antonio Carluccio and his then wife Priscilla.

Carluccio’s, the Italian restaurant chain bought by Dubai’s Landmark Group in 2010, is set to go into the administration in the United Kingdom, due to the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, but none of its Middle Eastern operations will be affected.

It was confirmed last week that FRP Advisory, the UK-based restructuring specialists, had been appointed to work with the restaurant brand, which has 73 branches and about 2,000 employees, according to media reports in the UK.

The Guardian reported that Carluccio’s is understood to be preparing to file for administration.

However, Carluccio׳s Middle East, a division of Landmark Group, said the outcome of the talks in the UK would have no impact on operations in the region.

“The Middle East operations of Carluccio’s are independent from the UK business, and remain unaffected by the decision of Carluccio’s UK to pursue going into administration,” Carluccio׳s Middle East said in a statement to Arabian Business on Sunday.

Carluccio’s was founded in 1998 by Antonio Carluccio and his then wife Priscilla. Carluccio, who died in November 2017, sold the business to Dubai-based Landmark Group in 2010.

In June 2018, Landmark Group said it was set to invest £10 million ($13.2m) as part of a rescue plan for the Italian restaurant chain.

Landmark Group has not commented on its wider global plans for Carluccio’s in the UK or outside the Middle East.

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Coronavirus: Zomato launches loans initiative to support UAE restaurants

Food delivery app has also launched a relief fund for delivery partners

Zomato is offering loans to partner restaurants “severely hit due to lockdowns immobilising their workforce”.

Food delivery app Zomato has launched a number of initiatives, including offering loans to its restaurant partners and free subscription extensions, to help its UAE customers survive the financial impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

“From loans for restaurants, and funds to cover lost earnings for delivery partners, to voluntary staff pay cuts to conserve cash flow, Zomato has moved quickly to activate a number of initiatives to help support the food and beverage industry and the public alike through the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement.

Zomato is offering loans to partner restaurants “severely hit due to lockdowns immobilising their workforce”.

It has also launched the Delivery Partner Relief Fund to help its delivery partners who have suffered lost earnings.

For Zomato Gold memberships across the UAE, they will also be given a two-month membership extension for free.

As part of its “Meals of Hope” initiative in the UAE customers can also order a meal for someone else in need.

Zomato claims to be the world’s largest restaurant search and discovery platform, with more than 70 million users every month.

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Emirates, Etihad, flydubai to suspend all flights immediately from Tuesday night

Suspension of flights follows a new directive from the General Civil Aviation Authority

Airlines in the UAE have announced they will bring forward plans to suspend all flights in and out of the country, following a directive from government authorities late on Tuesday.

“The UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), have brought forward their directive to suspend all inbound, outbound, and transit passenger flights in the UAE to today. This decision has been made to limit the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus and to protect citizens, residents, and international travellers,” Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Etihad Airways initially announced on Monday it would temporarily suspend all flights to, from, and via Abu Dhabi from the end of Wednesday.

Travel Update: The UAE Government has made the decision to bring forward the date of suspension for all inbound, outbound, and transit flights to Abu Dhabi. Per this directive, Etihad will be temporarily suspending all flights departing Abu Dhabi effective immediately. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/Ig1TABXbDZ— Etihad (@etihad) March 24, 2020

The ban on flights, including transit flights, will be in place for 14 days, subject to further directives by the relevant authorities. 

The airline said any of its aircraft currently outside the UAE from Tuesday, March 24, will continue to operate to Abu Dhabi as planned, with the final arrival on Wednesday, March 25.

“We deeply regret any inconvenience and disruption this will cause our customers during this challenging period. Our teams will continue to make every effort to assist its customers and to advise them of their options,” Etihad said in its statement.

Dubai’s Emirates airline also issued a statement on its website stating that “as per the UAE government’s directive, Emirates will temporarily suspend all passenger services from 25 March 2020. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused to our customers and travellers. These measures are in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, and we hope to resume services as soon as feasible”.

The Dubai carrier had also announced on Monday it planned to suspend flights from March 25.

Low-cost carrier flydubai also confirmed it will suspend flights from Tuesday, March 24

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