It’s been a tough time for investors. Abdul Kader Saadi, managing director and owner of Glee Hospitality Solutions, talks about the challenges facing new projects and those signed pre COVID-19.

In terms of investment, committed projects are still going ahead as planned despite external factors and challenges, with projects such as Morsel Chocolates having been launched as recently as last week in Abu Dhabi. Projects that were finalized and signed prior to the enforcement of COVID-19 measures continue to move forward. The emphasis has been on laying the foundations to ensure their completion. In other words, they are still being processed in terms of their concept development: branding, design and menu development. In spite of the recent economic challenges, there is still an appetite for investment in the region, and we were still able to sign and secure a number of projects during the height of the COVID-19 restrictions. We have concentrated on doing all the required groundwork necessary with the intention of opening in early 2021. With regards to upcoming developments, we have a project in Saudi Arabia, which was signed pre COVID-19. It is set to launch in the first quarter of 2021.

Highlighting potential investment opportunities, many businesses are still seeking capital for good opportunities, and businesses that managed to perform well despite suffering from COVID-19 induced set backs are attractive options.

The silver lining of the COVID-19 crisis has been free rent for up to one year and even three years in some cases with additional incentives to negotiate turnover rent. This has allowed for the possibility of acquiring fitted out units on the  “cheap” and, in turn, only paying the turnover rent.

In summary, investor attitudes need to be the driving force to aid in re-establishing an optimistic sense of equilibrium in the re-emerging market. All stakeholders need to genuinely believe that we will go back to a state of normalcy and proceed with optimistic steps and/or investments to reflect this belief. The underlying question is of course when we will begin to see an upward growth, or at the very least an upward trend, that is more aligned to the market state pre COVID-19. Adaptation remains the name of the game and any/all participants in the market need to play to their strengths and make preparations for the future accordingly. Reflecting this notion, we have laid the groundwork internally to position our projects with a strong basis for Q1 2021. Despite the obvious challenges, we remain optimistic and continue to strive forth with confidence that our plans will pay off with dividends in the foreseeable future.

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