Today we are discussing the Food and Beverage (F&B) scene in Dubai, with Jo Virwani, also known as @Soulwayfarer on review site Zomato.
She describes herself as ‘ a crazy creative blogger who finds happiness in small things in life.’
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us,
Please tell me some about yourself and why you started blogging?
So I have a weird name, it’s spelled as Jotsina but what my mom actually named me is spelled like Jyotsna. So that no one ruins this beautiful name further, I have asked people to call me Jo – simpler and suits my personality.
I am fun loving and a little crazy and the reason I started writing is because I am much more than a 9 to 5 job which of course I do to survive in this country and fulfill my dreams.
I write because it makes me let out a lot of my creative juices which my job otherwise doesn’t bring out of me always. Therefore I love to write about things that make me happy –
I do not categorize myself as a food, travel or something else blogger. I have written various pieces straight out of my heart which is ready to go live in my dream website which is under process.
What are your thoughts on the Food & Drink scene in general?
I love food, its more than just survival for me.
Food and drinks is the most that people really bond over apart from games or other form of get together. At the dinner table everyone is mostly themselves and stress-free.
UAE and most specifically Dubai is blessed with the variety, I have been to so many places in the world and I still miss this place for the variety it has. It’s quite strange when I try and explain it but I can find the best pizza, best sushi, best Indian, best Mexican Chinese and Arabic under the same roof and still get chai to complete my dining experience.
I mean where else will you find such diversity?
What are the Top 3 factors that customers consider before choosing a place to eat?
I think what people really consider before choosing a place to eat is:
How different is it from the last few places I have eaten at?
Does it look Instagramable and interesting?
Is the taste, presentation and surprise element really worth spending on?
How important are mobile apps and social media in the decision-making process?
Social media and apps are everything these days, lets talk about lunch alone – with more than 60% of expat population on full day jobs, Apps become the need of the hour for at least one meal a day. Fast and busy lives do not allow people to experiment with mediocre restaurants and therefore they follow their favorite trusted foodies and apps for opinions.
I mean when you live in a place where if you eat out every single day of your life and you still will miss on a few good restaurants, why would one want to waste their time on restaurants that give them a reason to spoil their taste buds?
How could F&B businesses in the UAE improve their service both online and offline?
Online: By being more interactive and open to opinions.
Offline: By really improving personalization and customer service – I always go back to the restaurant where the staff has made me feel a little extra special.
What predictions do you have for future F&B trends?
It’s the future of most developing and developed countries
One hobby that people really look forward to and is unavoidable is Eating. The more the F&B industry realizes this the easier it will be for them to provide best service.
Another trend is innovation – people are not looking for home like food outside anymore. I mean yes that’s one type of different food but presentation, flavors, wow factor and fusion of flavors is what people want.
Anything else you’d like to add?
F&B is a never going to be a dying market and as much as everyone has a dream to open a restaurant sometime in their lifetime, survival is the toughest thing to consider.
Lots of F&B dreams come to a shattering end if not done right and therefore this serious job if taken up, needs to be taken up seriously.
How Can we Connect with you Online?