Commercial kitchens are being hailed as the future for the Middle East and Africa’s expanding food service sector, which Euromonitor International predicts will grow by 2.7 per cent in value over the next five years.

Seen as a vibrant solution to controlling costs, facilitating start-up operations and giving ease-of-access to targeted consumer delivery locations, commercial kitchens and shared kitchen concepts are spurring interest in the second GulfHost - the complete hospitality equipment sourcing expo for the Middle East, Africa and Asia - which runs at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from October 30-November 1.

With a recent KPMG report revealing that three in four UAE residents order takeaway food at least once a week, commercial kitchens are playing an increasingly important role in restaurant operators’ relentless quest to align demand for deliveries with limited in-restaurant resources.

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“Many restauranteurs operating in populated areas and built-up locations simply do not have the bandwidth to accommodate the sheer volume of delivery orders during peak dining hours. In this respect, commercial kitchens offer a viable alternative to meet consumer demand without placing an unrealistic operational burden on restaurant kitchen teams,” said Emma Banks, managing director, JRG Dubai, which launched a commercial kitchen for its flagship The Noodle House brand in 2017.

“Our customised commercial kitchen for The Noodle House in Dubai Land only manages proximity-based delivery orders in its immediate geographical area. This increases our collective business ability to reach residential communities far away from our restaurants quickly and with fresher food, while also ensuring our physical outlets can concentrate on serving in-restaurant customers. As we expand our commercial kitchen footprint, trade shows such as GulfHost provide a platform to source the latest food service equipment to optimise the performance of these facilities.”

While JRG Dubai operates its own commercial kitchen for The Noodle House, other industry players are launching similar initiatives. Deliveroo, the online food delivery company, has already expanded its UAE operations by introducing its first commercial kitchen concept in Dubai, while Kitchen Nation, a culinary incubator concept based in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers district, features shared kitchens and a premier chef space. In India the concept is being pioneered by food delivery majors Zomato and Swiggy.

As more and more major restaurant operators and start-up food concepts adopt a commercial or shared kitchen approach to meet delivery orders, GulfHost provides an arena for increased innovation in the growing segment, according to Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC.

“The foodservice sector, much like any other industry segment, is seeking greater shared and technological integration to encourage market innovation and heighten competitiveness in a market which is being heavily driven by online ordering platforms. The sector is undergoing transformation with smart solutions emerging to vastly control costs, spur product innovation and widen ease of entry to start-up foodpreneurs.”

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Launched in 2017 GulfHost returns this October twice the size and with new dedicated zones for Gelato & Bakery, Café & Bar and HORECA. The show, which will build on the success of its headline Front of House, Back of House and Tableware sectors and unlock a slew of opportunities through its new zones, will feature 2,500 brands and over 8,000 products across six core sectors and is set to draw upwards of 25,000 buyers.

Running alongside GulfHost will be DWTC’s trio of tightly-targeted food product trade shows: The Speciality Food Festival, yummex Middle East and SEAFEX Middle East.

Show floor opportunities will be augmented by a full schedule of onsite features and training initiatives supported by major culinary associations. A focal point will be the GulfHost Restaurant Development Conference, powered by the International Center for Culinary Arts in Dubai and the Middle East Food Forum. Over three days, more than 60 high profile speakers will take to the floor to share proven methods for navigating the latest foodservice shifts.

Another major draw will be the ICCA World Chefs Education Theatre hosted in partnership with the World Association of Chefs Societies. This onsite workspace will serve up certified training to executive chefs seeking next level culinary development. Utilising custom built, cutting-edge kitchen technology on the theatre floor, participants will be guided through workshops covering food preparation techniques and trends, ingredient cost management, food waste reduction and productivity output.

The comprehensive agenda also includes the World Coffee Events-certified National Barista & Latte Art Championship; the second GulfHost Innovation Awards, which will recognise progressive technologies shaping the future of hospitality equipment solutions across the MENA region and the GulfHost Gelato Campus which is gearing up to turn competitive gelato creation into an immersive, multisensory show experience.

GulfHost 2018 is a trade event open strictly to business and trade visitors. The show is open 10am – 5pm from October 30 - 31 and 10am – 4pm on November 1. For the full list of features, showcases and industry trends visit