Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) Officially Launches


Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA)

  • The Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) today announced the official launch of the Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA).
  • In these challenging and uncertain times, MERA will be hub for the F&B industry that connects, promotes and supports its members.
  • GRIF is inviting the wider F&B community to join the first-ever ‘MERA, powered by GRIF’ online session, on Wednesday, 1st of April. Register HERE!

  Dubai, UAE : Keeping in mind the major challenges faced by the local F&B industry during this unprecedented global crisis, the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) has taken the crucial step of launching the Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA). MERA, a non-profit organisation, will act as a hub that connects, promotes and supports its members, while helping to frame the agenda for the UAE’s restaurant industry

Now more than ever, the Middle East’s F&B community needs to come together and support each other through these challenging times, and MERA will be a vital source of help, advice and information that concerned business-owners and members of the industry can come to for assistance and guidance. The association aims to look after everyone in the industry, at all levels, not just owners and management.

MERA’s founders are currently in the final stages of registering the non-profit incorporated organisation (NPIO) as a legal entity. Nevertheless, the needs of the industry come first and the MERA team is eager to provide an inclusive support system for the wider F&B community. With that in mind, the association will host its first-ever ‘MERA powered by GRIF’ online Zoom session this Wednesday, 1st of April, at 10am UAE time, which will be led by the following founding board members of MERA, along with a leading legal practitioner:

  • Naim Maadad, Chief Executive, Gates Hospitality
  • Duncan Fraser-Smith, Vice President, TFG, Food & Beverage
  • Ramzy Abdul-Majeed, Founder & Managing Director, Whissle Hospitality Group
  • Ravi Chandran, Chief Executive Officer (MENA), Liwa Minor
  • Amit Nayak CHA, Vice President & Board Member, HAMA MEA
  • David Singleton, Partner, Socius Group

These F&B leaders will be on hand to listen to the industry’s queries, and if they cannot provide answers to certain questions, then they will endeavour to assist and facilitate connections with those who are more qualified. MERA is anticipating that, during the discussion, common threads will emerge around rents, employment, VAT, licensing, WPS finance, and more; however, participants can rest assured that specialised MERA Power Sessions will be set up on Zoom at later dates, which will include representatives capable of expertly addressing specific subject matters.

Other founding board members include Rene Beil (Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners), Lynne Bellinger (Director of Food & Beverage Development, Marriott International MEA), and Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, (Co-Founder of GRIF & MD Middle East of Bench Events).

A platform for collaboration, innovation and education – MERA advocates for sustainability, responsibility and food safety, securing longevity and, ultimately, a better future for the industry. All profits generated by MERA will be reinvested into both the association and, indeed, the industry as it is a non-profit incorporated organisation.

If you wish to join the ‘MERA powered by GRIF’ online Zoom session on Wednesday, 1st of April, please email, with “I’m in”, and your name will be added to MERA’s list of supporters to ensure you’re always kept in the loop. You’re also encouraged to visit the Zoom website and register HERE for the online session.




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