International restaurant chain Ruth’s Chris Steak House abandoned plans to open on the Pearl-Qatar after an alcohol ban was announced, a company official has revealed.
The popular steakhouse brand was about to sign a deal for the Pearl-Qatar, but pulled out at the last minute when the ban was imposed on the Doha development, Michael Szczepanski, general manager at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Address Dubai Marina said.
He told Hotelier Middle East that the company had visited a site on the manmade development and had “conversations at a very involved stage” about an opening there, but “luckily didn’t run into the deal”. He added: “We are looking to operate in places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well, where alcohol is absolutely not allowed, but we’re talking about serving to a totally different clientele.
“The volume of the expats [in Doha] is the bread and butter and we need to cater to them. Not everyone will like to have a US $100 steak with a glass of grapefruit juice.”
Last week, it was reported that Gordon Ramsay Holdings had closed Maze Doha on The Pearl Qatar after just two years of operation. The restaurant by the British celebrity chef was the only Maze Gordon Ramsay outlet in the Middle East and closed in March.
In January, staff at Maze said business had tumbled in the wake of the alcohol ban.
Szczepanski said: “There is not a very positive feeling about it, a lot of companies have suffered big time, and we were lucky not to have rushed [into the deal] too quickly.”
But he added: “As far as I know, those things will change soon, so you never know. With the World Cup ahead, they’re considering a lot of changes over there, but we just can’t allow ourselves to operate in a place which can be affected by decisions of such kind.”
source: Arabian Business
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