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Katch the Middle East Restaurant Association

by Eamonn Liddy | 30th March 2020 | Communication,Food and Beverage,Hospitality
GRIF 2020 Participants

Katch International is proudly supporting GRIF  with game-changing PR services for the launch of the Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA).

A Hub for the F&B Industry

Audience Shot

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. Moreover, it will help to frame the agenda for the UAE’s restaurant industry .

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

An Inclusive Support System


MERA’s founders are 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. The session, which will take place this Wednesday, 1st of April, at 10am UAE time, 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. Even if they cannot answer certain questions, then they will endeavour to 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. They 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). 

Collaboration, Innovation and Education 

People Meeting

A platform for collaboration, innovation and education – MERA advocates for sustainability, responsibility and food safety, to secure longevity and, ultimately, a better future for the industry. Furthermore, all profits generated by MERA will be reinvested into both the association and, indeed, the industry, in line with its status as a non-profit incorporated organisation.

If you wish to join the ‘MERA powered by GRIF’ online Zoom session, please email, with “I’m in”. The MERA team will then add your name to its 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.  

For media enquiries, get in touch here!