Cafes extending to pavements feel heat of high fees in Dubai

DUBAI — Restaurants that have rented stretches of pavements of Dubai roads such as Al Murraqqabat and Al Diyafa are feeling the heat of high charges.

By Omer Zakieldin

Published: Sat 7 Apr 2007, 8:36 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:37 AM

Owners of these restaurants say they are being charged hefty money to provide services to their customers on the pavements.

With tables and seats placed on the pavements, these restaurants are quite popular with motorists, who like to stop there for a brief while.

Haider, who manages ‘Al Farazzdaq’, an Indian cafeteria on Al Murraqqabat Road, said the price for renting the stretch of pavement in front of his shop had risen sharply since the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) replaced Dubai Municipality as the concerned authorities.

“Earlier, we were charged Dh250 for two seats. Now, we have to shell out Dh3,000 for the same. Having a chicken-roasting machine on the pavement used to cost Dh250. Now, we have to pay Dh3,000 for the same,” said Haider.

To add to it, a Dh10,000 deposit has to be paid to the RTA every year, Haider pointed out.

The manager of the Indian eatery said that while such mandatory expenses could be endured by the bigger restaurants, it was bad news for the smaller cafeterias operating on the same turf.

Said Fahd Raslaan, manager with Middle Eastern restaurant Rawabina on Al Murraqqabat Road: “It becomes even more difficult when you consider that we only use the pavements during the cooler part of the year, from October to April, when the humidity is less.”

According to Raslaan, the RTA should provide restaurants with information on what they can and cannot do. He said his staff had to remove decorations put up at the restaurant as they contravened laws.

“Moreover, the rents should be more proportionate to the use of the pavements,” Raslaan pointed out. Manav Suri, owner of Alkauser, a recently-opened Indian restaurant on the popular Al Difaya Road, and part of a chain based in New Delhi, said restaurants using pavements were aiding tourism in Dubai.

“Few roads in Dubai can offer international visitors a nice meal out in the open air. In fact, we are projecting the lively, vibrant image of Dubai,” he noted.

However, Suri admitted that if his business suffered due to the rise in rents and failed to break even, he may have to consider leaving the pavement and moving the tables and seats inside the restaurant.

“And when that happens, this road becomes like just any other road,” he said. When contacted, a source at the RTA admitted of a hike in fees for use of space on the pavements by eateries. However, he refused to comment further on the details of the fee hike and the reasons for doing so.

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