New weekend: Will 'Friday experience' replace the Friday brunch?

The brunch day(s) may have already shifted with the new weekend, but lots is still being planned in the F&B sector



By Tobith Tom

Published: Thu 6 Jan 2022, 7:25 PM

The Friday brunch has been something of a legend in the UAE. You might be the person who loves eating out, or someone quite the opposite, the idea of having a relaxed meal on the first day of the weekend is not as much about being a foodie as it is about gathering oneself after a demanding week at work. No wonder then Friday brunch became a way of life over the years. Unlimited feasts, bottomless drinks, all enjoyed amid a vibrant ambience — the experience has been central to our lives.

With a shift in the weekend, though, what happens to the good, old Friday brunch? Will the ritual simply shift to another day? Will the Sunday brunch become the new Friday brunch? Even if so, what are the changes in the dining experience that we can expect? These are still early days of the new workweek and consumer patterns will further decide how the new weekend dining experience shapes up, but the F&B industry seems to be poised for innovation

THE SHIFT

While Friday brunch certainly enjoyed its moment in the sun, many restaurants had already embraced the concept of hosting brunches on both days of the weekend. Conrad Abu Dhabi Emirates Towers, for example, has been offering brunches on two days and its director of F&B Jean Young Pittion reassures that “between the Nahaam Brunch, which was held on Fridays, and VaKaVa’s Barbacoa Brunch on Saturdays, we would simply shift the days according to the new weekend change. Rest assured, the vibrant flavours and taste will definitely stay!” He adds that brunch experiences are fundamentally curated based on what the venue has to offer and that the “new weekend days” will set a new precedent with new offers and culinary experiences in the hotel.

Hussein Hadla, general manager, Asil shares this point of view when he says that a change of day may not necessarily make any kind of difference, but adds that it is an opportunity to rebrand, change the whole concept and add exciting new offers. “We might do a conceptual brunch, the same as what is done in Beirut and Istanbul.”

THE TGIF SPIRIT STAYS

The larger aim of the new workweek is for all of us to strike work:life balance. This also means that leisure activities, such as dining, will possibly be more central to our lives for which concepts will have to be reinvented time and again. The F&B industry is gearing up for the challenge and preparing to add new dimensions to the brunch. Saurabh Tiwari, general manager of Taj Dubai, says that most of the guests at the hotel’s F&B outlets are expats from all over the world, where the weekends already fall on Saturdays and Sundays. “We will simply move our signature Friday brunches at The Eloquent Elephant and Bombay Brasserie one day forward,” he says. But he adds that the shift is an opportunity to extend the hotel’s weekend offers “from three days to four and provide more exciting dining experiences to residents and visitors of Dubai”. “We all know that old habits die hard, and Thursday will still be a popular weekday for a fun night out,” he says.

Which is also why Tiwari is considering the possibility of a “night brunch”, and makes a convincing case for it. “Friday could be the perfect day for a ‘night brunch’, an evening to unwind after a long work week or even the chance for an unforgettable pre-weekend celebration. Saturday will be the new brunch day across the city with abundant food and beverages offerings, bespoke entertainment, and party vibes. And we should not forget about fun for families on Sunday. Sunday could be dedicated to family afternoon dining experiences, gatherings, and activities. A four-day weekend could be a great chance to maximise revenue opportunities and become our new reality,” he says. “John D. Rockefeller once said, ‘Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.’ I believe this is a perfect line to summarise the new shift of the weekends.”

While Friday brunch, as we once knew it, might be a thing of the past, curating a ‘Friday experience’ will still serve to welcome the weekend. The thought is echoed by Omar Shihab, general manager at BOCA, who says that there might be a surge in lazy lunch deals on Sundays, similar to those in the rest of the world, but “we are in the works of introducing something new on Friday as well that would be a hit in DIFC and perhaps the rest of the city”.

wknd@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Food