Expo 2020 Dubai is set to bring 192 nations and millions of visitors together for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of entertainment, culture, technology, innovation, collaboration and so much more across 173 days (October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021). Narrowing in on the show’s F&B operations in the run up, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Director of Concessions, Darren Tse, tells more…
With an expected 25 million visitors to Expo 2020, how many F&B outlets will open at the site to cater to such demand?
All told, you could come to Expo every day of our 173 days and eat at a different place. With more than 200 dining outlets, we believe that we’ve built an incredibly diverse and fun offering that caters to visitors looking for great value, high-end unique experiences and authentic flavours from around the world.
Approximately how many F&B staff will be required to at Expo 2020?
With an event that runs for six months, we’re always thinking about the people at the heart of what we do in F&B. Allowing for the 24-hour operation and a long daily window, with gates opening in the morning and closing in the early hours, we need what looks to be more than 15,000 staff in the F&B and hospitality operation. Recruiting great people will be vital, and we are investing time and resources to ensure that the staff working in all parts of Expo are well-versed in customer service training related to Expo specifically, so they can be as helpful to visitors as possible.
What type of venues can visitors expect to find and are you able to reveal the names of any of the most highly-anticipated outlets?
We can’t wait to reveal all of the different brands that will be available at Expo. We’re finalising all of the right pieces with our web design teams and communications teams to have everything in place for this to properly begin. What I can share is that we will definitely have everything from grab-and-go services and fast casual dining to casual and upscale dining around the site. Our blueprint from the beginning was to build an array of F&B offers that is as diverse as our city in Dubai and the audience coming from around the world. I believe we’ve done that with an assortment that covers dozens of different cuisines and types of food across all different modes and price points. Additionally, there are some special surprises in store for visitors with our F&B services. Technology and innovation will play a huge role, with chefs who are proud to show their culinary talents to the world and local entrepreneurs seeking to use Expo as a catalyst for their future dreams.
From a sourcing perspective, how much of the food served at Expo 2020 will be created using locally-sourced ingredients?
We’re so fortunate to have some great innovation in our backyard that will help us source local ingredients and serve them to millions at Expo. We laid out our beliefs around local sourcing in a document we call our Food Ethos, which aims to have those working with us think about our values related to food. There are a number of elements discussed in the Food Ethos that are fundamental to us. One of them is local sourcing and our aim is to get 20 per cent of our ingredients from the local marketplace. In addition, the Food Ethos lays out our position on areas like organic ingredients, affordable food and accessible food for people with special dietary considerations.
How is Expo 2020 supporting sustainable gastronomy?
Our Food Ethos represents a positive step forward in sustainable gastronomy. Our hope is that more in the industry adopt a strategy relating to sustainable sourcing through their work with Expo – if they haven’t already, as many of the people we are working with have great plans around sustainability. We’re also focusing on certain restaurants that can highlight the importance of sustainability in the F&B domain and working with new innovations related to food waste. With a target of 85 per cent diversion from landfill, we need to do our part for the overall target of Expo’s waste to be met and this is a critical goal for us.
Tell us about the world’s largest vertical farm being built for Expo 2020. What will this farm produce?
The project itself will definitely support the needs of Expo 2020, but in true strategic fashion for the UAE it is designed to do so much more beyond the next World Expo. Our Premier Partners and colleagues at Emirates and Emirates Flight Catering have invested in the project as a long-term strategic asset that is designed to support their needs and will create a massive business footprint in F&B.
Will the food offering at Expo 2020 be in line with the event’s cosmopolitan outlook and include speciality cuisines from all over the world?
What is perhaps most exciting for us is the opportunity to build an array of options that covers tastes from every corner of the globe which reflects the makeup of our 192 participating countries and the diversity of Dubai and the international visitors we will host. As far as cosmopolitan goes, I think a visitor to Expo 2020 will be impressed with contemporary brands, new unique Expo experiences and the easy access to great food.
Can visitors expect to find any dining experiences at Expo 2020 that will be a first in the city of Dubai?
Indeed. There are two things that I can say about dining experiences at Expo 2020 that are new for Dubai. We will definitely be welcoming brands that are using Expo 2020 as a strategic entry into the UAE and wider Gulf region, and this will be a fun way for visitors to either see something new or try a brand they’ve seen while perhaps travelling abroad. In addition, Expo will sprinkle in a mix of experiences that are curated for the event and that people in the city have certainly not enjoyed before.
Details: For more information about Expo 2020, visit expo2020dubai.com