Home > The Country > GRIF announces launch of Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA)


The Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) has announced the launch of the Middle East Restaurant Association (MERA) – a non-profit organization that will act as a hub for the UAE’s restaurant industry.

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

MERA’s founders are currently 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 this Wednesday, 1st of April, at 10am UAE time. Present in the discussion will be the founding board members: Naim Maadad, CEO of Gates Hospitality, Duncan Fraser-Smith, VP of TFG Food & Beverage, Ramzy Abdul Majeed, founder and MD of Whissle Hospitality Group, Ravi Chandran, CEO (MENA) of Liwa Minor, Amit Nayak CHA, VP and board member at HAMA MEA, and David Singleton, partner at Socius Group. A leading legal practitioner will also be present.

These F&B leaders will be on hand to listen to the industry’s queries. During the discussion, MERA is anticipating that common threads will emerge around rents, employment, VAT, licensing, WPS finance, and more. For questions that the panel cannot answer, participants can rest assured that specialised MERA Power Sessions will be set up on Zoom at later dates, which 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).

If you wish to join the ‘MERA powered by GRIF’ online Zoom session on Wednesday, 1st of April, please email jennifer@themera.org, with “I’m in”, and your name will be added to MERA’s 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.  


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