A number of high-end restaurants and bars at the Pearl-Qatar are reporting drops in revenue since they were suddenly banned from selling alcohol to customers last month.
Some have experienced more than a 50 percent drop in sales over the past few weeks, spokespeople from the eateries have said.
And at least one restaurant operator has suspended plans to open any new businesses on the Pearl until Qatar offers some clarification.
“Pearl is a destination; it is not a mall. It must be populated so everyone is suffering as without alcohol people do not frequent it as much,” Sumeet Jinghan, country manager for Foodmark, the hospitality arm of retail giant Landmark Group, told Arabian Business.
“This not only affects us but also other big names that were coming to the region.”
Following the ban, Foodmark, which operates Carluccio’s and Mango Tree on the Pearl, said it has postponed plans to open two restaurants and a club on the Pearl.
No one at the Pearl or at United Development Company, which is developing the Pearl project, has proffered comment or an explanation of the ban to media outlets, despite repeated requests.
Arabian Business reports:
The sale of alcohol requires a delicate balance with cultural mores and the suspension could be seen as a reminder of these “red lines”, said Chiheb Ben Mahmoud, head of Hotel Advisory, for MENA at Jones Lang LaSalle.“
There was perhaps a perception that grew and spread that the Pearl represents some form of ‘extra territoriality’ when it comes to alcohol and lifestyle. Some sort of ‘free zone’,” he said. “The suspension came to set the record straight.”
Our last report on the Pearl going dry generated a lot of discussion.
What do you guys think about the latest developments?