UAE Food Delivery Business? What Position Does Talabat Hold?

Pandemic-related disruptions in the restaurant and bar industries uprooted many industries, forcing many to adapt to remain afloat. However, the widespread closure of restaurants and bars resulted in many businesses going out of business. Often, this meant transitioning their businesses to food delivery apps.

eCommerce sales for standalone restaurants in the UAE that accept orders online or through apps operated by food aggregators had an impressive growth rate, especially in the food and beverage (F&B) sector. After months of restrictions due to the pandemic, the restaurant industry is involved in a period of resumption, which requires the implementation of innovative business strategies.

As the industry undergoes changes, new menu concepts, improved dining experiences, and delivery and takeout services are becoming essential to meet the changing demands of customers. 

As of 2021, the food delivery business is projected to reach $151 billion globally. The UAE is one of the hottest markets in the Middle East. A market value of $834 million is estimated for UAE food delivery, making it one of the fastest-growing markets in the region. There are many food delivery apps across the UAE named Talabat, Zomato, HungerStation, etc. All are performing well, but the competition is fierce. 

According to experts, this industry is expected to grow 7 percent annually, so now is the best time for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into food delivery businesses. Now, let’s have a look at the UAE food delivery business and which company is winning the war with its robust business model and strategies. 

UAE’s Online Food Delivery Market Gains

The pandemic has taught the industry a lot. For the industry, it has created opportunities for innovation and made it future-proof. One of the survey’s major findings is that restaurants are becoming more technology-driven in all aspects of their business, from front-of-house operations to back-of-house operations. 

Food delivery marketing is skyrocketing across the globe, so how can UAE stay left behind in the race? According to Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), standalone restaurants in the UAE saw a significant increase in online food delivery spending due to the coronavirus outbreak in 2020.

E-commerce transactions for standalone restaurants in the UAE, which accept orders online or via food aggregator apps, show outstanding growth in the sector of food and beverage.

As delivery became the preferred option and a popular choice following the lockdown restrictions, online transactions rose by over 15 percent in May over reported volumes in March. In addition, online food ordering has increased as more restaurants list their menus across multiple platforms to meet the growing market demand.

  • Approximately $151.5 billion will be generated in 2021 through online food delivery, according to Statista. 
  • According to recent reports, online food delivery is the second-largest market in the Middle East and North Africa region. The annual market size is estimated at US$ 834 million.
  • In addition, reports suggest that restaurant operators in the GCC region are using cloud kitchens and aggregation platforms to launch virtual brands.

Leading Food Delivery Player Across the UAE

Apps that allow for online delivery have become a significant force in the food and beverage industry, but many players are still squabbling over market share, and the vast majority of large companies in the industry are not profitable. In addition, many countries in the Middle East are still suffering from the Coronavirus pandemic, which has left a scar on the region.

A 2018 report showed that 86% of restaurants in the United Arab Emirates already used ordering apps, and 32% reported receiving revenue from delivery. So without any ado, let’s have a look at the top food ordering apps in UAE and which one is winning the race. 


Talabat provides food from international and local restaurants online in Dubai and is one of the largest food delivery platforms in the country. In addition to Dubai, it delivers food to other parts of the United Arab Emirates. Talabat is an indigenous company based in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East’s largest online food delivery platform. In addition, you can browse thousands of nearby restaurants offering a variety of cuisines.

By the end of the year, the food and grocery delivery app plans to increase its riders to 30,000 from 15,000 currently to shorten delivery times to 15 minutes. According to a study released by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in February, online food and beverage sales surged 255 percent year-on-year in 2020 to $412 million. 

Indeed, Talabat holds a strong position across the UAE, and this is why restaurants want to have their own app like talabat as it allows them to expand their reach while cutting down the operational cost. 

Talabat’s network includes more than 15,000 restaurants, outlets, and stores and nearly 24,000 branches. Some of its popular players include Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, etc. The brand recently announced the launch of “Talabat Mart” which delivers groceries to customers within 30 minutes, 24 hours a day. 

Who is Winning the Food Delivery Race? 

While all of these food delivery applications are popular among Middle-Easterners, we are going to highlight one specific food delivery app that surpasses performance in terms of revenue and downloads. 

Talabat reportedly enjoys the maximum app downloads and is also expanding its services. For example, the company now allows customers to order groceries and makes it easy to wade through menus resulting in a user-friendly ordering and delivery experience.