Board Member, Dubai Restaurant Group
Kunal is a passionate leader, having a long track record of successful management across a variety of business industries. Utilizing his knowledge and comprehension of vast managing directorship experience, Kunal ensures clear objectives and expectations are delivered and maintained throughout.
Having studied in Dubai, London and California, Kunal has been in UAE since 3 decades. Apart from having a notable interest in managing large scale industrial and commercial real estate portfolios, he has a serious passion for food.
The Palmon Group was established in 1974 in Mumbai, India as a shirt-maker and later moved its operations to Dubai in 1985 being one of the first companies to setup a garment manufacturing unit in Jafza, Dubai.
Kunal’s journey in Palmon Group started in 2002 where he was responsible for upcoming warehouse construction projects and started as a site supervisor in the real estate division, from there he grew his experience in multiple roles such as Project Management, Administration, Procurement understanding the various aspects of the division. He was promoted to General Manager of the Real Estate division in the year 2005.
In addition to his above duties as General Manager, in 2005 he was given additional responsibilities as Managing Director to manage a newly formed division called Secure Plus in Security and Facilities Management which he scaled to over 500 employees and successfully divested 75% of this division to a larger FM conglomerate.
In 2006 he was tasked to oversee and lead two other group divisions Huget Design which focused on Interior Design & Fitout and Palmonade which was the exclusive distributor of German Kitchen brand called SieMatic. Under his leadership both companies grew strength to strength doing large scale projects such as Burj Khalifa, Al Barrari, Jumeirah Golf Estates and design and fitout prestigious brands such as Panasonic, Sanyo, Nokia. In 2012 he was promoted to the Managing Director overseeing all group portfolio companies.
In 2018 Kunal conceptualized and led the charge to create Manrre the region’s first industrial and logistics Real Estate Investment Trust based in DIFC, Dubai International Financial Center. Manrre’s low risk strategy involves investing in income-producing industrial warehouses, logistics and commercial real estate. Primary focus in Dubai and the UAE. The REIT aims to IPO in 2021.
Kunal currently leads the group as Managing Partner having served successfully in various positions for 17 years. His extensive knowledge in diverse industries is a testament to his dedication, hard work and eye for quality.
Stepping into the hospitality industry, Kunal is most notably the Founder & CEO of his privately held company Create Hospitality and has curated several concepts most notably of which is El Sur.
With an innate passion for great food and impeccable customer service, as well as an in-depth understanding of market dynamics and a strong business acumen, Kunal has always felt there has been a gap in the market for a quality food at the right price point. Kunal has spent extensive time in LA where he enjoyed Spanish and contemporary cuisines, in 2013 this led him to create El Sur a Contemporary Spanish Restaurant at the Westin Mina Seyahi. As a result, it was nominated for Best Newcomer by Time Out, it subsequently was included in the Ahlan 100 Top Bars and Restaurants. In 2015 it won the Highly commended award by Timeout and also the Best Modern European Restaurant Award by What’s On. Successfully operating the restaurant for over 5 years, in 2018 he divested El Sur to Westin Mina Seyahi.
Kunal is also the Founder & CEO of Pret To Go, a brand of organic and healthy cafes he launched in 2014 with his wife Rania Lahori. Pret To Go has 6 locations in prime business zones within Dubai, DIFC, Emaar Square, Jafza, Marina, Adnoc HQ. Pret To Go provides wholesome and handcrafted food for busy professionals without the luxury of time. For him it's not enough to strive to be the best grab & go destination for organic and natural food, he wants to inspire a healthier generation. He is also committed to giving back to the community by donating food to blue-collar workers at the end of every evening.