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Restaurants lag behind cafés, sweet shops in Ramadan sales

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Mar 29,2023 - Last updated at Mar 29,2023

While demand at restaurants remains ‘weak’, cafés and sweet shops are witnessing a surge in sales during Ramadan, according to a sector representative (File photo)

AMMAN — While demand at restaurants remains “weak”, cafés and sweet shops are witnessing a surge in sales during Ramadan, said Omar Awad, president of the Jordan Association for Restaurants and Sweet Shops Owners. 

 The shifts in eating habits during Ramadan have repercussions on the foodservice industry, he told The Jordan Times. 

 Instead of going out, it seems that most Muslims prefer eating iftar [the fast-breaking meal at sunset] at their own homes with friends and relatives, noted Awad. 

 Farah Nayef, a mother of three, said that she prefers home cooked meals and feels more comfortable breaking her fast in privacy with her family. 

 “But we do occasionally eat suhoor [the meal eaten before dawn during Ramadan] at a restaurant after taking the kids out to the mall or for a walk outside,” she told The Jordan Times. 

The drop in sales at restaurants is “not unusual”, said Awad, expressing hope that demand will improve during the second third of the holy month.  

 However, cafes and sweet shops usually do a roaring trade throughout the month of Ramadan, he added. 

Speaking with The Jordan Times, Bakery Owners Association President Abdul Ilah Hamawi noted that demand for traditional sweets, especially on Ramadan specials, has increased by around  50 per cent over the past week. 

Abu Saleem, the owner of a sweet shop, told The Jordan Times that he begins work earlier than usual in Ramadan to keep up with the demand, which is at its highest during the weekend. 

 Awad also pointed out that going to cafes after iftar, mostly to smoke shisha while spending time with friends is a common habit during Ramadan, especially among youth.

 “Ramadan is among our best selling periods throughout the year. The number of customers entering the cafe usually doubles,” the manager of a cafe in Amman told The Jordan Times. 

 There are roughly 18,000 restaurants, sweet shops and cafes in the Kingdom, employing over 400,000 workers, according to Awad.

 

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