Despite an increase in the number of free Iftar meals provided by charities across the country, hotels and restaurants have reported strong demand for Iftar and Suhoor meals since the beginning of Ramadan from families, corporate customers and single expatriates, reports The Peninsula.
Most eateries have increased the prices of the meals compared to last year, cashing on the demand and citing higher costs.
After fasting for long hours in harsh weather, a number of families and single workers prefer to have their Iftar or Suhoor in a restaurant instead of cooking at home. This has almost become a trend among working couples.
“I mostly go for a takeaway Iftar meal because I am dead tired by the time I return home from work. Besides that, we get more variety when we buy food from outside rather than cooking one or two items at home,” a working Sri Lankan woman told The Peninsula.
The prices of Iftar and Suhoor meals have increased by a few riyals at mid-range eateries, while some luxury hotels have increased the prices by four to ten percent compared to last year.
Costs at ordinary hotels
An ordinary Indian or Sri Lankan restaurant serves traditional food with dates, fruit juice and water for Iftar, and mostly rice and curry for Suhoor. Several such restaurants have increased the prices of their Iftar meals by up to two riyals and Suhoor meals have become costlier by a riyal.
“The number of customers increases every year, and even those who are not regular customers come during Ramadan. Last year we sold an Iftar pack for QR5, and increased the price by one riyal this year. The Suhoor meal is sold for QR8, as last year,” said an employee of an Indian eatery.
Manager of a popular Sri Lankan restaurant said, “We get many bachelors for Iftar and Suhoor, but many buy takeaway packs. Some families also come for Suhoor buffet. There are also orders for private Iftar parties, for such orders we sometimes reduce the price if many packs are bought.”
Costs at high end hotels
Qatar’s leading hotels and restaurants also offer special Iftar and Suhour with a variety of traditional Arabic and international cuisines. Some of them claim that they have further diversified the Ramadan menu including items like Japanese sushi, pasta and tandoori. Many of such hotels have Ramadan tents and have live music.
Some hotels have different themes at their different restaurants, giving a wide choice to their guests. But their prices have increased between QR10 to QR25, in Iftar and Suhoor buffets.
On average an Iftar or Suhoor buffet at a luxury hotel would cost between QR200 and QR350, however especial offers are given per person for groups with an average minimum of 50 to 150 at different hotels.
Some hotels offer special majlis for women which cost between QR180 and QR200 and a VIP table for eight persons for up to QR3,000.
While, Iftar meal in a middle range hotel would cost around QR170 and Suhoor QR150.
Advanced reservation advised
Many hotels confirmed the high demand and suggested guests to do a reservation a few days ahead.
“Many dates are blocked by cooperate and group Iftars and Suhoors. Some bookings were made by people and companies weeks before Ramadan begun,” said a restaurant manager at a leading hotel.
“Even if its two guests, we would suggest to make an advance booking to avoid any disappointment,” she added.
Source : The Peninsula article by Fazeena Saleem