29 April, 2021
Those of us who have enthusiastically embraced the return to outside dining in restaurants and cafes may not have stopped to think about the 6% of the population who will have to wait a little longer. For Muslims observing Ramadan, ‘regular’ dining hours are off the table for the time being.
Fasting between the hours of dawn and sunset (currently from just before 4am until 8.30pm) means that many Muslim households rise to eat in the early hours of the morning.
The hospitality sector is missing out on catering to this community in the UK during this time. With 75% of Muslims saying they’d love brands to cater to them during the fasting period, and a spending power of £20 billion, this could be a prime opportunity for a hard-pressed sector.
Take Malaysia as an example, wherein around 60% of its people are Muslim. The country has extended its restaurants and food delivery services’ operating hours until 6am, despite Covid regulations, to account for the current fasting period.
UK cafes and restaurants could make themselves available for ‘breaking the fast bookings’ through their websites and Open Table – tapping into this market and offering employment, whilst providing dining out opportunities for British Muslims to enjoy lockdown freedom too. And for those who don’t find chilly outdoor dining appealing, home delivery and takeaway through the night would help enormously.
A win-win strategy for the hospitality sector and Muslim customers alike. So, with two weeks left of Ramadan, what are we waiting for?
By Cara McEvoy