Traditional restaurants fear going out of business

The government began discussions with restaurant owners after the closure of an some 300 traditional food joints in February. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
AMMAN — Traditional restaurant owners are fighting an uphill battle to keep their businesses running in the wake of a rise in the prices of poultry and other essential food items.اضافة اعلان

Nimer Weld Ali, secretary-general of the Union of Restaurants and Confectionery Proprietors, said several restaurants serving traditional meals have gone out of business in the past few weeks. He said the closures began shortly before the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

“Every day is crucial because the owners are considering closing, if their problems are not resolved this week,” he told Jordan News.

The government began discussions with restaurant owners after the closure of an estimated 300 traditional food joints in February.

Restaurant owners want the government to allow them to hike their menu prices by 5 to 10 percent on grounds that prices of certain items have increased, such as oil, chicken, and legumes of various kinds, ultimately reducing their profit.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply Youssef Al-Shamali insisted that despite rising foodstuff prices globally, a margin of profit was recorded by the traditional restaurants in the Kingdom.

He told Al-Mamlaka TV last week that the ministry will review restaurant menus, provided that restaurant owners present documents confirming that losses had indeed been inflicted. He explained that once “evidence” is established that a restaurant is losing, action will be taken to help them out.

Amman shawarma stand owner Khaled Al-Safar said he was disappointed with the government’s “negligence of our demands”.

He insisted that meal portions are “considered a loss” to many local restaurants. He explained that a meal of grilled chicken, which is supposed to weigh 1.2kgs as dictated by the government, is rarely sold if it weighed less than 1.5kgs.

“Now, we are obliged to use smaller chickens and risk losing our customers loyalty and satisfaction,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Obeidat, head of National Society for Consumer Protection, said the price ceiling set for traditional meals “must be reconsidered to save restaurant businesses”.

“A decision is needed as soon as possible, without any time wasted, because the current situation is going to affect investments in Jordan,” he pointed out.

Abdel Shakour Al-Jamjoum, head of the Poultry and Feed Investors Association, said he expected poultry prices to “remain high as long as feed prices are high internationally”.

He admitted that a boycott of poultry, which began earlier in May, has had a “minimal effect on the market because chicken consumption is still high.”

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