The couple launched the restaurant just a little more than a month ago.
Shujath Ali and his wife Ayesha Abrar had no confusion about what to do with leftover food at their newly opened blue collar-focused restaurant: hand it out to those in need.
Closing early — at 10pm — compared to most other restaurants in the vicinity, they kept one counter open until late with free, hot meal packs ready to anyone in need and can’t afford to buy a meal.
The couple launched the restaurant Biryani Spot, near National Paints in Sharjah, just a little more than a month ago after they spotted blue-collared workers struggling to buy a decent meal without burning a hole in their pockets. “Earlier, I was a restaurant partner in another venture, where we launched a charity initiative to feed around 8,000 needy people. I realised that most labourers hardly had options for affordable meals,” said Shujath.
Since every restaurant is left with some quantity of extra food at the end of the day, Shujath’s wife Ayesha suggested they hand out the untouched, leftover food to anyone who would want to avail a free meal.
Food for at least 20 people come as excess at the end of the day, says Shujath.
“We pack and give out to anyone who comes knocking at our door after 10pm. A number of families, cabbies and blue-collared workers come shyly to ask for food as they seem unsure of what details they may have to reveal but we have a strict policy of not asking anyone anything about their identity. Our concern is how many members they want the food for and we simply give away the food packs. I am glad that several people have called to ask if they can help us in distributing the food to the needy in their areas,” he said.
Shujath defines profit in a different manner, one that led him to start the business during the pandemic. “Normally businesses look to take 60 to 70 per cent profit in whatever they sell. My aim is to make food available for all kinds of people. The deeper our reach is, the better it is for our business. For me, reaching a greater number of people is equal to profit.”
The restaurant offers a full plate of chicken biryani for Dh8; one big Pakistani paratha and tea would cost Dh2; most of the non-vegetarian dishes are priced under Dh5 while daal (lentils) and vegetables cost between Dh2 and Dh3. We also offer the cheapest mess service of three times a meal in an eco-friendly thermos tiffin (that keeps the food hot for ten hours) for just Dh250 a month — a service hailed by many workers living in Sharjah.”
“I have expertise in the food and beverage industry and my intention is to help everyone afford a wholesome meal along with keeping my business afloat. Blue-collared workers need to be able to have heart meals at the lowest price possible.
“Explore your good side and you will find ways to serve the community. The most important thing is your intention. Your moral support and empathy will do a lot of good to others,” he added.
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