Food delivery culture boom in Qatar boosts restaurant sales during Ramadan
On the backdrop of a booming food delivery culture in Qatar, a number of restaurant businesses here are witnessing a boost in their daytime delivery sales during Ramadan to cater to non-fasting customers.
Across the region, restaurants usually witness a slowdown in business during the holy month of Ramadan. But online food deliveries, which saw a rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, are now keeping some food businesses afloat despite being closed to dine-in customers during daytime.
“We have the approval from the ministry for deliveries that’s why we open the restaurant during the daytime as well. But we don’t allow customers to dine-in before iftar. We started daytime deliveries during Ramadan in 2019 before the pandemic. But at that time food deliveries were still not that popular. We were not receiving much delivery orders. But now, even during daytime, we get more orders for delivery. This Ramadan, we were receiving an average of 40-45 daily delivery orders for this branch only,” Nagendra Rai, Restaurant Manager at Papa John’s Old Airport branch told The Peninsula yesterday.
He added that on a normal day, the branch receives significantly more delivery orders, usually with over 400 delivery orders during weekends.
“But this time, we get less delivery orders compared to Ramadan last year. It’s because last year there were no dine-in options even in the evenings due to COVID restrictions. We only received mostly delivery orders last year. Still, this year is better than Ramadan during previous years before the pandemic. Deliveries have now increased during daytime. We didn’t have Talabat or Snoonu, and all the other delivery apps before. They have only grown in recent years, and they are doing well. Because of them we’re having more customers,” Rai added.
Speaking to The Peninsula, Elaine Cadiente, who is in-charge of Doha Street Food restaurant, said food deliveries keep the business afloat during Ramadan. The restaurant is also open during daytime only for take-out and delivery orders.
“We really need the sales from the daytime delivery orders during Ramadan. We have seen our sales decrease by 10-20 percent compared to previous months, because of the changed timings. So having delivery orders in the daytime has been really helpful to the business,” said Cadiente.
She added that Qatar’s food delivery scene is becoming more competitive, and restaurant businesses have to strategise quickly to keep their market
“There’s a lot of competition now with more restaurants opening in Qatar. And for Filipino restaurants like us, we’re no longer just competing with other restaurants, but with other home-based online food businesses that make deliveries as well. So it’s important to have strategies, like continuous updates on social media, promotions, and sometimes decreasing our prices in certain items as well,” Cadiente added.
As for Rai, food delivery culture is here to stay in Qatar, and it will only grow further.
“It’s increasing day by day. Customers have become accustomed to the easy way of ordering food. Many just want to relax and eat at home. With just one tap, they can order from aggregators, where they can see all the restaurants and choose accordingly. They can also order from our website. Before, we only had phone call orders. There were still no online orders. But now it’s very easy for the customers and for us as well,” he added.
The Qatari market has been seeing a growing number of delivery companies establishing their operations in the country. A report conducted by KPMG also found that tech startups providing delivery services in the food and beverage sector secured the largest share of tech startup funding in Qatar in 2021.
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