The city’s restaurants were packed with customers during the Eid holidays, reporting increased sales from one year ago and possibly indicating a changing trend in the traditional celebration of the day.
Traditionally, most families host lavish feasts at home on Eid day, but the extreme crowding at restaurants over the holidays indicated many have started taking their guests out on Eid, said visiting customers and those involved in the restaurant business.
Mian Usman, a businessman who took his family to Hardee’s on Sunday, said that he was surprised to see the place so packed. He said that he had wanted to take his family to Fatburger to try out the recently-opened restaurant, but it had no room.
He said that going to a restaurant was one of the few things they could do as a family outing. He said that they went out every year during the Eid holidays, but had never seen restaurants so busy.
Sohail Yousaf, owner of the Hardee’s burger franchise in Lahore, said that his restaurant had seen a 20 per cent increase from the previous Eid. “Almost all eateries were packed. More and more people are eating out,” he said.
Yousaf said that the recent arrival in Pakistan of international restaurant chains had created a lot of publicity and had got the public more excited about eating out. He predicted an increase in business for everyone over the next few months when more chains are to debut in the city.
Muhammad Ali, a paper merchant, took his family to Butler’s Chocolate Café on the Saturday and had to wait half an hour for a table. He said that it was becoming more common to take guests out to dinner than feed them at home. “Those who can afford it save themselves the hassle of having to prepare everything at home. And I think the guests would rather go to a restaurant too,” he added.
Robin Shafiq, the cafe’s manager, said that the business was at an all-time high during these days. “Though we’re a new arrival in the market, we are getting a very good response,” he said.
Café Upstairs assistant manager Imran Arif said that the eatery had more customers than last year during the Eid holidays. He said that the restaurant’s 60 seats had been filled from Friday to Sunday “Many families are arranging parties in restaurants during the Eid holidays, which was not the trend before,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2013.