Ramadan: Iftar recharge kits, mobile meal vans, no orders for 30 minutes; how UAE firms are supporting delivery riders

Several companies in the country have rolled out initiatives to ensure the welfare of fasting riders

By Nasreen Abdulla

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Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Published: Wed 13 Apr 2022, 4:54 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Apr 2022, 7:45 AM

With food orders swelling around Iftar time every day, delivery riders rarely have the time to end their fast with a proper meal. But companies are doing their bit to take care of them. One firm pauses orders so that fasting riders won’t have to deal with any pressure as they have their own Iftar.

“We have held off placing orders for a 30-minute window to allow captain (Careem's term for delivery riders) to end their fast and have their Iftar,” said Gheed El Makkaoui, vice-president, Food-Careem.

“We pause the orders about 15 minutes before the Iftar time to allow the riders to reach the mosque or their homes to offer their prayers and break their fast without feeling rushed.”

Careem riders typically have about 20-25 minutes to enjoy their Iftar before they head back out to make sure the next Customer is able to get their food on time, El Makkaoui added. “It is important to us to give our riders this time as we want to respect all our captains’ religious beliefs.”

Another challenge riders usually face is finding a place to eat, he said.

“We have found a way to work around this challenge. Some of our restaurant partners will provide dine-in Iftar service to captains on Mondays and Tuesdays and the others will give pick-up meals from Wednesdays to Fridays throughout the holy month,” El Makkaoui explained.

Careem is not the only firm that is focusing on rider welfare. Locale — a food technology, brand, and delivery company in the region — is working with its partners to distribute Iftar Recharge Kits to all riders across the UAE. Using Locale’s mobile app, customers can purchase a kit for just Dh10, and for each kit bought, the company will provide customers with Dh20 credit in their wallet.

“We have had an overwhelming response from people wanting to support the initiative with over 1,500 Recharge Kits being purchased and handed out daily to needy drivers across the UAE,” said Ian Ohan from Locale. “We are hoping to reach over 5,000 kits purchased by the end of Ramadan.”

“Additionally, we host a daily Iftar for our entire team in our kitchens during Ramadan. We also ensure that there is a rotation system in place, so each of our drivers have the time to break their fast and then go on delivery.”


Deliveroo, another online food delivery service, are also doing their bit to make Iftar times easier for riders. They have launched a mobile Roo Van, which distributes Iftar meals throughout the holy month. Covering all emirates that Deliveroo operates in between 2pm and Iftar, a team gives away food, water and dates along with prayer mats to all riders.

Talabat is also handing out dates and water to riders at Iftar time from over 25 talabat Mart locations across the UAE. They have also partnered with more than 30 restaurants to distribute over 1,000 meals to riders.


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