This UAE restaurant serves free biryani to workers
Mr Thumbay distributing the free meals to workers
Dubai - The packed boxes are placed in the chiller just before lunch hour, accompanied by either cold juice or a mineral water bottle.
In many cultures, offering food to strangers is part of elementary hospitality. Taking off on that concept, a local restaurant chain is now extending their hospitality for free through their share-a-meal drive.
As part of the Year of Giving announced by the UAE government, the Terrace Restaurant chain is serving dum biryani, along with juice or water, free of cost during its lunch hours and dinner times, at its outlets in Ajman, Sharjah and Fujairah. The restaurant chain, run by the Thumbay Group, has placed chillers on four locations with a charitable message written on them in four different languages: 'Don't stay hungry, pick your free meal.'
Explaining the initiative, Farhad C, director hospitality division of Thumbay Group, said anyone can avail free food from the chillers placed outside the restaurant outlets from 12 noon to 1pm and 11pm to 12 midnight.
The restaurant usually serves fresh meals, which comprises chicken dum biryani prepared in its kitchen and placed in the Share-A-Meal chillers in four locations (Thumbay Moideen Masjid, Terrace Restaurant Nuamiyah, Terrace Restaurant Rolla and Terrace Restaurant Fujairah). The packed boxes are placed in the chiller just before lunch hour, accompanied by either cold juice or a mineral water bottle.
Jamshed, a Pakistani plumber, was pleasantly surprised after his afternoon prayers at the mosque outside the GMU campus in Ajman, when he saw fresh meals being distributed by the restaurant staff. "I come for afternoon prayers at this mosque and getting fresh and free biryani everyday for lunch seems like a gift from Allah. It may seem like a small thing to others but for single people and bachelors here, living away from their families, getting a healthy, tasty meal free of cost is no less than a boon."
Zafar Faridi, chief operating officer of the Terrace Restaurant, said: "Presently, we are serving 80-90 meals per day. The campaign is gathering attention and we have interested members of our society who are willing to sponsor meals and contribute to the Share-A-Meal packs. So far, we are only serving freshly prepared meals in high quality food grade containers. We are not collecting and supplying repackaged food."
Zahid Kamal, from India, has been availing the service for almost a week now. He learnt about it from a friend and said he has also let all his other pals about this amazing free food service. "It gets very crowded here after prayers, as all the workers want to avail this offer of free, fresh chicken biryani at lunch hour. I was unable to get a food pack yesterday as I reached a bit late, so I have turned up early today as I don't want to miss it today," said a grateful Kamal.
"We feel that there are many ways to help the less fortunate members of our society. Our aim is to share a meal with our deserving brothers and sisters," added Faridi.
"Food is blessed and we request everyone not to waste it; rather, we can provide it to the needy," said Farhad.
Farhad also requested people not to waste excess food after hosting parties; instead, they can call the Terrace Restaurant's team to get it collected and preserved at all the outlets, to distribute at the designated times. "We are receiving very encouraging responses from several individuals and corporates who have volunteered to donate food on a daily basis," he said.