While most of Qatar's residents flocked to major hypermarkets and groceries, several others lined up at nearby restaurants, eateries and bakeries a few hours before Iftar as the country observed the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
People who spoke to Gulf Times said they were making “last-minute shopping” for additional food items needed for the holy month. A single worker, who was part of a long queue at Ras Al Khaimah Bakery along Matar Qadeem, said: “Since I live nearby, this is where I usually buy my food for Iftar.”
Many of the food establishments along Matar Qadeem were also gearing up for meeting the needs of customers preparing for Iftar. Even small eateries at the Al Furjan (neighbourhood) markets in Doha have, likewise, prepared Iftar kits to cater to nearby residents. Iftar is the meal eaten after the day-long fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
At Safari Mall, Iftar kits available for QR12 each, were found to be very popular among many bachelors living in the Industrial Area. Safari Mall senior purchase manager B M Kasim said the hypermarket’s hot food section usually prepares a day up to 500 Iftar kits, which are available as early as 1.30pm.
“There is a huge demand for these Iftar kits, especially among those living in the Industrial Area, which is why we are preparing them early,” he said, adding that the Iftar kit contains light food, water and juice.
Similarly, Kasim said Safari Mall’s hypermarket offers its customers a broad selection of local and international consumer products, as well as fresh vegetables, assorted meat, and a large fish section.
At LuLu Hypermarket on D-Ring Road, many customers were seen in the queue in front of its hot food section. Among the popular foods purchased included palak pakora, onion pakora, potato pakora, baingan pakora, fish pakora and kozhukkatta. Another section offered ‘Ramadan juices’ such as Qamar Al Din, Tamar Hindi, and dates with milk.
LuLu is also providing additional security to ensure smooth operations, according to Sayed Emam, Security, Fire & Safety manager. General manager Krishna Kumar R stressed that LuLu’s “top priority” was to provide customers with shopping convenience and to ensure the availability of a wide range of consumer products.
“Our shelves display an extensive assortment of imported items from the US and the UK, as well as from the GCC, Europe and Southeast Asia so that our customers have a lot to choose from,” he noted.
In a statement, Al Meera Consumer Goods Company announced that it had selected 1,438 high-quality products to cater to the specific needs of shoppers during Ramadan. "The products are strategically-placed with special shelf talkers," the statement added.
To help the believers fast and pray during the holy month, the government has announced reduced working hours--five for government staff and six for private sector employees-- in the country.
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