Hungry, but have no money? An Arabic restaurant with several branches in Dubai and Sharjah is offering free food, and they would only ask you to pay with a smile.
"The concept of giving free food was borne from the principle that no one should go hungry - especially the labourers and those who are going out everyday looking for jobs," Fadi Ayyad, 39, Jordanian expat and owner of Foul W Hummus, told Khaleej Times.
Written on the glass wall of his restaurant in Al Barsha 1 near the Mall of the Emirates was a phrase in Arabic and English that says: "If you can't buy food, it's for FREE. This is Gift from Allah (God)."
"This is no publicity stunt," said Fadi, adding: "We put that notice because we wanted everyone to feel welcome. People pass by our restaurant, and many of them are hungry but may not have money, so when they see the sign they can just come in. And the food is absolutely free for the needy."
One can just enter the restaurant and choose from the menu of foul with hummus, falafel, moutabal, hummus with beef and pine nuts, sandwiches, and more. Water, tea and coffee are also free.
According to Fadi, they serve free meals to around 30-35 people everyday from breakfast until dinner. People can get anytime during their operating hours from 7am until 3am, seven days a week.
"People of various nationalities come to our restaurant - Indians, Pakistanis, Africans, Europeans. We even had a regular diner - an Australian lady who came here every day to eat for free for almost a year. We knew she had some problems and we never charged her for the meals," Fadi shared.
When asked if he has been losing profit because of his philanthropy, Fadi said no and on the contrary, his charity work, which he started three years ago, has helped boost his business.
After opening his first branch of Foul W Hummus in 2011, he now has a total of three branches in Al Barsha and one in Sharjah with one more branch soon to open along Sheikh Zayed Road.
"We are in the food business. Of course, we opened the restaurant for financial profit. But I've realised that we also have a moral obligation to other people and not only to those who can pay. Food is a basic right of everyone and we want those who can not pay not to feel hungry," explained Fadi, who first arrived in Dubai in 1999 and worked as a systems analyst engineer before venturing in the food business.
"I have also benefited a lot from Dubai and this (giving free food) is my way of giving back to the community. We live in the land of Zayed and the leaders of this country has thought us tolerance and giving," he added.
Fadi, who runs the day-to-day operations of his restaurant said: "When we gave food to the hungry and needy and we saw them smile after having a hearty meal, we also felt happiness that no money could buy."
He added: "We made a lot of friends. Some people who benefited from our charity came back and we only asked them to pass on to others the spirit of giving."
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