The restaurant on Electra Street Image Credit: Supplied

ABU DHABI: The owners of a Pakistani restaurant Jadoon on Electra Street have launched a ‘pay it forward’ scheme to feed the needy.

As part of the initiative started two weeks ago, they are encouraging customers to donate money to pay for meals for residents who can’t afford one.

Pay for others

“We don’t want the needy people to feel they are being given charity,” said Liaqat Khan, the elder of the two brothers who own the eatery.

The amount obtained is displayed on a small white board in the restaurant. As a needy person dines, the price of the meal is deducted from that amount.

When asked what inspired them to launch the campaign, the younger brother Ifthikar Ahmad, said: “One day a labourer came in and had mutton biryani. However, when it was time to pay he had only Dh5 on him. He said he hadn’t eaten mutton biryani in a long time so couldn’t resist the temptation of ordering one. I told him he didn’t have to pay anything.”

Community role

Following that incident, the brothers decided to do something for the needy wherein the community could also be involved. “I had read of other restaurants in Europe offering ‘pay it forward’ coffee and meals, so we too decided to so something similar and set up the board,” added Ifthikar. They raise up to Dh200 per day. Should the amount indicated on the board fall short, the brothers, who work as aircraft technicians, pitch in themselves.

Liaqat’s son, Abdul Qadir Khan, who runs the operations of the restaurant, said the restaurant’s regular customers as well as his friends have generously supported the campaign.

“One friend paid for a whole week for a person. Even random customers have supported the gesture,” he said.

Ifthikar said ever since Jadoon began operations last August, they have been keeping prices affordable. The breakfast menu starts from Dh3 while their Pakistani dum biryani, a hugely popular dish, is priced only Dh10.