Cafes in Jeddah are doing roaring business during Ramadan, with their revenues expected to increase 40 percent.
Going to cafes after the taraweeh prayer and spending time there watching television, smoking shisha and chatting with friends is a Ramadan tradition.
This year Ramadan coincides with the summer vacation and this is also an added advantage for café owners.
Hessam Habeeb, who runs a traditional cafe on King Fahd Road (Sitteen), told Arab News his café’s profit is expected to reach more than SR70,000 over Ramadan even though it is operating only eight hours a day.
He said: “There has been a 100 percent increase in the number of customers during the holy month.
“We expect this figure to increase further during weekend and the last days of Ramadan.”
He added it is very difficult to find a vacant seat at the café after taraweeh prayers.
According to Habeeb, smoking shisha is not the only factor that results in attracting huge numbers of visitors, especially youngsters, to the café.
He said: “Most of them come to spend their free hours as well as to watch Ramadan programs on satellite channels.”
Many cafes have made extensive arrangements to attract and accommodate huge numbers of customers during Ramadan.
They spend around SR20,000 on décor, installation of huge television screens and to buy new chairs and tables.
Abu Zuhair, owner of a café on Arbaeen Street, told Arab News Ramadan is a very good season for them to earn high profit margins.
He said: “We have to make extra arrangements to accommodate the increasing number of customers in Ramadan.
“Many cafes are supplying meals for suhour (meal before the start of the fast) and iftar (breaking of the fast).”
According to Abu Zuhair, Ramadan attracts huge increases in profits compared to the rest of the year.
He said: “The average profit of a café exceeds SR80,000 during Ramadan.
“These profits are linked to the quality of services offered by each café and their capacity to accommodate large numbers of customers.”
In Jeddah, most cafés serve various kinds of shisha and their peak time begins after taraweeh prayers until the early hours of the morning.
Ali Abdul Salam, a Saudi youth working at a private company, said: “I frequently visit cafes during Ramadan where I met my friends.
“We gather there after taraweeh prayers daily and chat for hours.”
Abdul Rahman Vidah, business management student at King Abdulaziz University, said the main factor that attracts most youths to cafes in Ramadan is the availability of shisha. He said: “Some people leave for cafes immediately after eating their Ramadan meals.”