After being tipped off by several readers that ZwZ on Hamra street has enforced strict Islamic laws when it comes to their menu, I decided to verify it myself tonight and headed down there around 6:00PM.
I sat down, ordered a ham and cheese mankooshe. The waiter suggested cheese and turkey, so I asked if they were out of ham or something, he ensured me that that specific branch does not serve pork. I ordered something else “halal” and then asked for an Almaza, he said alcohol was not served at that branch either.
I love choice, freedom, honesty, transparency. Which means, I don’t like religion and it being forced down my throat (or forcing me to not force something in particular down my throat). The franchisee might have every right to do that in his/her own brand, but when I go into a ZwZ, I expect the ZwZ menu, not the Muslim Brotherhood one.
The service was amazing and the staff was the best ZwZ staff I’ve seen, but whoever franchised this branch, is obviously a religious radical who I can assure you, will never see my business again. I don’t like people telling me what I can and cannot do based on their personal beliefs, especially when they don’t warn me of their radicalism before I take a seat at their establishment.
I understand extremists will behave that way, and so I won’t give the franchisee much lip, after all, why would I expect anything better from someone so backward? It’s ZwZ’s “central command” I’m disappointed in, who sold out items on their menu for a mere franchising contract.
I highly suggest you go to the Bliss or Ashrafieh branches, where Zaatar w Zeit didn’t sell out cheap and cave to religious conservatives to sign a contract. It’s sad really, I like ZwZ, especially after clubbing. Now, I’ll be on the hunt for somewhere else, and hoping this specific branch goes out of business.
Now, before you Islamists start sending me death threats and stuff, please know that if a place stops serving meat during Christian lent, I’ll boycott it just as much. This isn’t about me being raised a Christian, I am an atheist, and ardent in my lack of belief in gods and religions and find it extremely insulting that I don’t have a choice of what to eat when it’s listed on the menu. I’m not forcing anyone to eat pork and drink beer, but I utterly despise someone telling me I can’t. Let people choose.
So, despite the great service and kind-hearted staff, I cannot but blacklist this branch for refusing to serve items on the menu for religious purposes, without giving customers prior knowledge before going in.
After this post really got around and Zaatar w Zeit commented on this post and on their 107K+ Facebook page, here are some clarifications:
- The branch is not franchised, it’s owned by the same company as all other ZwZs (which makes it even more upsetting for me)
- The leasing contract dictated those terms, and not the franchisee (doesn’t change the main point though)
- Other restaurants in this center also adhere to that religious ban, but I am not sure what they all are and if all of them have different branches and if their menus contain pork or alcohol, but it is not served for the religious reasons stated (will look into those places too, to be fair and not single out ZwZ but all the others who did not announce these religious changes to the menu)
- My point is that the menu should have changed in that branch and the changes announced (which ZwZ did today after this post) so that people who prefer free-thinking and religious-ban-free establishments not go and spend their money there.
- I don’t want every single place in the world to sell pork and alcohol. I’m not a big fan of either. My point is, you can do whatever you want. But, when you’re a branch of a chain and you have the items on your menu, I expect that not to change for religious purposes regardless of areas and bigoted landlords. If it does though, and I understand that from a business angle, tell us, so we avoid it if we want to.
- My About page clearly states I’m not a fan of religious oppression and my writing style is irreverent so please stop dictating to me what I should do like your leaders and gods dictate onto you. I’m free to say what I want and if you’d bother to look beyond this post and your minds limited by religious bigotry, you’d realize my point is valid, regardless of what hell you believe I’m going to.
Read up on the comments ZwZ’s status received here if you feel like it and are curious what folks are saying there.