Businesses ready for Ramadan rush

Pakistani Muslim children run outside a mosque at the first night of the holy month of Ramadan in Karachi on 20, July 2012.

Kai Ryssdal: Ramadan began this morning. 30 days of daytime fasting, prayer and reflection for Muslims around the world -- all the while keeping up their usual schedules of school and work. One could imagine productivity might suffer.

Marketplace's Shereen Marisol Meraji says in fact certain businesses definitely profit during the holy month.


Famous Hamburger employee: Famous, can I help you?

Shereen Marisol Meraji: Famous Hamburger in Dearborn, Michigan was closed when I called, I'm lucky someone answered the phone.

Employee: We open today at 6 o'clock, you know?

The family owned halal hamburger and hookah joint doesn't open until 6pm during Ramadan. Dearborn is a city with a big Muslim population and keeping daytime hours while a majority of your clientele is fasting makes zero business sense.

But once the sun goes down, general manager Mohammed Haider says: it's on!

Mohammed Haider: You better watch where you're driving because it gets pretty crazy, they're hungry, they're thirsty, they want to eat.

Haider says Famous Hamburger's Ramadan buffet is so successful you have to make a reservation to get a table at the 8,000 square foot restaurant.

Shereen Marisol Meraji: Have you seen a boost in sales during Ramadan?

Adnan Durrani: Absolutely.

That "absolutely" is from Adnan Durrani, the CEO of American Halal. They own the Saffron Road food brand. He says Ramadan accounts for 30 percent of his business.

Durrani: I like to tell our partners like Whole Foods and Kroger, and so on, Ramadan is like having 30 Thanksgivings in a row.

Maha Abouelenein: It's like the Super Bowl every night for 30 days.

Google's Maha Abouelenein says, after breaking fast and prayer, family's in the Middle East and North Africa gather to watch TV. So Google's Youtube launched a new channel this week.

Abouelenein: Called youtube.com/Ramadan.

With 50 popular Arabic soap operas and tv shows and, yes, that content will be monetized.

I'm Shereen Marisol Meraji for Marketplace.

About the author

Shereen Marisol Meraji is a reporter for Marketplace’s Wealth & Poverty Desk.

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