Muscat: Be it weekends or daily snacks, eating out is a common practice in Oman.
But diners and regular customers at restaurants and cafeterias are now feeling the pinch as many restaurants and cafes have increased the prices of their meals.
From a simple and popular shawarma plate to delicacies in restaurants, all have become pricier.
While the owners and managers of restaurants and cafes justify the increase due to the rising costs of ingredients, including oil and poultry, forcing customers to fork out more when they dine out.
While there has generally been an increase in prices across restaurants, a well-known Indian restaurant – Maya Firangi Indian Lounge – has turned the trend by reducing the prices.
Mahendra Singh, manager of the restaurant, said: “When the restaurant started in 2014/15, we had high prices as we had only a few other restaurants running along in the Cave Complex. Since COVID, most of the restaurants have closed down and we would like to attract people to come to our outlet. We have found that in the present situation, prices need to be competitive and that’s why we have brought down the prices by nearly 20 per cent.”
Arguably, Turkish shawarma is the most popular snack/meal for many in Oman. And there are quite a few places in Muscat where we often find long queues each day to grab a bite of it. The taste and the aroma of the shawarma shops is something that one enjoys.
However, the increase in the prices of this staple meal across the capital has left few clients concerned. A popular cafeteria at Ruwi, which has been selling these Turkish shawarma for the past many decades, admitted to hiking the price by 250 baisas. “I was shocked as they increased the prices again. Earlier it was 700 baisas, then with the introduction of VAT it was made 750 baisas, now they have made it OMR1, which is too much,” Indian expat Saji said.
Admitting the increase, a popular Turkish shawarma shop owner in Al Khuwair, said: “There are various factors that have led to the rise and we have got the revised prices approved by the concerned ministry and municipality officials. But we have ensured that the quality remains the same.” Restaurant owners say that a lot of ingredients from Turkey are used and that makes it costlier.
“There are a few other options from other countries like Brazil. But we are committed to giving our customers the same taste. As we are paying higher prices on our purchase, we decided to pass a nominal burden on to our clients,” he added.
Another manager at a popular restaurant in the CBD area agreed that prices have been raised but said that there has been no impact on the sales. “We have been forced to increase the prices due to the rise in costs, especially basic ingredients like oil, chicken, meat, etc,” said the manager of this Indian/Arabic restaurant.
The hike has not gone down well with a few regular customers though most of them are of the opinion that prices have increased across many items. “These are difficult times. It would have been nicer if the restaurants would not have increased the prices,” a resident said.