Picture taken from ZWZ Facebook Page

I was surprised to read on Gino’s blog yesterday that the newly open Zaatar wou Zeit in Hamra does not service pork or alcohol. The reason was not explained to him in the branch but ZWZ justified this ban by linking it to “leasing conditions”.

Here’s what Gino wrote:

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. [Full Post]

And how the Zaatar W Zeit Team explained it:

Dear All,

We are very fond of Hamra and we love to be part of its full-of-life streets. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to open there and let our customers enjoy the experience we have to offer. However, we had to do some amendments on our menu in order to still be able to cater to our loyal fans, while respecting the leasing conditions.

Adaptability and respect of others’ opinions are an integral part of the ZWZ culture. Our objective is to reach all customers in all regions while serving safe and delicious food.

Finally, we’d love to see you all in our other close branches, such as Bliss, Gemmayze or Sodeco, where you can enjoy our full menu, no exception whatsoever!

Have a great day ahead.

Zaatar W Zeit Team. [Source]

Now this may seem reasonable if this was a franchise but Zaatar W Zeit clearly stated that all ZWZ stores in Lebanon are owned by one company and thus aren’t franchised. If that’s the case, the question that comes to mind is whether it is legal to set leasing conditions of this type on a restaurant. Can’t they point out that there’s pork in some items (like they do now with the little piglet) and let customers decide if they want it or not? Where’s the harm in that?

Last but not least, the branch is not that far away from a street filled with pubs and bars that obviously serve alcohol and people who go there are the most likely to be visiting the ZWZ branch after a long drinking night, add to that LAU students so I am not sure who they are trying to reach with this ban.

If I were ZWZ, I would have simply picked another spot in Hamra.

Picture taken by myself via Instagram: One of ZWZ’s best sandwiches, Ham & Cheese and no it’s not the same if you replace the ham with turkey.