Ramadan Kareem is a greeting that marks the onset of the holy Islamic month of fasting.
This holy month is about more than just prayers and observing fast. The idea is to appreciate the Muslim culture, understand the History of Islam and bring peace and togetherness within the community.
To an onlooker, the month seems specific to the Islamic community. However it affects the entire functioning of the business world.
There is a slight shift in the entire business pattern and working culture during this holy month.
Within Australia, over 400,000 Muslims participate in the fast. This comprises of 2.2 percent of the overall population.Though this might be a small percentage, when it boils to individuals in working environments or corporate outfits, business can be affected both positively and negatively.
Starting at a basic level, it affects an individual’s sleep cycle first.While observing the fast, participating people need to eat before the sun rises and after the sun sets. This means that the sleep cycle is shortened. Coupled with no eating through the day brings about lethargy and weakness.This does not mean that those who fast do not eat at all during this month!
When the time comes for breaking the fast, the community goes all out, enjoying a great spread that will fill their hungry stomach.
For those within the hospitality industry, there is tremendous scope for targeting a new audience.
As the tradition requires Muslims to eat at dawn and post dusk, your hospitality business could open earlier or close later in order to cater to the needs of this community! Not only does this increase your sales and gives your business a good boost but it also shows how accommodating and respectful your business is. It will increase loyalty and compassion towards your business all throughout the year.
Another ritual observed during the fast is the Azaan. The ‘Azaan’ is a call for prayer which is observed 5 times throughout the day. All work cultures fully support all the various customs that come along with this month. However, this can affect the period of working hours as well. A lot of companies decide to push meetings and important decisions post Ramadan for this reason. This is done as a mark of respect, a measure to be culturally sensitive. This brings those within and outside the community together through this mutual understanding within the work culture.
As this is a complete change in living patterns, it also has a psychological impact on those observing the fast. While productivity levels may drop, the consumption increases. Study and research shows that the community is more prone to impulse purchase. This proves to be another opportunity for businesses to tap into.
Post sunset, breaking the fast is considered as a celebration every day and even more so during the last 3 days of Eid. During this time, consumption of food is increased by almost double. This also is the time that prices are increased hence increasing margins and overall business.
Depending on what sector of the business community you work in, Ramadan and Eid have a different effect on your business.
For those directly dealing with Muslim business partners, the more respect you show towards them during this month, the stronger will be the foundation of your business.
Ramadan works two ways. On the one hand there is lower levels of productivity due to fatigue and a change in an entire community’s lifestyle. However as far as consumer goods are concerned, there is an increase in business opportunities and consumption patterns.
The end of Ramadan is marked with the arrival of Eid. Eid being the Muslim equivalent of Christmas, the arrival of Eid means a lot of celebrations. There are Iftaar parties as well as meet and greets that bring the community closer. This again directly affects the consumption of consumer goods and restaurants see an increase in footfalls.
As the month of Ramadan approaches, many businesses begin to prepare for this and change the functioning of their work environment. There may be a special timing grant and offs on certain days, there could be a reduction in the number of lunch meetings or they could be changed into dinner meetings and all important decisions are made either before or after this month.
For those businesses that see a slump in productivity, this could be a good time for reflection and forecast of the next business cycle. The time can be spent to strategize how to bounce back and double productivity seamlessly once the month of fasting is over. For those that see an increased productivity, it is a great time to make the most of the opportunity filled business environment.