THE retail industry across the globe often donates a portion of its proceeds from sales to charity. In India, it is mandatory for qualifying companies to divert 2 percent of their profits towards the social sector. But it’s a trend that has not quite caught on in the food industry. In Dubai, an erstwhile corporate world head honcho-turned-innovative entrepreneur is taking a leaf out of this trend and is taking the 2 percent idea a bit further.
David Thomas, who has three restaurants in Dubai, is a compassionate entrepreneur. His first restaurant Tichinos, has some dishes on the extensive menu that dedicates 2% of sales to wp activities.
“I believe food is such an integral part of everyone’s lives and ultimately we all earn a livelihood to have a full stomach. Being in the food industry, we collect the 2% from the menu items all year round to give a proper meal to those who don’t get one,” explains Thomas.
He further added, “Last year, we invited special needs children in our restaurant. These kids ordered their hearts’ fill and it made our hearts swell with pride. This year we invited about 100 people from Dubai Silicon Oasis where Tichinos is based – security staff, cleaners and gardeners, house keeping staff, taxi drivers and provided them a proper meal.”
Thomas also has a Hospitality Training institute IICBT in Dubai and that first sparked his interest in wp. “I think personally there are many who deserve a good meal with respect and I believe personally it’s just a gesture to treat humans who are gifted with less in life.” IICBT is also open to train the blind free of charge in the UAE, though there have been no takers for this offer so far.
Thomas’s initiative stands out as not many restaurants in the UAE do charity or wp. But for Thomas, this has become a way of running his business and his life. “I have never looked at it as a wp policy as I have always given in my life and don’t do it for publicity. Moreover 2% will not hurt our way of life.”
Other big food MNCs in the Gulf region have always practiced wp activities, but most restaurants don’t have a structured policy. Having been part of an MNC before, Thomas was no stranger to wp initiatives. “Global MNCs have a culture and a structure to do such activities and come up with new initiatives. When I started out on my own, I decided to carry on with what I could do to bring a smile on the less privileged as money is never enough and it will never be,“ he signs off.