Pakistani Muslims may dislike a lot of things about the United States, but they certainly love American fast food.
As such, some hungry Pakistanis, seeking a break from fasting during the Ramadan holiday, were outraged when one of their favorite restaurants – U.S.-based Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) – issued a holiday deal that turned out to be fraudulent.
The company had promised an “all--you-can-eat” deal to entice customers – but it turned out that its Ramadan offer will only allow people to buy a single regular pizza, rather than “all they can eat.”
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that pizza is very popular with Pakistanis, especially so during the evening “iftar” (the break from Ramadan fast), when families would consume as much pizza as their stomachs could hold at a very cheap price (about $6).
Now it appears that Pizza Hut has reneged on the original offer.
Imran Khan, a student and Pizza Hut customer in Karachi, complained to reporters: "The place was always packed in the evening. For a lot of people it had become a Ramadan tradition, so this change is very sad."
Pizza Hut Pakistan defended the new policy, by citing that it wanted to discourage gluttony.
"The former all-you-can-eat format served as an unrestrained invitation to gluttony and waste, colliding with the very spirit of Ramadan," said Marya Khan, general manager of marketing at Pizza Hut Pakistan, according to the Telegraph.
"For those who do not consider Iftar deal as a means of just gorging after sunset, then the new Ramadan Fiesta offered by Pizza Hut is a well-balanced and valuable deal to enjoy finest pizza at a value price."
In a broader context, the success of Pizza Hut and other foreign food companies suggest that Pakistanis are moving away from traditional meals, even during the holidays.
According to Pizza Hut, its first restaurant in Pakistan opened in 1993 and now it has 40 outlets across the country.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.