Over the last week, I met with two separate Manhattan-based, Muslim-owned restaurant owners and managers who serve delicious Halal food. In both spaces, neither manager had publicly displayed anywhere on their menus or website that their food is Halal.
"Don't you want to attract the growing Muslim community? I think it could be really helpful for your business." I said.
Both managers gave me the same answer. "Halal is associated with being low-quality. We don't want to advertise it. Those who want to know if we are Halal can ask, but we don't want to lose other customers." They continued to explain that in New York, Halal cart food has made consumers associate all Halal food as lower-quality.
"Despite the fact that we offer very different food, Halal has this stigma attached to it," one manager said.
As a producer and buyer of Halal and Kosher food I know that Halal and Kosher are more expensive because they include added steps to their production process that help it be more thoughtful in production and hygienic in consumption for the end consumer. It is unfortunate if their consumers believe otherwise and associate Halal with cheap quality. Either way, I became more determined to change this perception.
If Halal can gain the same public perception as Kosher -- as high-quality products with added benefits against general food products -- we can also associate our cuisine and, more importantly, our culture in the same manner as proud people.
Founder of Abe's Eats