Mobile food courts to help fight Saudi unemployment

Human resources management experts have welcomed a move by the municipality to license mobile food courts

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Human resources management experts have welcomed a move by the municipality to license mobile food courts, saying it will help reduce unemployment among Saudis and make them entrepreneurs instead of job seekers. It will also earn young Saudi entrepreneurs good profits, they said.

“The initiative came not from the municipality but from young business pioneers at Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” Salim Al-Zamami, president of Saudi Scope for Economic Studies said to Al-Hayat Arabic daily.


He said the new business opportunity, which will focus on popular markets, festival venues and conference centers, would create jobs for a large number of Saudis. “The most important feature of this business is that it does not require huge investments,” he pointed out.

Al-Zamami said mobile food courts would not have any negative impact on restaurants and other food outlets as the business would be event-based and cater to the needs of special occasions and conferences where large numbers of people gather.

However, he pointed out that mobile food court is still a new concept in the Kingdom, adding that it required more feasibility studies. “It’s a promising venture and people can make good profits without investing huge amounts of money,” he added.

Al-Zamami urged municipalities and other government departments to focus on qualitative business ventures that could be developed for the benefit of citizens, enabling them to carry out new projects, keeping away from traditional sectors that are dominated by foreigners.

He advised small Saudi entrepreneurs to establish groups in order to open profitable ventures. “This will strengthen their capability to overcome bureaucracy that often creates obstacles before new business initiatives as well as to protect their rights,” he explained.

Columnist Ahmed al-Shahri welcomed the plan to license mobile food courts. “This is nothing new. You can see such ventures all over the world. Some countries have licensed mobile food courts years ago considering its feasibility,” he told Al-Hayat.

He blamed the poor management of government services and inefficiency of officials for the long delay in issuing license for mobile food courts. “They have also failed to tap new and viable investment opportunities for the benefit of citizens,” he said.

Al-Shahri urged municipalities to license mobile courts charging fees affordable to young Saudis and take punitive action against those who allow expats to operate such businesses using their name. “This project will encourage Saudis to look for profitable ventures instead of looking for jobs.”

Sulaiman al-Bathi, deputy mayor of Riyadh for services, said his organization started licensing mobile food courts as part of its support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) run by Saudis.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 18, 2016.

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