CAIRO: Over 1,200 food outlets, restaurants and hotels boycotted red meat on Monday to protest the recent hike in prices, according to Wagdy El-Kirdany, chairman of the Egyptian Chamber of Tourist Establishments (ECTE), who administered the boycott.
“I believe it was 95 percent successful,” El-Kirdany told Daily News Egypt.
“In some places, meat that was priced at LE 75 per kilogram went down to LE 45 on Monday,” he added.
“[Collectively] these restaurants purchase around 500 tons of meat daily. Butchers are left with two options, either to eat the excess supply or to lower the price. Meat is a delicate commodity; it’s not like you can store it for long.”
Last month, locally produced meat across Egypt almost doubled in price and local officials have struggled to explain reasons for the sudden hike. Some blamed private butchers while others claim the rise originated from cattle traders.
“The boycott was definitely successful, although we will not know the exact results for a few days,” he added, explaining that the chamber is currently gathering feedback about the effect of the boycott on red meat prices nationwide.
The chamber will also examine whether the one-day boycott triggered resistance or complaints from customers, and the extent to which it affected the earnings of participating establishments.
On Sunday, ECTE will hold a press conference to announce the results of the one-day boycott, El-Kirdany said.
While most restaurants removed red meat from their menus on Monday, some local and international chains continued to serve it.
“Some international chains that are not tourist enterprises, like McDonald’s, served meat on Monday,” said El-Kirdany, adding that for the American fast food chain the boycott would have been a blow to their daily profit given that red meat is their main ingredient.
McDonald’s, among others, will however, not be penalized.
“Our aim was never to penalize [those who decide not to boycott], although by law we are authorized to,” El-Kirdany explained, maintaining that ultimately it is the chamber’s responsibility to protect these businesses.
Meanwhile, an employee at Peking, a local Chinese outlet with several branches across Egypt, said that the chain took part in the boycott, but that some customers criticized the decision.
“It’s only one day; we had to be part of it,” he told Daily News Egypt.
Other outlets did not receive a directive from the ECTE about the boycott.
“We did not receive a leaflet from ECTE asking us to join the boycott,” said a supervisor at the Mohandiseen branch of Gad, a popular local chain that serves everything from grilled meat to fava beans and ta’meya, adding that while the restaurant continued to serve red meat he noticed a decrease in meat orders on Monday.
According to El-Kirdany, the ECTE will only consider repeating the boycott if meat prices do not decrease in the next few days.
“If we have to, we will boycott it for a week, a month even,” he said.