According to the Jordan Tourism Board, tourism and its related industries such as restaurants is recognized as one of the most important components of the Jordanian economy. The Jordan Economic Report (2015) which was developed by Bank Audi states that trade, restaurants and hotels contribute to around 11.5% of the total economic activities in the country. On the other hand, the food processing sector which also intersects with the restaurants industry has important implications for the Jordanian economy as it provides job opportunities for people in rural areas and is a focal component of the country’s food industry which accounts for the largest category (33%) of the average annual household expenditure in Jordan (Jordan Competitiveness Report 2008-2009).
One of USAID LENS target areas, Naour municipality, has unmet demand for quality restaurants, both among residents and those transiting through Naour on their way to the Dead Sea or West Bank. These restaurants have the potential to attract hundreds of customers a day but in order to do so, need significant upgrades in terms of customer service, infrastructure and food offerings.
USAID LENS Work
USAID LENS is currently implementing a pilot project for six restaurants in Adasiyah, a vital area of Naour that people pass through to go to the Dead Sea. The project is working with these restaurants to support them in upgrading their services in order to attract more customers and increase their revenues. All restaurants need a great deal of support for upgrading in order to meet the demands of these consumers, including options to dine in; options targeted to female consumers; and more varied menu options or types of restaurants.
In August 2015, USAID LENS launched a consumer behavior survey targeting people from all over the country to measure their preferences in regards to restaurants in general, and most importantly their perception regarding Naour town and restaurants located there. This helped the project to determine how to effectively support Naour restaurants.
In October 2015, USAID LENS conducted a training workshop targeting restaurants in Naour. The training focused on specific managerial areas including customer service, financial management and team-building.
- In December 2015, USAID LENS launched an RFP inviting firms to submit proposals to upgrade the capacity of local restaurants in Naour. The intervention will target Adasiyah area of Naour as a pilot to start with, and it will be applied nationwide afterwards.
- USAID LENS has been implementing an intervention with micro and small businesses in the restaurants sector to help them develop their services and grow. As of April 2017, 30 restaurants have increased their revenues, more than 31 linkages with other businesses were created and around 16 new jobs created due to growth in operations. All jobs are full time and most of them were operational in type i.e. food preparation, meals packaging, stewarding and cleaning.