The owner of a North Staffordshire Subway outlet says the business is doing well, despite serving halal-only meat and no pork.
Subway’s shop in Stoke Road, Shelton is one of only two halal-only branches in Stoke-on-Trent.
This means ham and bacon are off the menu – with turkey ham and rashers used as alternative sandwich fillings. Other meats are prepared according to halal rules.
But Rafiq Sheikh, who has owned the Shelton outlet since it opened in 2008, says serving halal-only products has had no negative impact on trade.
He said: “Halal Subways are very popular. There are about 20,000 Muslims living in Stoke-on-Trent and there is a market for supplying them with food they can eat and enjoy.
“But the most surprising thing is probably more than 50 per cent of our custom comes from the non-Muslim community. Our business hasn’t been hindered at all by serving halal-only.
“Everyone seems to like it as there is hardly any difference between halal and non-halal meat, just no pork products like ham and bacon.”
Traditional halal slaughter involves animals having their throats slit before their blood is drained, however eating pork is strictly forbidden by the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book.
But Subway insists that all meat in its sandwiches comes from animals that have been stunned before being killed.
There is another halal-only Subway in High Street, Tunstall, with 185 across the country.
Mr Sheikh said. “It is certainly a reflection of the multi-cultural society in this country. For Muslims, eating halal products is a religious obligation so it is good to cater for everybody.
“This store also brings business to the area. Muslims from Keele University travel to the area to eat here and they go into the other local stores, so it is beneficial to the community in that way too.”
Customer Qasim Hussain does not think non-Muslims have anything to be concerned about.
The 21-year-old, from Longton, said: “In a predominantly mixed community, it is important to cater for everybody. I like coming to Subway and I can freely eat what I want.
“I think there is a stigma around anything ‘Muslim’ which puts some people off eating halal meat. But then all the meat in curry houses will be halal so I don’t understand why anyone has a problem with Subway selling it.”
A spokesman for Subway said the halal-only stores were the result of a programme started in 2007 in response to the UK’s changing demographics.
Source: Stoke Sentinel