How does Qatar Foundation choose food vendors?


Abdelmagid Adam, Food journalist


Education City is diverse not only in its members, but also in its culinary offerings. In the entire month of April alone, there have been several temporary vendors at the HBKU Student Center, such as Exit55, Yadooh Factory, Kushari Cup, Coffee Cabin, and Makeal Coffee.

But one stand-out among the new restaurants and coffee shops to Education City this semester is Al Naimi Cafeteria, opened on December 1, 2017. It has been a consistently popular venue for quick snacks for students and staff. Qatar Foundation officials say they go through a series of steps to choose the most appropriate and successful vendor to keep EC members happy.

With several branches spread across Doha, such as Al Sadd, Duhail, Gharafa, Azizia and many more, Al Naimi has served Karak and Chapatti since 1996.

It is located near Shamali female residence halls and across the Liberal Arts and Science building. This location, carefully thought out by Qatar Foundation, is the best location provided for food venders, because it is very easy to come in and out of it, and it is noticeable when people enter EC from the gate two, said Faedah Egab, commercial manager of the community development president office at Qatar Foundation.

Before the Al Naimi vendor was brought into Education City, Qatar Foundation sent a survey to people in EC asking them about the type of food they wanted that was not accessible for them. The survey was published on QF’s weekly online newsletter and was also sent to different EC-based universities to share with students and faculty.

Another reason that Qatar Foundation invited Al Naimi into EC is that Karak and Chapatti vendors have always been extremely popular whenever they are brought to events in EC, Egab said.

Al Naimi cafeteria will remain open until May 16, when Ramadan is expected to begin. After that, QF will measure its performance and determine whether to extend the contract for another three months or not.

Al Naimi cafeteria’s working hours in EC are Saturday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Orders can be placed in advance or they can be delivered to The Liberal Arts and Science building by calling the vendor at 3010-8282.

Students’ reaction

Abdelrahman Abouzid, a journalism junior at Northwestern University in Qatar, says the Al Naimi cafeteria is a great addition to the food options available all across Education City.

“They prepare fresh food, which is surprising since they work in a very limited space. They have a variety of food options which are better than our café,” he said.

“It is a nice tool of getting a type of cuisine that is not typical for Qatar Foundation cafeterias and restaurants. It shows that QF is starting to care about providing a variety of food that fits many tastes,” said Sulaiman Alshakhs, a second-year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.

Sawsan Shukri, an electrical engineering junior at Texas A&M at Qatar likes the idea of having such a vendor in Education City, however, she does not like the location of it. Sawsan finds the car park next to it really annoying and disturbing.

“The area is very annoying and disturbing because sometimes I walk when I go to university and people look at me in a weird way, but that is society, you know. The food is really good in terms of flavor and price.”


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