In a cozy pizzeria tucked away in Karachi’s Gulistan-e-Jauhar area, something extraordinary is happening. At ‘The Hot’s or Spicy Pizza,’ the bustling activity in the kitchen is punctuated by a unique silence – the staff, including the owners, are all deaf and mute. However, this linguistic barrier hasn’t hindered their ability to create a delicious culinary experience that draws customers for its flavors rather than out of sympathy.
The eatery, owned by Muhammad Noman and his younger brother Muhammad Yasir, opened its doors in May of this year. Despite their disabilities, the brothers decided to build their own business after facing challenges and dissatisfaction at previous jobs.
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“We embarked on the food business because the workplace where I was employed did not provide the complete salary and would demand excessive work,” shared Noman, using sign language that was interpreted by his brother Muhammad Yameen.
Yasir, who had worked for several years at different places, echoed the sentiment, saying, “Eventually, I initiated this endeavor because food was my passion. We are enthusiasts of flavors and have explored various places to find good food.”
The pizzeria’s specialty isn’t just in its unique staff composition, but in the mouthwatering pizzas they serve. The menu boasts a variety of flavors including Tikka, Fajita, Pepperoni, Afghani, and Vegetable-only options. Prices are affordable, with small-sized pizzas starting at Rs300 ($1.03), medium-sized at Rs450 ($1.55), and large-sized at Rs700 ($2.41).
“The delectable and tasty food itself is an attraction,” said satisfied customer Afzal Habib, an IT professional, who particularly enjoyed the ‘Matka Fries,’ a dish featuring French fries served in a small earthen pot with ketchup, mayo sauce, and masala sprinkled on top. “The taste is truly exceptional, and the prices are quite reasonable.”
The brothers’ decision to employ only deaf and mute staff was not just about providing employment opportunities but also about creating a harmonious working environment. “It is quite easy to communicate with fellow disabled individuals like us,” explained Noman. “We are adept at understanding their sign language, and they, in turn, comprehend ours.”
Empathy played a significant role in their decision as well. The challenges faced by disabled individuals in other workplaces resonated with the brothers, who wanted to provide an inclusive space where everyone could flourish.
“We wanted to send a positive message by venturing into a business,” stated Yasir. “Some individuals use their disabilities as an excuse. Disabilities are a decree from Allah, but they should not be used as an excuse.”
Through their determination and passion for flavors, Noman and Yasir have not only created a thriving pizzeria but also a symbol of empowerment and inclusivity, showcasing that abilities can transcend disabilities with the right opportunities and mindset.