Because “mingling” is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, that is, men and women cannot talk to each other in this country, many restaurants have two sections: one section for the single men and one section for families. Men can only enter the family section with a female family member. It is more expensive to build a restaurant with two sections, so many restaurants are for men only. In these restaurants, women can order takeout from a separate window where they will not come in contact with the men (or the air conditioning). Sometimes you see women and children eating on benches outside next to the dumpster.
Most fast food franchises — McDonald’s, Kudu, Subway, Burger King — have both a single section for men and a family section for women and families, as well as a drive-thru window. Single women are welcome in these places, and you sometimes see women going into the family section with their children. They are certainly not required to be on the leash to a male keeper.
Coincidently, the CEO of Herfy, Ahmed Al-Saied, just this week gave an interview where he said “The society that ignores women is like someone who is trying to walk on one leg.” He also referred to the recent intention of the King to allow Saudi women to vote for the first time: “King Abdullah opened these doors for women…”
But at this Herfy at least, the door remains firmly closed.