The Food Revolution

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by Tehreen Islam

We have always seen restaurants playing an important role in the business, social, intellectual and artistic life of a society and our country is no exception.   Think of the Madhur Canteen or Coffee House, we’ve sketched life changing ideas in those restaurants. At personal level, important events of life, personal and professional, are celebrated in restaurants. Friends are made, memories are created and even business deals are achieved around restaurant tables.

There used to be a common perception that the restaurant business is a risky affair and restaurants are more prone to failing than other businesses. However, recent days have seen a much sunnier view of the industry and a bright future. Today’s food business is a whole different scenario than what it used to be. People, youth and big firms are all pouring investment in restaurant business, because of a growing trend of dining -out among the urban people.

Bangladesh has seen amazing food revolution in recent days. Consumer demand for safe and hygienic food has encouraged people to enter the business. Local giants have been on the scene for quite some time and steady economic growth and demand of quality food have encouraged big businesses to start franchises of global brands or build their own brands. Besides big names, individuals are also coming forward and trying their luck in food business with innovative ideas and cuisines. These days’ restaurants are going beyond the basic purpose of providing food and drink, and they are fulfilling human need for connection and shaping social relations.

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The recent days have tasted a flavour of globalisation with arrival of many different cuisines and chains in Dhaka. There was a time when only the lucky ones could get the taste of authentic Korean, Vietnamese, French or Japanese cuisine. Only going abroad or to 5 star hotels could offer all these. But now we see that the restaurant industry has brought the flavour of globalisation and the food enthusiasts have welcomed exotic cuisines in both high end and affordable ranges.

Restaurants like, Izumi, Koreana, El Toro, Thai Emerald etc gives you the authentic taste of cuisines from all around the world. Small diners are also offering delicacies like sushi, sashimi, doner, steaks to give the taste of international cuisines at affordable prices. Along with this practice, many international chains have stepped into our food industry – Burger King, Sbarro, Tony Roma’s , Barista, Gloria Jeans, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Krispy Kreme, Nando’s etc . This has opened up a door to variety of food at our doorstep.

Technology has also done wonders in this sector. One might wonder how as we can’t eat megabytes of data or go out to eat online. Though going out and eating in a restaurant is still an old fashioned practice and at the end of the day it is the taste of the food and service of the people that matters, advancement of technology have played a major role in today’s restaurant  scenario. Social media is a platform that can bring a restaurant down or send it to the top. Every food venture now depends highly on its social media presence. Portals like Dhaka Foodies, Foodbank etc are pouring with reviews of restaurants which influence the decisions of people.

Initiatives like Hungry Naki, Foodpanda along with home delivery services of many restaurants have made life much easier in this chaotic city life and brought food and people closer to each other. Even home cooks are on their own ventures with the help of portals like Cookups etc.

Restaurants create a massive number of jobs. The industry currently employs a strong percentage of the entire workforce and this number continues to rise. As a massive employer, restaurants are also addressing problems of economic mobility. Forma1-front

In order for the industry to effectively function, there are real and complex problems that must be addressed and solved. We need better technology and tools to solve problems in the industry like the cost management, revenue and  yield management, education, training , development etc . We need better culinary and hospitality education and training facilities that can help people in doing more in this field.

A healthy restaurant industry not only serves people food but does a lot more. It is not only important to the society through stakeholders- the owners, employees and guests- but to an entire network of groups and people.  Restaurants are woven into city planning urban development and other factors of urban living. This industry is now part of who we are and we are affected by it in more ways than we can imagine.

 

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