Business at fast food outlets on a roll, even as health concerns grow

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 10 Jul 2017, 22:36:37

Business at fast food outlets on a roll, even as health concerns grow

Youngsters propel growth
Mohammad Wazed Ali

The number of fast and junk food outlets has been continuing to grow in different city areas over the last few years.

Such a growth was driven by a rising tendency of the city dwellers, especially the young segments, to have fast foods, insiders have said.

A recent visit to some of the key hubs of such restaurants like Khilgaon, Dhanmondi, Baily Road, Rifle Square and Hatirpool revealed that people of different ages are having different kinds of appetising fast foods with their friends and family members. Most of such outlets are drawing a large number of customers.

The growing demand for fast foods has made the business more lucrative. This has led to an upsurge in various kinds of fast food outlets in different city areas, adding new food items to their menu lists.    

"Three or four years ago, there were only a few fast food restaurants in the Khilgaon area but now its number is several hundreds," said Rakibul Hasan Sunny, restaurant manager of D, Orzo, a medium- size fast food restaurant in Khilgaon area.

He said the number of such restaurants is also growing gradually because Khilgaon is now considered to be one of the most popular fast food hubs where food-lovers from different parts of the city throng daily.

Mr Sunny said the number of their customers has also increased significantly in the last two years.

"Our daily customers also increased sizeably, which is now more than 40 per cent of what was two years ago," he said.

To meet the demand for increased number of customers they are also going to add some new items to their menu list, which now contains around 70 items.

"We are going to add 20 more new items to our next menu list, which will be implemented very soon ," he said.

He said their average daily sales now are worth around Tk 20,000 to Tk 25,000 recording a 30 per cent growth.

He said among the most preferred items are Pizza, different kinds of fried chicken, sub-grills and crispy chicken.

"We have not increased prices of any of our items and won't also increase in our new menu," he added.

Nazrul Islam, manager of the Oliver Resturant of the area said a number of new restaurants were launched in the last two to three years.

He said besides fast food items, there have been restaurants having different Chinese, Indian and Mexican foods.

"We are offering around 200-250 items, the price range of which is between Tk 200 and Tk 1,000," he added.

Abu Sayed Rony, owner of Frankes Fast Food, an outlet in the city's Rifle Sqaure, told the FE that two to three years ago, there were only four to five restaurants in the area. The number has now increased to 20.

"Our customers are also gradually increasing," he said

Mr Rony said now they are offering around 40 items and are also going to include some new items in their next menu.

Shakil Hossain, Restaurant Manager of Waiting Room in the city's Hatirpool area, told the FE that as a new restaurant, they are now at promotional stage but they are also getting good response from the customers.

"Customers' presence is gradually increasing and as a new restaurant we are satisfied with the response and the increasing trend we are witnessing," he said.

Rashed Ul Amin, a student of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), was seen having fast foods with some of his friends at a restaurant of Khilgaon. He told the FE that they frequently visit such restaurants to have fast foods.

He said they take such foods even three to four times a week though they know that such foods are not good for their health.

Nazratul Toma, a private service holder, was having such foods at a restaurant at Baily Road. She told the FE that she likes fast foods a lot and eats in different restaurants of the city frequently.

"Some of my favourite items are Pizza, fried chicken and Shish Kabab which I also eat frequently with my family members, friends and colleagues ," she added.

Prices of such food items also vary from restaurants to restaurants. At BFC, price of two pieces of snack combo is Tk 265 while such item at KFC costs Tk 410. The price of such foods in normal outlets is around Tk 160 to Tk 200.

In line with the growing fast food business, footpath- based Fuchka and Chotpoti shops have marked a significant rise.

Nutritionist Silvia Saberin Eve told the FE that food habits, especially among the young generation, are changing day by day. They like to have junk foods as their snacks or even as their daily meal.

She said these food items are not good for health as such delicacies contain more saturated fat, sugar and salt, which cause obesity, has bad impact on digestion and Type 2 diabetes, increased glucose and Thyroglobulin (TG) in blood.

"Such food habits will also lead to hypercholestoremia and atherosclerosis in later life," she added.

The nutritionist noted that such foods are taken along with carbonated drinks, which also cause diabetes, heart disease, asthma, lung diseases and obesity.

"I think, to lead a healthy life, such food habits should be avoided as far as possible," she added.

However, a study conducted by Munmun Shabnam Bipasha, assistant professor of the Daffodil International University, on 'Fast food preferences and food habits among students of private universities in Bangladesh' found that though 98 per cent of the students were well informed about the negative effects of excessive fast food consumption, they still like to have such foods.

The study shows that approximately 22 per cent of the respondents consumed fast food 4 days a week. About 54 per cent skipped their breakfast to have fast food after finishing their classes.

It also revealed that 43.3 per cent of their pocket money was spent on purchase of fast foods.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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