FAST FOODS IN LAHORE-A CHANGE IN EATING HABIT

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Mar 1 - 7, 2010

Despite growth in term of revenue, the fast-food industry in Pakistan is still at infancy stage because desirable growth of fast food chains has not been achieved so far.

During the last few years, the number of fast-food chains has increased across the country but it is still far below the desired level. There is still a room for fast-food chains to accelerate their business by opening more and more outlets. At present, fast-food chains are restricted to posh areas of big cities as well as main highways.

The fast-food chains are not only contributing to national exchequer but also providing job opportunities to the locals. Some of them are involved in welfare activities. KFC is providing jobs to deaf people at its outlets. This is one of positive contributions this food chain has made for neglected segment of the society.

Fast-food industry is one of the few industries that can be described as truly global, not least in terms of employment, which is estimated at around 10 million people worldwide.

Due to escalating price hike in the wake of food inflation, purchasing power of people has declined that caused negative signs on business of fast-food chains.

Fast food chains mainly target children. The high fat foods taste good to them. Fast food is quick, easy and satisfying.

Fast food restaurants are now making "value" meals for children that are increased in portion sizes. Today, fast food has become a fashion, as customers are not only eating but they are also enjoying the environ of fast food eateries . Children are also fond of going to the fast food restaurants for celebrating their memorable occasions like birthdays, results, and even get-togethers.

Lahore is known for its food since the very early days. The commercial restaurants and household both have a variety of food indigenous to Lahore. There are numerous traditional restaurants. Fast-food chains in posh areas such as Defence, Gulberg, Model Town etc. attract customers.

In recent years there appeared western fast food chains, such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Subway Sandwiches, Dunkin Donuts, Nando's, and Kentucky Fried Chicken all over the city of Lahore. Some of the trendiest restaurants in the city are concentrated on the M.M. Alam Road in Gulberg. Here, dozens of high-class culinary outlets, ranging from western franchises to very traditional, ethnic, or theme restaurants, attract all classes of Lahorittes.

New restaurants are constantly surfacing, and the business is becoming extremely competitive. It is said that eating well is a peculiar Lahoritte's attribute, and the innumerable, boisterous restaurants of Lahore that are open late into the night are a visible testament to this passion.

Lahore offers a variety of activities for nighttime enjoyment. There are popular shisha bars (these places offer flavoured tobacco pipes commonly found in Middle Eastern nations), attractive food outlets and musical concerts and shows. Lahoris are known for their exquisite taste in food, so the market has produced some of the most versatile, classy and inviting restaurants in the world. The blend of food and music at some uniquely expressive locales is truly exceptional. There are many shopping areas, which remain open over night offering an atmosphere of lively hustle and bustle.

When looking at fast food and obesity statistics, there are some fascinating conclusions to be drawn. Consumption of fast food by children has increased dramatically since the 1970's - partly due to the fact that there are now upwards of 4 times as many outlets in existence. Also, massive advertising campaigns, cleverly aimed at children, obviously do a very good job and succeed in their objectives. Some startling fast food and obesity statistics suggest that children now get 10% of their total energy intake from fast foods.

A spokesman of McDonald's told Page that the restaurant started its operations in Pakistan in 1998. It is a leading fast food service retailer for its valued customers. With a strong believe in the phrase "when it's green it's growing", McDonald's Pakistan is growing with the focus to provide friendly and quick service experience to customers.

He said, McDonald's Pakistan is a part of Lakson Group of Companies, operating with a network of restaurants in various cities with a vision leading us to reach our customers for providing friendly services in all regions of the country. "We are operating, presently in 6 cities of Pakistan Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad. In future, we are planning to expand our network in many cities in Pakistan," he said.

According to him, McDonald's mission is to be our customers' favorite place and way to eat with inspired people who delight each customer with unmatched quality, service, cleanliness and value every time.

Experts believe that fast-food chain restaurants are contributing to the Pakistan's economy but their scope is very limited. With expansion in network of fast-food chains in other cities, not only more revenue would be generated but people would also get quality food. What is needed is fast-food chains should cut down prices of their cuisines to facilitate customers.