• Friday, Feb 26, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:53 am

Pizza makes its way to the top as a Bangladeshi favourite

  • Published at 11:01 pm March 2nd, 2019
Mahmud Hossain Opu

The local pizza market is around Tk1,000 crore 

Upon learning that she had been accepted to Dhaka Medical College, Sumaiya Sabrin reached for her phone and ordered a pizza for home delivery.

Next, she called her relatives to share her good news and invite them over for the treat.

Like Sumaiya, in recent years, many Bangladeshis depend on this foreign food to celebrate their most important moments.

The young generation's fondness for pizza is increasing rapidly—especially among those who live in the capital. A growing middle class, rising disposable incomes, changes in food habits and culture, as well as awareness about safe and convenient food, have helped boost the pizza business in Bangladesh.

Pizza’s popularity in Bangladesh

With today’s modern, demanding lifestyle, often both husband and wife are service holders and do not have enough time to spend cooking.

Convenient and affordable food becomes a means of entertainment when meeting a friend or going out with family members on the weekend.

Pizza sales increased during this festive season and the food is popular among diverse groups.

“Consumption of food depends on culture—which is changing here. A group of well-off people are fond of western foods as they have more disposable income,” SM Tasdik Hasan, Manager of Pizza Inn (Gulshan Outlet) told the Dhaka Tribune.

Tasdik further said that pizza features frequently at family functions and celebrations, including birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Western New Year, promotion parties, and functions linked to Western culture. 

“My first experience tasting pizza was of a locally made one. Now, I am very fond of pizza and it is a global brand operating here,” Tahian Chowdhury, a corporate executive told the Dhaka Tribune at Pizza Inn.

“People are very busy in today's life as they have the dual task of maintaining the family and office. Both husband and wife are working, and where there is no available household help, pizza is served because it is more convenient, tasty, and easy to obtain rapidly,” said Golden Harvest Managing Director Rajeeb Samdani.

Entertainment in Bangladesh involves food. When meeting a friend or going out with family members, fast food is a common part of the ritual, he added.

“Bangladesh is a very good market for the restaurant business. There are few places in the capital for recreation, which is why people go to restaurants, to spend recreation time with their nearest and dearest,” Nabamita Momtaz, head of marketing for Sbarro told the Dhaka Tribune.

“In reaching more consumers, we must determine the target audience’s preferences, what they now enjoy eating and will move onto,” she added.

“In making business growth sustainable, quality assurance is a must, which we are maintaining through the quality department,” she noted.

What about market size and competition?

According to stakeholders, Bangladesh’s pizza market is worth about Tk1,000 crore, including both global chains and local brands.

In 2008, Pizza Inn launched its operations in Bangladesh as the country’s first global chain. Later, in 2013 and 2015, Pizza Hut and Sbarro respectively entered Bangladesh.

Pizza Inn operates seven outlets; Pizza Hut, 16; and Sbarro, six, all mostly based in Dhaka.

On average, monthly sales by an outlet are between about Tk50 lakh to Tk1 crore, based on its location and popularity.

Aside from chains, a larger portion of the market is occupied by pizza brands that operate locally, with foreign chefs.

Pizza Hut is an American restaurant chain and international franchise which was founded in 1958 by  Dan and Frank Carney. The company is known for its  Italian-American cuisine menu, including pizza and pasta, as well as side dishes and desserts.

In 1958, two Texas brothers, FJ (Joe) and RL Spillman, opened the first Pizza Inn across from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Today, Pizza Inn operates 310 franchised stores and five corporate-owned stores in 12 countries, with several new stores scheduled to open in the next year. 

Domino's to begin operations soon

Due to growing demand for pizza in Bangladesh, Domino's, the world's largest pizza chain, is going to launch operations this month. It has already started trial run through a outlet at Dhanmondi for customers’ feedback.

Golden Harvest QSR—part of the diversified Golden Harvest group with interests across the food, dairy, logistics, and commodities industries—will launch the chain.

Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd (JFL), which operates US quick service brands Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin Donuts in India, will partner with Golden Harvest QSR on the basis of 51% and 49% of the total shareholding.

“Within the next couple of months, you will be able to have slice of Domino's in Dhaka, as we are ready to start here,” Samdani told the Dhaka Tribune.

“We have expertise in food chain management and handling. Domino's is a global brand. It maintains the same recipe, formula, and strategy globally. It will launch in Bangladesh by catering to the taste of Bangladeshi consumers,” said Samdani.

Delivery helps to reach more customers

During visits to several outlets of global chains in the capital, it was discovered that people are placing orders over the phone, or online, for home delivery.

Pizza Inn has a dedicated call center to receive orders. Meanwhile, to meet the demand of online delivery, third-party delivery services have emerged, who provide the order on condition of delivery charges.

Foodpanda, a mobile food-delivery company, is providing this service, and it has an agreement with Pizza Hut and Sbarro.

“Domino's is known for its online presence in the global market chain and will have to employ a tailored approach in Bangladesh,” said Samdani, pledging to reach the consumers through digital means.

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