Restaurant and cloud kitchen owners, their employees and all those who delivered the food had tougher times during the pandemic. However, the question remains as the Covid-19 has changed many things, has it changed people’s eating habit, too? To get the answer to this question, Colors’ Anamika Archi reached out to Dumplings of Fury, Fat Boy Pies, Oven and Rustic Eatery.
Dumplings of Fury, Fat Boy Pies
Following the lockdown in March-April 2020, Dumplings of Fury and Fat Boy Pies reopened in May 2020. The response, mediocre initially, eventually picked up the pace with orders coming in. People embraced the reopening of the cloud kitchens with open arms as Dumplings of Fury and Fat Boy Pies spread awareness of health safety measures being taken at their kitchens.
The pizzas were the easiest to sell to people than authentic Chinese food due to familiarity; however, no significant changes in the eating habits of people have been observed. Interestingly enough though, the frequency of takeout orders did increase during the first few months post reopening for the cloud kitchens especially till October 2020. In November 2020, the order rates went down since people were now more accustomed to the ‘new normal’ and eating out at the restaurants more often.
Dumplings of Fury in the meanwhile gained a group of customers who frequently purchased their new line of frozen dumplings during the pandemic. This can be noted as a small change in people who chose to shift to frozen food for ease of cooking or lack of house-help. Fat Boy Pies attempted to translate the demand for frozen dumplings into demand for frozen pizzas as well but to no avail.
Yet, Fat Boy Pies would be trying to relaunch it in the following year again when people would be more accepting towards this new item on the market. People appear to be more empathetic towards the food industry than before. They are more forgiving towards small mistakes and more understanding as the customers are more aware of our struggles.
— Saqueeb Mirza, Co-Owner
Rustic Eatery, Oven
The lockdown in March 2020 had hit hard the employees of the food industry, from losing jobs to receiving half salary. Rustic Eatery and Oven tried their best to pay a minimum salary to help them run their families. As Oven reopened in June 2020, thanks to popular demand, the promise to provide the maximum delicious benefits of pizzas by creating square pizzas was supported by added safety measures which helped reassure the customers and soon start paying our employees in full.
Orders started moving out soon after in increasing amounts, to the extent that Oven was able to extend the delivery range to Banani alongside Dhanmondi, Lalmatia and Mohammadpur. However, Oven did not observe any significant change in people’s eating habits but we did notice people are more receptive to innovative items. Oven introduced its newest item, the ‘Pizza Wrap’ which gained huge popularity fast and generated recurring customers for it.
Following this response, Rustic Eatery reopened soon after with necessary safety measures at the restaurant. The restaurant’s Cream of Mushroom soup is perfect food to warm the body and mind on any day. A positive outcome of the lockdown due to pandemic is that people are now more knowledgeable and aware of different cuisines, by binging on food shows and cooking experiments at home. This is allowing the food industry to introduce new flavours and dishes to their menus soon. Although there isn’t any noticeable change in eating habits now, we can anticipate a small degree of change in the future.
— Muhammad Rajib Shahabuddin, Owner
People will forever remain connected to their roots, even if they are hit by a pandemic and food is key to connecting with culture and family always. What we did learn from this information is that people are now adaptable to changes in the food they are offered away from home, which may translate into a small change in the future.