Fast food shops and ritzy restaurants are increasing in the divisional city of Barisal with new eateries sprouting up at different parts of the metropolis during the last few months.
At the same time, takeaway also became popular among the city dwellers during the pandemic.
Sources from Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association in Barisal said the number of city dwellers has been increasing rapidly in the city for the last couple of years as many development projects are underway at different parts of the division.
Officials and staff of those projects stay or visit the city frequently. That is why the demand for fast food is increasing rapidly.
Kamrul Hasan Md Mahabub Rumi, co-convener of the association, said the city had only 15 to 20 fast food shops and Chinese restaurants before the pandemic, but now the number has increased to around 200. The fast food shops offer different types of junk foods including burger, shawarma and pizza while the Chinese restaurants offer various foreign cuisines.
At present, fast food shops and quality restaurants can be found at every corner of the city, he said, adding that most of the eateries have moderate sales.
Industry insiders said customers throng the Chinese restaurants from the evening to late at night while fast food shops remain busy from morning to night.
Takeaway has been gaining popularity among the city dwellers since the beginning of the pandemic, said Rumi, owner of Hot Plate Restaurant at Police Lines in Barisal.
"I have a good demand for takeaways," he added.
Many families, with husband and wife both working either for job or business, often buy their meals from restaurants.
"I often buy meals from restaurants as most of the time I work outside the home. I prefer bringing rich foods to home, instead of cooking, to entertain my guests," said Roshni Akter, a housewife from Sadar road area in the city.
Most of the fast food shops and restaurants have a home service facility. They deliver the food to the customers' home after receiving orders from the customers through Facebook page, according to the information of the restaurants.
Beside their own staff, the restaurants also take help from different service providers like foodpanda to deliver the foods.
"Since the establishment of my restaurant, I have been getting good responses from the customers. The number of customers, hopefully, will increase significantly after the inauguration of the Padma Bridge," said Jewel, owner of Tawa Restaurant at Choumatha area in the city.
According to the information of the owners association, the daily sale of the fast food shops and Chinese restaurants in Barisal amounts to Tk20-30 lakh while each of the restaurants has an average sale of Tk10,000-20,000. Around 10,000 people earn their livelihoods working in the sector.