Going out to eat has become considerably mundane and feels like a chore rather than an activity that brings you joy and pleasure. The restaurant and culinary world has evolved substantially from what it was a decade ago. Nowadays you see a myriad franchises, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, dedicated ice cream and confectionary outlets, burger joints, breakfast places, etc teeming here and there across Pakistan and especially in Lahore since people’s tastes and preferences have become more refined.
Consumer choices and behaviour has also evolved with the passage of time and people are on the lookout for a culinary experience rather than just eating food. With the change in technology and ubiquity of social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinteret, etc, choices and preferences have become specific where people know what they want. The concept of dining out has considerably changed as people are prone to fine dining and are now amenable to trying out new cuisines and experiences. Let us delve into why and how this is happening and discern the social, cultural and technological parameters that affect the preferences and eating habits of the population.
Food Delivery and Online Ordering in Pakistan
The recent surge of food delivery and logistic companies has changed the paradigm of eating out since convenience plays a vital role in people’s decisions. Excessive traffic and the hassle of driving has made it easier for people to rely on food delivery companies in Pakistan where people just order via android or iOS Apps and their order is delivered at their doorsteps. Companies like Cheetay.pk, Foodpanda, Eatoye and others are major market players who have dabbled into this field and are reaping the benefits of being the pioneers. People who work, mothers who cannot drive and the elderly who have conveyance issues can greatly benefit from this service. The youth in particular is embracing this phenomenon as it brings a slew of advantages.
We all look for an experience even if we’re out to eat. Having dinner isn’t just about siting down and devouring a delicious plate of food anymore. It’s more about enjoying your food with good company, a visually resplendent view, comforting ambiance, and having a good time. People prefer a complete experience therefore we see the surging trend of experience based restaurants like Monal Roof top restaurant, Andaaz, Food street eateries, Scafa restaurant, BYOB, etc gaining popularity. It’s not all about food, at the food street you can opt to get a tour of old Lahore with the Lahore Tour Bus service that has commenced there. Having dinner at Andaaz gives you a glimpse of the grandeur and majesty of a bygone era. What people have realised is that food and lifestyle go together.
Ordering food is synonymous with dining out! Well not anymore. With the multitude of restaurants, home cooking vendors, catering companies and logistic/delivery service providers available you can order home cooked food too. Eating restaurant cooked food isn’t always as healthy so people usually prefer a hearty home cooked meal instead. There are a litany of home cooking business emerging who cook a wide array of desi and other dishes/cuisines which people can order like Cuisine craft, Zainab’s cuisine, Sarah’s pantry, etc. Not only can people order home cooked cuisines there are businesses who make healthy diet food like Kalivu, confectionary businesses who sell make to order artisan cakes like The Mad Chef, The Floofies, Cake Monster, etc. You also have artisan ice cream vendors like Lahorelicious and a whole lot more.
The concept of food trucks was considerably alien to us a few years back. Now you can see Food trucks in most notable places in Lahore, positioned strategically to cater to a large audience such as DHA Phase 5, Main Boulevard, LUMS, M M Alam Road and a host of different locations throughout the city. The propensity to try new things with regards to eating food in unconventional ways has greatly increased.
Make to order menu items at restaurants
People’s tastes, preferences and palettes are getting more refined as they get acquainted with new cuisines and dishes. With the abundant choices at our disposal, trying something new is imperative. You can see numerous restaurants emerging where you can make, choose and decide the contents of your dish. One such example is BYOB where you choose everything from scratch and build your burger as per your heart’s desire. Red’s bar is another example where you get to concoct your own dish using any meat option, spices and sauces to create your very own dish (This restaurant isn’t operational anymore but it is still worth mentioning).
The number of high end gourmet restaurants has exponentially increased and are now all over Lahore and the major cities of Pakistan. Fine dining has surely flourished as people have moved on from just having Desi and Chinese food and have graciously welcomed new cuisines and flavours in their diet and meals. The growth of gourmet restaurants featuring various cuisines is astounding, with regards to the number of cuisines and eateries that have opened across Pakistan. In the recent past we’ve seen a bevy of cuisines like Thai, Lebanese, Turkish, Portuguese, Vietnamese and a whole lot more open up all over the city which is testament to people’s changing demand for new cuisines.
The culinary world needs excitement, since people are open to trying new things. Themed restaurants are a new addition to the repertoire of eateries not only in Lahore but other cosmopolitan cities as well. Let us look at Lahore first; you have FRIENDS Café here and a Game of thrones themed restaurant along with a Harry Potter themed restaurant in Islamabad. Digressing from Hollywood based themes, there are numerous other eateries following a particular thematic style such as Gun smoke, Howdy’s, Salt & Pepper Village, Sarak Pay Karak and a host of other places.