Eateries under stress after veggies go dearer due to floods

Published September 15, 2022
A worker picks chopped cucumbers to add into a salad bowl at a fast food franchise.—White Star
A worker picks chopped cucumbers to add into a salad bowl at a fast food franchise.—White Star

KARACHI: Many restaurants and eateries known to use fresh vegetables as the main ingredients in their recipes are feeling the impact of the vegetable price hike due to recent floods.

Freshly sliced tomatoes, cucumber, onions, mushroom, olives, jalapeno, shredded cabbage ... all look very colourful and appetising in their metal tubs as customers at a well-known sandwiches and salad place ask the person at the counter to add this or that to their orders.

“Some key vegetables that we used to buy for 100 rupees a kilo, we are paying Rs450 for now,” Amar Kumar, the manager of one of a popular Subway franchise, told Dawn.

“Instead of buying fresh produce from the green grocer, we even went as far as the vegetable market near Sohrab Goth to cut costs but it didn’t make much of a difference as the prices there as well were not cheap. Plus we also burnt extra fuel to go that far,” he said.

“One would say that maybe we could improvise our recipes to use less tomatoes, cabbage or salad leaves, but that will change the taste that would lead to our losing our customers. Also, we cannot do it just like that because we are a franchise. We cannot mess with our recipes,” the manager explained.

“All our 29 franchises in Karachi are facing similar issues about vegetables becoming very expensive and are discussing what to do about it. But we are an international franchise. Changing our recipes, for example, substituting tomatoes with something else such as tomato paste or more ketchup may even result in the cancellation of our licence. We have to uphold our standards too,” he pointed out.

Many pizza places are also facing similar issues.

“Well, pizzas are nothing without cheese, but they are also nothing without fresh vegetable toppings and the skyrocketing prices of vegetables these days are breaking our backs,” said Adnan Israr, manager at one of the Pizza Hut branches in DHA.

“We are an international company. Our recipes are set and unchangeable. We cannot put less tomatoes or less of this or that on a pizza to save us some money because we have measurement cups for each and every ingredient that goes on a pizza. We also cannot afford our customers complaining about falling standards. So we are left with no other choice but to take the price hikes on the chin,” he shrugged and smiled.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022

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