THE FAULT IN OUR FRANCHISES: Why some work, why some don’t

PUBLISHED:Apr 17, 2016 | UPDATED:10:10 AM, Apr 20, 2016

Week in week out, new restaurants and cafes are popping up while others near the end of their journey. In this close knit competition a common trump card being used by owners are the global franchises. Why do they open up to such a huge reception? More importantly, why does this hype die out in a span of a few months? What happens next? These franchises are internationally acclaimed cafes and restaurants which opened their doors to the people of the county with promise of quality matched only by their Namesake. These franchises are a proven brand, and have popped up everywhere in the country. Once they open their doors, people flood their gates to grab a quick taste of their assured quality.Let’s take a close look at some of the biggest franchisees that opened their doors to the foodies of the nation.

Pizza Hut, which opened its doors in Dhaka during 2003.Brought to the nation by Transcom Foods Limited, it was the very first franchise store in the country, and boy o boy did it receive an overwhelming response. Everyone wanted a piece of the pizza they were serving. Want to organize a birthday party?

Pizza Hut, want to have a corporate lunch meeting? Pizza Hut again. However franchising in a developing country meant that the cost of maintenance was also high, and this resulted in unconventional prices. It wasn’t something everyone in the country could afford, and this elevated Pizza Hut’s position in the Dhaka food scene. Having a pizza in Pizza Hut became more of a social status. This didn’t stop there, every franchise hence worth has gone through the same conundrum.

New additions to the Pizza Hut menu help it stay in the game.


Gloria Jeanes was another big named international franchise that paved its way into the local café scene. The Australian brand had made a huge name for themselves abroad, and were looking to implement the same success in Bangladesh as well. Straight off the bat, you notice the amazing interiors of their branches. Pair this up with the flagship name and you have a hype train that everyone seems to be boarding. If you didn’t already have a Facebook check-in at Gloria Jeanes then what are you doing with your life? Such was the craze. Being the first major café brand to hit Bangladesh meant that they offered a wide variety of coffee flavours not present elsewhere. What’s more they brought a good arsenal of international items, this enabled them to serve up something different to the palates of the locals. Also their wider array of chillers and coffee flavours also attracted a lot of people. However the high prices accompanying the items were too much to ask from the common populace. Unlike conventional cafes, this was not someplace the average Dhaka teenager could afford to go to every now and then. More over Gloria Jeanes became the centre stage for grand outings and big occasions. Instead of being the café every student went to after classes, it became the café students went to on Eid day, to spend national holidays, to spend birthdays. It catered towards a different crowd, be it a small one. 

A conventional Gloria Jeanes café in Bangladesh to the left. With extravagant interiors and quality food, it portrays itself as a luxury café.  


A conventional Gloria Jeanes outlet in Australia. Most of the time you’ll find these outlets nestled inside a mall or commercial building. Simply designed, but maintaining the quality that started it all.


The most recent front runner in the franchising department in Dhaka is Butlers Chocolate Café. Bringing something never before seen to the city, the public was left pondering what this new place had to offer. Bringing a fine assortment of chocolates and shakes, Butlers promised a chocolate experience that you would not soon forget. 

A chocolate soufflé paired with a chocolate shake makes an amazing snack, but it might set you back a bit


On my first visit I was surprised at the how well they delivered on the quality they had assured. The shakes tasted amazing and the chocolate soufflé was also made really well. Packed almost every single day during it inauguration, it was hard to get a parking spot near the place, let alone a seat at the café. But the praises on everyone’s lips soon dried out, and people began to wonder that if the slight surge in quality was worth the huge leap in terms of the pricing. In comparison, you could get similar shakes and items elsewhere at a fraction of the price. Another Big Restaurant franchise which also opened to an amazing reception was Fish & Co. During its opening week, people would have to wait for hours in line to even enter the restaurant. A casual family chain sea food restaurant, it became the perfect place to visit for a family dinner. Serving up fine sea food dining,options, this was the place to be as it introduced a completely new experience to its diners. But an experience only carries weight the first time, people wow factor disappeared and people weren’t willing to pay a large amount of money for the same dining experience again and again.

Waffles at Butlers chocolate café​


The wide array of sea food combinations available made brought a breath of fresh air to the dining scene.


Alongside the normal menu, the restaurant also boasts a large menu of platters.    


For all the franchises, the hype has died out significantly. Now visiting a franchised eatery is more of a social status instead of an opportunity to eat out. These restaurants are the trend setters, although many have followed their footsteps and started similar restaurants, none have matched or received a similar reception. Hopefully they can turn things around intrigue us further.

-Nabil Haider Ayub

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