It is fairly recent that we have seen a digital boom in Pakistan. Internet is becoming a home to many Pakistanis every passing day. In this environment, individuals have also found opportunities to cash in on an extraordinarily large market. Services like OLX and Daraz have established dominance in the fields of e-commerce.
Another partaker in this digital acceptance has been the food delivery services. We are seeing various food delivery services such as Foodpanda and Cheetay to name a few. With an expanding network, these companies are head to head, trying to conquer Pakistan’s food market. However, an unexpected third-party has started to emerge in this competition as well.
Teenage girls and women across the country have found a newfound interest in making food at home and marketing it through social media for potential customers. Some are opting it solely as a hobby, while some see it as a side hustle.
We talked to Laiba Sheikh who collectively operates a service with her sister. On asking about the service’s origins, Laiba stated that her sister had been taking culinary training for some time. To put those skill to use, she started @thechefscabinet.
What were the issues that were faced by you initially?
“We found ourselves in bit of a crunch of resources as for food startups you need a separate cooking stove and even a separate freezer. The in-house freezers don’t have enough capacity to store extra things.”
How are you managing deliveries?
“We thought of using Foodpanda, however, the resources were too little to ensure that we did everything under 45 minutes. Foodpanda based ventures require a bit of hefty investment.”
Have the opportunities gotten any better in this pandemic?
“Not really. People don’t trust home-based startups anymore because they fear we might not follow the SOPs imposed by the government. So they resort to using the services of higher-end restaurants. Everything was running super smoothly before the pandemic.”
What are some recommendations from your end?
“Ghabrana Nahi Hai”, she said jokingly. “I think you should utilize every bit of resource that you have in an efficient manner. It surely is a tough job to find investment, especially when you have a lack of experience. But nonetheless, it’s a good hobby to engage in.”
Regardless of the outcome, it is heartwarming to see women strive for equal role in the society.