The difference between and industry and random entrepreneurs with small businesses is connections. Being involved in the fashion world I have witnessed this evolution. Say what you will about the numerous fashion weeks we have every year it has provided a platform for members of said industry (designers, journalists, store owners, makeup artists, photographers, stylists, models etc) to meet and collaborate, understand each other and grow. The ultimate winner in such an endeavor is the consumer who now has more choices than ever.
It is surprising that a nation obsessed with food and dining has a relatively underdeveloped food industry. The link between suppliers, restaurants, advertisers and customers is missing. On a recent trip to Cape Town a visit to the Good Food and Wine Show and a local farmers market clearly showed the potential of the food industry if those involved banded together.
A recent attempt to form such a network is Food Connection Pakistan. Ever since April when Food Connection Pakistan claimed to introduce the ultimate food guide, I have been itching for it to get started. Last week FC Pakistan finally launched.
While the site itself is promising, the build up and pre launch must be praised.
For 3 months fcpakistan has been teasing Facebook users with the assurance of a great website. To their credit they have made the wait enjoyable.
The Facebook page has over 7000 likes, and is very active with contests, give aways, surveys, general discussion. Keeping the excitement up for song long will encourage people to visit and contributing to the site, making it more dynamic and interesting.
As a directory of eateries it is comparable with KarachiSnob. Each restaurant entry is comprehensive and helpful. Along with a brief description there is a media panel which consists of a slide show and links to the eatery’s website and/or facebook page and a map. A viewable menu card makes the experience complete, you can find out everything about a place before ever setting foot through the door. The best part is the special deals and coupons available for a variety of different restaurants.
Where it differs and surpasses other sites of this is kind is that it aims to be interactive. User reviews and ratings are encouraged and easily accessible. The blog section provides an opportunity for people with similar interests to share their views. The photolicious contest is an avenue for aspiring food photographers. By partnering with many restaurants, food connection has made a variety of vouchers available and they generously distribute them to registered users.
If I have one criticism it would be that you can’t easily browse the list of eateries. They boast of having over 1000 eateries in their database, which is great, but if I haven’t heard of it how will I find it. The search feature works only when you know exactly what you were looking for. While the content is extensive, it would be for user friendly and graspable if this content was organized by cuisine, area, cost, or other criteria.
“We were on the downtown 6 train. I was the guy staring at you from across the car, you were a gyro being shared by a teenage couple. I felt excluded.” – Missed Food Connections
Hopefully Food Connection Pakistan will continue to expand and improve and may eventually become an essential navigational and rating accomplice for patrons as well as an advertising and pr platform for businesses.