FoodBank: The Food Google of Bangladesh
Have you ever wanted to go to a new café but weren't sure whether or not it would be value for your money? I used to, and still do. Thanks to FoodBank, I don't need to keep wondering any more, and can actually get some honest opinions by fellow foodies. And that was what the admins of FoodBank, Shish Shapnik, Shabab Islam and Irfan Hossain Ontor, were aiming for when they opened up the group on Facebook.
The idea of a group where people could discuss different eateries they frequent occurred to Shish one fine day, and he shared it with Shabab and Irfan. They then opened up a group, invited some people to join and called it a day. The next morning, they were surprised to see 600 people in the group, all reviewing the recent cafes they've visited along with photos, and asking for others' opinions. From then on, it kept growing, and at the time of writing this article, the group consists of over 52K food-lovers as members.
The popularity of the group can be attributed to the one thing everyone loves -- food. Since the group gave the members a place to discuss food, speak their minds about the different venues, FoodBank actually saw an overnight success. Therefore, to cope with the expectations of the members, to maintain decency and to keep the group spam-free, Sakibul, Pritvee and Adriad were recruited as moderators of FoodBank.
As there are some websites and Facebook pages that concentrate on reviewing eateries, I asked Shabab how FoodBank is different from others of its kind. He informed, “FoodBank is more of an independent and open forum where people have the freedom to share anything related to food and restaurants, whereas the others have a more commercial angle, where the subscribers can mostly see what the page itself was posting.”
With the amount of rising fan following, FoodBank was bound to grab the attention of the different cafes and restaurants. Many even did contact the admins to boost their own popularity. However, the admins of FoodBank refuse to post commercialised posts on the group, unless it's an offer you cannot refuse. If a restaurant is good then FoodBank is willing to strike a deal with it, keeping the best interest of the foodies in the group in mind.
Shish explained, “There are quite a few popular cafes and restaurants that are willing to provide special discounts for all members of FoodBank. You would need to review your meal from the aforementioned restaurants in the FoodBank group alongside pictures and show it to any sales assistant there to avail this discount.” The eateries that are currently offering discounts are: Golden Recipe, Subcity, Mad Chef, Let's Meat Up, Tabaq, George's Café, Suzuki Coffee, Meat Lovers, Candyfloss, Barista, Super Sandwich and Entrée Café Lounge. Shish also informed that the admins are working hard to get more restaurants to offer such discounts for all FoodBankers.
On the other hand, when an increasing number of people started showing off their own cooking skills and sharing recipes in the group, the admins decided to open a secondary group called FoodBank Home. All home-made food and recipes are shared there now, while FoodBank itself strictly remains a review based group. Moreover, FoodBank in association with Club Orange held a coed football tournament and cart fair at Banani Model School Ground on September 5.
The success of the group shows that people had actually been anticipating a discussion forum on food and restaurants. Thanks to the initiative of the three admins of FoodBank, our local foodies are getting a chance to do so. Whether the food of a particular restaurant was overcooked or under, whether the waiters were rude or the plates seemed unclean, you'll get to know about it right away from fellow foodies, giving you the opportunity to selectively go to the best food joints that offer value for your money. And because FoodBank is your one-stop solution to all food-related queries, some are even calling it the “Food Google of Bangladesh”.