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Friday, December 04, 2020

Female Foodpreneurs: Ashfia Ahmed on building Sugarpuffs Cafe & Bakery, Burger People and Pizza People

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It was probably my passion for cooking and baking or maybe my knack for experimenting with new food concepts that drove me towards the Food and Beverages in 2014 after I had completed my BBA and MBA from North South University. I am Ashfia Ahmed, the Head of R&D and Production of Sugarpuffs Cafe & Bakery, Burger People and Pizza People. 

Since that leap of faith I am now six years old in this industry and it has not been without challenges. From the very beginning, before I launched officially with a physical store, I had to drive R&D continuously along with trials and errors for three years at a stretch. After extensive analysis, I moved ahead with my innovations. Another phase of struggles began when I officially launched the venture – the struggle to establish a brand in this highly volatile and competitive market. My team and I focused on establishing our USP based solely on our premium quality. From day one of my journey, quality was the top priority. I believe building on marketing hype surely brings success to brands in the short run but in order to sustain in the long run, it is vital to ensure quality by all means. Although my work is overwhelming, at the same time, it is very exciting as I get to develop new products through market study and people’s requirements. For me, developing recipes is just as enthralling as a rocket scientist at work. 

During the R&D phase, I used to hardly sell 4 to 5 items daily. However, after lots of turmoil throughout our journey so far, Burger People and Sugarpuffs has served more than 90 thousand burgers and over 100 thousand desserts till date, respectively. Starting from catering to daily sugar cravings of customers, to baking for special events such as birthdays, engagements, weddings, etc. Sugarpuffs has proudly baked numerous stories for its customers till now. Personally, I would say the show stoppers of my dessert brand would be my cheesecakes, chocolate cakes and red velvet cakes and my stellar brioches. And for Burger People, we are known for our quality and gourmet recipes that we make in house, from scratch. 

I was awarded the Young Entrepreneur award by Bangladesh Open Source Network in 2014. Besides that, Sugarpuffs was featured in Startup Dhaka as one of the Top 4 Bakeries in Dhaka. The most cherishable moment in this industry is the acknowledgement, appreciation from and smile of a customer which I strive to achieve every day for my brands Sugarpuffs and Burger People with my whole team. I hope to do the same for Pizza People. 

So far we have three branches in Dhaka and we aim to establish the largest chain of cafés and burger joints in Bangladesh. But the sky is not the limit, right? We also dream of going global someday.

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