Since Park Café was first opened in 2004, their business model has put quality and safety of their food first, while promoting the awareness of the benefits that come with a healthy eating lifestyle. The concept of food safety and healthy eating is not a new theory, but generally Cambodians are just starting to become aware of the dangers of processed foods that use additives and chemicals for flavor and seasoning.
“Food safety is an important issue for everyone. It’s not just for any group or level of people, because food is the source of our health,” said Heng Sengly, Park Café general manager. “Because Park Café adheres to the quality of food combined with good service, most of our customers who started with us are still our customers. They know about the quality of our food and they support us.”
Park Café prides itself in creating products that are rich in nutrition, protein and vitamins that support the human body. And if there is any doubt that health conscious foods might undermines flavour, “come try our food and you will know that taste is not compromised without seasoning or by being chemical free,” he said.
As well as supplying healthy products, Park Café also focuses on food safety to make sure the restaurant passes international standards especially as its parent company, Vtrust Property Group, hopes to be listed on the Cambodian Stock Exchange in 2016. If listed on the bourse, Park Café would be the first food and beverage company to be publicly traded on the market. In preperation, Sengly said that Park Café will continue to uphold their food safety procedures.
Currently, Sengly explained, that when produce arrives a team of French and Khmer biologists ensures that the raw materials are safe for the1 production line. The systematic monitoring of quality better serves Cambodian’s dietary needs, he said.
Because of Park Café’s high level of quality, the company received Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification in 2013. HACCP certification is given by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) and ensures that the food is safe for consumption by being free of biological, chemical and physical hazards.
“We’re proud to receive this certificate because it shows that Cambodia’s food and beverage industry can meet international guidelines,” said Sengly.
Sengly said he is one of the few Cambodians who have taken a food safety training programme administered by US FDA. The programme, which he completed in Bangkok, Thailand in 2012, is required in the US before distributors are allowed to handle food. The programme taught him about food safety, cross contamination and food poisoning prevention.
“I passed the exam to become certified in food safety,” he said. “At Park Café we know how to keep food safe for the people.”
Along with the developments of quality control, Sengly said that Park Café is preparing to open three new branches in 2015 that targets major cities across the country. Currently, Park Café restaurant has six branches spread out across Phnom Penh.