Banana Leaf Rice, a progressive restaurant brand, is capturing foodies’ hearts with its compelling eco-friendly approach to packaging and dining. However, the journey to its current triumph has not been without its hurdles.

The proprietor of Banana Leaf Rice, Lean Chant Leamy, recollects the struggles faced.

“Our shop encountered numerous challenges to reach its current growth, most notably during Covid-19 when our sales plummeted by over 50 per cent. Nevertheless, we persisted, continually innovating and transforming our business into an online enterprise that now garners substantial support”.

In the digital age, the food industry presents unique challenges. Limited managerial skills and financial acumen, particularly in app technology, were initial hurdles. Yet, Leamy acknowledges the lessons learnt.

“We have grown considerably, especially in implementing online business strategies,” she shares.

In addition to adopting a digital business model, Leamy has also invested in environmentally conscious packaging.

Swapping to biodegradable cardboard boxes and bags, despite the higher costs, reflects her commitment to the environment.

“Although these materials are pricier than standard foam boxes and plastic bags, we prioritise our customers’ health and our environmental responsibility,” says Leamy.

Banana Leaf Rice has amassed a loyal clientele of private company employees and civil servants who value its environmentally-friendly ethos, cleanliness and attractive ambiance.

Operating from 8am to 2pm, Banana Leaf Rice offers an appetising menu including rice with dried beef, rice with fried salted fish and eggs, pork ribs and rice and fried fish and rice.

The dishes, cooked fresh per order, can be conveniently purchased via various Phnom Penh-based food delivery apps. The unique addition of black glutinous rice to plain milled rice enhances the overall flavour and visual appeal.

While the usual price per box stands at $3.5, online orders benefit from a generous 30 per cent discount, dropping the price to about $2.50 per box.

Reflecting on the journey of Banana Leaf Rice, Chant Leamy explains how the business initially started with $2,500 capital for a cart and essential consumables, but had to pause operations. Yet, embracing change and the digital revolution paved the way for a successful relaunch. Today, the restaurant thrives, operating branches in Toul Kork and Boeung Keng Kang.