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Refreshing ‘Mr Burger’ back to business, again

Pioneer in introducing fast-food culture in Pakistan and set about bringing the burgers notion to the country, the Raza family, the Karachi-based burger chain has staged back their business in the city with new franchising contract to expand its footprint across the country again. They opened its first franchised Mr Burger outlet at Khayaban-e-Badr, Defense-Karachi in August 2016 and looks set to launch another at Sindhi Muslim, Karachi anytime this year. The family behind Mr Burger plan to expand into other cities of Pakistan by 2018 to grab a slice of what experts say is the world’s eighth largest fast food market.

It was once a beloved of all burger lovers in Karachi. Mr Burger had been in trouble since the early 2000s with its popularity diminishing. There is a fast rise of fast food consumption in the country now, and although Mr Burger is not new name to the Pakistanis this family business of Mr Burger will face stiff competition as arrival of big foreign names into this business and some local upcoming brands will invite many challenges for them. Raza family has opted for the franchise model at a time when the market has already become very competitive because of a strong presence of multinational and local chains.

According to an estimate by Al-Jazeera English, Pakistan’s fast food market is expected to grow 30 percent by 2017. The market, which industry experts estimate at approximately $1 billion a year, is dominated by the likes of international players such as McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King.

On the other hand, local names, such as Burger Inc., Burger Lab, and Burger Shack, which are comparatively newer entrants, are giving tough competition to the pioneers of burgers in Pakistan that are trying to make a comeback. KFC reportedly leads the fast food market with its largest 37 percent share, it is followed by McDonald’s with 26 percent, whereas other foreign franchises such as Hardees etc hold 6 percent of the market share.

Starting from scratch once more, the Raza brothers are determined to take their family business back to the glory days. They are betting on the “taste Mr Burger has maintained over the years”.

 

Mr Burger is said to be the pioneers of burgers in Pakistan. Mr Burger introduced fast food trends to ordinary Pakistanis at a time when the most modernized citizen was defined as one who had been to Europe or America – and there were not many of them. In a country where Tikka and Bun Kabab ruled the restaurant business, Mr Burger embraced globalization.

According to an Al-Jazeera English article the current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari have also been Mr Burger’s visitors and fans of its chicken burger.

Apart from reopening of closed outlets, franchising and rebranding of the joint, Mr Burger has also outsourced its social media marketing campaigning to Blue-ex, a digital service agency.

All these efforts have resulted in 100 percent growth in sales in the last one year and the delivery orders via online food portals have increased the business four folds.

Pakistan’s oldest burger chain is likely to face stiff competition amidst many new names. Raza has full faith in his ‘loyal customers’ who have been coming to Mr. Burger since its inception.

American fast-food chain Heff’s Burgers is entering the Pakistan market, with local franchise partner Crescent Star Foods planning to set up 10 stores in the next six years in the country.

A securities filing by Crescent Star Insurance said its foods subsidiary has signed a memorandum of understanding with Texas-based Heff’s Burger franchising for the proposed agreement for the Pakistan territory to open five stores in three years and an option for another five stores in the subsequent three years.

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