Interview with Mr Rafiq Rangoonwala – President, Pakistan Food Association
Mr Rafiq Rangoonwala has been associated with the restaurant industry for last 37 years. He started his career with KFC in Houston, worked in Carribbean Region looking after English speaking island before moving to Cairo, Egypt as Franchise Service Manager for Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and then was promoted as Marketing Director for Middle East for KFC International in 1991. He overlooked KFC, Hardees, AMERICANA Chicken Tikka, TGI Fridays, and Harry Ramsdens in UAE before taking over KFC business in Pakistan as CEO for 15 years. He managed Burger King and TGI Fridays brand till February 2017 before embarking upon his own consultancy business. He is currently the President of Pakistan Food Association and even serves on several boards as trustee.
PAGE: WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE OF THE FOREIGN FOOD CHAINS OPERATING IN PAKISTAN?
RAFIQ RANGOONWALA: Currently, there are more than 250 foreign food franchises in Pakistan. All major brands of fast food are operating in different cities of the country. There are few left, which will make their way to our cities very soon as the opportunity of growth is tremendous and I am sure they won’t want to miss out.
PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON THE OUTPUT OF THE FRANCHISE BUSINESS IN PAKISTAN?
RAFIQ RANGOONWALA: It depends on what you actually mean by output. If you mean development of local HR, no doubt the international fast food chains have played major role in this field, which has benefitted the local franchises in particular and retail industry in general.
In terms of technology, same goes as above. The development of local suppliers and industry must be recognized and above all the elevation of cleanliness, hygiene and service standards are the greatest contribution along with job creation across the board.
PAGE: DOES HEAVY BUDGET FOR THE ADVERTISEMENT BY FAST FOOD SECTOR OF PAKISTAN HELP IN GROWTH?
RAFIQ RANGOONWALA: Well, marketing is like fuel to the running engine. You stop the supply of fuel, the engine will stop running. On average fast restaurants spend 5% of their sales. Some are bound by contract to do that. The more you advertise, the better the chances of growth. But advertisement alone doesn’t cut it. One must provide customers with full experience, like variety of tasty food in a comfortable hygienic environment with friendly service. People don’t come back if you don’t provide them with right experience regardless of the amount spent in advertising.
PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON THE FUTURE PROSPECTS FOR THE FOREIGN CHAINS OPERATING IN PAKISTAN?
RAFIQ RANGOONWALA: Excellent. We have hardly scratched the surface. With more than 200 million population, growing urbanization and expanding income, Pakistan is a dream market for any fast food company. I feel those already in the country and for the new ones to come, there is opportunity of growth by leaps and bounds.
PAGE: COULD YOU KINDLY TELL US ABOUT THE JOURNEY OF FAST FOOD SECTOR OF PAKISTAN?
RAFIQ RANGOONWALA: Pizza Hut was the first international chain to open its doors to the public with its first outlet in Karachi, followed by KFC, McDonalds, Subway, Hardees etc. The ice-cream/dessert brands, have also entered the market, but most of those have not survived. Coffee concepts are doing well.