Interview with Mr Rafiq Rangoonwala — Chief Executive Officer, Quick Food Industries (Mon Salwa)
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your organization, please:
Rafiq Rangoonwala: I have been associated with food industry since 1980. I started my career with KFC in Houston, then worked in Caribbean/Latin America, Europe and Middle East. Over the period of time I have managed brands like KFC, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s, Harry Ramsden’s, TGI Friday, Burger King etc. I am the President of Pakistan Food Association and was twice President of Marketing Association of Pakistan, besides holding several positions abroad. Presently, I am heading Quick Food Industries Private Limited (Mon Salwa). This brand is the oldest in frozen food category and offers variety of products both poultry and wheat based in Pakistan and exports to several foreign countries.
PAGE: How would you comment on the fast food brands in Pakistan?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: It started well with big international brands coming one after another. Over the period of time we have seen surge in local brands, which is refreshing. I feel we have only scratched the surface, there is huge growth potential for both local and foreign brands. World eats to live, we live to eat.
PAGE: Why has Pakistan not been able to create global food brands?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: I believe initially it was the lack of vision, resource and confidence all combined. In recent years couple of brands have opened their franchised outlets outside Pakistan. There is much to learn and improve as I believe we are still managing those franchises like our family business. One lacking that I see is that we do not invest in qualified human resources. We depend on our sons, brothers, cousins and nephews to run the business and expand business internationally. Nothing like if we have in-house expertise, but in my opinion these guys are missing the boat.
PAGE: Do you think Pakistan has got more potential for the entry of more global food brands?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Definitely, our food is tasty, aromatic and we have variety that once a person tries, falls in love with. We need to have broader vision, invest in developing systems, hire qualified and experienced human resources. In my mind there is no doubt that we can develop global food brands, this I am talking regarding restaurants. In other categories we already have big global brands like, National Foods, Shaan Masala etc.
PAGE: Does the support from the government play a vital role in terms of the promotion of any brand or it is simply marketing?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Our government needs to understand the importance of fast food/restaurant business in terms of employment creation and tax collection. I have noticed that the general perception is that the foreign brands are racking money in and sending abroad. We need to get our thoughts right. These are franchises owned and managed by Pakistanis, like any other franchise be it automobile, other services, retail etc. They pay royalty to their foreign franchisor. The benefit to the country is far more than that pitiful amount that goes out in royalties or opening fees.
PAGE: What must the government do to help the business community?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: First, the government needs to recognize the food industry as an important one for the betterment of economy, transfer of technology and human resource development. Secondly, it has to get the stakeholders on board and come up with the policies to facilitate and promote these businesses. If they continue to deal with this industry as a step child and do not improve upon laws to attract both foreign and local investment in this industry, we will miss out on a great opportunity to create employment for our youth, development of related industries, and enhancement of skills.