KARACHI: For many, the Karachi Eat Food Festival is an opportunity to eat out, take pictures, and post some fun. But there are some who are using it as a platform to test their market as they endeavour to go all-out in the foods business.
Around a few months ago, Asim Siddiqui and Shahan Ahmed - two friends with regular jobs – did not have a specific plan for their food business. However, they are now anxiously waiting for the Karachi Eat Festival 2018 to not only reach a wider number of people, but also decide on how much cash to pump in their business.
What started off as a cooking fiesta for friends at BBQs quickly turned into requests for catering at parties, small get-togethers, eventually leading the two friends to start a venture called 2Guys1Grll.
After experimenting with the donut burger and two sauces for the first three months, the duo reached out to more friends to see the response. Now, for about two months, 2Guys1Grll is catering to select parties. “Evaluating public response is very important before you decide how much money you have to pour in,” said Asim Siddiqui, working at a full-time job in the finance department of a private company. “You just cannot invest Rs10-20 million before doing the homework.”
Started in 2013, the Karachi Eat Festival is gradually becoming a flagship event for the foods industry. This year, the three-day festival is set to take place from January 12.
“We wanted to introduce something different, and the idea of the donut burger was born - the perfect juxtaposition of sweet and savoury, coupled with our Mediterranean inspired sauces,” he added.
Currently, the overheads of 2Guys1Grll are low as the two friends ‘work from home’. They sell beef donut burgers for Rs350 in catering events. However, to meet the restrictions imposed by festival organisers, 2Guys1Grll will be selling burgers at Rs300.
“We just want to build a brand image through the festival. Once we do it successfully, we will be in a better position to decide about the nature of investments and growth,” said Shahan Ahmed, a doctor by profession and also involved in businesses other than 2Guys1Grll.
Both Asim and Shahan have promising jobs, but they have already made their minds to leave their careers if this venture proves to be a successful one.
Anybody can have a stall at the Karachi Eat Festival whether you are an established brand or a new venture. 2Guys1Grll believes the festival is going to attract over 120,000 visitors this year and even if it sells 5,000 burgers it will have a fairly good idea about the preferences of diverse customers who come from different parts of Karachi.
According to rough estimates, close to 36,000 visited various stalls in the 2015 edition of the event.
“We will not stop at donut burgers. We have other products that we will introduce in the coming months,” said Siddiqui. Their self-conducted research shows burger prices in Karachi lie in the range of Rs300-Rs1,200, depending upon the brand.
“I think the market will allow us to be pretty flexible with our price because the range in which burgers are being sold in the city is quite big,” said Siddiqui.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2018.
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