Hardees: Now ‘bun kebabs’ don’t have to trek across the city for burgers

Published: September 23, 2011
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Cricketer Shahid Afridi placing an order for a thick beef burger at Hardee’s in North Nazimabad on Thursday. He was the fast food joint’s first customer and asked for token number 10 as it is his jersey number. PHOTO: TOOBA MASOOD/EXPRESS

Cricketer Shahid Afridi placing an order for a thick beef burger at Hardee’s in North Nazimabad on Thursday. He was the fast food joint’s first customer and asked for token number 10 as it is his jersey number. PHOTO: TOOBA MASOOD/EXPRESS

Cricketer Shahid Afridi placing an order for a thick beef burger at Hardee’s in North Nazimabad on Thursday. He was the fast food joint’s first customer and asked for token number 10 as it is his jersey number. PHOTO: TOOBA MASOOD/EXPRESS
Cricketer Shahid Afridi placing an order for a thick beef burger at Hardee’s in North Nazimabad on Thursday. He was the fast food joint’s first customer and asked for token number 10 as it is his jersey number. PHOTO: TOOBA MASOOD/EXPRESS

KARACHI: It’s a stale stereotype but some people in Karachi still use it to refer to class divide: burgers and bun kebabs. Class divides translated into geographic ones as well, for those less familiar with the actual diversity of Karachi, a city of 20 million.

The middle class ‘bun kebabs’ supposedly all lived in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and the ‘posh’ burgers lived in DHA. But as the North Nazimabad launch of Hardee’s, an international fast food chain, proved on Thursday, investors are just interested in putting their money where the mouth is.

Karachi’s south has developed a solid entertainment and food industry, but those who have been around for a decade or so, will know that Hardee’s is just following in the footsteps of rival burger giant, McDonald’s, that opened its first outlet in North Nazimabad. And after checking out numerous locations all over the city, both the investors and the franchisers liked the location in North Nazimabad better. Plus, it is a large untapped market of people who don’t necessarily want to trek all the way to Zamzama Boulevard.

Thus, at the outlet’s launching ceremony on Thursday, the excitement of the employees wasn’t hard to miss. In their crisp new uniforms, menu cards in their serving aprons and with a smile on their faces, they welcomed guests and showed them around.

Cricketer Shahid Afridi was the chief guest at the event, but was sadly forgettable, as he seemed to be in a hurry and daze all the time he was present. A short ribbon-cutting ceremony and a few speeches later, the floor was open for guests to place their orders. That’s when the entire restaurant seemed to spring into action.

Because of the buzz, the opening ceremony had attracted a lot of people, and families. Sadly, many had to be turned away at the gate since they did not have the special VIP passes. The restaurant is, however, open for business today.

Slice of pie

Hardee’s has been brought to Karachi by Global Quick Foods (Pvt) Limited, a firm owned by three Pakistani partners, with offices both in Karachi and the US.

Global Quick Foods (Pvt) Limited and Hardee’s Vice President Operations Tayyab Alim told The Express Tribune that the total investment was going to be worth Rs700 million for 10 outlets over the next five years.

Each restaurant is going to employ about 100 staffers, creating job opportunities for about a thousand people. “Three more outlets will be opened by December 2012,” he added.

The Karachi-based Hardee’s has different ownership than the one in Lahore though. “Two different companies were granted licences by CKE Restaurants, Inc. the firm that owns all the rights to Hardee’s,” Alim explained.

“The one in Lahore managed to open up sooner than us, even though both the firms were granted licences at the same time, because we still had a few issues to clear up before we were ready to launch,” he said.

However, the silver lining has been that their Hardee’s restaurant got a lot of publicity as consumers in Karachi were aware of the brand. According to some feedback, Alim had received from Lahore, people travelling to Karachi would stop on their way to the airport and buy 10 to 15 burgers at a time to bring back to relatives in this city.

“We are different from our competing burger joints,” he said confidently. “Our burgers are healthier as we charbroil our beef. Moreover, we make fresh milkshakes as and when they are ordered and do not serve frozen ones like the others.”

In a bid to stay competitive, Hardee’s also has an all-you-can-drink beverage bar where refills are unlimited.

They have also trained staff to offer table service to avoid long queues, and customer frustration. According to Ramez Rizk Guirguis, senior international franchise operations manager for CKE Restaurants, Inc., the staff of the Hardee’s outlets were trained for two weeks by a group of experts that had visited Pakistan. Others at a more senior level in the hierarchy were flown to Dubai where they received intensive training for over two months.

“CKE Restaurants, Inc. has been in Pakistan since 2009 and we manage more than 3,000 Hardee’s outlets all over the world,” he said.

According to him, their target market was the youth of Pakistan who are more inclined towards eating fastfood. He added that they had decided to grant licences to Pakistani investors because the food and beverages industry here is vast and lucrative.

“Hungry guys demanding thick burgers deserve to get what they want!” he said with a laugh. “I was here just to ensure the rights issue, so that it could be made possible.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd,  2011.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Sep 23, 2011 - 4:31AM

    I predict more business for cardiologists in the not too distant future.

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  • burgers
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:53AM

    @abdussamad:
    LOLS….!!!!!!!!!
    Hardees is a success in Lahore for the last 3 years just because of “burger types”…same will happens here

    Recommend

  • Farhan
    Sep 23, 2011 - 8:13AM

    Love your comments Samad,

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  • Umair
    Sep 23, 2011 - 11:35AM

    After all, cardiologists in Karachi also have the right to stay in business.

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  • ARF
    Sep 23, 2011 - 11:39AM

    i love their curly fries

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  • d2412412
    Sep 23, 2011 - 11:41AM

    AFRRIIIIIIIDDIIIIIII :D

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  • Sep 23, 2011 - 12:47PM

    We want Burger King damnit! Recommend

  • Hassan Abdullah
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:17PM

    VIP passes for Hardees!!! That’s a first!

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  • Ali S
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:35PM

    I live a few minutes away from where it is. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into the heart-stopping (you’ll be forgiven for taking this literally) taste of a Hardees beef burger. And I’m a medical student too :P

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  • sars
    Sep 23, 2011 - 2:03PM

    as a cardiologist i totally agree!!

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  • Numan
    Sep 23, 2011 - 2:19PM

    Hardees (Lahore) have already started deteriorating their standards as compared when it started off. Buns are not fresh as before. Ketchup used to be imported and now our great Knorr Sachets. Many more….unfortunately.

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  • NotTrue
    Sep 23, 2011 - 2:32PM

    First the drone strikes now the West will kill our people with high cholesterol and heart disease.

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  • Aizaz Moin
    Sep 23, 2011 - 2:40PM

    Oh boy, what wouldn’t I give for a simple bun kebab, the one you used to get freshly made on a tawa in the old days? Yes I can hear someone calling “Hey uncle come down to earth and move on we are waiting in the queue as well!” Keep waiting boy I must have mine first.

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  • sami
    Sep 23, 2011 - 2:47PM

    The middle class ‘bun kebabs’ supposedly all lived in Gulistan-e-Jauhar

    That’s not true. McDonalds had been there for past 10 years in the north area until they shut down 2 years back.

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  • Balma
    Sep 23, 2011 - 6:21PM

    Junk food, prepackaged food, with aritifical colors and the worst possible meet, they should all be discouraged in Pakistan. Kids in Karachi are already obese….look at them carefully, pretty soon they will not be able to walk. Get ready for 250 pound women and 300 pound men.

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  • Moiz
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:13PM

    The author should have put in a little bit of research before writing this article: The demographic details and the class-divide profiles of the neighborhoods are all skewed and incorrect. A little bit of historical and development insight on the neighborhoods across the other side of the bridge would have been handful. North Nazimabad town has one of the largest middle-class population not just from today but way before D.H.A even existed. I believe multinationals like Mcdonalds and now Hardees just surprises the population near the coast for their believe-it-or-not market strategies. But the fact is that money is invested only after a thorough market research.

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  • Biryani Qorma Sheermal
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:44PM

    The middle class ‘bun kebabs’ supposedly all lived in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and the ‘posh’ burgers lived in DHA.” That’s such a derogatory and stereotypical statement, tsk tsk. Keep dividing the people along social, financial, ideological, and ethnic lines.

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  • Imran Ahmed
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:46PM

    Burns road bun kebabs >>>>>>>BIG MAC+Zinger+Hardee’s

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  • Sidra
    Sep 23, 2011 - 8:43PM

    ” Plus, it is a large untapped market of people who don’t necessarily want to trek all the way to Zamzama Boulevard”

    the author does not realize that when it comes to fast food nazimabad and gulshan is not an untapped market as fastfood vendors understand that the middle class and upper middle class is the most profitable market to cater to for fast food. Restaurants on zamzama boulevard only cater to a niche upmarket clientele hence tend to be smaller in size..

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  • syed mustafa bilal
    Sep 23, 2011 - 9:57PM

    @sami…MacDonald is not shut down but moved to Dolmen Mall, hydri
    @ all…. according to a gallop survey few year back, North Nazimabad is the most educated and have very high literacy rate .. and also have very high purchasing power rate all over in Pakistan…that’s why Local and International Brands CAN NOT Forget it, when they plan…

    after PAKISTAN’S FIRST…
    MACDONALD (GOLDEN GATE)
    DRIVE-THROUGH ATM (UBL)
    FLOODLIGHT CRICKET STADIUM (Asghar Ali Shah)

    and after KARACHI’S FIRST…
    STYLO SHOES (HYDERI)
    BOVI-CHIC (SEREENA) etc
    NOW NORTH NAZIMABAD HAVING KARACHI’S FIRST. HARDEESSSS !!!!!
    ab jalnay walay jaleen……..or khanay walay Hardees Jaeen :-)

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  • Usama
    Sep 23, 2011 - 10:02PM

    Sooo here we are… the first hardee’s in Karachi.. and to give a better touch in my area:D/… and yea i hated the thing that i wasnt allowed last night when i bumped at the entrance 11 oclock right when i got back from the university after my late night classes.. ALaass they refused there “To Be Loyal customer” :D buh still for the new thing in town i can forgive em :p ,,, so today as expected was filled by a flock ov peeps buh still the gud mgt was there as i saw the owner interacting wid people and makin em at ease in the long line outside the other entrance that was … finally got to see the refill bars near the seatin area… atleast u can have wat u want and gud for the confused people who always have their cry baby faces on when they peep by and sayk “abay yar main bhi wohi leleta” =p… Finally after my raam katha… The food.. super star charbroiled beef was the big munchy treat for me… Juicy … fresh salad and the taste Had the Alaaaness =)… Hats ov to the team the mgt and the owners =) … P.s Imphasis a lil on the decor … the walls look lyk empty… fill em up wid sumthin atleast… and a lil focus on the chips….. A gud new thing in town… And yeah im done thanx for ur time everyone :)

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  • syed hasan atizaz
    Sep 23, 2011 - 10:04PM

    i will stick with my desi bun kabab.

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  • dingling
    Sep 24, 2011 - 1:37AM

    if i had a lot of money i would have bought a burger king franchise thier burgers especially the chicken royale one is realy delicious

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  • shahida kazi
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:21PM

    Couldnt the writer find a more objectionable headline for her article?I would like her to know that North Nazimabad is one of the places in the city with the highest literacy rate,and and some of the richest and most socially prominent families live in that area.And many people from there also read your” posh ” newspaper.I would advise your management not to insult the people of any area in that way. After all , all of you were not born in Defence.Recommend

  • not impressed
    Sep 24, 2011 - 2:39PM

    North Nazimabad is still an ‘upper’ middle class area so I don’t get the joke – and unless you’ve failed to notice, every chain that has previously opened has first done so in Nazimabad … also, its quite a central location.

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  • Faisal
    Sep 27, 2011 - 12:37PM

    Can anyone confirm, the price list of Hardees Karachi varies from Hardees Lahore. Prices are slightly on the higher side and some of the ambiance is changes. We observe the same kind of ambiance in an International Chain Restaurant like McDonalds. I think its because of two companies operting the franchise in different cities?

    Can anyone answers these questions?

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  • Hameed
    Sep 29, 2011 - 1:52PM

    I like the way all the nazimabadi bun kebabs get offended when referred to as bun kebabs. Why so touchy, have you ever seen a mummy pappa type burger baby complain when you guys call him/her a burger. To each his own. Fact is you can take the Nazimabadi out of Nazimabad but you cannot take out Nazimabad out of the Nazimabadi. Its a mind set and encompasses all ethnic and/or income groups.

    Deal with it guys and be proud of your heritage.

    P.S. : No way in hell is Nazimabad central, its not called Beverly Hills for nothing.

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  • nabeel
    Sep 30, 2011 - 12:46AM

    hardees n.nazimabad perfect combination . i havent yet tried it out but whats the price range of its burgers response??

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