Everyone’s talking about Sattar Buksh

Published: September 20, 2013
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Owners Rizwan Ahmed Malik and Adnan Yousuf talk about the Starbucks controversy and managing an image. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS

Owners Rizwan Ahmed Malik and Adnan Yousuf talk about the Starbucks controversy and managing an image. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS

Owners Rizwan Ahmed Malik and Adnan Yousuf talk about the Starbucks controversy and managing an image. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS Owners Rizwan Ahmed Malik and Adnan Yousuf talk about the Starbucks controversy and managing an image. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS Owners Rizwan Ahmed Malik and Adnan Yousuf talk about the Starbucks controversy and managing an image. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS Owners Rizwan Ahmed Malik and Adnan Yousuf talk about the Starbucks controversy and managing an image.
KARACHI: 

The striking resemblance between the names Starbucks and ‘Sattar Buksh’ is no mystery — mainly because it is a  deliberate marketing tactic.

While the name seems to mock the international coffee chain Starbucks, the presence of the moustache in the branding is the continuation of a new pop culture phenomenon. The moustache is often found outside men’s rooms, barber shops and other places as well such as N-Gents. The large, black twisted moustache, which often sparks the famous Punjabi saying “mooch naie tey kuch naie”, peeps out to the public from the café.

Sattar Buksh is the latest addition to the list of cafes opened up to cater to the insatiable Karachi appetite, which is ready to engulf everything as people reach new heights of desperation in the entertainment-starved, terror-stricken metropolis. The new place has opened up in Clifton Block 4, that is fast picking up as the next swanky lane catering to the discerning and privileged. It has restaurants such as China Kitchen, Hook, Line & Sinker and the newly opened, Monte Cristo. The Sattar Buksh team says it wasn’t their first venue choice; the cafe was supposed to be in another location in Clifton.

The café is a two-partner venture with creative input from another associate. All individuals have prior advertising agency experience. What has been interesting about this place, however, is the name and the buzz around it — whether it is a debate on Starbucks sending an intellectual property violation letter to the owners of Sattar Buksh, or a furor on uplifting the homeless and drug addicts that lay right opposite the restaurant to anyone’s inaction, Sattar Buksh is being liked, shared and commented about on digital media.

PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS

But it is not just the controversial matter that runs thick on the new place; the café has been catering to full capacity even before the official launch which has forced the owners to rethink their strategy for an official launch.

“We got a lot of sympathy votes as a result of the Starbucks saga,” says one of the owners, referring to a letter they wrote to Starbucks, which accused them of impersonating the brand persona and ‘pretending’ to be the world-famous coffee chain, which they are obviously not.

The café has a tongue-in-cheek feel that combines desi elements with an upscale twist, with a sprinkle of humour and wit that set the menu apart. The interior is meticulously crafted, combining an array of various local pop culture influences, including the beaten truck art. The dishes have names like ‘Topless Besharam Burger’ and ‘Jheenga La-La’.

The same zing, however, seems to be lacking in the food. It may be the result of an overwhelming response much before they officially opened their doors to the public, but there is a serious effort as the owners offer two distinct cuisines — it offers burgers as well as bun kebabs, and gulab jaamuns as well as slices of cheesecake. It is an effort to cater to both the desi and Western taste buds — an amalgamation which is a mirror to the city we live in. But is it confusing the identity of the café?

“It has to offer something to everyone, I want to be able to have my cup of tea and my friend should have his favourite cappuccino,” says the owner.

Unlike other cafes, such as Roadside Café, which offer only desi entrees, and Xander’s, which focuses on more West-inspired dishes, Sattar Buksh stands as a strange mix. While for now, people continue to pour in given the hype of the name and the unique combinations the menu has to offer, it stands the test of time for repeat visits.

The writer is a former print and broadcast journalist who has worked at The News and Geo TV.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Concerned
    Sep 20, 2013 - 10:10PM

    Being a marketing student, i am aware of the importance of a company’s brand identity and image. I am not impressed by the Starbucks impersonation.

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  • np
    Sep 20, 2013 - 10:31PM

    It is not the name that has led to the letter by Starbucks but the blatant attempt to copy the logo.

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  • sk
    Sep 20, 2013 - 11:22PM

    Sattar Bukhsh might sound like impersonation and in some way it may intentionally be just that, but to those who are Pakistani American it is truly very creatively put together. “Sattar” and “Bukhsh” are very common names in the Pakistani culture and when put together their resemblance to the American coffee chain of Starbucks sounds entertaining and funny.

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  • sk
    Sep 20, 2013 - 11:38PM

    Sattar Baksh might sound like impersonation and in some way it might be just that, but although the name has resemblance to the well-known American coffee shop of Starbucks it truly has a twist and is creative with a form of entertainment, because in the Pakistani culture “Sattar” and “Baksh” are very common first and last name. Also consider this: When an illiterate of Pakistani decent would try to pronounce the term “Starbucks” it would probably sound like someone is saying “Sattar Baksh”. Being a Pakistani American I find the name “Sattar Baksh” funny, witty, and entertaining!

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  • Javed Panj
    Sep 20, 2013 - 11:53PM

    Either you’re an original or a copy – it is hard – no impossible – to be both. I love the concept and there is definitely a need but what happens after the novelty effect is over? What happens after first 6 months. I wish these guys success but they’ll have to work extra hard to continue to weave creativity around a copied identity.

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  • Sidster
    Sep 21, 2013 - 12:43AM

    Sattar Baksh might be able to keep there name, but might have to come up with a new logo. It all depends on BIT between USA and Pakistan.

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  • Babar
    Sep 21, 2013 - 2:16AM

    You guys and every one who now uses mooch as a logo owes Ali Peer that saeen singer a big credit and royalty!

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  • Fedup Pakistani
    Sep 21, 2013 - 7:08AM

    Height of Intellectual bankruptcy……this happens only and only in pakistan…..

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  • hmm
    Sep 21, 2013 - 7:10AM

    The name & logo would look better on a T-Shirt, but not for some cafe. Anyway, good luck with the already saturated market of cafe.

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  • 007
    Sep 21, 2013 - 10:35AM

    They might have copied the name & logo, but give them credit for being very ‘creative’ at it. It’s funny, it clicks and has an appeal. Ironically, when Starbucks opened their franchise in Pakistan, they couldn’t attract even half the attention that Sattar Buksh is getting.

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  • Noble Tufail
    Sep 21, 2013 - 11:13AM

    absolutely unfair .. and a very desperate attempt. this may benefit one owner but may not send a good message out there in the world. there must be business regulations in place in this country .. for example which authority approved the idea and logo. the way we copy international books, reproduce the softwares, movies etc .. this may sound intelligent .. but in reality it is called piracy.

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  • Junaid
    Sep 21, 2013 - 11:13AM

    Wow, lots of negativity surrounding this place in the comments section. I think it does have a relatively large novelty aspect to it, also what will happen when the “mooch” is no longer the object of modern pop culture. Alas, this is something for the owners to work out. I think the author is somewhat correct vis-a-vis food perhaps, instead of having two distinct cuisines, the cafe might think of a ‘desi-western’ or ‘western-desi’ fusion, i.e. Cardamon Cheesecake, food quality is acme to a good time. Plus, it could give them a lot more focus. Having conjectured enough, I can’t wait to try them out first hand.

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  • MAD
    Sep 21, 2013 - 12:29PM

    The name is a big attraction but they wont be able to keep it up for long. The restaurant will have to make a serious impact in terms of food and service quality to survive.

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  • doom
    Sep 21, 2013 - 12:44PM

    I am deeply concerned about the lack of sense of humor around here.

    “Sattar Baksh”…it’s hilarious, and Starbucks has no case unless they have copyrighted “all green circles with face in it”.

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  • Nasir
    Sep 21, 2013 - 1:44PM

    @doom “Starbucks has no case unless they have copyrighted “all green circles with face in it”.”
    You obviously have no idea how copyright law works.

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  • Sonia K
    Sep 21, 2013 - 1:46PM

    Frankly Starbucks made a very desperate attempt by sending a notice, and practically tried to ride on the fame of a local company.
    The logo is nowhere even similar to theirs. Their logo has a WOMAN with long hair and this logo has a MAN with a mooch. The fact that SattarBuksh had hit off even before a launch is good enuff for a chain like Starbucks to cash…..
    Sometimes things can happen the other way around…..

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  • omar
    Sep 21, 2013 - 2:17PM

    Sonia K ….it’s a very obvious and blatant infringement of copyright.Recommend

  • omar
    Sep 21, 2013 - 2:18PM

    Anyone wants proof of how much has been copied? Visit Gunsmoke at Dolmen Clifton and read their table mat.

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  • Dr.N
    Sep 21, 2013 - 2:33PM

    You don’t have to b a marketing expert to know that this is a brilliant idea !

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  • Sep 21, 2013 - 3:14PM

    This is awesome, haha.

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  • indi
    Sep 21, 2013 - 3:22PM

    starbucks too afraid to invest in pakistan ???

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  • choclet
    Sep 21, 2013 - 4:54PM

    if, ya if starbucks didn’t exist would the two could ever think such a name? nothing beats to be original and let others follow suit! sounds like some character in a dime a dozen satire shows on tv!

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  • bash gul
    Sep 21, 2013 - 5:12PM

    What if Starbucks sues Sattar Buksh?

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  • g
    Sep 21, 2013 - 8:40PM

    @Concerned:

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  • Water Bottle
    Sep 22, 2013 - 7:11AM

    Everytime I look at this logo, it makes me laugh.

    This is funny.

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  • hasan
    Oct 7, 2013 - 5:20PM

    well….i really dont care about their choice of name. We belong to a copy cat culture where replicating Western creativity / innovation is considered very acceptable. From our movies to fashion to cell phone choices…..every trend that we adopt originally kicks off from there so there is no shame in adding 1 more item to that long list.

    What i didn’t like about the cafe was the quality of food. I mean, just adding fancy words to your menu doesn’t make u an awesome cafe. After eating there, what hit me was “What was the whole fuss all about?”. I think this whole hype has been created very cleverly by the Cafe’s management knowing the Pakistani mentality. Anything that drips anti-American sentiment flies like a blockbuster here and anyone who speaks anti-US is hailed as hero for worship. So taking on Starbucks to start a cafe was PURE GENIUS. However, i think its a bluff which has been played way too far cuz for all the noise that the cafe made to start with, they don’t have the quality on the plate to back it up.

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  • Sumit
    Oct 9, 2013 - 3:45PM

    @bash gul:
    What if Sattar Buksh sues Starbucks? :D

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  • aakhyderi
    Oct 12, 2013 - 4:37AM

    Sonia K its a mermaid in that logo.

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