After rocking foodies all around the world, Johnny Rockets opened its first diner franchise in 2013 in Karachi. One year down the lane, the outlet has managed to develop a cult following, with a prime location like the Dolmen Mall at Sea View coming in handy. On Saturday, Shahryar Rashid the marketing manager of Johnny Rockets-Pakistan organised a press meet where he resolved some confusions about the casual dining outlet and its future plans.
“We believe in promoting the concept of casual dining that is something we have been doing since our launch. We do not believe in quick service of pre-done burger meat; of serving it in maximum seven to 10 minutes to our customers. Rather, we believe in, making everything from the scratch” Rashid said at the press meet.
By 2015 Johnny Rockets plan to open five more outlets within the country. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Since the eatery is best known for its meaty burgers, there has always been a debate about whether popular franchises like these use kosher meat in their burgers or not. “We are importing about 50 per cent of the meat from the United States. This is from a company that supplies halal stuff. The rest of the 50 per cent of the meat is local.” On why 50 per cent is only imported from the US and not the rest, Rashid explains, “That’s expensive. We need to see the cost.”
With four branches located in Pakistan — two in Karachi and one each in Islamabad and Lahore — the owners do plan on targeting other areas across Pakistan. “In Karachi, we are currently assessing the locations of North Nazimabad and Gulshan. By 2015, we should have five more outlets within the country,” said Rashid.
High pricing at Johnny Rockets has been a concern for many foodies, but contrary to the billboards around the city, the prices have remained the same and just new deals are being advertised by the company. “The prices are the same. There are certain deals which we are offering that are common. This keeps on changing all the time,” said marketing executive Johnny Rockets-Pakistan, Dinesh Kumar.
Rashid added to that, saying that Rs 650 for a medium meal at Johnny Rockets is a very competitive charge and they also need to tax it. “So we really can’t help you in there,” said Rashid.
With Paul Young’s Every time You Go Away playing in the back ground, the interaction with journalists came to end on the possibility of Johnny Rockets opening in the neighbouring country India. “No,” said Rashid, “We can’t serve beef there. Can we?”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2014.