Fast food is an industry that is growing at a tremendous pace in every part of the world. It promises to deliver food to customers at affordable prices with extra benefits like customer service, loyalty cards, etc.
There are many variations being introduced in fast-food chains and restaurants nowadays. However, with rising competition in terms of factors like design, atmospherics, and ambiance, Pakistan is one such country that lives up to expectations for excelling in the fast-food business. But, there are many things to understand for starting a food brand in the country. The guide below gives a detailed overview of ‘how to start fast food business in Pakistan’.
The Rapid Growth Of The Fast Food Industry In Pakistan
A Bird’s-Eye View
The fast-food industry has grown at an impressive rate in Pakistan in the past few decades. People from different parts have shown a particular preference for Pakistani cuisine due to its variety and unique taste.
However, the increase in fast food chains and Multinational Chains (MNCs) such as Pizza Hut, Burger King, Mcdonald’s, Subway, etc., have also contributed to the growth of this industry. But since these outlets are present worldwide, local competitors have made up to the level of these franchises to deliver similar food types at a much lower price.
The most popular local fast-food restaurants are found in Pakistani cities like Kolachi, Mirage, Usmania, Kababjees, Bundu Khan, etc. These provide more specific and regional taste, which gives purity to the food.
With the rapid increase in population, the growth is also visible in demand for fast food. The number of people employed in the food restaurant business is also remarkable, with more women getting jobs in the sector.
Another reason for this rise is consumer convenience. Various fast food outlets are structured in shopping malls, public transportation stops and stands, etc. These added utilities have provided competitive people to work better in a fast-paced environment.
Popular Fast Food Choices
It is vital for you to tap the existing and popular markets in the region. There are various pre-existing fast-food giants in Pakistan like Dominos, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and many others.
Therefore, consumers have brand loyalty toward these big franchises. There are two options for you to start a fast-food startup in Pakistan. One is that you can offer the same kind of food these MNCs offer, like burgers, pizzas, rolls, etc. The other is that you can compete in an entirely different market by offering local cuisine, which can reap high rewards with additional risks.
Furthermore, you should understand the merits and demerits of both options before arriving at the final decision. However, the most popular fast food choices in the country can be summed up as follows:
- Pizzas; which is dominated by fast-food giants and reputed local restaurants. The latter provides this cuisine as a part of their whole business. For example, they will provide whole meals, burgers, pizzas, etc., in one place.
- Burgers; which also work in the same manner as pizzas with powerful market players, including McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.
- Fried chicken and shawarmas; you can find small food counters or stalls selling chicken rolls in pita breads and fried chicken.
- Kebabs also hold an integral part in evening snacks for Pakistanis. There are many forms and variations of kebabs offered by some popular fast-food restaurants. These include – shami kebab, seekh kebab, chapli kebab, etc.
- Apart from these, AlooTikki, Pani puri, Dahi Bhalla, Dahi bhel, bhel puri, etc., are also some common food choices for an entrepreneur to start their business in.
Preparation For Fast Food Business
After scanning through the market and the popular fast food preferences of the customers, it is crucial to follow a standard procedure for launching the fast-food business. You should also consider a target market for your offerings as it will help in providing special offers to specific classes.
Food & Menu
The first and foremost thing to decide is the food item the food startup will offer. You should think from the customer’s perspective and derive their preferences. On the basis of the food, the top-level or management decides the menu. The menu should be broken down into different cuisine types like burgers, pizzas, etc.
The decision for choosing a suitable food option involves researching the market, competitors, customer preferences, geographical location, demand, supply, and many such factors.
Competitors determine how a fast food restaurant will be set up in Pakistan. A proper competitor analysis will help sort out confusion and chaos in the minds of a business planner. Moreover, it will give direction as competitors are the primary benchmark setters.
Detailed analysis and profiling of customers will help clear out which items to include and avoid. As they are the king and the ultimate revenue sources, it is important to prioritize them. Even if the trend for some particular fast food is rising in a particular location, it might not work well with the customers in your business area.
Understanding the customers in the setup area will determine the priorities of the fast-food restaurant and human resource management. For example, a pizza startup in the XYZ location might result in sales and revenue increment. In contrast, another branch of the same business dealing in pizzas might not work in the ABC location due to the different volume of target customers and their preferences.
Demand & Supply
Market forces of demand and supply are the key to establishing a successful fast food business in Pakistan. Economic phases control these market forces. As a result, it increases the purchasing power of people for some specific fast food choices, while decreases for others.
Evaluating Restaurant Size
Restaurant size is another factor to analyze and interpret for initiating a restaurant. It might seem an easy process to understand the total area of the business and allocate specific dimensions to departments within the restaurant. But, it requires systematic planning using different tools and techniques.
The first thing is to get the measurement of the whole working space. It is crucial to utilize the entire space for the business purpose, directly or indirectly. Interior designers can be a good option for your business for understanding the restaurant size and minimizing the wastage of resources.
A crucial aspect in determining the actual available restaurant size is to create a floor plan. Approximate measurements of the cash counter, dining area, cooking section, etc., can relieve you and your team from last-minute problems.
Another thing to consider is the length, width, and height of the tables, chairs, and other fixtures. The ideal dimensions of a fast-food restaurant or startup are 11 to 14 square feet. Any addition to this size is a bonus for the business.
A Nice Place
The location of a fast-food restaurant is the most significant factor that decides the profit-earning capacity of the fast-food restaurant. It is a basic saying that when the food or taste of the cuisine is excellent, it doesn’t matter where the fast-food chain is located.
However, it does not hold true all the time. It creates a burden on the restaurant setter to set the food standards high. When expectations rise, the chances of under-delivery also increase. On the other hand, when the taste of the food you offer is average, people will consider other options like restaurants that offer the same item with better taste.
Therefore, it is recommended to select a restaurant location that is feasible and easily reachable by the target customers. It should have all the essential facilities nearby. A prime location for a fast food business in Pakistan will cost a bit more, but ROI is also high at such locations.
Moreover, the restaurant should be situated where there is decent nightlife. For example, a place that gets closed by 8 or 9 pm will not be the first option for food lovers as most people prefer to have pizza, burgers, and other fast foods late at night while hanging around. Following are some basic features of a successful fast food business location.
- Decent parking mechanism
- Located in a prime location or accessible location
- Excellent visibility from different streets and roads
- Set up where the target customers are found the most
- Low crime rates and safe for women and children
Brand Name & Registration
The most neglected factor in a business is the brand name. Quite often, people do not research well while choosing a brand name for their startup. However, a brand name is one of the most initial things that captures a customer’s mind.
Unique and attractive brand names are important for starting a food brand in Pakistan. A decent brand name backed with a tagline can be a perfect match for a successful fast food restro. Apart from the brand name, you should also look after the registration and legal requirements for setting up a fast-food business.
The most common licenses for establishing the business are –
- Police Eating House license
- Food licenses obtained from FSSAI
- GST registration
- Fire license
- Local Municipal Corporation Health License
The license can be obtained by signing into the official website, i.e., E-license.kpfsa.gov.pk. After logging in, the applicant will be required to fill in their details.
More To Consider
Apart from the essentials mentioned above, there are many other things that determine the success and preparation of a fast food business in Pakistan. The above things outline the basics of a restaurant. The following factors are one step ahead of designing and creating a full-fledged fast food business.
The atmosphere of any business plays a vital role in today’s competitive world. Atmospherics refer to the elements of the store that attracts the customers and makes them feel comfortable. These include visual and psychological elements.
Initially, you should plan out the theme of the physical store outlet. You should consider the layout and brainstorm various ideas around the same. These could be different color palettes or combinations, patterns, designs, wallpapers, graphics, arrangement of chairs and tables, lighting, sound system, natural odor in the store, etc.
The most important thing to understand while designing or decorating the restaurant is to remain competitive and modern. The designers should adapt to the trends, and incorporate elements that are in demand by the customers. The ambiance creates a difference between a good restaurant and a memorable restaurant. The simplest process to excel in store decoration is shown below.
- The first step is to consider and analyze the food prices, restaurant concept, location, and target customers. It is important to draft the budget for in-store decoration in this phase. It is up to you to hire a designer for the process. It also involves creating deadlines for various activities.
- The decoration should be done in compliance with the systems and processes. The restaurant should be designed in such a way that it does not reduce the efficiency of the waiters or staff. There should be ample space left for movement.
- After allocating space for movement and designing a rough floor plan, the actual designing process comes into the picture. In this final stage, arrangement, color combinations, window styles, wall designs, overall theme, lighting, music style & system, graphics, furniture type, etc., are decided and executed.
The ultimate aim of focussing on the design and decoration of the restaurant is to make customers sit for long hours and attain customer loyalty. The most highlighting importance of atmospherics is that it creates a unique identification of the business, not only through the food or cuisine but through the decoration.
The human resource department holds more importance when it comes to the hospitality industry. They create a critical impression on the customers. The manners, behavior, and professionalism determine the response or reaction of the customers.
When a staff greets the customers with impressive etiquette, it increases the chances of customers visiting the restaurant again in the future. Similarly, an ill-mannered staff will receive negative criticism, which will dwindle the restaurant’s profits and lose customer loyalty.
Therefore, proper training is necessary to control what the waiters convey to the guests or customers. Even the slightest facial expressions can demean someone. Apart from the servants or waiters, there are many other people involved in the business, such as managers, cooks, servers, busboys, dishwashers, and cleaners.
These indirectly affect the image of the restaurant. For example, chefs will determine the quality of the food; dishwashers will control the tangible cleanliness of the dishes, etc. These impact the preferences and perceptions of people toward the fast-food business. Along with you, the managers and higher authorities should clear out the duties and responsibilities of every staff member.
Food Catering & Serving Containers
One of the most vital components of any food business is to ensure the quality of the food. Due to rising infections and diseases, hygiene has become a crucial factor in attracting customers. Food catering should be done keeping in mind the correct procedure.
Responsible personnel should clean the kitchen counters regularly to avoid pungent or unpleasant smells. The quality inspectors should also check the containers in which the food is served. Even the raw material containers should be inspected before using them.
Any stain or mark on the plates, bowls, or cutlery can be seen as a loss of a loyal customer. You will not only lose a customer, but will also experience a dip in brand value or recognition. It is a good idea to use machines for cleaning dishes. However, this way will incur huge costs, but will be a profitable option in the long run indirectly.
Food Delivery Service
Serving food is the final step from the restaurant’s end of creating a long-lasting impression on customers. As mentioned earlier, the waiters come in direct contact with the customer. They hold the power to move customers positively. They can ask for water or more food whenever they sense an opportunity.
Apart from serving food, they are also responsible for ensuring the safety of the people. For example, when a sizzler is served, they should warn or ask the guests to beware of the plate. They can give advice gently so that they do not hurt themselves. If they see a child or baby having a fork or knife in their hands, they can alert them. In such ways, a servant can make a good impression.
In many cases, the fast food outlets operate in a self-service model. People are required to order their food and pick up their orders from the counter themselves. This works well when there are a massive number of pending orders. Fast food giants like Mcdonald’s work in this mode at specific locations due to the high volume of orders. Remember to use safe and green take out packaging, especially hot food like burgers.
Marketing & Advertisements
Pushing the restaurant to the customers is useful to enhance the business profitability in a short time. Marketing and advertising will help the startup to be easily visible to the public. If the budget is enough to create an effective marketing plan, you should go for hoardings, influencers, and pamphlets distribution.
You can also spread positive word of mouth through the network of waiters, chefs, friends, relatives, and other sources. Influencer marketing is also an impactful option for promoting the food business through professional chefs and celebrities.
More Tips For Opening A Fast Food Restaurant In Pakistan
There are many hacks and tricks to excel in operating fast-food restaurants in Pakistan. The following points highlight some essential tips for opening a fast-food business.
How To Hire The Right Employees
Hiring the right employees for the right kind of job is a big challenge for your business. Recruitment, selection, training, development, appraisal, compensation, etc., are critical areas in determining a successful human resource system.
Labor is not an issue for a fast-food startup. The real problem is recruiting qualified personnel. In order to realize valuable employees, create a system for feedback and motivation. Moreover, research the competitor’s compensation model and decide on the employment rates. The most crucial staff members in this business are cooks, chefs, and servers/waiters.
Cook & Chef
Initially, most fast-food restaurants require three or four cooks. Among these, one should be the leader under whom the other chefs will work. Responsibilities can also be divided according to shifts like morning, afternoon, and evening.
You can divide these responsibilities in terms of specialization; For instance, cooks can choose their specialization dishes like soups, bread, etc., and be allotted to one chef, while other delicacies can be designated to other chefs. This division can also be done according to rush hours. For example, all cooks will work during rush hours, while during non-peak hours, only one or two will work.
As mentioned earlier, basic etiquettes and manners are a must for the servers. Training holds a crucial place while recruiting the waiters. Patience is another trait waiters should possess. They should be able to handle customer fury and problems. You should fix their working hours, giving them proper rest hours.
How To Lower Budget
There are many ways of reducing the budget of a fast-food business. These are listed below.
- The first way is to introduce only a few main food items on the menu. This will help reduce the costs by huge margins as the chefs will be required to work less. As a result, you will need lesser cooks.
- You can minimize the budget by compromising on the design of the store. You can replace a large music system with two medium or small-sized audio systems to cut costs.
- The quality of the furniture can also be compromised to reduce the budget of the startup.
- A small way to decrease the budget is to use alternatives to some costly ingredients.
Nowadays, consumers have become more environmentally conscious about the products or services they use. It has given rise to sustainability awareness. Businesses have identified this as a key opportunity and introduced environment-friendliness as a significant brand booster.
Therefore, the final stage in setting up a fast food business in Pakistan is to ensure you operate with minimal wastage of resources. You should involve techniques that do not affect the environment. Your business can use recyclable products in carrying out business activities.
Another unique way to be eco-friendly is to serve food on environmentally-friendly plates or dishes. You should ideate regularly to think of such innovative solutions to be socially responsible.
Pakistan has always been one of the most food-loving countries. There are many regions in the country where people consume fast food on a daily basis. It is not surprising that this industry is one of the top contributing sectors to the country’s economy.
The above guide gives a complete understanding of the different ways and steps of starting a food business in Pakistan. The central component of any fast food business is market research. Therefore, it is important to research everything before launching into this startup line.
As mentioned earlier, packaging can be the first impression booster for any fast food business. YoonPak is an established market player for getting the right packaging material and container for your business needs. You can contact us if you have any doubts or queries regarding our products and services.