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How Amigos franchised the burger boom in a QSR-heavy market

How Amigos franchised the burger boom in a QSR-heavy market

Fresh from signing an eight-store deal in Birmingham, the founders of Amigos Burgers and Shakes talk success

Kasim (Kaz) Akhter and Waqas (Wax) Siddique’s friendship has always revolved around fast food. The pair met as children and spent many years around a fish and chip shop owned by Kaz’s father. It was this experience that later inspired the friends to set up their own food venture in 2011, after noticing a lack of good halal burgers on the market.

Amigos Burgers and Shakes was born in Acton, West London. The menu comprised halal burgers, wings, and chocolate bar milkshakes. “Within six months, the word got out, and there were queues seven days a week with budding foodies from across the UK,” recalls Kaz.

Success came quickly and the pair were able to leave their full-time jobs and focus solely on the store. However, a couple of years in, it became noticeable that both were having to sacrifice time with their growing families, which wasn’t a compromise either were willing to make.

“I told Wax: ‘I’m done with this. You can either buy me out or trust me and we expand’,” says Kaz. They chose the latter, with a fresh rebrand on the cards. In 2015, a second store in Shepherd’s Bush High Street opened, and in 2017 the brand finally opened its first franchised store in East London.

“We’ve gone from our first ‘desk’ (a table in the Acton restaurant) to having our own HQ in the famous Park Royal Estate which hosts some of the biggest food brands and operators in the UK. Amigos now boasts a 16-man team who ensure quality, freshness, and service throughout the restaurants,” says Kaz.

An inclusive menu

Amigos’ roots lie within its halal burgers which have placed inclusivity at the heart of the brand. Since expanding the menu, Kaz and Wax have continued to offer products along these lines, which now includes vegan alternatives.

“Initially, the ‘halal’ tag attracted Muslims from all over the country,” says Kaz. “This wasn’t the plan. However, we quickly gathered a cult following, servicing young, old, singles, couples, and families from all colours and cultures.”

Alongside serving its famous Jacob burger with sweet chilli and Philadelphia, Wax and Kaz quietly spend time ensuring they integrate Amigos into the community via initiatives. These include providing food to homeless charities and youth groups across the city for the past seven years via NGOs and local authorities. Amigos also sponsors The Elite London Academy which aims to aid city children in developing their football skills.

A community offering

Kaz and Wax have been smart in their marketing, opting for routes that reflect their customer’s interests, which includes collaborating with brands such as Warner Brothers, EA Sports, and Lucozade. Most recently, loyal Amigo customer and urban rap star Fredo used one of the restaurants to host his own album launch party.

“Amigos was always meant to be a fun, vibrant family-friendly brand. We’re the local neighbourhood ‘go to’ place,” says Kaz. “It’s why Amigos is still standing strong among the new wave of competitors. Our core values have never changed and will remain the same to take Amigos to new heights.”

Providing value for many has also been inherent to the Amigos brand and this has most recently culminated in its marketing via a loyalty app, which encourages rewards and hosts give-aways. “Wax and I genuinely take a lot of interest in the branding,” says Kaz. To stay ahead of the game, we adapt quickly to market conditions.”

Responding to the market

The food and beverage industry has fluctuated over the decade, and Wax and Kaz have kept abreast of market trends by generating extensive data.
“Wax is a tech lover,” says Kaz. “His passion for gadgets always encouraged him to digitise and automate processes. Our smooth sailing kitchens are a result of Wax’s digital development.”

The pair also used the pandemic as a test bed for improving its efficiency, which has led to further improvements in Amigos’ kitchens. “It was the best time for us to close the gaps in our operations by streamlining menus and processes. Feeding the NHS and taking part in government schemes allowed us to learn about adapting quickly.”

The burger franchise also introduced a super savers menu to accommodate those with smaller budgets who still wish to dine at Amigos during tough times. On the flipside, Kaz and Wax remain vigilant to innovations in the burger space, with the latest trend being the ‘smash’ burger concept.

Future plans

More than a decade on from opening their first store, Kaz and Wax have set their sights firmly on national and international expansion with the help of experienced franchisees and investors. This growth has already been kickstarted by an eight-store deal in Birmingham.

“We’re looking forward to driving down any high street and seeing our glowing logo, with the hard work in creating a long-lasting household brand having paid off,” says Kaz.

Reflecting on their success, the pair believe the key to any food franchise is a unique, good quality product – not an easy thing to achieve considering the saturated market. “Whatever you do in this sector of business, you must think about the ingredients you’re using, from oil to table,” says Kaz. “The last thing you want is for people to say your food is bad or low quality.”

Kaz and Wax’s go-to order
- Chicken in pitta meal (hot, no onions, and extra mayo)
- Amigos spicy fries
- Hot and BBQ wings
- Oreo and Daim milkshakes

Amigos Burgers and Shakes is currently looking for more franchisees to come on board, with more information available here.

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Start your own Amigos Burgers and Shakes franchise

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Expected Revenue After 2 Years

£480,000 - £1m (from 14% profit)

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