"In some of the toughest trading conditions in history, my restaurant was flying," says Burger & Sauce franchisee Subhan Munir
Subhan Munir was Burger & Sauce’s first franchisee. He explains: “I have a long background in the fast food or quick service restaurant (QSR) industry. While I was still at school, aged 15, I used to work on the tills at Pepe’s on the weekends. This became more of a part-time role while I studied for my maths and physics A levels at college. I eventually graduated to German Doner Kebab (GDK) where I worked full-time for several years. Here, I really got to learn about casual dining and how to manage and run restaurants.
“However, my dream at the time was to become an airline pilot! I took 18 months out travelling to the US and Spain to qualify and had interviews lined up. Then COVID hit. Airlines were cutting staff and so I needed to look for a different way forward. It was then I discovered Burger & Sauce.
“I knew instantly that the concept of a superb quality, fresh burger, which was also great value, would be a success. I was not wrong! My first franchised store in Alum Rock in Birmingham opened in August 2020 during the pandemic. It was a soft launch as there were still restrictions on how many people could visit restaurants to eat in but very quickly word got around. If you talk to anyone in franchising, you know it takes several months to really get a store going. However, one month in and sales were astonishing!
“As a franchisor, Burger & Sauce has been amazing to support the launch and ongoing development of my franchised restaurant. Promotional work using delivery platforms, plus, social and billboard advertising soon meant we were able to deliver to those isolating at home and offer take-outs too. In some of the toughest trading conditions in history, my restaurant was flying!
“The general support, in terms of the supply chain, marketing and menu developments to keep customers engaged, has also been incredible.
“I now employ 30 people at Alum Rock and the store turned over £1.5m in its first year.
“I believe, one of the secrets to the success of the brand is the use of technology. We use iPads at every station in the kitchen and this is linked to a bespoke ordering system. It means as orders come in, they are split out to the appropriate person to fulfil. There are no physical tickets to get lost and the status of every order is clear. This makes for a simple, efficient and pleasant working environment which our staff really like.
“We also use technology for all the due diligence too, to record temperature checks for fresh ingredients for example. Reminders are set so any member of staff knows what to do. Full traceability is monitored, so whenever a task is completed and by who, we know. We can also check back if needed. This level of automation and efficiency keeps things simple and means the restaurant is really easy to run. Communication is clear, our team is happy, and as a result, staff turnover is low.
“The Burger & Sauce team is committing to franchising the correct way and is already seeking membership to the bfa and other regulatory associations. They have developed a brilliant online portal which contains all the operational and regulatory requirements which each franchisee will be invited to access.
“Funding is another key challenge and already as a franchisor, the team is engaging with key lending institutions to enable new franchisees to grow quickly but again responsibly.
“I was fortunate to work at Pepe’s and GDK in the early stages of their development. It was hard work and hands-on! Therefore, I know this is what’s required as I build my portfolio of franchised stores with Burger & Sauce. I have agreed to open four more Burger & Sauce restaurants by the end of 2023. Getting involved early has enabled me to select some fantastic development areas where I know success is waiting.
“I also believe in giving back and rewarding staff and so have chosen to build from within as I expand. I am currently working with three team members, training them every week in every aspect of managing a restaurant so we will be ready! It’s only going to gain momentum as we add more restaurants!
“Burger & Sauce’s goal is to have 300 stores in the UK and my aim is to be the biggest franchisee! It’s a great concept, already proven in tricky times and I’m so excited for the future for myself and my team!”