With 16 combined years in the burger business, there is little that Rohit and Rosy Shrestha, the co-founders of Burger Shack, do not know about good burgers. But Nepal, with its preference to Mo:Mos and Chowmein, was initially a tough market to crack. Now, in less than four years they have opened a second outlet in Tripureshwor and are planning to continue their expansion.
“When we lived abroad, we worked in burger chains. We would have at least one burger a day to ensure their quality. We were so used to having burgers, that when we visited Nepal, we would crave burgers. But no matter where we ate, we never found the ones that satisfied us.” The burgers they found, Rohit shares, were disappointing “it would look tempting in the menu, but when it came it would look different, and the taste would not live up to our expectation.” With that in mind Rohit and Rosy decided that once they returned to Nepal, they would open a burger joint catering only to the North American style of burgers. “We figured that like us, there would be others who were not getting the type of burgers they were looking for, and we could fill this gap in the market.”
“It’s all about taking risks” Rohit reveals, and their first burger joint, in Jawakhel, was certainly that. Even until 2014, burgers were not on the top of peoples mind when they thought of meals in Nepal. So, opening a restaurant without the ever popular Mo:Mo and Chowmein was not considered good business decision by their family and friends. “Everyone told us that without Mo:Mo, Chowmein and alcohol our restaurant would not run. For the first five to six months it was certainly difficult, and we had doubts about our concept. But then things clicked; soon people from over Kathmandu came to Burger Shack.” Even now burgers are not the go-to option for people here. But, Rohit aims to change this. “Some years down the line, when people get hungry, I want them to think of Burger Shack or burgers in general. People are starting to slowly prefer KFC for their meals, the food culture is continually changing, and I want to add another option to that one that is made from scratch and prepared with utmost attention to detail. In order to create such a change, Rohit is building up his brand loyalty with the kids meal, so in ten years, when they get hungry they will think of Burger Shack.”
Rohit also plans to change the common perception that burgers are unhealthy. Burgers, Rohit claims, are considered unhealthy due to the processed frozen meat. However, Burger Shack makes their patties from scratch. “We have always made our own patties, and we store them for up to one week, to ensure quality and consistency. Even with expansion, we will continue to do this.”
As Rohit and Rosy have a lot of experience in running a burger place, they are not looking for an investor to support basic operations. What they are looking for is one that can support them in other areas of making their business a success, such as legal aspects, location management, marketing etc.
“We plan not only to be the number one burger joint in Nepal, but also compete in the international market against other fast-food giants.”