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Interview with Hamzah Islam, Founder of BRGR Lab


Tell us a bit about yourself

I graduated from University after completing a diploma in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2003. After going from job to job for about a year, I decided to launch my own business in the insurance sector and then in 2010 we launched a branding and manufacturing company supplying official licensed merchandise to football clubs in UK and Europe.  

 I never really got into the fast food business until 2012 where my brother Hassan and I opened a small but very eye catching steaks and desserts takeaway/restaurant. This was a real eye-opener, demand was crazy, food was amazing and the feedback was incredible.

Fast forward 8 years and BRGR Lab was born, a burger concept like no other. We used our experience in branding and marketing to launch a concept which is unique, fun and quirky..

Can you tell us about BRGR Lab

BRGR Lab opened in November 2020, in the height of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Many said we were crazy to open in such a testing time; however we realised that Coventry was a missing a good burger takeaway and no one had done smash burgers so it was our time to shine. Our burgers are cooked to order, nothing is pre cooked. Our Salad is fresh and we offer different types of buns depending on whether it’s a chicken burger or a beef burger.

The response on launch was unbelievable. Queues formed along the street (and looked even longer with the 2m distance rule at the time) and feedback was extremely positive. We always had franchising in our plans for BRGR Lab; however we knew we had to get everything right before we offer the concept to franchisees. In 2021, Ubereats nominated BRGR Lab for Restaurant of the Year, this was massive for us as never did we imagine to be out performing takeaways and restaurants in the 1st year to such an extent that we would be nominated for a National Award by Ubereats. This gave us more confidence to go down the franchise route and we knew we had a very attractive offering.

Who is your target market?

Anyone who loves good food (especially burgers). We have family’s visit the store, gym goers, after school kids, college/uni students, it’s a real mix.. we love it. We are very military in the kitchen, making sure the buns cooked right, the smash burgers have the right amount of seasoning and the chicken is soft and tender. In BRGR Lab its ALL about the food!

Why is BRGR Lab a great investment for potential franchisees?

BRGR Lab is different from the average burger joint, we have beakers, test tubes, periodic tables on the wall, crazy burger creations and much more. Customers walk into BRGR Lab and are amazed by the level of attention and detail we have brought. There are many burger franchises available, but the BRGR Lab concept is unique and different, this is why it’s such a great investment.

What differentiates BRGR Lab from the competition?

We have created a very strong brand identity, which can be easily recognised. Our concept is fun, engaging and different. We have a very good launch package within our franchise model which helps franchisees get going from launch, this is coupled with marketing strategy (local and national) helping franchisees attract new customers.

What is the role of one of your franchisees?

The main role of our typical franchisee would be to liaise with their appointed account manager maybe 3 to 4 times a week in order to make sure franchisees are getting everything they need in terms of support from the franchisor.  The franchisee would look at the BRGR Lab brand as their very own making sure all processes are adhered to. Weekly sales reports, stock reports and wastage reports are to be documented and sent to the account manager. It is then our role to see how we can help the store achieve more in regards to sales and awareness.

What qualities do you look for in a franchisee?  What makes a successful franchisee?

I believe franchisees should be treated like business partners. The success of a franchised store is the success of the brand and we would look for franchisees with sound business acumen and a like-mindedness desire to succeed.

A successful franchisee in my opinion, is one that has a high level of attention to detail. This is with regards to not only store operations but also in terms of marketing and thinking out of the box. The QSR industry is moving at an incredibly fast pace and forward thinking and strategic planning is key. It’s not just about opening another store

What other challenges have you had to overcome and adapt to over the years in your franchise and the industry in general?

We opened our doors during the COVID pandemic so we had a lot of masks, distancing, anti bac gel etc so once we had overcome that, is was more easier to be ready for any challenges. I guess the challenges come with competition. There are so many good burger brands out there and these guys keep us on our toes.

What have been BRGR Lab’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?

BRGR Lab was nominated for Restaurant of the Year by Ubereats in the 2nd year of trading. This was massive for us as we had local press all over it. Great for our Coventry store and great for our brand overall. We also did our first International Franchise Show at the Excel and the feedback we had was phenomenal. 8 weeks on and we are still in talks with potential franchisees from all over the country.            

What does the future hold for BRGR Lab?

Sky’s the limit.  We know we have a very strong proposition and I believe BRGR Lab can become a leading brand alongside some already very well known brands.

We are currently on a recruitment drive and we have signed up to exhibit at next years International Franchise Show. We are also present on platforms such as whichfranchise.com, this is has helped us with getting our name out there and has pushed our concept to potential franchisees.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?

To be honest, I don’t think I would do anything differently. I believe we are exactly where we are supposed to be in our business. We have taken our time and made sure we have built a business which has longevity

Interested and want to know more about BRGR LAB ?

The BRGR LAB profile outlines all aspects of their franchise opportunity and allows you to contact them for further information or to ask a question.

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