“Cafe Business is a Lifestyle ” Asim Majeed, Second Cup Pakistan
Unicore Retails International is the master franchisee of Second Cup in Pakistan. The group has recently entered the food business. Asim Majeed, Managing Director Unicore is looking after Second Cup operations in Pakistan.
Opinion on Cafe’s Business
We decided to invest in the food industry because Pakistan is largely an untapped and an unsaturated market in terms of the food business. These days a number of international food chains are coming to Pakistan
Second Cup is a Canadian coffee brand which has presence in 23 Countries with more than 500 outlets including Pakistan. The major penetration of the brand is in the Middle East and our company’s operations are also in the Middle East. Augment pvt. Ltd is the facilitating company who supported us in making this venture possible. We started our operations in Centaurus Mall, Islamabad which is a great success. We have also opened two more outlets of second cup in Islamabad and one in Lahore.
We have to report back to Second Cup’s centralized office in Canada and they keep an eye on us. We have to maintain the food quality and taste. The coffee beans and various other supplies are provided by the Second Cup global office in order to maintain the same standard of taste and quality.
Any famous international chain first enters the major metropolitan cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore or Karachi. Once the brand has presence in these cities then it is expanded to other cities like Faisalabad, Multan, Sialkot, Gujranwala etc. It is always best to start with metropolitan cities for a viable business.
Lahore and Karachi has more sales volume as compared to Islamabad but gradually Islamabad is also growing. For the past 5 years, many new restaurants and cafes have opened in Islamabad and are successful. Apart from volumes, there is a difference of awareness between Islamabad and Lahore/Karachi. Karachi and Lahore customers are more aware and conscious and know about the taste and standard. However, in Islamabad customers have yet to reach the same point of awareness.
Cafe/Restaurant business is no doubt very profitable in Pakistan. Our country is going through many challenges but still it is a growing market. 60% of the population is young and there are many business opportunities to target that specific population segment.
In reality, cafe business is a lifestyle a person can adopt. If managed properly it is rather profitable. One can start his own local brand which is less capital intensive but the difference is that you have to design all SOPs from the scratch whereas if you have more money, you can invest in bringing an international food chain to Pakistan which already has brand affiliation and customer association. Moreover there are already existing SOPs of international brands, ready to be followed. From the point of view of starting a business, there are some hurdles but since it is a growing market and like any other growing market, the system will iron out itself and will get better with time.