Q&A with Fatburger UK Director Arif Hussein
With global burger and chicken wing franchise, Fatburger, recently opening its second store (review coming soon) just down the road from iconic Wembley Stadium, we caught up with the man behind the success, UK Director Arif Hussein, for a quick fire Q&A.
FtL: What made Fatburger such an appealing franchise for you to pursue?
Arif: I first had a Fatburger in Dubai on holiday a few years ago. I really enjoyed the burger and the experience stayed with me. The opportunity to bring the franchise to the UK was presented to me in 2014 and I was reminded of my experience in Dubai. The Franchise were also happy to allow me to make the restaurant fully Halal, which was important to me personally, but I also felt this would be a unique selling point in comparison to other better burger chains in the UK. Fatburger UK is a burger chain which is also Halal, but we look to appeal to a wider audience.
Ftl: In three words, tell us what it takes to successfully run a restaurant that’s part of an established international franchise?
Arif: Keep true to the Philosophy behind the franchise (too many words I know).
FtL: How do you as a director get over any fears of failure?
Arif: You need to back yourself firstly; if you don’t believe that the business will work, you will give up too early. You also need to accept that you will make mistakes, but that the important thing is to learn from them and not make them again.
FtL: What’s the single biggest mistake you’ve made as director?
If you don’t believe that the business will work, you will give up too early.
Arif: Opening the first Fatburger with such a “bang”. We had a lot of people come through the door, but myself and the team were just not ready. We were too busy too quickly. With our second store, we have made the opening a low key affair, with the most important thing being that the customer enjoys the experience. However, it takes a new team time to get up to speed. We are there now and its only after 2 months that we are stepping up our marketing efforts.
FtL: What makes Fatburger’s burgers better than all other burgers?
Arif: They are so fresh! The meat, toppings and buns are all “fresh never frozen”. You can taste this in every bite. We make all our burger patty’s on site and all that is added is the seasoning of salt and pepper.
FtL: What’s your single favourite Fatburger?
Arif: I have my standard burger. A fatburger with the works – American cheese and beef bacon.
FtL: What’s your single favourite Fatburger Buffalo Wing flavour?
Arif: It has to be Asian sesame.
FtL: What are your top three Halal burger restaurants (excluding Fatburger of course)?
Arif: I would probably say Meat Company, Behesht Barine in Finchley and Sahara Lounge in Stanmore (more for the Shisha!).
FtL: Why didn’t central London appeal as an area for your second branch?
Arif: It’s just so expensive! With high rent and rates you have to sell a lot of burgers to just break even!
FtL: When and where might we expect a third Fatburger branch?
Arif: Hopefully by the end of the year. My original focus had been East London, but now South of the River is looking very appealing.