Muhammad Umar Waqqas
KARACHI: The restaurant industry, carrying global significance, has also played a vital role in Pakistan’s economy. In the years 2017-18, the GDP growth for Pakistan was 5.8%, which was a 13-year high. One of the two sectors responsible for this growth is the services sector, which includes the hospitality industry. Since the introduction of multinational food franchises in the 1990s, Pakistan’s food industry has seen an incredible upsurge in dining-out trends.
The year 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting time for the restaurant industry, with new trends emerging and innovative strategies being implemented to meet the ever-changing demands of customers. New local and international food chains are launching and building their identity in Pakistan’s incredibly huge cosmopolitan market.
Burger Lab is also one of the emerging fast food brands, it is one of the fastest growing burger joints in Pakistan, a local fast food chain having 35 outlets across 9 cities with international standards and spreading all over the country in a short span of time. Burger Lab’s popularity among food lovers has been noticed.
CEO of Burger Lab Khizer Baig highlighted some suggestions to upgrade the vast restaurateur industry of Pakistan while talking to TFD, he says “In Pakistan, many people don’t pay taxes, but those restaurants who are already paying the taxes, must be incentivised, and those who are not registered, must be registered immediately, all restaurants to be treated equally. Normally, the tax burden is increased on those who are already paying taxes. The GST charged by the restaurants should be around 5-6%, it will not only improve the affordability of the customers in these inflationary times but it will eventually increase sales leading to more tax collection. All restaurants should come under the tax net.”
Khizer said, “The restaurant industry is a big contributor in our economy, with thousands of jobs. I have seen many crew members working at a restaurant just to pay their college fee. The food authorities should work closely with the restaurateurs in order to improve the overall Hygiene of the restaurants, they should provide proper training to the restaurants, enabling them to learn more.
“Restaurants should be graded, and a certificate should be placed outside every restaurant notifying the customers to know how good a restaurant is following the SOPs provided by the food authorities. Stop closing down the restaurants and disturbing them to close early. We are not living in Europe, the climate is hot in Pakistan,people usually get out of their houses a bit late, that’s why we see a good traffic in the restaurants after 9 and 10 pm.
“Hence, more sales means more tax collection for the government. It is important to acknowledge the challenges posed by our country’s economic landscape. The continuous decline in our currency and the high inflation rate have adversely impacted the entire restaurant industry, affecting not only us but also numerous multinational brands. The diminishing purchasing power of our nation has been a significant setback for all stakeholders involved. COVID-19 had already affected the restaurant industry, now we really need a long-term solution for our economy.”
“I understand that the government can’t provide any sort of subsidy to us in these prevailing circumstances, but at least they can simplify and streamline the licensing processes, permits and bureaucratic requirements. I firmly believe that when an individual embarks on the journey of opening a restaurant, they are pursuing a dream – a dream that deserves support rather than unwarranted criticism. Let us extend a helping hand to these entrepreneurs instead of undermining their businesses. By assisting others in their growth, we contribute to our own growth as well. It’s essential to remember that nobody is perfect, and kindness should always prevail.
“As Pakistanis, we should strive to discover ways to support one another. It is through this collaborative effort that we can cultivate a healthy and thriving society. Let us foster a culture of assistance, empathy, and encouragement, for it is by uplifting each other that we can collectively achieve progress and prosperity,” Burger Lab CEO Khizer Baig tells TFD.