Fabiha Maimuna |
Nov 24, 2022 12:07:45 a.m.
Siam Ahmed (pseudonym) has just received his salary from his part-time job. For a university student like him, this day is heavenly. Tired and hungry, he is irresistibly tempted at the sight of the bright red sign on his way home. He slowly enters the restaurant and orders his usual chicken burger with cheese. “What’s your favorite level of sauce, sir?” Looking around hesitantly, Siam continued in his thinnest voice, “Umm, no more sauce.” When his delicious burger arrived, he forgot all the guilt of the social media image and went to eat a big bite with the greatest pleasure.
If you have a smile of familiarity on your face right now, you might be thinking Chillox. If we ask around Dhaka, Chattogram and Mymensingh for fast food places, Chillox will definitely be a suggestion. Even though people are hesitant to mention Chillox as their favorite burger spot for “saucy” burgers, many love it more because of the addictive inclusion of “sauce.”
Sauce fight aside, everyone would agree that Chillox has always been one of the most popular quick service restaurants (QSR) in the country. In fact, from every item on the menu, decor and prices, everything celebrates the vibrancy of youth.
With more than 5,000 burgers sold every day on average, Chillox has etched its place in the minds of Bangladeshis over the past six years. Nevertheless, the start of his journey was not so grand. Many of you will remember the little cart across from BRAC University in Mohakhali humbly serving burgers.
There are many roadside food carts all over Dhaka city. Of all the carts, how did this one become a famous fast food brand in Bangladesh? As one of Chillox’s three partners, Maruf Hasan Nirzhor remembers the beginning; he says he and Pranto Bhowmick were school friends when he met another partner, Ahmed Faiz, during his undergraduate studies at IBA, University of Dhaka.
Pranto knew a good burger maker, which sparked the idea of becoming burger sellers in the minds of these three young people. Pranto and Maruf are founding partners, while Faiz joined after a few weeks as current partner.
“Initially, we didn’t have big dreams or big plans. We just wanted to sell burgers and make people happy,” says Maruf. For the three youngsters at the intersection of college and professional life, this cart was something to look forward to beyond the typical 9-5 cage.
Ahmed Faiz shares an interesting incident from the early days of Chillox: “We offered our friends to try our burgers for free. Eventually, they started coming to buy our burgers after work or taking orders for family gatherings or office. That’s how our initial marketing was by word of mouth from our close friends.” Later, the popularity of the burger cart went beyond school, university and Mohakhali offices and attracted foodies from different parts of Dhaka.
The food cart that began its journey in February 2016 had to close for placement reasons in December of that year despite soaring demand for its burgers. Nevertheless, in 2017, the disappointment among burger fans dissipated when Chillox launched its first real outlet in Mohakhali. It turns out that people haven’t forgotten cravings; in fact, more and more people started joining the Chillox fanbase. The unique honey mustard sauce was one of the main reasons why Chillox burgers became the perfect delicacy for our Bangladeshi taste buds.
After a while, a social media trend claimed that the burgers were “cultured and gourmet” with less sauce and more raw patty, which put Chillox in the spotlight in every heated burger discussion among Dhaka’s youth. . Chillox opted for fun messages and marketing tactics to play around with. They brought the flexibility to choose sauce levels to meet customer demands. However, the secret idea is that most Chillox customers opt for the “more sauce” option by now.
Since around 2015, Bangladesh has been experiencing a boom in the restaurant and fast food industry. Many restaurants have been opened and many have been closed. The pandemic has also had a chilling effect. How did Chillox manage to sustain this course in this saturated market?
Maruf replied, “Making sure we serve the best product and value for money in every scenario is what got us here. This is indeed a challenge as most restaurants reduce quality or compromise on cost after a certain level of popularity. a profit. Our success has always been associated with the quality of the product we serve. We believe that by simply balancing this, we can sustain long term in the business.
Indeed, prioritizing quality and price comes before anything else. Ahmed Faiz added another dimension to this: “We always focus on training our frontliners in such a way that they represent our brand values. At the end of the day, a good service with a good product completes the offer. .”
He also added that from the start, the three partners have been involved in different functions of Chillox, from literal burger making to analytics and management, which has shaped their entrepreneurial journey.
Chillox currently has outlets in 11 different locations in Dhaka, two in Chattogram and one in Mymensingh. Going forward, the partners mentioned that they want to tap into the potential market outside the capital and expand into different parts of Bangladesh. As part of this goal, there is good news for foodies in Narayanganj as the 15th Chillox outlet will open there in a few months.
In the restaurant industry in Bangladesh, foreign brands are falling behind for various reasons; local brands compete and thrive in different ways. What does Chillox have to offer to win hearts?
Maruf said they were toeing the line; you can make six other people happy with the amount you spend on one customer. Indeed, not just with burgers, they have at different times satisfied the demands by introducing trendy items like cheese sticks, fish bites, flavored chicken wings and mouth-watering desserts, exactly what young people are looking for. However, their burgers have always stolen the show, and the brand tends to focus on that for times to come.