We are surrounded by business ideas but only a few have the will to execute them into reality. Sometimes a business idea occurs in the middle of a boring day but it’s the motivation that drives it into a successful venture. Kabir Jeet Singh experimented with a few spices while working part-time in a burger station abroad. That little experiment revolutionized into a successful entrepreneurial venture named Burger Singh. Here is the inspiring story of Kabir Jeet Singh- a man who wondered ‘What If’ and was courageous enough to follow his dreams.
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About Kabir Jeet Singh
Kabir Jeet Singh is the CEO and founder of Burger Singh. He completed his Master’s degree in financial strategy from the University of Oxford. He completed his MBA from the University of Birmingham. He is highly specialized in identifying locations, launching, operations, and supply chain management.
The entrepreneurial idea lingered with him across jobs at ‘The Pint Room’ & ‘La Caserta’s. With Burger Singh, Kabir Jeet Singh brings Indian flavours and spices to burgers and changes Western staples to quintessentially Indian flavours. Back in college days, to meet the daily expenses, Kabir Singh was working at a burger station. One day he experimented with a few flavours and spices and created some lip-smacking fusion burgers. Since then, Kabir Jeet Singh hasn’t stopped experimenting with burger flavours.
In 2014, the first outlet of Burger Singh was launched and took the brand through a 600% YoY growth trajectory. Kabir Jeet Singh’s vision is to make Burger Singh synonymous with QSR and spread Indian flavours globally.
Understanding the Recession-Proof Markets
Kabir Jeet Singh’s fusion burgers gained popularity and found a spot in the burger shop’s weekend menu. He got the “Burger Singh” when began marketing his burgers at university cookouts. Little did he know that it would be the name of his restaurant chain in India in the next few years.
In 2008, he returned to India and started working at the Beer Café in Delhi. Kabir Jeet Singh was fascinated by the food and beverages industry. The industry seemed to be one of the few industries, after pharma, which appeared recession-proof. He discovered real-estate requirements, branding, and commercials during his stint. In November 2014, Kabir Jeet Singh launched Burger Singh in Gurgaon.
“It was the worst time to be an MBA. The markets were in the worst possible shape” Kabir says.
Starting Up Burger Singh
Kabir Jeet Singh didn’t have the means of an organized burger store. Setting up his business was going to be a different game. Kabir did not want to follow a chef-centric approach and standardize the model.
“I travelled across Punjab and Bihar and tied up with major spice blenders in the country to develop different blends,” he says.
The first line of business was figuring out the sourcing. For vegetarian products, Kabir Jeet Singh tied up with a small vendor in Panvel, Mumbai. For non-vegetarian products, he reached out to a vendor in Hyderabad.
His vendors supply products to Cosmo in the US and Tesco in the UK. Kabir decided to align with them for long-term benefits even though it meant higher costs for Burger Singh.
“Burgers are a massively franchisable product. But to do so, it is important to get the standardization and models right. I sat down with food processors, vendors, and spice blenders to understand how the processor model would work,” Kabir explains.
Working out everything from scratch was a tedious process for the founder. “I had over 172 trials for the Rajma Burger before we actually put it on the menu. This meant that I would eat Rajma every day for two years!” Kabir exclaims.
Kabir Jeet Singh understood that a successful food business requires a supply chain and a robust logistics system. He remained focused on quality as he knew the growth of a food business.
Burger Singh was initiated with Kabir Jeet Singh’s own savings and borrowed money from friends and family. A 500 sq ft store in Gurgaon, Sun City, became the first Burger Singh store. Kabir Jeet Singh says they reached their breakeven in three months, favouring them in launching the other stores.
“One outlet cost Rs 30 lakh, and we started with two. The cash break-even that we achieved helped us open our other stores,” he explains. He pointed out that selecting a smaller storage area was a good decision as the store rentals were at Rs 60,000. The outlets were making close to Rs 10 lakhs.
The team is now aspiring to open larger-format stores, a 3,000 sq ft store with a dine-in concept serving alcohol and burgers. Called ‘Glassy’, these stores are also Burger Singh labs, where innovative recipes are tested and distributed across the market.
Funding and Revenue
Burger Singh has raised external capital of $1 million from October 2015 to date. Investors include Rahul Singh (Beer Café), Ashvin Chadda, Dheeraj Jain (Redcliffe Capital), Rannvijay Singh (MTV Roadies), Avtar Monga (COO of IDFC Bank), and Capt Salim Sheikh (ex -Sayaji Hotels).
Twenty per cent of the money was allocated towards building the technology and supply chain. Forty per cent towards developing the outlets and the remaining for the remuneration of the core team. As of FY 2016-17, the group revealed Rs 6.5 crore of revenue with a 37 percent growth.
India’s quick-service restaurants (QSR) market, according to a report by Assocham, is expected to be at Rs 8,500 crore. The country’s QSR market is growing at a CAGR of 25 per cent.
The QSR space has observed various national and international players’ entry due to urbanization, increased spending by youth, nuclear families, and better logistics.
The Future of Burger Singh
“We are targeting revenue of Rs 16 crore this year and looking to expand pan-India. I believe Burger Singh to be the Subway for Burgers. It is one of the best working models that you can aim for India,” Kabir says.
After launching 28 outlets and Rs 26 crore in turnover, Kabir Jeet Singh remains hungry for more. Burger Singh has 20 stores in Delhi/NCR, one in Pune, two in Dehradun, and two in Jaipur. It also has three franchises, including one in Nagpur and two in London. Burger Singh is looking to consolidate the Delhi and NCR market and expand to a few regions around Delhi.
This was the story of Kabir Jeet Singh – Founder and CEO of Burger Singh. Which one is your favourite fusion burger from Burger Singh? Let us know in the comment section below! For more informative and entertaining content stay tuned to Leverage Edu on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.