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Carving a niche out of the burger

Crave Burger may be the new kid on the block but he is proving this early that he is no wimp when it comes to burger patties
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Perhaps the newest player to enter the country’s burger franchise scene is Crave Burger. Originally from the south of the country, Crave Burger is the brainchild of Iloilo local Sen Javellana. It was in May 2007 when Javellana opened the first Crave restaurant in Smallville, Iloilo in a 25 sq m space from a start-up cost of P300,000.

“Back then,” Javellana points out, “Crave was just an ice cream joint and the burgers were just served to complement the ice cream.”

Soon he put up several other restaurants in the region, and with three locations, Javellana soon noticed that the people were coming into his ice cream joint, not for the ice cream, but for the burgers. It didn’t take long for him to realize that he had something special. The following year, Javellana transformed Crave into Crave Burger. “We changed the company’s logo and created a whole new atmosphere to complement the burger and elevate Crave into a burger joint.”

The reason, according to Javellana, why his pure beef burgers outshone his ice cream is that “we make all our patties fresh everyday, and it’s pan grilled.” Soon, people were coming in not just from Iloilo but also from neighboring provinces, trying Crave’s pan-grilled burgers and liking it. “They would ask me, ‘Why don’t you try and go outside Iloilo?’ But I waited for two years, modifying the taste of the burger to be suited to the Manila palate,” says Javellana.

Finally, in January of this year, Crave Burger arrived in Manila, finding a home on Katipunan Avenue in White Plains, Quezon City. “When I opened my first branch in Manila,” says Javellana. “I made sure to open in White Plains as my positioning of Crave is in highly residential areas, especially high-end schools.”

Confident in his product and company, Javellana also hired a freelance franchise consultant to prepare his company to be franchised. They revised Crave’s menu, looked for suppliers, and fi xed the company’s back-end operations. In January, Crave Burger opened its first franchised store in Parañaque City in February, and a third one in March in Las Piñas City.

Three years into the burger business, Javellana is a neophyte that has surprisingly given other burger joints a run for their money. “What we’re now trying to improve is our packaging,“ he says, “We’re trying to make Crave into a premium burger brand.”

Franchise investment: P950,000-P3.5M
Restaurant space required: 12 sq m
Estimated payback period: 1-2 years

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