SA burger chain Steers to open in UK

2013-06-19 08:15
 London -  South African burger chain Steers is to open in London on 6 July, according to the

Steers’ parent company Famous Brands aims to establish the brand in the UK market with its first restaurant at Clapham Junction, on the site of the former Wimpy premises on Lavender Hill.

“We’ve always said we wanted to export Steers at some point. There are a lot of expats living in the UK … especially in the Clapham area,” explained Famous Brands chief executive officer Kevin Hedderwick.

The news was greeted in the South African community with great excitement as well as criticism.

UK-based chef Linda Galloway described Steers as “a (very) poor man’s Spur, and that’s not saying much” and fellow chef Grant Hawthorne agreed. “Don’t rate them at all! Don’t get why they are coming here,” he tweeted.

“Used to be good but nothing special these days. No chance in current London burger market,” was another comment on Twitter.

However, according to Jamie Harrington on Facebook, “Steers is without a doubt the best burger in SA and don’t forget they have the best chips too!”

“Mac D’s just lost a customer. The burgers of my childhood man. Woop!” said Simon Crook.

“I cannot begin to describe how excited I am!” Shendl Marsh wrote.

Steers burgerThe Famous Brands group, which owns among others the Wimpy, Mugg & Bean and Debonairs franchises in South Africa, already operates in the UK through the Wimpy chain, which it acquired in 2007.

Although Wimpy UK has struggled over the last few years because of high labour costs and dampened consumer spending, Hedderwick remains positive. “It’s a very small part of our business, 1.2 per cent of operating profit. We’ve opened two Wimpys in the last couple of months and we want to open a few more this year. For us, the UK is looking a bit more optimistic.”

While the Famous Brands business is experiencing challenges in UK, it is growing rapidly in Africa, where it will open around 55 restaurants this year. ”Africa is an exciting place; we’ve been there for the last 12 to 15 years … and we’re quite a long way up the learning curve,” said Hedderwick.

Read more on:    steers  |  travel south africa  |  travel international

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