Yossi Eliyahoo is bringing his Dutch company’s premium burgers across the English Canal and aims to open 20 UK franchisees in the next five years
You can’t go wrong with a good burger. From being served up for birthdays to seasoning Quentin Tarantino’s dialogues, few dishes boast popularity as the simple patty and bun combo. “Burgers will always be one of the world’s favourite food items, it will never die,” says Yossi Eliyahoo, founder of the Entourage Group, which owns restaurant brands like the Asian-influenced eatery Momo, The Dutchess where guests can enjoy the flavours of Italy and France in a classy environment and Shirkan, the Mumbai street food-inspired restaurant. Having recognised the impact serving the dish could have, he launched his own craft burger brand The Butcher in 2012. “I wanted to create my own made—perfection, good quality signature burger that is fast food but not junk food,” he tells Elite Franchise. Since that first craft burger restaurant opened in Amsterdam, it has spread to both Ibiza and Berlin and is now planning on growing the franchise in the UK.
The story of the franchise began eight years ago when Eliyahoo felt that the market was missing a good burger. “I started to develop the product together with our executive chef, which took us about eight months, looking for high quality meat in different regions that would provide the bloody delicious burgers,” he remembers. This process not only included checking out the best buns but also coming up with the name. “[I] thought of The Butcher name as a butcher is the most authentic place where one gets its meat from,” Eliyahoo says.
His efforts to make authenticity a priority is also the thing that he claims sets The Butcher apart from other craft burger bars – like American franchise The Counter that announced plans to expand to the UK in 2017 and Dirty Burger, which has sprung up over the past few years. “The Butcher has a strong brand because we’re not cutting corners,” Eliyahoo argues. “High quality sourcing of ingredients is what makes us stand out. Consistency and good value for money is what keeps guests returning.”
Having first proven the concept in The Netherlands, The Butcher opened its first international restaurant in Berlin in 2016. And it’s easy to see why it picked the German city famous for its pulsating nightlife and thriving tech startups. “We know the market as we have been in Berlin for the last ten years with other businesses,” he says. “It’s a cosmopolitan city, which the brand fits [as well as] the people. I always feel a location and get inspiration for developing a brand or if it fits one of our brands then I’m excited to expand.”
This desire to scale The Butcher internationally was also the reason why the company began looking into the possibility of franchising the business about the same time too. “The reason why we choose to franchise is mainly [because] we wanted to share and have the international crowd enjoy this brand,” says Eliyahoo. “Franchising is a safe way to grow fast and expand the company and its brand globally.” While the task has required a lot of paperwork to create replicable and efficient franchising model, the time has come to make his vision a reality. “Now we are ready and developing our first franchise in Dubai, which we expect to open by the end of this year,” he says. “London will follow up and shortly and [there are] many more to come.”
And it’s hardly a secret why he’s now actively looking for franchisees in Britain. “[The UK] market is highly exposed to the world,” he explains. “It is pioneering in hospitality. It’s a strong and big market which is great for the visibility and growth of your brand. It has much competition but the strongest and best will survive.”
Over the next five years, The Butcher plans to recruit 20 sites in the UK. And given The Butcher’s focus on quality, the franchisor will unsurprisingly refuse to settle for any old candidates. “We look for partners that are financially strong, can handle fast growth and manage the operational part well,” Eliyahoo says. “It’s so important they are able to manage a system to keep the quality and consistency and thus the brand alive.” In return for their investments, prospective franchisees will get “the privilege to be part of a great brand which is growing and will benefit them in a wealthy chain of business.”
But it won’t end with Blighty. No, the franchisor plans to expand to 80 sites across the globe in the next five years. “Let the world enjoy these bloody delicious burgers,” he concludes.