“We have received ongoing support from halaal communities since opening our doors, as a brand that champions inclusivity, and it’s extremely important that everyone feels welcome in our restaurant,” explains Juan Klopper, Chief Operating Officer at Burger King® SA.
“When we launched locally, we worked closely with SHURA (MAJLISUSH SHURA AL-ISLAMI) to ensure our restaurants and distribution centres have strict measures in place to meet and maintain our halaal-certified status. Our relationship with SHURA is ongoing and when we received more requests from guests to introduce a non-halaal product to the menu, we consulted with them to ascertain if this should be considered.”
In September 2019, Burger King® will implement a dual-restaurant model, which means that selected restaurants will now serve bacon. “Working with SHURA, and using data and insight from our in-house GIS Retail Market Analyst to ensure that Burger King® restaurants in areas with a large Muslim community remain halaal, the decision was made to add bacon in other areas.” adds Klopper.
Burger King® will continue to serve long standing loyal guests that require halaal-certified food, hence 52 restaurants will remain halaal-certified. Burger King® has also relooked the names of three global products on the menu and has removed the reference to ‘ham’ in the name for these products to be more respectful of its halaal client base, renaming them ‘burgers’.
Shaheed Bardien, Administrator at SHURA says, “We value and appreciate the efforts from the Burger King® team to ensure SHURA was included in this undertaking and that they have shown continuous commitment to the halaal community.”
Klopper continues, “Bacon is a big part of the global Burger King® heritage and a large portion of our South African guests have requested that we add it to our menu. Of course, this is not something we could simply ‘switch on’. Before launching the product, we conducted in-depth studies with globally accredited market-research agency, Kantar TNS
. They assisted us in terms of measuring consumer demand, and the areas to consider introducing a non-halaal product.”
In collaboration with SHURA, Burger King® SA’s logistics and distribution centres are also geared to continue providing halaal-certified products and ensuring they are delivered to restaurants in a manner that does not compromise this status. “Halaal Monitors will continue to track and measure our internal systems and suppliers. In an unlikely event that any product at any time is found questionable, those products are removed from the system and sent to waste - no questions asked - and this will continue at all points of our business.”
Burger King®’s in-house supply chain specialists also spent months researching and testing the highest quality bacon. “It was important that we maintain our standard of serving good food, fast,
as well as continue supporting the South African economy.”
In addition to bacon, Burger King® guests have also been requesting more variety for those who follow a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. “At Burger King® we want to be for everyone. It is part of our ongoing strategy to expand our menu offering in the future and this includes adding vegetarian & plant-based options to our menu in the very near future,” concludes Klopper.
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