Every related firm needs Guerrilla Marketing techniques to be competitive
Interview with Mr Rafiq Rangoonwala — a leading businessman
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your organization, please:
Rafiq Rangoonwala: I am associated with food business for last 40 years. I started my career with KFC in Houston, worked in Caribbean looking after English speaking islands, later on was transferred to Middle East as Market Director of KFC, MENA Region. Moved to Pakistan at the end of 1999 as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KFC till 2014. Also managed brands, like Pizza Hut, Hardees, Burger King, Harry Ramsden, Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, etc.
PAGE: Could you tell us about the growth of the food sector of Pakistan?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Food industry was growing double digit in Pakistan for quite some time as a whole. During COVID-19 lockdown, the industry especially restaurants and frozen food suffered. The heavy rain falls and floods didn’t help. Due to limited serving hours, closure of dine-ins have forced some business to close for good while majority of business came under stress. It will take a long time to recover. Due to electricity problems especially during the rain, frozen food industry faced lots of difficulties. Customers weren’t buying because they could not keep the food at required temperature. Crops have suffered losses as well, so the coming days are going to be challenging. I am sure that the industry would bounce back but it will not be overnight.
PAGE: How effective are the marketing campaigns of fast food chains and what changes are required in the marketing tactics to have more share?
Rafiq Rangoonwala: When businesses come under pressure, the first thing most of them do is to cut their marketing budget rather it should be the other way around. Marketing campaigns work well in normal circumstances because the consumer mindset is to spend, however, during difficult times people are more cautious and are less generous. In these times, the campaigns that address the customer concerns, like hygiene, safe delivery etc. would work well and get their attention. Some businesses try discounting to lure customers back, but personally I have always believed that discounting is a short term strategy and companies, which consistently apply this tactic, usually dig the hole deeper for themselves. Businesses should have USPs to keep relevant to the customers.
Every company does not have the muscle to spend big money, majority of businesses are medium or small size, they need to employ Guerrilla Marketing techniques, that give them flexibility and agility to fight.
PAGE: Your views on the competition, investment and business viability of the food sector of Pakistan:
Rafiq Rangoonwala: Competition is growing in general and it will continue to do so. There is enough room for everyone. A brand must think long term and not get distracted with short term challenges. One must clearly know what they stand for and be mindful of customer preferences and demands. Short term tactics are good but that should not define a brand or a company. Variety and diversity always help in keeping the consumers interest and the company in news. Investment opportunities are ample across the board, food sector in Pakistan has lots of room for new comers and the ones in business to grow and I believe that we have only scratched the surface. The domestic market is robust and export opportunities in abundance.