Big Smoke Burger Goes Global
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Big Smoke Burger Goes Global

Toronto-Based Gourmet Burger Chain Signs a Deal for Kuwait

August 08, 2012 // // Toronto, Canada - Mustafa Yusuf, founder and owner of Toronto’s most dominant gourmet burger chain, has gained local stardom with his fast-casual concept, Big Smoke Burger. Since joining forces with Fransmart, the franchise development company behind booming brands such as Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Qdoba Mexican Grill, zpizza and Freshii, Big Smoke Burger is penetrating markets with astounding force, most recently launching a development deal for the country of Kuwait.

In addition to the five Toronto-based locations, Big Smoke has launched expansion in Kuwait, with franchisee Samar Al-Salem of Khabari International. As a prominent businesswoman in the Middle East, Al-Salem and her associates are well-versed and well-connected with the intricacies of retail and real estate throughout Kuwait. With ventures ranging from architectural lighting, Electrical contracting to Fashion furniture, she maintains a potent portfolio of diversified businesses that demonstrate a keen insight into what the Middle East craves.

“We had our sights set on the burger market, but we wanted something that stood out from the rest - Big Smoke Burger has the feel of an upscale burger lounge, with a modern, clean, cool atmosphere and higher standards of taste, staffing and procedures,” Samar Al-Salem states. “They offer unique, fresh flavor combinations created by their addictive homemade sauces, their practice of flame broiling all burgers, and their famous Canadian dish called ‘poutine’.”

Opening three restaurants over the next three years, with the first one slotted to open within the next 6 months, Al-Salem maintains exclusivity over Kuwait, noting that “with their profitable business model, powerful partners, and a unique and delicious flavor profile, we believe that Big Smoke is going to be a big hit in Kuwait.”

CEO Mustafa Yusuf, who is from the UAE, also demonstrates optimism for the market. “The Middle Eastern countries are ravenously procuring successful concepts from the U.S. and Canada. The investors are keen on the ‘next, next thing’ among fast casual concepts, and we are that next concept.”

Yusuf, a restaurant industry veteran who worked his way up the corporate ladder from busboy to CEO, wanted more than the frozen, pre-packaged patties typical of the “better” burger segment at the time. In a market now swamped with copycat brands, Big Smoke remains on the front line of the burger scene for their traditional Canadian quality. With fresh burgers and poutine, signature sauces, and their company-wide ‘green’ initiatives, Big Smoke is here to stay.

About Big Smoke Burger

Big Smoke Burger presents a refined approach to fast casual dining, offering gourmet handcrafted burgers made fresh daily using only the freshest, never frozen beef, as well as other unique protein options like chicken and lamb burgers. Their side dishes include the Canadian tradition – “poutine”, and their signature, homemade sauces and their practice of flame broiling give the burgers a delicious, distinctive flavor that sets them apart in the crowded burger segment.

Founded in 2007 by Mustafa Yusuf, a restaurant industry vet whose experience includes deep management experience with The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, Big Smoke Burger currently has 5 locations open in Toronto and is planning aggressive expansion throughout North America and select international markets. The concept was recruited by both HMS Host and Cadillac Fairview, two prestigious names in the retail services industry, for a travel plaza location on one of Ontario’s busiest highways as well as a prime spot in one of Canada’s largest malls.

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Casey Thorp



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