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Caf‚ Lazeez brings Asian restaurants back home

09 March 2005 by

UK restaurant chain Caf‚ Lazeez is to open a further three sites in Asia, after becoming the first British operator to open in Pakistan at the end of last year.

After unveiling a 120-seat venue in Pakistani capital Islamabad in December, the company now plans three more sites, including a fast-food Lazeez Express in Islamabad, a Caf‚ Lazeez in Karachi, Pakistan, and a restaurant in India.

Managing director Zahid Kasim said: "We are looking for a location in Karachi and plan to open a 200- to 300-seat restaurant in the next few months. A second Islamabad site will follow some time this year and we plan to open in India in early 2006."

Kasim has set up a master franchise for the Pakistan sites, which is operated by a group of businessmen from Islamabad.

"After 11 September money has flowed into the country and the economy is quite strong. There is now a lot of disposable income going into the sector and the stand-alone restaurant market is underdeveloped."

He plans to retain the restaurants' brand but acknowledged differences between his four UK sites and the Pakistani market.

In addition to problems sourcing Argentinian steak and prawns, turnover is modest in comparison with the UK.

The estimated annual figure for the Islamabad site is between four and five million Pakistani rupees (£35,400 to £44,300), while at its Dean Street branch in London turnover is in excess of £1m.

CAPTION: Zahid Kasim: "There's a lot of disposable income going into the sector and the restaurant market is underdeveloped"

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