Indonesian kebab chain to open outlet in Brunei

Indonesian kebab chain Kebab Turki Baba Rafi will expand its operations into Brunei with its first outlet to be opened as early as August, said the franchise holder of the brand for the Sultanate.

The master franchise holder, Eathappy Eatery, has shortlisted "some strategic locations" for the restaurant's first outlet in Brunei.

"We're looking at (opening the first outlet in) August the earliest or September," said Shafique Hussain, co-founder of Eathappy Eatery.

He said the brand has been dubbed as the largest kebab chain in the world.

"It's a strong enough claim. In Indonesia right now they have about 1,200 outlets and internationally, they have 44. We hope to be the 45th international outlet for Baba Rafi," he said.

Baba Rafi sells kebab, burgers, sandwiches and canai breads as well as frozen food.

"If you compare the brand with the other kebab brands that we have in Brunei, we have our own uniqueness in the brand's signature home-made tortillas," said Shafique.

Baba Rafi provides flexibility to franchise holders in allowing different tastes to be introduced to suit the local markets.

"For the Brunei market, we offer sauces that are unique to this country only. We have done a little bit of tweaking to match the market," said Shafique.

He is optimistic of the brand's popularity in Brunei which is evident from the "trial run" the company's currently conducting.

Baba Rafi Brunei is operating a stall at the Gerai Ramadhan at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.

"The response has been overwhelming. There are long queues as people flock to our stall to buy the kebabs and at one point, people were queuing in the heavy rain," he said.

Shafique said Baba Rafi's patented packaging is also one of the brand's selling points.

The 'pull-up' packaging provides a hassle-free solution to customers who do not like to get their hands dirty after a quick meal.

Kebab Turki Baba Rafi was founded in 2003 by young entrepreneur Hendy Setiono who operated the business from a pushcart in Surabaya.

By 2014, the brand has expanded to 1,200 outlets in Indonesia and is operating in other countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Netherlands, India and China.