Archie’s brothers ready to take on the world
The shocking pink branding is distinctive to say the least, but if you haven’t already come across an Archie’s the chances are you will soon . . . if co-owners the redoubtable Rafiq brothers have their way.
There are currently three branches of the American-style burger and shakes restaurants – two in Manchester and one in Liverpool which opened last October. But that’s just small fry, according to director Imran Rafiq.
“In terms of the future, the Archie’s ambition is to create a chain across the UK with extensions abroad, specifically America, to fulfil the dream of becoming a world-renowned brand,” he says.
“All sites are currently being reviewed to explore the opportunities to expand into major cities including London, Leeds, Newcastle and Birmingham. In line with our prominent celebrity following we are also in negotiation to open in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami.”
When a unit on Oxford Road became available they thought it would be the perfect place to launch a fast food operation.
“Its prominent location and high footfall within the catchment of the university certainly caught my imagination and in 2010 the first Archie’s store opened its doors to the public,” says Imran.
“The inspiration of the brand stemmed from our favourite childhood film called License to Drive, which is a teen action movie that features the fictional Archie’s Atomic Drive-In, an American diner located in Los Angeles.
“It was our love for the film and the gap in the diner market that encouraged us to put our ideas into action. After collectively establishing the brand, logo and image, we commenced the designing of the product itself.
“The concept was to devise an innovative burger and shakes outlet that offered more choice and originality that its mainstream chain competitors. Our aim was to create and offer an environment that would become the place to be seen.”
And the brothers haven’t exactly been behind the door when it comes to attracting celebrity attention.
Earlier this year, undefeated former welterweight boxing champion Floyd Mayweather (pictured below) visited the Oxford Road venue and admitted “falling in love with the place”. So much so, that he entered into talks with the Rafiqs over plans to franchise in Las Vegas.
Another celeb fan is rapper The Game, who was in the city to perform at The Ritz, and also met with the brothers to confirm plans of opening a branch in his hometown of Los Angeles.
“As an eatery that continues to maintain a prominent celebrity following, we are thrilled to have the support from such prominent figures in the music and sporting industry,” adds Imran.
“While we have always envisioned to expand Archie’s outside of the UK, having secured a deal with The Game to open up in Los Angeles and to have begun talks with Mayweather to discuss the possibly of taking it to Vegas is beyond what we ever imagined.
“The notion of Archie’s commenced on that Thursday night after seeing Licensed to Drive.
“From these early beginnings to my ultimate goal I foresee a company that has a UK wide portfolio of 25 to 30 units turning over £40 to £50 million with a base line profit of £8 million. This would value the UK company at close to £100 million.
“With current negotiations being held we have the opportunity of launching a USA Archie’s. Discussions have commenced to have a stateside base of more than 50 units within the next five to ten years.
“Turnover would be in the region of $150 million (£100 million) giving the company a value of $2.5 billion (£1.75 billion). The dream is beginning to become reality . . .”