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Carl’s Jr out to satisfy capital’s burger craving

People walk past a Carl's Jr fast-food restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia last year. AFP
People walk past a Carl's Jr fast-food restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia last year. AFP

Carl’s Jr out to satisfy capital’s burger craving

American fast-food restaurant Carl’s Jr will open its first outlet in Cambodia by the end of June, introducing its innovative burgers and the drive-thru concept to the capital’s increasingly crowded but receptive fast-food market.

Cambodian food and beverage firm TH F&B has acquired the master franchise for the California-based chain, and has selected a location in Phnom Penh’s upscale Boeung Keng Kang 1 neighbourhood for the first outlet, Somach Sovary, head of operations for Carl’s Jr Cambodia, said yesterday.

The company will park its first outlet rather cheekily opposite a branch of its traditional rival, Burger King.

However, Sovary – a former Burger King Cambodia executive – said it was not direct competition that prompted the location choice, but rather a desire to be in the heart of the neighbourhood’s embryonic fast-food strip.

“We have a different concept; our own products, our own chefs and premium burgers that are very different from others,” she said. “It’s very different from local Burger King or KFC restaurants, and these other brands don’t have the drive-through concept here.”

Burger King, which arrived in Cambodia in 2013 and has expanded rapidly, similarly insists that it does not perceive Carl’s Jr as a direct competitor.

“We’re not worried about their opening because they’re not a competitor,” said Thon Sereiodom, assistant to the chairman of Burger King Cambodia, adding that Burger King offers a “world-class standard burger”.

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