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Stories Of How Malaysian Burger Patties Have Created Livelihoods For The Disabled, Orang Asli and B40s

Malaysians are spoilt for choices when it comes to selecting burgers for a quick meal or snack. This ranges from burgers produced by fast-food chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s, or homegrown brands such as the innovative menu fronting BurgerLab. 

But, we can all agree that sometimes roadside stall burgers are all we need to satisfy a good burger craving. The man behind the booming streetside burger brand is Dato’ Haji Ramly Mokni, the founder of Ramly Burger. His humble beginnings started in the 1970s when he set up his first burger stall with very little capital investment. The roadside stall snowballed in business and currently, the Ramly Burger enterprise has over 30,000 micro-entrepreneurs[1]

The burger stall business model is perfect for newbie chefs because of the low capital investment. So it is not surprising that burger vendors have mushroomed over the years showcasing unique burger creations and signature sauces. At the same time, they have unlocked more business opportunities and better livelihoods for the lower-income household. Here are seven notable burger sellers who took a leaf out of Ramly’s wisdom, creativity and perseverance. 

#1: Akie Burger In Kuantan, Pahang

Mohd Izzuddin Mohamed had his fair share of failed businesses, but it didn’t deter the 46-year old from the East Coast Malaysia to keep pushing his limits. Akie Burger is a tribute to his late father. Four months after his father’s passing, Izzudin decided to immortalise his father’s favourite food. 

Source: Wilayahku

It all started four months after my father died. His departure left an impression on this heart because of the intimacy between the two of us. We used to spend time relaxing while enjoying burgers. I often am choked with emotion when I see the location of his favourite burger stall and from there I think why not immortalise his favourite food into a beautiful memory. – Mohd Izzudin Mohamed, founder of Akie Burger[2]

The name ‘Akie’ is derived from how the grandchildren used to refer to their grandfather.

My late father, all of his grandchildren called him ‘Aki’. He died at the end of 2008 and I started this business in 2009 so we decided to use the word Aki for our product. – Mohd Izzudin Mohamed, founder of Akie Burger[3]

Source: Wilayahku

In 2009, Izzudin started producing burger patties right from his home in Kuantan, Pahang. He even converted his house yard into a patty producing factory, one of the reasons behind this was the constant rejection by relevant bodies for funding. 

One of the problems that I experienced was going back and forth to the relevant offices asking for funding but was constantly rejected. – Mohd Izzudin Mohamed, founder of Akie Burger[2]

In 2016, things changed for the better. His effort was noticed by Perbadanan Nasional Berhad who provided him with the opportunity to be a part of their Business In Transformation programme. He was also awarded the Anugerah Usahawan Berjaya Tekun in the same year[2]

Around 2016, I started getting the attention of Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNS). They recommended me to enter the Business In Transformation (BIT) program and subsequently guided me to be able to become a franchisee. – Mohd Izzudin Mohamed, founder of Akie Burger[2]

Source: Wilayahku

Now, Akie Burger has a factory in the industrial area in Indera Mahkota, Kuantan, with 54 burger outlets in Kuantan, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur. As the brand is slowly becoming a household name, Izzudin harbours a bigger dream.

Alhamdulillah, is a new beginning to enliven the fast food industry and I expect to open 200 franchises around Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya by next year. – Mohd Izzudin Mohamed, founder of Akie Burger[4]

Source: Harian Metro

Currently, Akie Burger has 60 budding burger sellers under its wings. With a small capital of RM 600, burger sellers under Akie Burger are set to earn a sustainable income. 

With a starting capital of RM 400, the entrepreneurs are given attractive kiosks with the latest designs and various equipment for free. 

We also provide raw ingredients such as meat or burger patties, sausages, breads and sauces to kick start their business. They would only need to provide ingredients such as vegetables, eggs and tomatoes. – Mohd Izzudin Mohamed, founder of Akie Burger[4]

#2: Roslan Homemade Burger In Kuching, Sarawak 

Roslan Awek started his burger business in 1979, and until today, his burger stall is his source of income. With a capital of RM300, his burger stall with his homemade recipe was formed and stood the test of time. 

I started selling burgers in 1979, under the Satok Suspension Bridge, near Medan Aneka Rasa at some point in the past.”However, I stopped for a while before doing business again in front of our house, at Jalan Matang Batu 3 ½ in front of McDonald Metrocity restaurant in 2006. – Roslan Awek, the man behind Roslan Homemade Burger[5]

The Sarawakian relied on his tech-savvy children to boost his social media presence, marketing and promotion. 

Source: Suara Sarawak

Usually, my children helped me in terms of promotion and updating my business on their social media. – Roslan Awek, the man behind Roslan Homemade Burger[5]

This family effort assisted Roslan in riding the wave of uncertainty during the pandemic with multiple closures and restrictions to running his burger stall. 

Despite not being able to operate fully during the period of the Movement Control Order (MCO) being implemented. But we were active on social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp, so we have customers who still come to us for burgers or order our homemade patties. – Roslan Awek, the man behind Roslan Homemade Burger[5]

Monthly, Roslan could earn a net profit of between RM2,000 to RM3,000. An income that he is grateful for, especially with fierce competition in the market. Roslan hopes to expand his business by opening another burger stall and also procuring the necessary equipment to process burger patties.

My hope in this business is that my children and grandchildren can inherit the recipe and continue the venture. – Roslan Awek, the man behind Roslan Homemade Burger[5]

#3: DIN Burger At Sri Aman, Sarawak

At the young age of 17 years old, when his peers decided to pursue tertiary education or settle on a secure job, Jafarudin Drahman took a road less travelled in 1995. 

While my friends were continuing their studies and looking for a ‘safer’ job, I was friends with an abang named Ali and sold burgers with him. – Jafarudin Drahman, founder of DIN Burger[6]

His decision did come with the criticism of his neighbours, friends even his close family members. But, that didn’t avert Jafarudin from following through with his decision.

Jafarudin, familiarly called Din, started working alongside Abang Ali with a wage of RM10 per day. A decision that Din didn’t regret. Having the experience of tending a burger stall from a young age was the necessary foundation for his later years.

In this burger business, I have met various people, most of whom come from various backgrounds. Usually, in this kind of business, we have to deal with many types of people. From here I have learned about retail marketing. How to approach customers of different races and looks, was also the initial challenge I went through. – Jafarudin Drahman, founder of DIN Burger[6]

After two years of working with Abang Ali, Din took over the business from Ali who was suffering from health problems. The turning point in his venture after meeting a chef who shared tips and tricks on enhancing the sauce. 

The chef gave me a tip that the deliciousness of the burger lies in the best combination of chilli sauce and mayonnaise. So, I played around with different types of chilli sauce and mayonnaise to get the best taste. – Jafarudin Drahman, founder of DIN Burger[6]

In the business, there have been ups and downs, losses and unstable profits but that didn’t stop Din from continuing. 

Usually, I will sell about 300 burgers or the equivalent of 50 packets of bread yesterday. There are days when sales are higher. All of them give a lucrative return with a net profit of about RM400 to RM500 a day. – Jafarudin Drahman, founder of DIN Burger[6]

Despite only having an SPM qualification, Din was offered a permanent position as a general assistant at Pakit Camp, Sri Aman, ten years ago. Since then, he has been juggling his burger stall with two other workers and his wife. He now owns two cars, two motorcycles and two houses and a steady stream of income. Like many other successful burger sellers, Din hoped that he could spread his wings and establish DIN Burger kiosks in the whole of Sarawak. 

People perceive that selling roadside burgers isn’t going to get me anywhere is completely untrue. If a person is diligent, has a business spirit and wants to continue to thrive, sustenance can be earned anywhere. – Jafarudin Drahman, founder of DIN Burger[6]

#4: Burger Abah Mook In Seri Kembangan, Selangor

Usually, burger stalls are open in the late evening until late at night. However, this particular burger seller decided to change it up by opening it in the daylight and setting it up right at their home.

Husband and wife, Muhammad Basir Abu Bakar and Nor Azlina Jaafar managed to capture the hearts of consumers with the novelty of their operating hours.

Usually, it’s quite rare to have Burger Ramly during the day. So I thought about what was wrong with trying and it turned out there was a response during the Movement Control Order (MCO).  Muhammad Basir Abu Bakar, owner of Burger Abah Mook[7]

Often, they have received orders from customers for lunches and tea.  

Most orders that we have received are from parents who want burgers as a supply for their children to go to school. In addition to being able to enjoy Ramly burgers during the day, the prices we offered are also much different from the burgers at popular fast-food restaurants.  –  Muhammad Basir Abu Bakar, owner of Burger Abah Mook[7]

The couple who retrenched from Utusan Malaysia at the start of the pandemic found an income source through the Bangkit Khaira PPZ-Ramly. Under the programme, the couple received a burger stall complete with kitchen, gas and raw ingredients. 

The business opportunity offered by PPZ is something that is good enough for those who have lost their livelihood during the pandemic. – Muhammad Basir Abu Bakar, owner of Burger Abah Mook[7]

#5: Syukor Burger, Batang Kali, Shah Alam

At the start of the pandemic, Siti Rohani quit her job as a clerk due to caretaking duties. Her small family was relying on her husband’s small income. To supplement their expenses, the Rohani and her husband, Muhammad Ayub A Latip started selling burgers on a small scale.

My husband only works as a cafe assistant and his income alone is not enough to support the family. That’s why we opened a burger stall to find a side income. – Siti Rohani Husni, a housewife who sells burgers for side income[8]

But the income from their side business has been meagre.

Previously, we sold regular burgers on a small scale from 5pm to 10pm. However, the profit is not as much with a gross income of only RM400 to RM500 per month. There were times we could only sell two to three burgers a day. – Siti Rohani Husni, a housewife who sells burgers for side income[8]

Help came to the couple in the form of the Wanita Bangkit@Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita dan Keluarga Malaysia programme in Puncak Alam. The couple were introduced to Syukor Burger franchisee and became the sole operator in Batang Kali, Shah Alam. Their income has seen an increase since being involved.

Now we have a stable livelihood.  We can sell up to 80 burgers with a gross income of around RM3,200. – Siti Rohani Husni, a housewife who sells burgers for side income[8]

#6: Aris Burger In Bandar Baru Bangi Manned By PwDs

Disabilities did not stop two friends; Farid Zainuddin, 31 and Idzham Azahar, 20, from being self-sufficient. Both of them are deaf and mute but that didn’t stop them from giving up. Farid, who had failed prior ventures as a burger seller, rose from the ashes and continued his venture.

I have experience as a burger seller in Klang but suffered losses. Even though I am aware of my shortcomings, it is not an excuse, I need to find a halal livelihood and prove to others that I can also excel. Farid Zainuddin, a deaf, mute burger seller[9]

But their success story was filled with hurdles as they searched high and low to make a break. In 2019, both Farid and Idzham approached the operations and business development manager of Arispop Holdings, Najib Abdullah wanting to be part of their entrepreneurial journey.

I don’t really remember which programme they had heard of or attended, but sometime in the end of November, we received a WhatsApp message from them. The text was very confusing and I later found out that they were deaf and speech disabled. They asked us for job opportunities and so began our journey. Najib Abdullah, operations and business development manager of Arispop Holdings[10]

The duo currently run a burger stall in Bandar Baru Bangi. Other than relying on sign language to communicate with their customers, pen and paper are ready for customers to place their orders. 

They try to mouth their orders but we still cannot make them out. We will ask them to write it down and try to somehow communicate as it is the only way we know how to talk without sign language. Farid Zainuddin, a deaf, mute burger seller[10]

But the novelty of Aris Burger lies in the kampung-range chicken they used for their burger patties on top of the patties provided by Arispop Holdings. 

We are the first ones to have kampung chicken in Malaysia, he wrote on a piece of paper.   Farid Zainuddin, a deaf, mute burger seller[10]

#7: Burger Orang Kita in Baling, Kedah

The Orang Asli or the indigenous community in Malaysia, synonymously make a living from natural resources through farming, fishing or handicraft. But, one man in Kedah is probably the first Orang Asli from his village to set up his shop.

I am probably the first Orang Asli in this village to open a store. – Ubal Kulim, owner of Burger Orang Kita[11]

Growing up, Ubal Bin Kulim, the fifth child of eleven siblings, always had an interest in entrepreneurship. Even so, he needed a little push to start his business.  Through his participation in Program empowerNCER in Baling funded by Yayasan PETRONAS, Ubal got his much-needed golden ticket.

His determination and discipline in running his stall had only allowed his burger sales to grow. Now, on his menu, he even included drinks and Thai papaya salad (somtam) to the menu. From worrying about his and his family’s finances, Ubal is earning RM 1,020 on average per month. Sometimes, the earnings could go up to RM 1600.

I used to worry about my finances, but now, I am able to support my family and even have some savings. – Ubal Kulim, owner of Burger Orang Kita[11]

Explore our sources:

1. F.Lee. (2020). How Ramly Burger Grew Into An Empire That Now Benefits Almost 30k Micro-Entrepreneurs. Vulcan Post. Link
2. A.Mawawi. (2020). BINA EMPAYAR SENDIRI: Akie Burger: 11 tahun yang Link
3. Sinar Harian. (2017). Dari penjual burger, kini miliki kilang sendiri. Link
4. M.R.Mamat. (2021). Akie Burger sasar 200 usahawan. Harian Metro. Link
5. C.Radang. (2021). Berniaga burger sejak 1979. Suara Sarawak. Link
6. MalaysiaAktif (2019).. Berkat Usaha Gigih: Peniaga Burger Miliki Dua Buah Rumah. Link
7. A.H.Hadi. (2020). Burger Abah Mook popular di siang hari. Malakat Tribune News. Link
8. M.B.Roslan. (2021).Suri rumah bangkit ubah nasib keluarga ketika pasca pandemik. Selangor Kini. Link
9. M.H.Zainal. (2020).NAK ‘ORDER’ BURGER Dua Sahabat “Pekak dan Bisu”. Malaysia Gazette. Link
10. D.Kanyakumari. (2020). Deaf burger sellers in Malaysia overcome the odds to stand on their own feet. Channel News Asia. Link
11. Yayasan Petronas. Flipped Fortunes, Sizzling Income. Link

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