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Quick on the draw

Aug 04 2011 00:00 Tony Koenderman

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In its fifth revamp in 50 years of serving hamburgers, fast food restaurant chain Steers is returning to its roots – midwifing, the rebirth of the “Real Burger”. The group’s relaunch encompasses new-look corporate identity, store design, uniforms, menus and packaging. Outlets feature a “naked kitchen” that allows diners to see their burger being grilled while they wait.

In this new livery, Steers will be facing the might of Burger King, reportedly planning to open up in South Africa. The world’s second biggest burger chain faces slower growth in its home market but it won’t find particularly easy pickings in SA’s competitive marketplace. Steers is no minnow, with 522 outlets and active expansion plans. McDonald’s is already ensconced with 150 restaurants; other competitors include Wimpy.

The first Steers opened during the worldwide burger craze that took off in the Fifties, when burgers really were kings and when the first McDonald’s (1955) and Burger King (1953) opened their doors. Over the years many burger joints varied their menus, adding types of burger (turkey burgers, tofu burgers) and even venturing out of the burger environment altogether.

Steers’ first new-look store is already open at The Zone, Rosebank, and there’s a revamped outlet in Vanderbijlpark. However, the complete exercise will take a couple of years.

“We’re bringing back the theatre – and the product is the hero,” says managing executive Val Bourdos. “It’s crucial to continue innovating and reinventing ourselves to keep the brand fresh and enticing.” 
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