F&B

How Ramly Burger Grew Into An Empire That Now Benefits Almost 30k Micro-Entrepreneurs

Ramly burgers are one of my favourite go-to’s for supper whenever I’m craving something greasy and moist. 

Their burgers are an all-time Malaysian favourite and their patties have been enjoyed by many generations. 

My favourite Ramly Burger stall, Brader John / Image Credit: Brader John Uptown

It’s hard to imagine Malaysia without Ramly today, but back then, even the government couldn’t predict how far this business could go.

Last year, Ramly’s annual sales hit RM1 billion and they’re targeting a 20% growth this year.

The Ramly Group will also invest more than RM500 million to expand their production capacity as they aim to produce 6 million burger patties a day.

This is 6x more than what they’re currently producing a day, and 60x more than when they first started, which was 100,000 burger patties a day.

Ramly bin Mokni, the founder and managing director of the Ramly Group, has come a long way from where he started.

Introducing Malaysian Palates To Western Food

Ramly was born in Tanjung Piandang, Perak and was the 8th child of 16 siblings, he shared in an interview with Orang Perak

He grew up in Sekinchan and later moved to KL to look for better job opportunities.

Ramly and his wife, Shala Siah binti Abdul Manap, started this business from their home in 1978.

Ramly and his wife and children / Image Credit: Ramly Group

“The idea came from when I was working in a supermarket. It came from a customer who asked if one of the burger patties they sold at the supermarket was made by a bumiputera.”

“Back then, the demand for food made by bumiputera was very low,” he shared in an Astro Awani interview.

It was also a time where there was dispute around not knowing if burger meats were halal or haram.

Hence, Ramly saw it as an opportunity to start a business to create halal burger meat at the time with his wife.

He applied for a loan of RM7,000 from Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) but was rejected.

“I think at the time Malays were not interested in burgers yet,” he suspected.

When his loan got rejected, he decided to start his business with just a capital of RM2,000 and produced 200 burger patties a day.

Because he didn’t have many funds, he created these patties manually, using his hands and knives at home.

His patties weren’t received too well in the beginning; Malaysians then apparently just weren’t into burgers. 

However, Ramly wasn’t discouraged. He later opened his own burger stall near Chow Kit and started selling cooked and uncooked patties. He also tweaked the flavour of his patties to the liking of the local palate.

The demand for their patties then grew and they started producing 3,000 meats per day, 15x more of what they originally produced a day.

People Just Can’t Get Enough Of Ramly

Ramly had set up a company 2 years after he started making patties in his home.

In 1984, he managed to open a factory in Bandar Tun Razak that was about 100,000 sqft.

In 5 years’ time, Ramly found that he reached the maximum production capacity of that factory, but the demand was still growing.

He knew he needed to match those demands, so they expanded to a bigger factory in Batu Caves that was about 3 acres.

With that bigger factory, they went from producing 100,000 patties a day to 1 million patties a day.

They also started introducing nuggets, sausages, meatballs, minced meat, and more, along with their patties.

That Batu Caves factory expansion wasn’t the end of their growth though.

In 2018, they built an even bigger factory in Pulau Indah, Selangor that’s 5.6 acres.

One of Ramly Burger’s 3 factories / Image Credit: Ramly Group

His expansion in Pulau Indah was thanks to the loan he got from Agro Bank and Bank Pembangunan Malaysia, whom he signed an agreement with for a syndicated financing worth up to RM275 million.

“I borrow from Agro Bank because the agriculture and farming industries are a profitable business. This is an industry that can make someone a millionaire,” he shared in the Astro Awani interview.

“People back then used to say that it isn’t good to become a farmer when they don’t realise that it is actually a business that can give you an easy life.”

Encouraging The Bloom Of Small Businesses 

The empire of Ramly has already opened up opportunities for almost 30,000 micro-entrepreneurs, but they’re aiming to reach 100,000 of them. 

The food truck we go to to fix our midnight cravings / Image Credit: Brader John Uptown

“If a business can sell about 100-200 burgers a night, it means they can earn a net profit of RM200 a night. Imagine if they can sell 1,000 of them.” 

“And if they go up to 3,000 a night? If their net profit is RM1 per burger, it will be RM3,000 per night. They can actually achieve almost RM10,000 a month,” he calculated in an interview with Berita TV9.

From the way he put it, it seems like starting a Ramly burger stall sounds pretty lucrative.

But then again, it’s important to take into consideration the initial startup cost, which is estimated to be around RM5,000 to RM6,000 by CompareHero MY.

1 Ramly chicken pack has 6 slices in it and costs RM7.50, so if you were to aim for the 200 mark, you’d have to buy around 33 packs which will cost you RM250.

Say if you were to operate 6 days a week, you’d have to operate for 24 days a month so buying the patties alone would be RM6,000 a month, but the wholesale price is most likely cheaper than that.  

Furthermore, the location, marketing and customer retention are important variables of how successful your Ramly burger stall can be. 

Realistically speaking, it’s actually better to sell your burgers at least at RM5 if you want to cover these costs and have a lucrative business.

How Far The Ramly Group Will Go

With their current production of 1 million patties a day, 70% goes to the local market whereas 30% is exported. 

Their products have been exported to Thailand, Singapore, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia.

There are already 16 Ramly Halal Marts and 12 Ramly Halal Kiosks in the country, but Ramly wants to expand to 450 branches in the next few years. 

With how promising their growth and expansion has been throughout the years, I wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to hit that prediction.

Ramly is an iconic and accessible Malaysian food whose popularity would most likely not die down anytime soon, not even with competition from gourmet burger stalls.

  • You can find out more about the Ramly Group here.
  • You can read about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Ramly bin Mokni, founder and managing director of Ramly Group & SelangorKini

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