By Aimee Chanthadavong

Burger chain BurgerFuel Worldwide (BFW) will be shifting its efforts from Australia to the Middle East.

The New Zealand-based company is looking to roll out more stores in the Middle East region, where the company is experiencing growth while closing one of its two stores in Sydney.

In Australia, there are currently two stores operating in Sydney – Kings Cross and Newtown – BFW will be closing its company-owned store in Kings Cross within the next week.

Josef Roberts, BFW managing director, told Retailbiz its Kings Cross store has become problematic over the four year it has been open.

“We have had constant issues with the complex both in terms of quality of tenants and management and also sanitary issues that continue to create foul smells in the complex,” he said.

He also noted that it was not a financially viable location as it was attracting high operation costs.

“Our labour costs have soured since entry fouryears ago. Then our average wage cost was $12.50 per hour, now it is $20.50 per hour. In addition the high rent is unsustainable in that particular location,” Roberts said.

Meanwhile, Roberts has confirmed its Newtown store will continue to stay open.

“We are retaining Newtown as it is performing to expectation,” he said.

BurgerFuel said it may look to re-locate its Kings Cross store, but at this stage would only trade from Newtown.

Instead, it will be more vigorously supporting the expansion in the Middle East, having recently confirmed their fifth site within nine months of opening its first stores in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

“We have been opening stores In Dubai and Saudi – they are going well and we want to focus our recourses there as opposed to Australia at this time.”