DU Alumni

Daniels alums take their favorite Denver restaurant home to Kuwait

Owned and operated by DU alumni, the Kuwait Park Burger opened in April. Photo courtesy of BusinessDen

Owned and operated by DU alumni, the Kuwait Park Burger opened in April. Photo courtesy of BusinessDen

Two University of Denver graduates have taken Park Burger to the Middle East.

The Denver burger chain opened its first franchise in Kuwait in April, and the restaurant’s success could lead to more locations outside Colorado.

The 1,400-square-foot store cost about $500,000 to open, according to co-owner Abdullah Alghanem (BSBA ’13). Financing for the project was supported by the Kuwaiti government.

Alghanem and his business partner, Fahad Alsebaie (BSBA ’13), got the idea to bring Park Burger home to Kuwait while they were undergraduate students at DU’s Daniels College of Business.

“We had most of our meals at restaurants, but our favorite was Park Burger on Pearl Street,” Alghanem says. “It’s safe to say we were addicted to it. We saw the opportunity to bring our favorite restaurant back home.”

Alghanem and Alsebaie met with Park Burger’s owner, Jean-Philippe Failyau, and operations director Peter Newlin and discussed the idea of opening a franchise in Kuwait. Failyau and Newlin traveled to Kuwait last summer to assess Park Burger’s viability there.

“We liked the idea and saw the opportunity, so we took it,” Newlin says. “We’re excited to see how it turns out.”

The Kuwaiti duo found a third partner in Fahad Alrefae and opened Park Burger in Kuwait’s capital on April 10.

The location’s menu was slightly tweaked to appeal to religious and cultural differences in the country.

“We’re utilizing a lot of fresh fruit, and we have a full juice bar in the restaurant,” Newlin says. “As far as bacon and other things like that, we’re using beef bacon. We developed some house-made sauces as well.”

The pair ended up at DU thanks to a recommendation from Alsebaie’s brother, Abdulaziz, who received his BSBA from the Daniels College of Business in 2009.

“Daniels College made the biggest difference in our lives,” says Alghanem, citing Tracy Xu, Vaneesha Boney and Maclyn Clouse as professors who helped get the Kuwait Park Burger off the ground. “It helped us figure out how to get a restaurant from the states to open in Kuwait. The classes we took during our finance degree taught us how to build a business; our business law class taught us to how be ethical in your business; and the strong accounting classes gave us the ability to start our business with no need for an accountant because we know how to deal with numbers.”

There’s a lot riding on the success of the Kuwait Park Burger. The company is keeping tabs on the location’s performance to assess the viability of franchising.

“We want to focus on making sure that this one is a success and then go from there,” Newlin says.

But Alghanem and his partners are optimistic.

“We are planning to spread all over Kuwait and open more and more branches,” he says.

This story first appeared on BusinessDen.com


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