Last Wednesday I asked Eliza, Operations Manager at Better Burger, to take me back to day one.In the next hour, she deconstructed, and I demolished the mouth-watering double cheeseburger in front of me. I wanted to know where the idea behind all this came from.
Eliza began with an interest in hospitality. Working in the operations department at Mexico for a year and a half, she’s now moved to burgers, the current ‘it’ meal, or rather,
Better Burger, the ‘it’ place to eat them. She says ‘No one day is ever the same.’ and that’s what she loves most about her job.
‘It took months and months to find the right suppliers, to work with the right farms and to trial all the produce.’ Eliza says – at the same time admitting she didn’t mind all the
burger-tasting that came as a result.
‘After being a front page feature on New Zealand Herald’s website for a couple of days, things went absolutely mental.’ Eliza tells me, ‘There was a line that went a block down the road and around the corner, people were waiting up to 45 minutes just to taste a Better Burger.’
So, you think people responded well? I sarcastically ask.
‘Definitely, and it was something quite new to New Zealand, in terms of a simple burger. In New Zealand we have a lot go gourmet burgers which are huge and have a lot of different flavours. But we didn’t quite yet have the very simple American Burger which is what we’re trying to do.’
‘We’re trying to find that happy place between, having great quality ingredients – everything fresh, everything made to order – but then also having that fast food aspect, like it being really fast (always under 12 minutes) and super cheap so that affordable value is what you get,’ Eliza explains.
‘We have potatoes which are whole potatoes and 10 minutes later they are fries, nothing is frozen, nothing is microwaved so everything is made fresh.’
But what about good old kiwi ingenuity? I didn’t even have to ask. Of course, they’ve got that down too.
“All of our ingredients are locally produced. Our potatoes and onions come from Balle Brothers in Pukekohe, our tomatoes come from Curious Croppers in Clevedon and our buns come from Bread and Butter Bakery.
So what makes a burger better? Well, it seems it’s down to the finer details. But being a regular burger consumer myself, I had to know what makes Better Burger worth passing up Velvet and Burgerfuel burgers.
Eliza responded, ‘I think it’s our simplicity. When you do something that is so simple – in this case, burgers, fries, sodas and milkshakes – you get the ability to focus on the important things, and have one central goal.’
Better Burger really does have simplicity down to a tee. On entering the heart of Auckland City, Better Burger’s concise menu and interior invites you into a stress free and enjoyable atmosphere.
Although the establishment is relatively new itself, it holds a lot of history. Eliza tells me that the industrial style lighting used in Better Burger is from Eastern Europe and the tables are legitimate
Russian second world war tables.
My final question, what has she taken away from it all?
To this she replies, ‘Our biggest learning curve was and is learning how to run a business as a fast food chain, or what we hope will grow to be one.’
Personally, I think they are killing it. The food is great and the prices are even better.
And here’s one more reason to go. Take a photo of your next meal at Better Burger and post it to your Instagram account with the hashtag #betterburger. If you get picked,
your photo will be displayed in store, plus you’ll receive a weeks worth of free meals on the house! Right now, there’s not a lot that sounds better.