I fucking love burgers. Late last week I dropped in to Burger Me Up! to smash a burger and a beer and also to meet Jo, the owner who’s taken over Chur Burger on Albion St. in Surry Hills, Sydney. Jo’s from Austria, we had a funny conversation about The Sound of Music, then we got onto more serious conversation of business, or lack thereof.
A month ago Jo spent all his pennies in the one go and took over the old Chur Burger, which was pumping. He’s using the same venue and the same ingredients, but under a different name. He expected a profit loss of around 20%/day running the business without the Chur Burger name, but in reality it’s more like a 70%/day loss. Not because the product is bad, maybe more because Sydney’s a bit fucked up like that.
When I go to a new Italian restaurant for the first time I always order a Spag Bol (if they can’t get that right then I’m not coming back!), so I ordered the classic off the menu and it was fucking awesome. Perfect bun, the Angus patty perfectly cooked to medium, the flavour from the grill was amazing, the burger was tight. The burger reminded me of my trip to Vegas (where all I ate was burgers). A true American burger, not as dry as an In-N-Out, but not as dirty as a Shake Shack.
As much as I was enjoying my burger, it wasn’t so great hearing that Jo was suggesting business was so bad that he was freaking out about paying the rent this month. Where most businesses plan to run at least 12 months, even at a loss, Jo had put everything into buying Chur Burger and didn’t expect such a dip in profits. I couldn’t help but suggest a few ideas; a flyer run in the local area, a new logo, running events, creating a new voice, better photography, using the Chur Burger name in cheeky ways via social media content (hey Hungry Jacks has goes at McDonalds all the time, Pepsi do the same to Coca-Cola), but the guy is broke, there’s no budget for my team at Threesome or Spacewalk (I paid for my burger and beer and I’m not being paid for this post!).
Yesterday my team was in the city pitching on a job, since we were in the city I thought it would be a good idea for the entire team to meet Jo at Burger Me Up! (and I was craving another burger). I ordered a classic again and it was just as good as the first one I had a few days before. It’s obvious to us that Jo is stuck between a rock and a hard place (I’ve always wanted to use that saying!). We want to help, but we’re not sure how much we can help without being paid, thus this post. It’s maybe all we can do for him right now, to take a couple of shots and share our experience and his story.
If you’re in Sydney and love burgers… if you loved Chur Burger! Definitely check out Burger Me Up! If you’ve got any ideas to help Jo from shutting down his new business perhaps leave them in the comments and we can let him know, or better yet, visit the guy, have a burger, and let him know face to face (he’s a good guy!).