Melbourne chain Burger Road upsizing with plans to take a bite of interstate markets

Melbourne chain Burger Road upsizing with plans to take a bite of interstate markets

Burger Road co-founder Ishu Wadhawan.

The market for home-grown Australian burger chains is sizzling right now with Melbourne-based Burger Road putting interstate expansion up on the chalkboard, within days of Victorian rival Burgertory announcing the acquisition of New York Minute (NYM).

Burger Road, which launched its first store in the northside suburb of Fairfield in 2017, currently has three corporate stores and four franchisee-owned stores in Melbourne.

While it plans to open another four in Melbourne by the end of the year, Burger Road is also eyeing off a move into Queensland, South Australia and NSW in 2022.

Burger Road, founded by husband-and-wife duo Anna Dewan and Ishu Wadhawan and born from their love of American-styled burger joints, is poised to more than double its Victorian footprint next year with the opening of 15 new stores in Melbourne alone. That would more than double the company’s proposed store numbers again in 2023.

“We’re on track to do so,” says Dewan, who sees the chain’s future growth being driven by franchising.

“Now that our stores are established and running strong, we want to expand further into franchising. We also aim to open one corporate store in each state next year and, once they’re established, we’ll begin franchising.”

Burger Road is currently assessing locations on the Sunshine Coast, Adelaide CBD, Sydney’s western suburbs and possibly Albury as part of its interstate expansion plans.

Dewan says existing franchisees are helping drive the company’s growth, with one franchisee currently owning two sites and a second looking for an additional location.

“We encourage and aim for our franchisees to own multiple stores, as it’s beneficial for the entire Burger Road brand,” she says.

“We know our audience both in terms of geographical locations and also our digital communities. When scouting new store locations, we apply a strict list of criteria to ensure we’re entering a market with foundations to ensure a successful business.

“This includes looking at the demographic and ensuring it’s a younger skew, ensuring ample parking, highway exposure or train station access. All of these factors come into play when securing the right spot that we’re confident will perform well.”

Burger Road food
Image courtesy of Burger Road


Dewan also credits a focus on quality for Burger Road’s success, led by its signature Wagyu beef burgers of 100 per cent organic and premium grass-fed beef - a strategy she says won’t be swayed by inflationary pressures facing the quick service restaurant (QSR) sector. The chain also has plant-based options.

“We use fresh produce from local suppliers and take great pride in ensuring consistency with each and every visit,” says Dewan.

“Despite the rising cost of produce and inflation, this is built into our growth plans, and we will continue using local produce well into the future.”

Burger Road is also tackling staff shortages with a dedicated strategy for recruitment and a six-week training program for its expanding team.

“We’re deeply invested in hiring local staff and growing the next generation of workers, which is why we’ve made a number of changes to our onboarding, including offering in-house training; meaning anyone, regardless of their prior experience, can get a job at Burger Road, grow themselves, their skills and their career with our team,” says Wadhawan.

“The QSR space is great entry-level employment for young people. We’re so proud of our staff and want to ensure that we can offer them the very best training, so they’re equipped with all the tools they need to successfully operate their own Burger Road stores. It’s paramount to us that all franchisees undergo strict training under our guidance to prepare them to lead their own teams.

“Our team takes great pride in producing the very best burgers and we’re excited to be sharing that with more Australians.”

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