Melbourne-based burger restaurant chain Burgertory will today open its 17th store in the Victorian capital - a flagship outlet in Box Hill - as the company’s founder outlines plans for serious scaling over the next two years.
Founded by Hash Tayeh, Burgertory has cut itself a serious slice of the local burger scene in Melbourne since opening its first store at Braybrook in 2018, becoming known for its outlandishly large burgers, colourful buns and a devilish image.
Following today’s launch of the 300sqm flagship restaurant, Tayeh plans to expand the company's footprint even further and is hoping to have 50 stores across Victoria and New South Wales by the end of 2023.
“I’m pretty over the moon. It’s been one of my goals since I started Burgertory in 2018; I had a vision to be the biggest and the best,” said Tayeh, a Jordanian national who became an Australian citizen at the age of 1 after his family fled the Gulf War for a better life Down Under.
“We’ve hit one of those goals today - being one of the biggest independently owned and operated hamburger chains in Australia, which is pretty huge for us,” he says, noting most other burger chains in Australia are either franchise operations or license their brand from a conglomerate.
The Box Hill restaurant opens this afternoon at 4pm, complete with entertainment by Middle Eastern drummers (a nod to his heritage), local singers and free burgers for the first 300 people that turn up.
By the end of 2022 Tayeh hopes to have 32 stores open across Victoria, including in the state’s regional hubs. From there, the entrepreneur is planning on expanding north into New South Wales, and expects a store will open there in the fourth quarter of this year.
“We’re really amping it up,” said Tayeh, who founded the business after returning to Australia from Qatar, where he had been living since he was six years' old.
“We’re doing a lot of infrastructure restructuring to be able to handle that sort of growth.”
The launch comes after the tumultuous pandemic period that impacted not just Burgertory but most hospitality businesses in Melbourne - hit with multiple waves of COVID and the on-again, off-again restrictions that followed.
Speaking to Business News Australia earlier this year, Tayeh said he was forced to reduce trading hours across the board and close some restaurants after 260 of his 400 staff were infected with COVID.
Today the founder says things have become much easier for hospitality operators, especially as international students make their way back to our shores.
“I’m more optimistic, but to be honest with you, whether restrictions are reintroduced or not, I’ve pivoted my business in way where we’re ready to adapt to any changes,” Tayeh said.
“So rather than panicking and being reactive, we’ve taken a proactive approach.”
Beyond expansion plans for Burgertory, which Tayeh says will add an extra 40 per cent to the company’s revenue this year, the entrepreneur hopes to start giving back by mentoring the next generation of business owners and innovators.
“When I arrived in Australia when I was 16 I found it very hard to achieve my goals. I felt like not many people took me seriously or wanted to help me,” he said.
“Now I’m in the position where I can help others, whether they’re young or old. I love seeing the growth of people and helping them achieve what they desire, or more than what they thought they could.”
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support