National Burger Day is here! Now in its third year it’s set to be the most successful yet. In the run up we spoke to three of the restaurants taking part: Chuck Burgers, Googies Art Café and last but by no means least Dazy Kitchen.
Run by Michael O’Sullivan and Nicola Barnard, the newly opened West London café – Dazy Kitchen has a focus on freshly cooked brunch and lunch, inspired by their love of ‘comfort food with a gourmet twist’.
It all started in December 2014, with a pop-up market stall selling homemade cakes, pastries and festive treats at the North End Road Market in Fulham.
Motivated by an overwhelming response from the public and the other traders, they decided to take the leap, drop their office jobs and follow their dream in spring 2015. Now, their speciality is their ‘secret recipe beef burgers’ – made using lightly seasoned prime cuts of beef.
We spoke to Nicola and Michael about perfecting the burger, the home from home café experience and their invaluable advice for start-ups.
What are the components of the best burger?
The meat! We went through a lot of different burger recipes, different cuts of meat and lots of different seasoning combinations.
Now I love burgers but we were eating burgers at least twice a day for several weeks before we were happy. Turns out that you can’t beat prime cuts of really good quality beef.
We always felt that the patty had to stand on its own feet, it had to be delicious without any other toppings that you’d normally find in a burger. Once we perfected the patty we moved on to the fun part… designing burger combinations!
What’s your unique selling point (USP)?
We’re situated on a residential street in Shepherd’s Bush, and we have our very own herb and flower garden outside (which my dad dug up from his own garden in North London and brought over to the café).
Many of our customers tell us how homely our café is, like an extension of their own living rooms. Our walls are decorated with pictures that have been gifted to us from friends, family and customers.
We have giant Jenga and Connect 4 games, books and magazines that customers are welcome to use and read. The private courtyard area also offers a tranquil place to relax in a bustling part of West London. One of the best things about where we are is the local community, all our neighbours.
However the main reason that people keep coming back to us is for the quality of our food. We have taken great care to produce a wonderful, seasonal and eclectic menu offering, inspired by our world travels and unique heritage.
You started from a pop-up, what’s the best thing about having a pop-up?
Expanding our customer base into a diverse range of consumers, who until now has not experienced our offerings. Hosting a pop-up also provides a wide range of consumer feedback which is simply invaluable.
What’s the quirkiest burger you serve?
This HAS to be the Genghis Khan Burger - inspired by the history of the burger itself, plus our travels across the Atlantic, the Genghis Khan Burger is seriously meaty! The burger is made up of the following:
• 2x 8oz patties
• 4 Slices of back bacon
• 4 Slices of Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 Fried egg
• 2 Onion Rings
• BBQ, spicy mayo and burger relish to top
• Shredded iceberg lettuce served on a brioche bun
Do you have any alternatives for veggies?
Yes! We currently offer the new Veggie-Halloumi Stack and the wonderful Spicy Bean Burger.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting / running a restaurant?
• Be prepared for a tough battle. Opening any new business is tough, however opening a food business is a whole lot tougher! Things to consider:
• Working hours - you will need to work at least 12 hours a day, and that is probably too little at the beginning.
• You will need start-up capital. Regardless of your sales, your business will incur daily running costs which will include: food, business rates, rent, utility bills (much higher than residential), insurance, staff, transport, marketing, and digital developments. You will need at least three months’ worth of cash to keep things going.
• You must love to clean! You will be cleaning a lot.
• You must love food! If you do not, don't do it.
• Gain as much experience before you open up as possible, even work for free in similar businesses, as these lessons will prove invaluable when running your own business.
• Be prepared for very stiff, and strong, competition in your marketplace.
• Expect people to copy you if you are successful.
With burger businesses both big and small making the most of the day, don’t forget to download your voucher for 20% off. If you’re as excited about National Burger Day as we are, why not grab a bite to eat and support your local burger bar.