11 Things You Need to Know Before Starting Your Burger Business

March 26, 2020

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Are you considering starting your own burger business? Did you know that you can make a six-figure income in your first year of starting the burger business if you start off the right way?

The articles on this blog are meant as a practical guide to help people like you gain knowledge before opening your burger shop.

Today, we will look at eleven important things you need to consider before starting up your business!

Number One
Always try to open in a crowded location like malls, universities, touristy places, or transport hubs.

Do you remember where the last time you ordered some fast food was? Chances are, it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere or hidden in a cool location. That’s because it’s all about locatio, location, location. We can’t stress that enough because it’s so true.

Fast-food owners usually go by the rule of thumb that you have to open a restaurant on busy streets near tourist attractions, in shopping centers, and near universities, schools or other places where there’s a lot of traffic. Even if you’re competing with others in a food court it’s still better to be in a mall than some other location so be aware of that before signing your leasing contract.

Number Two
You don’t need to have just the classic fast-food dishes in your burger restaurant.

Cheeseburger, a side of fries, and a soda…..that’s it? Well not really. There is nothing wrong with the classic fast-food options. But you can certainly offer something more varied than that. People want more varied dishes like low calorie options and many people choose restaurants that use fresh ingredients so you can try to spice things up and offer more healthy options that can be done in an instant.  There are even seafood fast food chains if that’s your thing.

Number Three
If you don’t buy a franchise you need to come up with a good serving system.

There is a reason why people choose fast food and that’s because it’s quick and easy. Franchise brands have mastered the art of serving efficiently but at the beginning you might struggle with this aspect. You have to be able to serve all the dishes on your menu and get them ready in a matter of minutes. That’s actually relatively easy to do if you make sure to use most of your ingredients into more than a few items on your menu.

Make sure your kitchen staff know exactly what to do step by step after a customer orders. Trained employees are happy employees and make even happier clients. Trained staff will also work more independently and efficiently as part of a team.

Number Four
Offering more than minimum wage can bring you better employees.

Fast food chains have pretty high employee turnover and let’s be real – it’s not the most glamorous job or one that society values a lot. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get or shouldn’t keep your employees hired for longer periods, or even pay a good salary for starters.

Hire good people that can work independently and that you can trust to do their jobs efficiently. Secondly train them to be aware that having a good team on your side is priceless. And thirdly, pay them well and pay them above market rates. Unfortunately many employers fall into the trap of hiring the wrong people for minimum-wage jobs that end up costing more because those employees make many mistakes or leave early.

Number Five
Food spoils easily and that means wastage, and less profit for you.

Yes you can have some things frozen to stretch the shelf life for some ingredients, but at the end of the day you have to serve fresh, quality food to your customers.

Food costing is tricky since recipes have to be followed according to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and ingredients have to be properly measured.  For example if your kitchen staff regularly use two tomatoes instead of one for each menu portion, even though the SOP says one, you will be wasting tomatoes and this will impact your bottom line.  That’s why employees should be properly trained and have adequate materials at hand in the kitchen to follow the instructions.

Number Six
Be smart when creating your menu.

Creating your menu is the most exciting and yet the most difficult part of setting up your business. You might be excited and want to create lots of things but there’s the bottom line to consider.

Try to combine ingredients so that they can be used in many dishes, as opposed to just one dish. Buy in bulk because there are better prices for bulk items and since you’ve combined them wisely they are also less likely to spoil. Keep in mind that food does spoil easily but there are many waste-reducing techniques that restaurants use to make sure their bottom line isn’t affected.

Number Seven
Listen to what your customers want.

Here’s a story for you :  one guy eats the same chicken soup at the same restaurant each day for one year, and one day he finds out that he was the only one who orders the dish so
the restaurant had to discontinue the menu.

Creating your menu shouldn’t be sentimental or about one customer.  It should be about the bottom line, and you should discontinue items on your menu immediately if they do not sell in large quantities.

Number Eight
Adapt your menu to your specific location.

You should always create menu to adapt to local tastes.  For example, KFC adapts really well to what clients want in Japan where they serve local things such as spicy chicken and use rice bowls. In India, KFC have different vegetarian options such as veg singer or potato crisps on their burger since around 42% of Indian families are vegetarian.

Number Nine
Customers can be very rude or whiny so be prepared.

You’ll have to grow a thick skin if you want to get into this industry. Hungry people are cranky and impatient. They might be talking loudly, talking on the phone while ordering, and behaving negatively. Unfortunately you can’t avoid these people so be prepared and make sure that it doesn’t take you or your staff completely by surprise. You should also instruct and prepare your staff for this type of customers. Remember, 99% of customers will be nice and appreciative.

Number Ten
Profit is made by maximizing your sales and minimizing expense and spoil wastage.

We already mentioned how you have to create your menu wisely and build recipes that use basic ingredients bought in bulk.  You might be wondering how some restaurants make money by selling very cheap items – sometimes we’re talking about a $1 burger at McDonald’s.

Well the answer is, quantity. They need to sell lots and lots of burgers daily and since big franchises like McDonald’s can keep their costs down by buying bulk and having a good waste management system in place, they are able to offer these cheap burgers and sell in mass quantity.

Number Eleven
Test your idea with a pop up location.

Ultimately the success or failure of a business depends on the market and many factors that you can’t always control. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave it all up to chance, and what smart entrepreneurs do is test their idea first before launching full scale. A good test to do is setting up a pop-up location.  It is less expensive than leasing a big shop space.

Local markets, food trucks, and even some events are great places to set up your pop-up location. This will give you a sense of how people react to your burgers,  and how many you can sell per day. This will then give you a good insight on what you need to do when you decide it’s time for a storefront location.


Author’s note :

Hello I am Jun and co-owner of Dod’s Burger outlets in Canggu and Seminyak – the best fresh gourmet burgers in Bali!  I have been in the burger business for a number of years, and I can help you start your own burger business. I also give general advice to those who want to start a business in Bali. Please reach out if you would like me to help you at 


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