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  • Writer's pictureAli Terai

JoyBurger Pop-Up Restaurant - The Story

It's 2015, my wife Chantelle and I are hanging out with our best friends Glen and Ana.

Glen gets the BBQ going and cooks up some burgers. I remember saying "Holy shit, this burger is amazing, especially the sauce!".

The night goes on we have a few drinks - we start getting philosophical about life, discussing what we'll do if we ever grow up and the examples we want to set for our kids ect. 

At the time I remember Glen mentioning that he'd love to explore doing something he was passionate about.

At this point we are well and truly lubricated and our conversation went something like this. 

Ali - "That burger was %$&#ing tasty, why don't you sell it?"   Glen - "What do you mean, start a restaurant? (lots of laughter)" Ali - "Yeah why not (kind of joking, but not joking)" Glen - "That's ridiculous, I don't have the skills, cash or the time to start a restaurant" Ali - "Screw it, you don't any of that" Ana and Chantelle - "Wow - You guys are both really drunk" Everyone - (Laugher) Ali - "Hear me out for a second, let's quickly mock up a website, a FB page and make a FB post, I took a photo of the burger earlier which we can share. Instead of starting a restaurant, we'll do a monthly pop-up restaurant at a hired venue (using their kitchen) and pre-sell tickets which will include one burger (the JoyBuger) and a drink". Glen - "Mmm, let me think about it, I'll cook us some more burgers" Ali - "I'll get us some more beers...and the laptop".

Two hours later after a few more burgers and beers, at about 2am, blurry eyed on a starry night in Phillip Island, JoyBurger was officially launched with less than $100. Everything was basic and amateur. But in our drunken state we had mustered up a website, FB page, a photo, some text, an Eventbrite page and a logo.

Ana - "What have you idiots done? I'm not getting involved". Ana lied 😂, she ultimately ended up being the backbone of the JoyBurger once she saw how useless we both were.

Below is the first post which was scheduled for the morning. That post reached 16,000 people and we sold out our first event within a week.

Note - **Years should've been changed to hours 😂**. And wow, the photo definitely wasn't Instaworthy.

A few weeks later the Herald Sun reached out and did a feature on JoyBurger in it's Taste liftout. I still remember the photographer laughing at our inability to turn on the commercial stove. "You guys have never been inside a real kitchen before have you?", he said. "We sure haven't" we both replied. 

Looking back JoyBurger was an amazing learning experience. I still remember being so proud of Glen, Ana and everyone involved. 

JoyBurger confirmed that it doesn't take much to transform who you are. It highlighted the power of a taking a simple idea and mixing it with some action.

We weren't trained chefs or restauranteurs, we didn't have years of hospitality experience, we didn't have a restaurant space, we didn't have any capital or financial backing and we only had the one menu item. But we worked it out along the way. We sold out every event we hosted and we received glowing feedback from the top burger bloggers. JoyBurger reached over 2 million people organically. 

The lesson here is, if you have an idea or a passion, give it a crack in it's most simple form and see what adventure it takes you on. 

P.S This post has made me hungry.

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