Burger bar for the new millennium

5:00 AM Saturday May 21, 2016 Paul Charman

Goneburger Bar & Grill is an innovative brand developed at 9 Cook St, Hamilton East.

Hamilton’s health-orientated Goneburger Bar & Grill may not become the basis for the next food franchise empire — but then again, who knows?

The restaurant, which has refined an innovative brand at 9 Cook St, Hamilton East, for two years now, is for sale through Hamilton-based ABC business broker Tony Begbie.

Owners Ben and Karina Green are moving on to concentrate on their other business interests.

But Begbie says a cult following achieved in the relatively short time the couple has guided the brand, “is nothing short of astonishing”.

Goneburger has about 6000 followers on Facebook, with warm accolades — there for all to see — testifying to some powerful points of difference.

“Since taking over the brand in 2013, which at that time was operating out of a food truck in Cambridge, Ben and Karina have maintained integrity of ingredients and innovation of menu,” Begbie says.

The health-orientated purveyor of king-sized hamburgers and other food lines, uses free-range meats, sugar-free sauces and a multitude of additional high-end ingredients.

True Commercial - Goneburger restaurant - interior .jpg

The store has a high quality modern fit out, with well set up customer service area and kitchen.

“The burgers are huge and messy — costing close to $20 — so a hearty meal is almost certainly guaranteed, and the same integrity-first philosophy informs many other lines, including high-end wraps and smoothies ... And surprise, surprise, it turns out an enthusiastic catchment exists out there for this kind of quality in an industry so often assumed to be primarily driven by price.”

Begbie notes that the dynamic Ben and Karina have established the Goneburger brand the old fashioned way — by treating customers with a refreshing level of respect.

Goneburger offers gluten-free, dairy-free, carb-free, vegetarian and vegan options — and the Greens’ no-compromise philosophy pervades every aspect of the operation — from the hand-cut fries to those low-calorie sugar-free sauces, he adds.

“For example, there are no preservatives, no artificial flavourings or colourings of any kind and animal welfare is a primary consideration.

“So this seems to be a restaurant fit for the New Millennium. Not only does it deliver the convenient type of dining people now insist upon, its owners also seem aware that modern New Zealand comprises a multitude of faiths, cultures, health needs, tastes and philosophies.

“They won’t look at you sideways if you say you are a vegetarian — they’ll just give you a great meal.”

But, I asked Begbie, why would all this be so important to a potential investor?

“Because, a lucrative global market for fast-food handsomely rewards those who can develop significant points of difference, then excel in delivering them,” he shot back.

“Look at Harland Sanders’ pioneering use of pressure cookers to prepare his ‘fried chicken’; the McDonald brothers’ refinement of business systems to create a seamless high-turnover burger chain; or, much closer to home, Geoff Mitchinson’s creation of those very successful LJS seafood restaurants.

“Perhaps somebody who takes this business on will have the capital and skill to move it to the next level; in principle it seems to have all elements in place for similar future success.”

Begbie adds that the store has had a high quality modern fit out, with a well set up customer service area and kitchen.

A total of 35  diners can be seated internally, with a further 12 round tables on the footpath.

There is plenty of free parking in Grey and Cook Streets, while nearby Steel Park provides another pleasant outdoor setting for diners.