Right now there’s just one Burger Project outlet. It’s less than a year old. By the end of 2016, owner/chef Neil Perry (of Rockpool Bar and Grill fame) wants nine stores: five more in Sydney and three in Melbourne.
The next Burger Project will land at Parramatta early next year, to be followed by Chatswood and Broadway towards the middle. During the second half of 2016 two stores will open, in Circular Quay and the MLC Centre food court. In Melbourne, Crown, the CBD and Chadstone shopping centre are earmarked.
But all this is just the beginning. Perry and his team are aiming for 50 Australian locations, plus a presence in New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and even the home of the burger, the good ol’ US of A. “If you don’t think you’re good enough, there’s no use running and hiding where you think you can survive,” he says.
The initial store was a test of sorts, to see how well the concept would scale in terms of consistency, speed of service and quality. It’s done well, obviously.
The chain-to-be was founded on the back of Rockpool’s popular Wagyu burger, but Burger Project only uses grass-fed, non-Wagyu beef from Cape Grim in Tasmania, both to keep the burgers affordable and to veer away from prevailing trends. Perry reckons the farm is big enough to supply about 100 Burger Project stores.
His patties use a mix of point end, brisket and chuck cuts, which are cut and minced at each location, then hand-formed. “We’ll never have centralised production, because we couldn’t guarantee the quality,” Perry says.
These are sandwiched between Breadtop buns, with classic fillings such as cheese, pickles and slow-cooked beetroot. Then there are more inventive ingredients, which hint at Perry’s fine-dining background. Try the rose mayonnaise and you’ll understand what we mean. Burger Project also sells a range of ice cream, shakes, wine and beer.