Burghyss Avenue

“We had to make a lot of deals first,” explains Zelenna. “If we fight as couples, it shouldn’t affect the business. And if we don’t agree on something about the business, our relationship shouldn’t be affected.”

For Zelenna and Rhyss, starting their very own burger shack came with an awful lot of questions. For one, neither of them had ever made burgers – or even cooked at all. While they shared the desire to start a business of some sort, it took a while for them to recognize the potential of affordable, gourmet-style burgers.

And for another, they’re dating. So they quickly had to set a lot of ground rules before they opted to partner with each other for an enterprise.

“We had to make a lot of deals first,” explains Zelenna. “If we fight as couples, it shouldn’t affect the business. And if we don’t agree on something about the business, our relationship shouldn’t be affected.”

“And so far,” Rhyss pipes in with a smile, “It’s working.”

Inspired by the Snack Shack at University of the Philippines, Burghyss Avenue started off as a simple idea – offering customers quality burgers at affordable prices. From early on, the pair committed to making their own patties, melting their own cheeses, and mixing their own sauces. At the same time, without much professional cooking experience of their own, they resolved to learn from the burger flavors that people already knew and loved.

“Our idea was to offer the bestselling burgers of each burger shop at an affordable price,” Rhyss says.

When the couple started offering their burgers to families and friends, the positive feedback encouraged them. Soon they were making regular deliveries to co-workers in the building where they worked their day jobs as sports analysts.

One of their early tests also came when the two decided to juggle those day jobs with setting up shop at the Malingap Marketplace in Marikina. Not just in terms of producing a solid burger that people will come back for, but in terms of the time they had to manage to make it happen.

Asked what the biggest challenge was, the couple quickly confirms it was sleep deprivation. On some afternoons, they would travel from their day jobs in Makati City to the Malingap Marketplace. They would set up shop around 5 PM, hit the sizzler for their hungry customers all the way until midnight, pack up, and be in the office for a report the following day.

Also, consider that, in the first few month of their business, they did everything by themselves – from communications with the supplier and handling their finances, right down to handling the griddle.

That kind of struggle was exactly what Zelenna had braced herself for: “If you’re not good at managing your time,” she cautions, “it really won’t work. You won’t be able to do the business.”

Zelenna was able to walk the walk; the early mornings, late nights, and all the time management needed in between coincided with the Burghyss Avenue’s slow, but steady pick up of a head of steam. After doing some decent work in Malingap and popping up in other bazaars and food markets, word-of-mouth extended the reach of their delivery outside their office. The positive feedback has encouraged them to start developing more burgers, as well. They’ve got four staples on the menu now – all of them for just about a hundred pesos each.

The future looks optimistic for Zelenna and Rhyss, too, as they have their sights clear on setting up a few permanent burger shacks in the Philippine provinces. They mention that some of the Philippines’ beautiful beaches, such as in La Union, are severely lacking in the snack joint department for the surfers out there. They’ve already got plans to fill in that void.

“Keep dreaming,” Rhyss encourages with a laugh.

Not a bad start for a couple who got their start out of a habit for food-tripping. Now, where their relationship goes, could be another exciting story altogether.

Liked their story? Follow the journey of Zelenna and Rhyss on Facebook here!

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