Originally from Auckland, Rhys studied electrical and electronics at Polytec, subsequently working in that industry for 6 years. He soon realised that it was something he could do, but it wasn't something that he was passionate about. After leaving his job in 2005, renting out his house and saying goodbye to the Big Smoke, he chased a beautiful girl (now his wife) to Tauranga.
He worked in bars and restaurants, with the aim of working his way up the hospo ladder, gaining some skills and knowledge along the way, then one day opening his own bar or restaurant. His life changed, when wife, Nicole, was randomly chatting to a friend whose husband was in the process of buying a new BurgerFuel store on Cameron Road. He needed someone to run it and Rhys didn’t skip a beat, “I loved that it was a cool New Zealand brand, that was a bit edgy. And I loved that it was an opportunity to own my own business”.
Four months later, Rhys had been trained how to flip burgers and was opening the doors of the first BurgerFuel store in the Bay of Plenty. And the rest is history… or if you’re interested, BurgerFuel Mount Maunganui followed in 2007 (originally opening in Bayfair and relocating in 2011 to its current location on Maunganui Road). The Bethlehem store opened in 2016 and more recently, Papamoa locals got their chance for a geographically closer gourmet burger fix in 2018.
Rhys’s passion and loyalty for the brand is always evident at company conferences and get-togethers, where he is never shy to stand up and share his (some might say, relentlessly) positive views with the group. He has a way of turning challenges into an opportunity and seeing a silver lining attached to any problem. When asked what he thinks of the BurgerFuel today, it’s a simple answer “I love the burgers and the people that work in and on the brand”.