Posted by BurgerFuel

On Friday 23 October, the Hawke’s Bay (Heretaunga), home of award-winning NZ wines, blue skies for days and incredible Art Deco architecture, will be celebrating their Anniversary Day. So, what better time than now to celebrate our award-winning local franchisee, Andy?

When we say award winning, we mean multiple ‘Store of the Year’ award winner at the infamous (using the word ‘infamous’ loosely, as it’s only infamous to those who work for the Fuel) BurgerFuel Purple Carpet Awards. Much like the Oscars (but not really), this event acknowledges and rewards the hard work and dedication that our franchisees and staff make on the daily. The ‘Store of the Year’ award is the most revered and basically means ‘you da best’, when it comes to all facets of operating a BurgerFuel store – from recruitment, training and leadership/mentorship, to service, local store marketing and community involvement…and the list goes on. There is an extensive criteria and Andy has ticked all the boxes and lead from the front on numerous occasions.

Andy has been part of the BurgerFuel fam for 13 long years, opening the Napier store in 2007, and Hastings store in 2014. He resonated with the brands' easy going, fun side and felt it aligned with his own personal ethos and values. He also appreciates the flexibility and nimbleness that a local brand can have over that of a global giant.

“I love being part of a Kiwi company that has the ability to change and develop quickly with the times. The family feeling between franchisees and Head office is unique and means we communicate and collaborate much more effectively, as there is a smaller group of us. We can get together and nut things out as a collective, coming to a solution with general consensus among the group. It’s one big happy family... most of the time!”.

He takes great pride in his two stores and constantly invests back into his business to ensure they not only look immaculate, inside and out, but also operate to the highest standard. Continually working on improvements to his in-store systems, he is a master at figuring out operational efficiencies.

“It is important to me that a customer gets their burger in record time and it is fresh, hot and tasty, as it should be. Our burgers are ‘fresh to order’ and we need to make sure we have every staff member working cohesively to make the experience a great one, and a quick one. That’s our competitive edge and I stand by it”.

Testament to this, it is by his own initiative that he will be closing his Napier store, from October 27 – November 8, to make extensive improvements to his kitchen. He has even gone to great lengths and resource to have the BurgerFuel Container Kitchen (usually reserved for events and PR activations) shipped to Napier to sit outside the store and ensure that locals can still get their burger fix during the two-week upgrade. With a slightly reduced menu, online ordering unavailable and the complexities for his staff, working within a 6 x 2 metre shipping container (vastly different to the Napier store’s kitchen) he is determined to ensure his regulars aren’t too inconvenienced and there is as little disruption as possible.

Andy hails from Auckland and worked as a Firefighter at the Auckland Airport for 13 years prior to donning the BurgerFuel black tee. It was through his airport work that he met his smoking hot wife, Anne, who was a Qantas flight attendant. Anne is extremely hands-on in the business and a force to be reckoned with. They have two beautiful children, Bella and Jack, and you’ll usually see the family cruising the streets in his stand-out ’72 Ford Torino on the school run, or at a local event, like the annual Christmas Parade. Anne and Andy are well-known for their community involvement and take great pride in it.

Speaking of custom purple classics, Andy has had 2! The first, a ’70 Chevy Chevelle, with an engine he completely rebuilt after blowing up the transmission drag racing. He made loads of extra mods along the way and with a 350ci small block and electronic exhaust dump valves, you could hear this car across town.

His current baby is his Torino, which has a 302ci windsor small block and is fairly stock standard, except for a few additional modifications. But not for long! As always, he has big plans to modify the heck out of this machine “This car has an amazing body no rust and straight as. Future plans are to replace the original engine with something a bit more powerful (500hp is the target) along with a new drive train, brakes and suspension upgrade, to handle the additional power’. We love his dedication to keeping this beast true to it's racing heritage.

Hawkes Bay proud, Andy knows his town through and through and is always quick with recommendations on local sights to see and where to eat and drink. Well aware of how spoilt they are for variety and quality when it comes to the amazing wineries and restaurants his hometown has to offer.

Always acting as our voluntary tour guide, there isn’t a member of HQ who hasn’t sat in the passenger seat of the Torino, perusing the town with Andy, when visiting on business. You will usually find yourself ending up at his place having dinner with the family or chatting to his customers, who know him by name, when visiting his stores.  

“I love getting to know people. Coming from Auckland there is a really nice family feel about Hawke's Bay. People take time to stop and have a chat, catch up and listen. That level of community interaction is awesome. There isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be”.

Make a stop off and meet the BurgerFuel Napier or Hastings crew while exploring the meticulously preserved Art Deco buildings, or while on your first leg of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. A BurgerFuel burger tastes excellent whether sober, or half-cut. Enjoy!