MEET SONNY: BurgerFuel Pt Chev & Parnell Shift Manager

Posted by BurgerFuel

Check out our latest BurgerFuel ad and you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking the featured talent must have been carefully selected from a casting agency. Well, they were carefully selected because of their awesomeness, for sure, but from within the BurgerFuel fam. The awesome bunch you see looking all nonchalantly cool are store and head office staff members, as well as some very special Friends of the Fuel.

As the ad ends, you’ll see two dudes getting stuck into a burger, giving a subtle nod of approval. One of those handsome faces is Sonny, Shift Manager at BurgerFuel Pt Chev and Parnell. Strangely natural in front of the camera, we later found out why - he has a background in performing arts. What a dark horse.  

Whakatane born and bred; Sonny moved to the big smoke at 18 to pursue an engineering degree. His journey with the brand started in 2015, at BurgerFuel Customs Street. He had experienced BurgerFuel burgers once before and was impressed by the product and the vibe, which encouraged him to apply, “The environment that the staff had at the time was insanely welcoming and friendly”.

After working in the Customs Street store as a crew member, he was approached for a shift manager role and spent a year learning managerial systems, gaining experience with running shifts and learning more about the brand. He was poached by the BurgerFuel Parnell store owner in 2017, who recognized his tenacity, charisma and great work ethic and, 4 years on, he hasn’t looked back.

A change in ownership saw the new franchisee keen to give Sonny more responsibility where he was entrusted to become the next store manager of the store, which offered more opportunities to grow. With his career aspirations still dead-set on engineering, he believes that his BurgerFuel path has enabled him to gain important management skills that will be transferable to his career in the future.

The tougher parts of his role centre around the peak evening trade, “As much as I am a fan of 'Fun, Fast & Loud,' the most challenging aspect of BurgerFuel life is managing a 600-burger dinner service. But as well as providing an amazing dinner service energy, BurgerFuel stores are simply some of the most smooth-running stores at their busiest.

Challenges aside, we asked Sonny about the positives of working for BurgerFuel:

The family environment that has developed throughout my BurgerFuel career has built friendships that will last a lifetime. The care that the franchisees have shown the crew have been more than loving - almost treating us as their own. I have always felt accepted for who I am and that reflects in how I treat others. Oh, and the free burgers every shift are a banger of a benefit.

Outside of work, Sonny makes time for a ‘few’ hobbies. As forementioned, the performing arts and dance is a real passion that has seen him involved in Samba, Capoeira and Brazilian Funk. He had the opportunity to perform for a month under the SkyCity performing arts organization, as well as being approached for short film roles and dance videos. He was part of the entertainment at the half-time show at the NZ Breakers Basketball game with his dance school and he has co-operated in writing, singing and producing a song with ex-BurgerFuel staff member Tom Lee (Half of the Lee Mvtthews duo).

If that wasn’t enough, he also partakes in a bit of golf, taking up the sport to spend time with his family. You can catch him on the course during his days off, or exploring the outskirts of Auckland, the Waitakere Ranges and Piha as some of his favourite spots.

A massive thank you to you, Sonny, for your dedication to BurgerFuel for over 6 years! We are lucky to have you.

P.S. Please don't ever leave us.