Wellingtonian Stalwarts of the Burger Cause

Posted by BurgerFuel

BurgerFuel Wellington stores are headed up by three amigos: Paul, Matt, and Barry. Paul owns three stores - BurgerFuel Lower Hutt, Hataitai and Cuba Street. Collectively, Barry and Matt own BurgerFuel Upper Hutt, Adelaide Road and Porirua, while Barry independently owns BurgerFuel Johnsonville and Matt, BurgerFuel Courtenay Place.

Proud sponsors of the BurgerFuel Port Road drags since ages ago, these guys have been around the traps for a while and are considered some of BurgerFuel’s OG store owner/operators. Read on to hear more about our favourite trio of Welly franchisees.


Barry, originally from Central Otago, is an Upper Hutt local who loves the urban provincial lifestyle that it offers. When asked what he loves about Wellington, his wry response is “It’s not Auckland”, which sums Barry up nicely. A hard case, with a heart of gold.

Barry became a franchisee in 2008, opening his first store, BurgerFuel Johnsonville. He was drawn to the idea of being a part of a Kiwi brand and liked where it was positioned in the market. He felt it was a brand that was accessible to all walks of life and the music and atmosphere in the stores made it very distinctive, when compared to other multi-national franchises he had worked in previously.

“I really am quite passionate about this brand”, says Barry, “People leave and come back time and time again, both in our stores and at HQ level. That is quite unique. There is something intangible about it”.

He enjoys the people in the brand and while of course there are ups and downs in any franchisee/franchisor relationship, he has always felt supported, particularly in times of crises, such as the current Covid-19 circumstances. He believes head office has shown strong support to the network of franchisees and it has brought that connection closer during times like this. “When the chips are down, I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else”.

Barry embraces the ‘Speed & Custom’ culture of the brand through his own love of cars. His BurgerFuel car is a ’73 Ford Falcon and is no stranger to the drag strip. Being a keen drag racer is a pastime that he introduced to his wife and they both now share a passion for. And because “you can’t drive them all”, he has reduced his fleet of customs and classics to a ’56 Packard, ’71 Holden Ute and ’71 XY Falcon, to name a few. And they are all purple, of course.


Paul opened his first store, BurgerFuel Lower Hutt in 2006. He had years of experience behind him in the quick service restaurant industry and after trying his first BurgerFuel burger at the Ponsonby store, he immediately decided that he would love to own his own and set about making it happen.

Originally from Tauranga, Paul is a now a Wellingtonian through and through. A staunch Phoenix supporter, he loves the friendly people in Wellington and living close to the water. His regular weekend activity is kayaking in Eastbourne and heading to Hive Café, for brunch. 

When asked what he loves about the brand today, “The customers love it. The advocacy that fans have towards BurgerFuel is really something. You will see it any time we have an offer or when we opened our doors again after lockdown. It was really nice to see those familiar faces again, just waiting to get their fix after a long wait”.


Matt first started out in hospitality in 1986 in Napier and 7 years later found himself running two of the busiest fast food restaurants in London, before returning to NZ in ‘96 to continue along a similar vein of work. In 2006 he opened his BurgerFuel store and hasn’t looked back since.

At the time, BurgerFuel was the new kid on the block, with a fresh face, and he wanted to be part of the exciting new brand. It had a harder edge that he could really relate to and it was all about custom classics and hotrods, something close to his heart. Matt is a prolific collector with an extremely vast collection from wartime memorabilia to… you guessed it, cars.  Matt has multiple vehicles that he dedicates every spare moment to custom designing and building with a team of specialists in the field.

Matt has made a name for himself nationally in the drag racing scene and is at the top of his game. One of his favourite things to do is participate in charity Hotrod runs and he has a selection of cars to choose from. His BurgerFuel machines are a ’75 HJ Holden Ute (383 Holden stroker with Nitrous oxide, for those in the know) and a ’69 Chevrolet Camaro (Number 3 in the NZ Superstreet 2020), both painted in the iconic custom 3-tone pearl fadeaway paint job.

Matt feels a real pride in creating jobs for young locals and gets a lot out of public speaking and sharing his experiences about his journey and how he became a multi-business owner, hoping he can inspire others to follow their dreams, work hard and do the same.

So if you're local or visiting Wellington, stop in and try a burger at one of Paul, Matt or Barry's fine establishments. Because, as Barry always says (warning: internal joke) "BurgerFuel, you f*cking rock!!!".

BurgerFuel Adelaide Road: Cnr John St & Adelaide Rd, Newtown, Wellington | 04 380 003

BurgerFuel Courtenay Place: 101 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington | 04 801 9222

BurgerFuel Cuba St: 191 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington | 04 801 0188

BurgerFuel Hataitai: Cnr Moxham Ave & Taurima St, Hataitai, Wellington | 04 386 1118

BurgerFuel Johnsonville: 103 Johnsonville Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington | 04 477 4008

BurgerFuel Poriura: 3d Kilkerran Place, Porirua, Wellington | 04 237 4444

BurgerFuel Lower Hutt: 529 High St, Lower Hutt, Wellington | 04 586 1243

BurgerFuel Upper Hutt: 181 Main St, The Mall, Upper Hutt, Wellington | 04 528 6888