Lawyer crowdsources $15k for burger joint side business

By Aimee Shaw

Left to right: Wise Boys co-founders Tim Burrows, Luke Burrows and Beka Gowan. Photo / Alex Young
Left to right: Wise Boys co-founders Tim Burrows, Luke Burrows and Beka Gowan. Photo / Alex Young

An Auckland lawyer has successfully crowdfunded $15,000 to start up a vegan burger food truck.

Full-time top-tier lawyer and burger joint co-founder Luke Burrows said he set up a PledgeMe page to raise funds to refurbish the interior of a food truck trailer - his current side business Wise Boys.

The 26 year-old said he was surprised at how much he was able to crowdfund.

"About a week out [of target] it was looking a bit dire. It was actually a lot of like-minded businesses that gave us shout outs and promoted us to their audiences - that was a really big part of why we made it.

"A lot of unknown people gave us really generous donations. I think it was people who were in to the cause or vibes."

The vegan-based food outlet had a humble beginning.

"Tim and I built the trailer ourselves out of what we could afford which wasn't all that much and it got to a point where we couldn't keep up with demand," he said.

"We would do these events like the Vegan Food Fair where we sold 460 burgers in six hours - we couldn't keep up with demand - so we needed to upgrade our equipment.

"We couldn't afford to do it ourselves so we reached out and people were super generous. A lot of like-minded businesses collaborated and gave us shout-outs."

The on-the-move business was thought up in August last year by co-founder and brother Tim Burrows before operations begun in February.

"We spent the summer getting the trailer up and running and had a builder friend come and give us a hand. We had no idea what we were doing but sort of built it from scratch which took a bit longer than we had thought," Burrows said.

Burrows said a total of over $30,000 was needed to refurbish and re-purpose the mobile unit.

"We set the target [of $15,000] and we had to reach a target otherwise we wouldn't get anything. We budgeted $30,000 for the upgrade and thought we would put half in ourselves and half from everyone else."

Burrows said all the money had been spent on upgrading to a massive gas cooker and gas system, new fryers, new benches and purpose-built storage.

"It's a lot more sleek operation now, everything is purposed built for the space as opposed to just chucking things in to make them work."

When Burrows is not working as a solicitor, he can be found flipping burgers in various parts of the country on the weekends.

Despite working more than 80-hour weeks and juggling two professions, Burrows said it was rewarding: "If you want something to happen, you'll make it happen."

Public reaction to the meat-free business had been very positive, he said.

Wise Boys uses social media to alert customers on its whereabouts.

- NZ Herald

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