It is not an understatement to say that Singapore is a food nation. We love our fast food and many may not know it Ordinary burgers is its own burger joint that aims to serve “premium gourmet burgers at an honest price.”
The brand’s co-creators — like Wei Shen, 29, and Adrian Ang, 38 — previously felt that gourmet burgers were not readily available in suburban areas.
“We thought there was no clear category leader in the premium burger segment in suburban areas, and so we saw an opportunity to get into that segment,” Wei Shen said.
They worked on research and development (R&D) for a year before feeling confident enough to launch the brand in 2018.
Unlike many other F&B entrepreneurs, Wei Shen had no previous industrial experience. After his national service, the IT graduate worked in various roles within the technology sector, in a way that he became familiar with Adrian.
“As someone who is always practical and looking for new challenges, I had wanted to work on something different and that’s where I found my passion for food and started the Ordinary Burgers project.”
Not just a regular burger
“With the release of Ordinary Burgers, the intention was to redefine the meaning of an ordinary burger,” Wei Shen explained.
Their burgers are handmade from scratch with quality ingredients and are halal certified to cater to a larger customer base.
The concept of fast and casual burger works in a kiosk environment with a limited or no living area, so it can convey to consumers the savings in operating costs.
With a focus on delivering a value-for-money product, Ordinary Burgers has developed a segment that competes effectively with leading fast-service restaurants (QSRs) and restaurant brands.
The price of their a la carte burgers ranges from $ 5.30 to $ 10.20, being the best-selling Signature Classic Beef.
Wei Shen said that from day one, his biggest challenge is to change people’s perception that Ordinary Burgers is a fast food brand that sells expensive burgers.
When we first launched the brand, people were curious about the product. The toughest challenge was to educate our customers that our products were freshly ordered and therefore the waiting time would be a bit longer compared to major QSR chains.
As a brand within a kiosk environment, people generally perceived that the whole shopping trip would be fast, so there was some initial discontent. However, as we have an open kitchen format, customers soon saw and realized that the efforts required to build a burger from scratch and therefore became more comprehensive.
– Like Wei Shen, co-creator of Ordinary Burgers
Also, once customers realize the difference in product quality compared to QSR brands, that’s when the mindset changes to one that sells gourmet burgers at affordable prices.
If you still don’t know, Ordinary Burgers is the sister brand of the Mexican-Turkish brand of F&B Stuff’d and Joint Heroes smoothie. Although Ordinary Burgers shares some shared corporate resources with Common Heroes, Wei Shen stressed that it operates primarily as an independent incubator project.
It does not participate in promotions or any marketing initiatives, and sells mainly through word of mouth.
“We firmly believe that a good product will sell itself and therefore our focus has always been to ensure quality and consistency and get the best possible ingredients at the most reasonable prices,” Wei Shen said.
Survive the competitive F&B industry in the midst of Covid-19
Today, Ordinary Burgers has two outlets in Singapore: City Square Mall and Ang Mo Kio Hub.
Despite its growth over the years, Wei Shen said it has not been an easy journey. Like many other F&B companies, it has faced labor shortages, especially with current border closures.
“It’s a bullet we have to bite for our staff to work in longer shifts to cover some of the job gaps,” he lamented.
Like most F&B companies, the Covid-19 pandemic over the past year has affected our sales. When the lock was announced last year, we had to turn around pretty quickly to include delivery options. We have learned from this experience and are now in a better position to operate efficiently in this uncertain environment.
We have also taken advantage of Covid-19 downtime to further improve our systems and products and are currently looking for new expansion opportunities to bring our products to more people.
– Like Wei Shen, co-creator of Ordinary Burgers
When asked about how they plan to survive in the F&B industry, Wei Shen simply said that they should continue to maintain product quality and provide good service to stay true to the brand’s value proposition.
“In addition, as an open kitchen concept, there is total transparency throughout the preparation process which, in turn, instills greater consumer confidence in food safety and handling, which are key factors in the post- pandemic “.
Featured Image Credit: Ordinary burgers