The quest to unite a plasterer, a plumber and a dance teacher in business was among the driving forces behind establishing what is now officially Ballarat’s favourite burger joint.
In 2015 Peter Griffin and his sons opened Griffin Burger while still toiling away at their day jobs, working up to 80 hours a week as their takeaway Mecca began to develop a cult following.
This week the family business was the emphatic victor in The Courier’s Ballarat’s Best Burger poll, claiming more than 56 per cent of the vote from 1366 responses.
Co-owner Sam Griffin said a commitment to using fresh, local produce was key to ensuring customers kept coming back.
“The focus is on being supplied by other local businesses; all of our meat and fresh produce is local and we really try and pump that out in our marketing to let people know we’re based in Ballarat and using Ballarat produce,” Sam said. “We’re real people as well, we don’t try to pretend we’re something we’re not and we have a bit of fun with it.”
The venue has gained a strong fan base through offering a creative array of takeaway options, ranging from carbonara fries to the ‘fusion’ burger, a monstrosity boasting a beef patty, bacon, onion and shoestring fries.
The team also regularly put the call-out on social media to harvest new ideas while also getting feedback on obscure specials.
“One week we put a potato cake in a burger and people just went mad for it so we changed our angle, so if our suppliers come to us with a new deep fried product we’ll chuck it in a burger and see how it goes.”
Earlier this month the store shifted from its small Sturt Street shopfront to a larger space on Ballarat’s most prominent dining strip, Armstrong Street. The former maternity wear store has been gutted and transformed, exposing the red brick walls as well as an impressive Triumph Motorcycles mural from a former tenant.
From an opening staff of four back in 2015, the business has grown to a team of 16 to service the 50-seat venue.
Sam said the takeaway store had outgrown its previous outlet just weeks after opening their doors and have been on the hunt for a new facility ever since.
While keen to establish themselves in their new home, Sam said the owners had ambitions to open a second Ballarat store in 2019 before looking at starting up elsewhere in the state.
“When starting to renovate this shop we wanted to keep this one as our franchise model so we can expand to other businesses in other regions based off this shop,” Sam said of the new space. “We’re also hoping to get some food trucks so we can go around to some other places.”