Words with Wise Boys
We caught up with the masterminds, Tim and Luke, behind the infamous Auckland vegan burger joint, Wise Boys while celebrating their 5th year in business.
After dreaming up this brain-child, they quickly swapped their paper-pushing jobs for a food truck and metal spatula. Their number eight wire approach has seen them grow to two stores, a food truck and expansion into a new city on the horizon.
All the while they’ve continued to ‘chip’ away at their sustainability goals, including a refresh of their custom branded compostable packaging, with the goal to get as close as possible to zero-waste.
Hey Tim, thanks for taking time out of your busy day to catch up. Firstly, happy 5th birthday, what a milestone. Can you take us back to how Wise Boys all began?
It all started when Luke and I wanted to create an environmentally friendly business together. We both love burgers and they're simple enough for us to cook since we're not chefs at all. We felt like there weren't any good vegan burgers out there and we wanted to change that for New Zealand. So, we quit our jobs - I was an engineer and he was a lawyer - and set out on the road. We had no idea how it would go and how long it would last. Seems like we're onto something though...
Some would say you’re on a roll… If you had to narrow it down to three elements, what would you attribute the success of Wise Boys to?
First and foremost you have to connect with your purpose and believe in what you're doing and that's been foundational for us. Running a business is hard work so you need to love what you're trying to achieve. I think creativity and resourcefulness has been huge for us. Building our food truck from scrap and recycled materials to fitting out our Grey Lynn store ourselves it’s been very much the Kiwi number 8 wire mentality. Always developing our menu and having fun with the brand.
Now with 5 years, 2 stores and a food truck under your belt, what Wise [Boys] words would you give your younger self starting out in hospitality?
I would say be kind to yourself. Keeping a business running well and growing as well as keeping your mind and body healthy is very challenging. Nothing is ever straightforward running a business. But I wish I congratulated myself more and also celebrated our success and achievements as they happen whilst still having that eye on the future of where we're going next. You gotta enjoy the ride, not just the destination.
Absolutely. Could you tell us a bit about the Wise Boys design and offering?
Our menu is designed to be fun and indulgent. It's not all vegan health food but we still use good quality ingredients and make all our patties and sauces fresh in-store.
And don’t we love you for it! What's the most popular item on your menu?
Our Crispy fried chick burger is definitely the most popular option although our latest special, smash burger, is definitely up there too.
Are there any Sustainability Challenges that Wise Boys currently face?
I think we do a pretty good job on the sustainability front but we'd love to get as close to zero waste as possible. It's not easy with all our different suppliers but something to chip away at. We're recycling as much as we can and composting food scraps and packaging. Our actual waste bin is tiny compared to all our recycling and compost bins so it's a good start!
We love to hear of other businesses contributing to a zero-waste circular economy! What made you choose to partner with decent packaging?
Because we love Fraser! But also because we wanna have good quality and good looking compostable packaging and we know decent always delivers.
**Blush** don’t we all love Fraser! What's the next five years look like for Wise Boys?
If we knew that would be helpful! I think probably looking to get things settled after covid and look to open another store maybe in Wellington... We're also busy selling our jars of aioli and mayo into supermarkets at the moment which is a fun new project.
Wise Boys Grey Lynn - 604 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland
Wise Boys Downtown - Commercial Bay, 7 Queen St, Auckland
Interested in Custom Branded Packaging for your business? We'll make sure your food and drinks are walking out the door looking hot, staying hot... or cold, depending on what they are and what they're in... you get the point.
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We work alongside incredible people, like Wise Boys, sharing the same passion and drive to ensure together we can move toward compostable plant-based packaging solutions.