The founder of Miami Burger, a 100 per cent vegan burger joint in Reading, has spoken out after the restaurant closed just six months after opening.
Miami Burger closed down in The Oracle on Thursday, July 18, and now its founder, Tom Bursnall, has explained why.
Mr Bursnall said he had ambitious plans for the restaurant but didn’t get the customers needed to sustain it.
He now has an ambitious vision to sell his burgers by delivery, at supermarkets and plans to franchise out new restaurants when the time is right.
Mr Bursnall said: “When we started we had the full intention of being permanent and long term.
“Three months in we were getting a very loyal base of customers, but it was too narrow to sustain the very large rent in The Oracle.
“We didn’t quite get the sales we wanted in Reading.
“We would’ve liked to have stayed there longer.
“Several months ago we realised we’re not getting the numbers we needed, so we changed it into a test kitchen.”
At the restaurant’s opening, 50 jobs were created, most of which on a part time basis. Mr Bursnall said staff were told of the upcoming closure.
He said: “The staff knew about it many weeks ago.
“We’ve manage to keep some on, in terms of food development as well as in terms creating additional products, such as brining out mayo and coleslaw which we developed in the last few months.
“It has been a great learning curve for us.
“Some things didn’t work, like our dessert bars.
“We were trying to put health at the forefront, but sometimes ideas don’t come through.”
Mr Bursnall apologised to his customers for the closure. Hesaid: “Sorry it couldn’t stay longer. Id’ like to say thanks to our very loyal customers.
“Unfortunately there wasn’t enough of them to cover the costs.
“Rent and rates can be very brutal on a business.
“We’re not blaming the landlord and we’re not blaming the customers, it’s expensive to do business with purely plant based food.
“Thanks to those who supported us, I really appreciated the loyalty.”
Miami Burger is currently being sold in Morrisons stores.
Vegans can buy a classic Miami Burger, a ‘Louisiana Chick’n Burger’ and a ‘True Veg Burger’ in the frozen section of more than 280 stores.
The burgers are available online and at the Morrisons in Basingstoke Road, Reading, Berkshire.
Mr Bursnall said that he has been contacted by the D&D and Patty & Bun chains to sell his burgers in locations in the future.
And he hasn’t ruled out franchise agreements, so we could be seeing a Miami Burger restaurant pop up again.
Miami Burger is also in the process of partnering with another company to sell the plant-based burgers across the UK via UberEats.
By James Aldridge
Source: Get Reading