Burger business a labour of love

Bad Love Burgers co-founder Tristan Chambers sits in front of his restaurant's pink neon sign

One year after opening its West Leederville premises, Bad Love Burger Co is eyeing an expansion. 

Cursory COVID complications aside, Bad Love’s co-founder and former architect, Tristan Chambers, couldn’t be happier with where the company is right now. 

After starting life as a pop-up van that kept the patrons of the Bayswater bowls club sated with American BBQ meats and smashed burgers, Bad Love provides a bricks-and-mortar, sit-down-at-a-stool, burger-driven experience. 

Soon it will be expanding into the premises next door, which will provide the company with greater storage space and, more importantly, the opportunity to open more often, increase trade and try some different menu items to keep the community’s tastebuds tantalised. 

As Chambers describes the situation, the COVID-19 pandemic actually helped the company get off the ground. 

“It actually opened a few doors for us in terms of capital — in terms of tenancies being available, in terms of opportunity, it did create an environment that was easy for us to slip into,” he says.  

“But it also presented some challenges; I know there’s a lot more hesitation from banks and suppliers to put you on account, put you on credit, and set up those services right from the beginning.  

“And then obviously as well you have to have a plan for lockdowns, and potentially if it got worse as well you might need to have a look at some of your contracts, your leases, and make sure that you’ve got adequate cover in those spots.”

One of the trickier aspects of running Bad Love that Chambers faces is managing his employees. 

He’s quick to emphasise how the company still employs all of the staff it started with, which is great for both business continuity and product consistency, not to mention staff morale.  

But when one person’s job under the Restaurant Industry Award can involve between four and six different pay rates depending on what day of the week and what time of the day (or night) they’re working, Chambers is grateful for the help and advice he’s received from CCIWA’s Employee Relations and Advice Centre. 

Keeping tabs on his staff obligations and other duties is almost a separate full-time job. 

“We do rely on CCI for employment advice, in particular for your [employment] contracts,” he says.  

“[In] any business you’re going to have a mixture of full-time, permanent part-time and casual staff as well and all of those staff are going to be on different contracts and understanding the legislation around being a food business is really, really quite complicated.”

For general employee advice and guidance, contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com

One year after opening its West Leederville premises, Bad Love Burger Co is eyeing an expansion and co-founder Tristan Chambers couldn’t be happier.

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