Kiwis couldn’t get enough of burgers on the first day of Covid-19 alert level 3, with several burger joints around the country reporting their best-ever day of business.
As lines of cars snaked around fast food giants like McDonald’s and KFC, indie eateries specialising in gourmet burgers were also experiencing unprecedented demand.
Burger Burger owner Mimi Gilmour Buckley said her five stores in Auckland, Mount Maunganui and Christchurch did the same amount of sales as their busiest Saturdays, through contactless pick-ups alone.
“There were 60 cars outside Ponsonby at one stage waiting for us to bring takeaways out to them,” she said.
Burgers made up 50 per cent of their sales, with close to 1500 sold, which meant there was also a lot of fries, broccoli and shakes being ordered, she said.
In Wellington, Rogue Burger on The Terrace sold more than 250 burgers before 5.30pm.
“We actually had to shut for dinner service because we ran out of buns,” said owner Simon Pepping.
“Even on our maddest days when the street is heaving with workers, we’ve never done so much in just a handful of hours. Usually it’s spread out over the day and evening. This broke records for us.”
Dirty Burger in Petone sold “just shy” of 900 burgers between 11am and 9pm, said owner Alex Henderson.
The first orders started trickling in as early as 7.30am, and it wasn’t long before they were so swamped that he had to erect extra docket rails to hold them all.
“It was just chaos… it was our biggest day we’ve ever had by a longshot.”
Bacon Bros in Christchurch struggled to cope with demand after its online ordering system crashed, and apologised to customers on Facebook for “lost orders and late deliveries”.
Even so, co-owner Luke Bilbrough said they managed to pump out between 700 and 800 burgers, with he and his staff doing many of the deliveries themselves.
He said 25 customers also responded to a last-ditch callout for help with deliveries.
“We just filled some chilly bins with hot water bottles and put two or three orders in there and they picked them up.”
The volunteers were fully briefed on social distancing and sanitising requirements and were told to leave the food on the doorstep, he added.
In Dunedin, Re:Burger owner Boris Reiber said they put through 500 burgers in four hours, which was almost double their usual volume.
“It was a pleasant shock,” he said.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be a blip where everybody’s really craving it and then it tails off, but it still exceeded our expectations by a big shot.”