We decided with Móni to search for places around the university to eat a great for our project. Finally it was a successful trip, and we got answers to many of our questions as well. So here is an interview with Ádám Gögge, co-owner of Leves and Ádám Susánszky, co-owner of Zing Burger.
The Leves (Soup.) opened its first shop in 2011 August, but since then the company expended on other places as well. “ We opened Kálvin Pasta in 2013, in 2017 an other one in Apály Street, then in 2018 one at SOTE Campus”. The appearance of Leves on the parket was kind of a culinary novelty, which a lot could afford to try. It’s specialty still lies in good value for cheap price and it’s quickness. Even when we visited them, a huge line waited for us, so it took us longer to get in than getting the delicious soups. We decided to try Sicilian chicken soup with croutons and Cold raspberry creamsoup with wild berries, which we could eat with rich topping. We can confidently say that if someone wants a good cup of hot or cold food, he can find his calculations here. “When we opened Leves, we have seen a great potential in street meals, especially because in Hungary you could only find coffee in paper cups before us”- said Ádám Gögge. In the beginning mainly university students visited the shop, they were the target audience and the main point was to make them a fast, affordable but good and healthy product. That’s why they chose Kálvin Square, but for today, the customers have also changed, 60-40% of them are students and office workers, which means 2-3000 customers a week. At a low price, many people are needed to make the business economical, so the proximity of universities and offices is a really good investment for them. A real confession hasn’t been formulated, to our question, Ádám Gögge said that by their similar way of thinking they are simply assessing the situation and trying to make the most reasonable decisions. “We currently have four units within the company which make money. A short-term plan is that we might open a fifth, but the most important is to optimize these ones. There are a lot of plans in the medium and long run. I would be happy to move abroad for a few years again and continue to do what we do or look into the real estate market “- said Gögge finally.
Early April morning near the Danube. We were waiting for the co-owner of Zing Burger on the terrace of a retro cafe which is, as he told us, an iconic place. When he arrived, all our fears ran away since he was really kind and nice, and really keen to talk about everything that belongs to the story of Zing Burger.
The date is 2013. Ádám Susánszky did the catering service at an event, and this is what gave him the idea of the gourmet street hamburger. He, as a person who had already worked in other restaurants, joined his friend, Eszter Csanda, whose field was the sales-marketing, and they established the Zing Burger. Ádám told us that the name came from a random idea while he was walking in the street, but is doesn’t have a special meaning. They started the whole thing with a foodtruck in the Gozsdu Udvar, which was about to become very famous and crowded that time. It was very ideal for them as they wanted to sell their food from a moving truck, but then they stucked there. When the winter was coming, the question of being able to stay there popped up, but luckily that year the weather wasn’t that cold, so they didn’t have to close the truck or move out.
In 2014, they opened the first permanent place at Király Street, which was a very good opportunity for them, because this area is full of youngsters and tourists, who are their main target audience. Since then, they opened another permanent place at Király Street, and have other shops now at Kazinczy Street (Karaván), at Széll Kálmán Square and near to a shopping mall called Allee. Their funniest story belongs to this place. As we mentioned before, their main target audience is mostly the young people, but when they opened the new place there, an old woman came and said casually ’2 hamburgers please for take-away’, despite the fact that they hadn’t really spread the news that they were about to open a new shop. They assumed that she must have known about it from her grandchildren. Well, I guess it’s the best advertisement they could wish for.
When we asked the co-owner about their secrets and what have made them so popular, he emphasized two things. First, they still work with the same suppliers, and they pay attention to the ingredients. They don’t have a wide selection of hamburgers, but this is why they are more than the others. As there are only 5 types of burgers, they are able to make everything fresh and fast. In the USA, it’s a widespread thing called fast casual restaurant, which is a mixture of fast food restaurants and normal restaurants. It means that they don’t employ waiters, which makes things go way faster, but you still get fresh made food.
Their most popular burger is called Streetburger, which is made with cheddar cheese, caramelized onion, chili mayo, pickles, ketchup and home-made meatballs and rolls. They said that it’s really important for them to use only 5-6 ingredients which could be found in any kitchen, and all of their hamburgers are made without preservatives.
They aren’t planning to change the menu, they only have the idea of a ’naked burger’, which means they leave out the rolls, and some other complementary stuff.
At Zing Burger, there are 150 employee, from the suppliers to the office workers and to those who make us the delicious hamburgers. They always come up with new ideas how they could improve the things they already have, and how they could become better. It’s really unusual what Ádám told us that he works in other fields of the company every 2 weeks so he can see how they work and what could be better. And this is the second thing that makes them so unique.
In their long distance plans there is a dream of going abroad and to open new places in the countryside as well. They have already been at Sziget Festival, which was a great success: After they found out how they could make not 30-40, but 100-120 hamburgers per hour, the name of the company wouldn’t stay unknown for the foreign people.
So we guess there’s nothing that could stop them from growing bigger and bigger.