BURGER WISCONSIN everybody knows your name

Burger Wisconsin has combined a crisp new fit-out which enhances the local persona of every franchisee's individual store

Burger Wisconsin has combined a crisp new fit-out which enhances the local persona of every franchisee's individual store

Burger Wisconsin Papanui team

Burger Wisconsin Papanui team

Burger Wisconsin wants energetic young entrepreneurs all over the country

When Andre Chappell joined Burger Wisconsin 14 years ago, it was a famous local brand but a very different franchise. ‘Back then, it was a pretty loose arrangement; today, it’s evolved and become a much more organised, more profitable business.’

Andre bought his Papanui franchise after 21 years in the police force. ‘I knew the local Burger Wisconsin store well because I visited it regularly, and when it was time to leave the force I never actually looked at another business. I was able to work myself into it by buying a half share and working there while I was still a policeman. Maybe that was cheating? The training’s certainly a lot more organised today,’ he laughs.

Andre should know – these days, as well as owning the Papanui store, he is the franchise support manager for the whole company. ‘We’re opening new stores at such a rate I’m rushed off my feet. I’ve just assisted with three new outlets and we’ve got three more to go before the end of the year.’

spectacular results

Burger Wisconsin has had a new lease of life since being purchased in 2015 by Mariposa Restaurant Holdings, the company which created Mexicali Fresh. As CXO (Chief Experience Officer) Conor Kerlin, one of the family behind MRH, says, ‘We bought what we knew was a very good, solid brand with a very loyal fan base. We didn’t want to damage that, but we wanted to re-energise the brand and make it more relevant in today’s market. That meant no quick make-over – we took our time to allow the ideas to evolve and the results are spectacular, as Andre has found.’

According to Andre, ‘A franchise works because it has tried everything and discarded the bits which failed. Burger Wisconsin has been through that and today’s franchise is proving its value by expanding, improving and staying ahead of the trends.

‘Mariposa has taken all the best parts of the original concept and built them into a thriving enterprise in which all the franchisees have an input. It has become what a good franchise should be: it has security, support and structure, with a high-powered marketing team and all sorts of business management systems to make your business easier to run – and more profitable, too.

‘Today, all the franchisees care really, really deeply about what they do and serve, and that’s because we are successful and have a say in the system. Above all, we are listened to by people who understand franchising intimately. It’s a whole new era for us, and is bringing in lots of new customers as well as bringing back old ones.’


‘What customers love about Burger Wisconsin is not just that we produce tasty gourmet burgers from fresh and healthy local produce – there’s more to it than that,’ Andre says. ‘Most of the stores are run by locals who are connected with the community, just as I was, so it’s a bit like the TV series Cheers: everybody knows your name. Customers love that so we make as much time for them as we can. We may have a crisp new fit-out but we’ve retained our local persona and people love that. It’s the same with the menu: we’ve retained the flavours for which Burger Wisconsin is famous, and added zing with some new options, too.’

But the changes haven’t all been about the customers. ‘A key desire when we bought Burger Wisconsin was to make the stores more profitable for franchisees,’ Conor says. ‘With our Mexicali Fresh experience, we’ve been able to increase purchasing power and introduce systems that make it easy-to-operate even for newcomers to hospitality.’

excited at the prospect

As Andre has discovered, Burger Wisconsin is now opening new stores at a great rate and is looking for suitable candidates for more locations all around the country.

Conor is keen to attract ‘people passionate about food. We don’t necessarily want chefs or people with existing hospitality experience – we want people who want to do something different with their lives and can see we offer a great system, model and opportunity to build their own destiny. The cost of a new outlet will be between $300,000 and $350,000 +gst, for which you get full training, a brand new on-point fit-out and the opportunity to own a popular and, above all, profitable store. Remember, this is about return on investment.

‘We want franchisees who can become part of their local community, rather than just another franchise plonked down as part of a corporate chain. We’re also keen to attract a younger generation of entrepreneurs, excited at the prospect of work and prepared to put in the elbow grease. If you are the right fit for us, we’ll do everything we can to help you succeed. Contact us now.’

14 December 2017
Franchise New Zealand Magazine