“Pioneers by default”: Burger Theory’s food revolution, with Rob Dean and Dan Mendelson

When Rob Dean and Dan Mendelson launched Burger Theory from a converted caravan in Adelaide back in 2011, it kicked off a food truck movement and a burger revolution. 

Foodies would eagerly await the next Burger Theory tweet to find out the truck's next location. The line ups were notoriously huge. 

Rob and Dan then moved into bricks and mortar, with three well known restaurants and an enviable brand. An expansion into China didn’t work out but business still seemed to be good.

Then we heard that Burger Theory had completely overhauled their menu … no more beef, no chicken and no bacon. Just a kangaroo meat pattie. Wait ... what?

We then found out why. The price of beef was going through the roof and unsustainable for the business and environment. So, true to their values of ‘thoughtful fast food’, Burger Theory came up with a patty blend of 80% kangaroo meat, 20% beef fat and 100% taste.

Cue the outrage. Animal advocates, beef loving bogans ... Rob and Dan didn’t see the criticism coming. And it has been brutal on social media. 

The guys tell us the gutsy move to Kangaroo is a risk for their brand and business. But it will be worth it. Rob and Dan talk through the decision making process, the environmental and economic case, managing the fall out, changing culture, and how they became “pioneers by default”. 

Listen to the full interview on Apple Podcasts (Apple devices) or Stitcher (any device).

Find out more about Burger Theory (and make sure you try the burger!).

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