12 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About myBurgerLab
We caught up with co-founder Ren Yi and gained some bite-sized insights about this lovable burger biz.
1. It’s more than just a restaurant
Founders Ren Yi, Chang Ming, and Wee Kiat had no professional culinary background prior to diving into the burger business, and they had learned about the F&B trade through part-time jobs during their studies. In turn, they constantly welcome part-timers who are keen to work at myBurgerLab (affectionately known as Geeks).
"We see ourselves as more of a school,” Ren Yi beamed, as he went on to explain, “We use myBurgerLab as an opportunity for youths to come in and learn a new thing or two. We encourage a positive working culture and we’re at our happiest when we’re giving back to the community.”
2. In fact, 70% of the workforce is made up of part-timers
Typically, out of a shift of 14 staff, only 4 are full-timers. At any given time, there are at least 30 part-timers on the rotation list. The Geeks come from a diverse range of education backgrounds, from future accountants to upcoming architects. Interestingly, culinary students are not easily spotted here.
3. myBurgerLab churns out an average of 1,200 burgers every day
Fans of their black-bunned burgers will remember the insanely long queues that had become synonymous with their Seapark outlet. They have since expanded to cater to their ever-growing fleet of fans with equally-popular outlets in OUG, Sunway, and Cyberjaya, with each outlet serving an average of 300 burgers daily.
4. The black buns were an accidental discovery
During the early days of burger testing, Ren Yi had chanced upon a box of charcoal powder during a grocery store run. Upon finding out that the charcoal does not affect the buns’ taste and texture in any way, it became a permanent addition to the recipe and thus, the iconic black buns were born!
5. Inspiration for their special sauce came from Chef Google
What are three budding restaurateurs with no culinary background to do? Pick the best-sounding recipes online and improvise to make them mBL-worthy! Yes, that heavenly sauce that you’re happily dipping your fries in is a result of the Google search: “best sauce to have with fries”.
6. Apparently, the Seapark lot is haunted!
The #1 factor that drove myBurgerLab to open their first outlet in this random lot in Seapark? Exceptionally cheap rent! But when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In this case, the lot had been abandoned for 2 years and was rumoured to be haunted. In fact, neighbouring businesses had a snickering bet that myBurgerLab wouldn’t last more than 6 months! We wonder whether these neighbours made it to the burger joint’s third birthday bash last Friday…
7. Their third anniversary collaborator could have been Chef Wan
Their third anniversary celebration saw them collaborating with Benjaming Yong and his team of chefs at the The Big Group, resulting in a tantalizing one-day-only Big Mac and Cheese! But did you know that Chef Wan was among the list of collaborators myBurgerLab initially had in mind?
The anniversary burger was a huge hit, due to the umami-inducing combination of their juicy patties topped with ooey-gooey mac and cheese and bonito flakes. True to myBurgerLab’s charitable spirit, all proceeds were channeled to Ebenezer Home and Agathians Shelter.
8. The Geeks level up to earn bonuses and badges
The Geeks are motivated to excel at their respective work stations by levelling up. The idea is that they improve themselves well enough so that they are able to teach someone else. When this happens, they earn a level up card. There are altogether 7 level up cards to collect; a collection of 5 out of 7 cards will earn them a bonus while a complete collection of cards will earn them the coveted 5-Star Geek badge.
9. Absolutely nothing is pre-cooked in this burger lab
myBurgerLab’s ultimate requirement for a good burger: the ingredients must be completely fresh and cooked upon order. Also, they do not overload their burgers with sauce, to avoid masking the original flavours of the burger ingredients. Ren Yi cheekily added, “Another one of our kitchen rules? The burgers must be highly Instagrammable!”
10. 'Vivien's Husband' is a result of a customer who wanted to marry one of their burgers
myBurgerLab gets their kooky burger names from the weirdest sources. A customer named Vivien loved their then-nameless vegetarian burger so much, they ended up naming it Vivien's Husband in her honour.
11. There could have been a tempoyak burger
The Geeks Burger Battle happens from time to time as a fun way to innovate new burger creations. To encourage creativity, the sessions are not limited by any rules so the contenders are unrestricted when it comes to choice of ingredients, costing, and such. Looking back on the session, Ren Yi recalled fondly one of the more unusual ingredients they had seen: fermented durian. Though, given the durian fever now, you may just see it crop up on the menu soon…
On another note, there’s also a coconut ice cream burger that’s scheduled for an introduction in the next few months!
12. Ren Yi’s childhood ambition was to become a roller coaster designer
Given how wildly successful these burgers have been, Malaysia probably would have seen a sharp spike in theme park visits if the engineering graduate got his way!
Inspired by the culinary world but not so gifted in the kitchen? You're gonna love these starter recipes!