We speak to the mastermind behind the hottest food-on-the-go sensation to hit Egypt this year about the perfect bite and just how they built the country's first bona fide food truck.
“It all started off with the burger…” says Ahmed Hanafi, the entrepreneurial mind behind BRGR Truck, the mobile restaurant that’s been killing it at Hacienda’s sun-soaked coast all summer, whipping up sizzling juicy burgers and garnering rave reviews along the way, both for the perfect taste they’ve managed to get down pat, and for the sheer innovative nature of their entire approach. Functioning as Egypt’s very first food truck, BRGR took the Sahel seaside by storm when they set up shop on the sand in a tricked-out silver truck that channels laid back, surfer cool vibes, all words in light bulbs and menus scrawled in chalk on surfboards.
But the creative concept all began with a very simple notion; achieving the perfect burger. “I’ve always been really excited to try out new burgers; whenever a new place opened up in Cairo I’d test it out; whenever I travelled I made it a point to hit up the best burger places. One time, I thought to myself; why don’t we have burgers like this in Egypt? So I figured, it’s not rocket science - why don’t I go into the kitchen and start experimenting?” Hanafi spent the better part of a month testing out a myriad of different meats, cuts, suppliers, and cheeses until he developed a final product he was content with, complete with the now signature special sauce that tops the beef patty in each of their burgers. “At that point I knew I had something good on my hands,” Hanafi explains.
And the natural corollary to creating the perfect product is finding the perfect way to deliver it, and that’s how the food truck concept came to mind. “I’ve always been infatuated with food trucks, and it’s such a unique idea within Egypt because it’s never been done before,” Hanafi explains. But instead of setting up on the streets, he chose an alternative route; to operate within the parameters of a smaller community. Knowing from experience that location is definitely key, Hacienda instantly seemed the obvious choice. “Where better to open than somewhere I love, and usually spend the majority of my summer? It’s a happy place – which also ties in with the entire concept of the BRGR truck, which is all about happy vibes.”
Though he admits that nabbing the spot was no easy feat, he managed to snap up some prime stretch of sand along the seashore and subsequently embarked on the even bigger challenge; creating the physical truck. Egypt, being unfamiliar with the entire notion of food trucks, building a mobile kitchen from scratch was certainly an undertaking. “Building that truck was a nightmare!” Hanafi laughs. “It was really challenging because no one’s ever built something like this here, but we really pushed ourselves to create the final design.” And the result was something akin to what you might see on The Food Network; an interior that utilises “every single centimetre” complete with all the trappings of an actual kitchen.
Eventually, the entire thing came together and from the moment BRGR Truck opened up on the beach it set off an avalanche of praise, sweeping Sahel into a veritable burger fever, queues forming daily in front of their window as hungry fans flocked to the spot to get their fix. “The response was overwhelming - we had really amazing feedback,” Hanafi says. “I wanted everything about this project to be different than everything else in Egypt.” And that, he certainly achieved. But as the summer comes to a close, BRGR have their sights set on the rest of Egypt, with plans in the works of setting up shop in places like AUC, the Gezira Club, Sukhna, Gouna, food festivals, concerts, and more. So where will you be getting your next BRGR fix? You’ll have to wait and see.
You can follow them on Instagram @thebrgrtruck.