A brother and sister team from Bradford are so confident in their new fast food concept that they’re already talking about setting up in high streets across the country.
And customers at Asif Haider and Nazia Ali’s new venture – called simply BITE – will not only be getting a very special burger experience but the profits from every one they buy will be going to charity.
Asif, 26, and Nazia, 34, have spent almost a year not just devising the concept but experimenting to create a style and quality of burger unique to Bradford and the Yorkshire region.
Their new burger joint, which opens at 1pm on Thursday, August 22, will specialise only in beef burgers. Apart from a couple of non-beef options, there will be no chicken wings, no hotdogs, or fish fillets – just beef.
“When I first discovered a really good burger – actually when I visited Dubai a couple of years ago – it was the first time I’d tasted anything like it,” said Asif. “I love burgers but, growing up in Yorkshire, I was used to the kind of burgers you can find anywhere, made from frozen beef or ready-made patties supplied by meat wholesalers.
“They’re OK if that’s what you want but they’re nothing like the ones I had tasted, which just take it to a whole new level.
“It’s based on an American diner concept called a ‘smashed’ burger. You take a fresh beef patty and literally smash it down on a hot grill to get a crust on one side and a really nice caramelised flavour.
“But it can only be done with the right quality of beef and certain cuts from the cow that are blended to create the perfect flavour.”
Asif recognised the demand for a smashed burger restaurant in Bradford so moved his focus away from working as a Bradford-trained fully qualified pharmacist to work on creating the perfect package for the new business.
Nazia said: “Although the burger seems a really simple thing, it’s actually a very complicated recipe.
“And it’s taken us about a year to get it exactly right, going to specialist beef providers. Even when we got it right, we spent a couple of months perfecting it along with the correct cooking techniques.”
Asif added: “Instead of going to a butcher and asking him to supply his own beef, we did it all ourselves; we researched and tested all the different cuts of beef and made our own unique blend.
“You can’t buy this ready-made: we get them made to our exact specifications. It’s our own secret blend, delivered only to us.
“We use fresh beef – never frozen. It’s Aberdeen Black Angus, which is a breed which tends to have the best flavour. It’s known as prime beef so it’s really good cuts. It’s dry aged for at least 21 days; the cows are free range, grass fed, so those things all combine to create the flavour that we get.
“Our burgers are made with different cuts of the cow and for ours we’ve chosen three specific cuts for what we think gives us the best flavour and we decided exactly what ratio of fat to lean meat we required. It took a lot of experimenting to get that right – which quantity of which cut to which ratio of fat and so on.”
The new venture, based in the former Rakkaposhi Coffee and Desserts café in Ebenezer Street, close to the Leisure Exchange, will be creating jobs with five or six new staff. They are also seeking to take on two apprentices, through local training providers.
Although the business is a social enterprise set up with support from the Bradford-based QED Foundation, whose work supporting disadvantaged people to become economically active will benefit from any profits, the BITE team are thinking big.
“The first thing we want to do is get the name out there and then build a brand,” said Asif. “We think BITE is a nice, concise name and we have a nice logo. We want to keep it simple for potential future franchising as well.
“We’d like to open another branch within a couple of years and the dream is to be on every high street.”
Nazia added: “We want to be known as the place people think of first for a burger – a really good burger joint, with consistent high quality and service.
“We’re not about gourmet food – we serve really delicious and high-quality fast food. Nothing too fancy and very reasonably priced.
“We want our burger to speak it for itself. The tastiest, most memorable burger our customers have ever had. Our strapline is ‘Burgers you can taste with every BITE!’”