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The secret that made Ballistic Burgers a sensation in just 3 years

Founded in May 2020, Ballistic Burgers is a youth-founded and pandemic-born business. In just 3 years it has recorded a steady 7% monthly growth in revenue. Let’s zoom in at the secrets behind such a booming business.

I remember my first bite of the Ballistic bacon and cheeseburger, I also remember the first time I tried the crispy chicken burger. My tastebuds were tinkled in all the right spots! Like me, many people got entangled with Ballistic Burgers, and we must know why.

It was initially established to appease friends’ food cravings given at that time going to a restaurant was not an option due to lockdowns.

Started by a young person, ballistic burger is a case study for consistent success

The founder, Richard Rusa, is a lover of a good time paired with good food. The young man defines himself as a person who jumps at any occasion to have friends over for a good meal.

When he started his business his professional background was rooted in technology, specifically in the e-commerce industry. Rusa decided to pair his experience and passion to create what is today a mobile fast food venture making and delivering gourmet burgers at Kigalians’ doorsteps.

His purpose at the time was to make amazing burgers like the bacon and cheese— which as you may have already guessed is my favorite, but he also wanted to change the narrative around customer service and customer experience, innovate gourmet products, and create a product that gives value for money.

You may wonder, what is the unique selling point of Ballistic Burgers? What made it such a success in the food industry? The answer is simple, apart from creating a delicious burger, the founder was looking for a way to win the Rwandan market and the answer to was simple— making life as easy as possible.

The first secret sauce was to make life as easy as possible for customers

Richard Rusa decided to focus on burgers over the variety of food products that exist for a simple reason, “A friend was craving a burger, and that’s how we made and delivered our first product, and the rest is history,” he said.

“The ripple effect with word of mouth got us to where we are today. A burger is a comfort food, you can have it for breakfast in your bedroom, for lunch at the office quickly before your next meeting, in the evening after work when you don’t feel like cooking, or on a week-end where rest is your top priority.”

The secret was simple. One, make the product easy to describe. Two, make the menu easy to navigate. Three, make the order process easy. Four, make delivery easy! This gained the attention of most people in Kigali and we were all on our phones ordering burgers on WhatsApp.

Those are not the only secrets. With no prior experience in the food industry. Rusa did not just rely on content consumed online, or his specialization in Food and beverage from Cornell University, he built a team around him.

Experts identify that the reason why many startups stay stuck in the startup era is because many are structured around the Founder.

It was not the case this time. The young founder quickly built a team of people with prior commercial kitchen experience.

He says, “Given the evolving nature of practices and technology surrounding the industry we are keen on staying in touch with the trends.”

The secrets of all secrets? Happy customers, happy business! Rusa explains that people were talking and when people talk that is the cheapest form of communication and advertising. So why not make sure they say the right things?

He says, “Our focus has been putting more emphasis on creating happy customers because we quickly realized that they have more influence over our brand than any banner or ad we can put out there.”

“Purchases are heavily influenced by friends and peers. We are about winning groups one taste bud at a time, but we want the experience and the product to be at the forefront of it all,” He continued.

Good packaging was a great tool Rusa and team utilized to make sure the product stays visible

Rusa and the team used a well-known marketing technique to make sure when you mention burgers you think of Ballistic Burger.

Rusa said, “ We quickly realized that for us to create a memorable experience in our customer’s mind and have more visibility we needed to shift from the initially foil-wrapped burger with no identity to a branded wrapper and delivery bag.”

Even though some brands do not see the importance but making sure the packaging is pleasing to the eye and easy to spot is a no-brainer to leave an impression.

Despite the success, the journey was not ‘la vie en rose’ (Not that easy). When starting up you have a lower bargaining power, navigating the implications of registering a business for one to be able to comply at multiple fronts, accounting best practices when one has no finance or accounting background to basic things like sourcing for raw material, consistent timely production, and product quality.

His way to cope with the challenges was to, “Grow with the demand to maintain a consistent experience at 3 fronts: sourcing, production and delivery and we have had to build different monitoring mechanisms for us to anticipate and make quick decisions and these started as basic excel trackers that give us a holistic perspective.”

The company aspires to be a recognizable mobile fast-food brand across Africa starting with nationwide in Rwanda.

Now that we’ve let you in on some secrets, here’s his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into the food business to put customers at the center of the business, to build resilience, and not to have a profit-first mindset.

He says, “Put customers first, food or non-food business will build your resilience to continue to do what you love, You will become less of a replica.”

“A Profit-first mindset will tell you it’s hard to do business; entrepreneurs are problem solvers, and profit is a validation that one has been able to solve at scale or solve the right way. Even when it fails, one should be able to articulate the lessons learned and apply them to the next venture for better success.”

The food industry may be hard but once you have good selling points it becomes easier

Straight out of Twitter