Mimi Gilmour Buckley: NZ's Burger Queen
Mimi Gilmour Buckley, 34, and her team have just raised NZ$2 million to launch 12 new Burger Burger restaurants across New Zealand.
21 October 2021
Most entrepreneurs would find that a frightening level of growth for a young hospitality company. But not Gilmour Buckley.
“I just don’t have that fear,” she says. “You sometimes feel like you’re a little bit out of your depth, but you just keep going.”
Her entrepreneurial spirit was nurtured by parents who both had their own businesses. “They were really clear that there are opportunities out there. If you worked hard enough and you wanted them enough, there was a pretty good chance of you getting them.”
After running a catering business at 16, the Elam School of Fine Arts graduate rejected a career in advertising to instead learn hospitality at a handful of restaurants in Sydney. Then she was a co-founder of Kiwi restaurants Mexico and District Dining, and the creative director of the Taste of New Zealand Food Show.
“It was just a crazy three years. We opened six restaurants. I worked long hours and had to make sacrifices, but it was a huge personal growth time for me.”
Then she made the tough call to sell her share of the restaurants and start her own restaurant, Burger Burger.
“ASB gave me a loan and my mum provided me with the security for it – against her lawyers’ advice. But she said, ‘She’s my daughter and I believe in her.’ We all built the first Burger Burger together, painting walls at 2am. It was just out of control, crazy, how successful it was.”
Gilmour Buckley’s business tips are simple.
· Pick the right people.
· Identify where your strengths lie and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
· Get the best advice. “I’ve paid off some pretty hefty chunks of debt over time through making unnecessary mistakes and that’s why I now have a strong commercial and financial team.”
· Don’t try to be good at everything – it’s just not possible for one person.
· Read, watch, talk to people, and never stop learning.
· Sometimes you just have to trust your gut. “It’s not all logic, because if it was, everyone would be doing it. You’ve got to just jump off the cliff at some point.”
First published 28 February 2019
Story by Brenda Ward
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