The founders of Handmade Burger Co have given a snapshot about how keeping it in the family, forging strong relationships and never compromising on quality is the route to their ongoing success. They also say that the burger culture is certainly not wearing thin for them as they celebrate 10 years since opening their first ever restaurant, with plans to continue expanding the business.

Handmade Burger Co. started out as a 12-person team, but with significant growth over the last decade, the business now has over 850 team members across 28 locations in the UK. When reflecting back on where it all started, co-founders Chris and Richard Sargeant never dreamt they would be where they are today, 10 years on.

Born on a council estate in Birmingham, the Sargeant brothers always dreamed of starting a business together, but with nobody to give them a helping hand, they were determined to build their brand through their own passion and hard work.

Middle brother Chris always had an interest in food and farming and traces his appreciation of ‘fresh, natural food’ back to his childhood days. “When we were kids,” says Richard, “Chris would grow vegetables in our little plastic greenhouse at the side of the house – he would spend the summer and Easter holidays helping out at a farm, and working in the kitchen at the nearby pub.”

After leaving school, Chris trained as a chef at the local food college and went on to work in hotels and restaurants across the UK and abroad. He remembers being unable to afford chef whites and knives, but was lucky enough to be funded by a local charity that provided him with the chef whites and knives to kick start his career.

After college Richard went on to run his own small property business. By this time, both brothers had developed the drive to create their own brand and it wasn’t long before they came up with the idea of Handmade Burger Co., identifying the perfect spot for their first ever restaurant in Birmingham in 2006.

“I still remember the meeting with the landlord like it was yesterday – we were terrified! We had found the best location and we had to explain why our idea would work,” says Chris. “It was definitely one of the most important meetings we’ve ever had, and the scariest!”

Following the successful meeting, Chris left his job and worked with friends and family to refit the first restaurant in upmarket Brindley Place. They remember planning the whole restaurant space on the floor with chalk! Chris created the menu at home from his kitchen, testing the burgers out on everyone he knew until he was certain he’d developed the best recipes to make the perfect handmade burger.

As the first restaurant was being set up, the brothers focused on establishing strong relationships with future suppliers and farmers, and Chris spent a lot of his time visiting local farms and producers to ensure they shared the same values.

As the years went on and more restaurants began to open, Chris and Richard’s youngest brother, Matthew came on board to help with the growing business. Matthew explains, “It’s great working with your brothers, we are lucky that we all have different skills to contribute to the success of the business and we all love what we do.”

Since opening their first restaurant, the Sargeant brothers are still continuing to work with the majority of the same suppliers, producers and farmers who started out with the company back in 2006.

Handmade Burger Co success has been built on its obsession about bringing real, fresh food with imagination to its restaurants across the UK and boasts a menu of over 40 handmade burgers. “Every business decision has always been driven by our ability to really listen to our customers and act with speed. We look forward to the coming years as we continue our steady and measured growth, always staying true to our vision and values.” says Chris.