Growing up, cooking has always been the passion of South African man Tiyane Malukele. He would assist his mother in the kitchen whenever he could and most importantly, he never forgot the recipes his mother taught him.
Despite being passionate about cooking, it wasn’t until COVID-19 struck that he started his burger business to survive after losing his job as a mechanic.
The South African entrepreneur named his burger business Grub Worx, a food truck he built with his own hands. Since launching, it has become extremely popular in Soweto and sometimes he gets orders as early as 6:00 am. In the virtual space, his firm has received positive reviews, particularly on Facebook.
Aside from making the burgers, he also delivers them to customers who make orders, using a vehicle he designed for that or a scooter delivery service. One of his loyal customers is Bertha Zwane and she said in an interview why she likes Malukele’s burger.
“It’s… pure chicken. He cuts it while you are watching, he takes fresh chips while you are watching, not the chips that were boiled last week and kept and he makes his own sauces,” she said.
Malukele worked as a mechanic before COVID-19 struck. Although not a luxurious job, he was living a decent life. He had a roof over his head and a stable stream of income. Most South African businesses could not survive the pandemic, including Malukele’s employer. His employer parted ways with him because of the harsh impact of the pandemic and it was so vicious because he wasn’t given notice.
“I looked at myself in the mirror and l said l need to take charge of my life. And l did,” he said. While pondering over what to do, a friend advised him to start a burger business.
“‘I’m telling you, the idea will work, it will change your life,’ he was telling me – and it has,” Malukele said.
Because his dismissal was sudden, he could not accumulate enough savings to start his burger business. However, he was creative. An idea led him to a scrapyard, where found an old Volkswagen car shell.
He got the car to move again after months of working on it thanks to his background as a mechanic. “I saw the car shell here, no doors, no mirrors, nothing, it was just a bare shell. I negotiated with the owner and from there I started building it,” he said.
In early 2021, he started his burger business and also took to Facebook to market it, stating that he was surprised that he had come this far.
Malukele offers a wide variety of burgers. Business so far looks promising and he is now exploring having a chain of food trucks instead of getting a restaurant.