Since myBurgerLab was opened in mid-2012, it’s faced sold-out crowds and a legion of fans who swear by the restaurant’s creatively concocted burgers. What’s more amazing is that none of its three founders, RenYi, Chang Ming and Wee Kiat, ever intended to be restaurateurs.
Tell us a little bit about where you come from.
Well, RenYi was born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, while Wee Kiat hails from Sungai Petani. Chang Ming, on the other hand, is from Pahang, and developed his baking and cooking skills in a DIY fashion, learnt mostly through YouTube and a part-time job in a restaurant kitchen – his mother also played a part in a family-owned restaurant.
What do you usually dress up for?
The three of us can admit that we only really dress up for formal occasions, like corporate dinners, birthdays and meetings.
How does dressing up play a part in what you do?
Chang Ming believes that looking smart and clean is an integral part of working in an open kitchen. Wee Kiat feels that dressing up really builds up his image, and his confidence. Being in the kitchen most of the time, RenYi doesn’t really dress up a lot.
The good thing is, we promote dressing up casually in the kitchen, so jeans and T-shirts are the norm in myBurgerLab.
What did you originally envision yourself to be doing before this?
Chang Ming and RenYi originally planned to be engineers. For Chang Ming, it was the normal route that his life would’ve taken.
Meanwhile, RenYi didn’t really envision himself as an engineer, and wanted to do things that would make people happy. And although he’s doing that by serving good food to people now, he’s still got bigger plans in mind.
Wee Kiat, being the odd one out, had originally planned to make his mark by working in the corporate world.
Can you tell us more about that one moment in time that inspired you to pursue your passion?
It had come to a point where we honestly couldn’t find a place that served a decent burger at a reasonable price. Push came to shove, and we took it upon ourselves to just try to make burgers. We were at a stage where we were wondering if we should really start this business. We had affirmation when our friends told us how out of this world our burgers were after we made some for them to try. That was when we knew we had to pursue this venture.
What were the difficulties that you faced when you first started out?
Well, without any formal culinary education, it was tough planning on how to set up a restaurant. So we had to go through a lot of trial and error, which we are still experiencing now. Finance was also a big issue. Many a time, it felt like plans were not happening because there was a lack of funding and experience.
What do you feel sets you apart from everyone else?
Individually, we’re really just normal guys. Maybe we try our best to think forward, and to communicate with those around us effectively to get what we want done?
But when it comes to myBurgerLab, it’s a collaborative effort between our customers and us. myBurgerlab started of simply as a place that served the humble burger, decently. Essentially, the ‘my’ in the name includes our customers’ feedback into our ‘experiments’ in making, and serving, a decent burger. That sets us apart.
What's your proudest moment thus far?
Wee Kiat’s an Ultimate Frisbee freak, and he’s actually quite proud of being a monopoly for Ultimate Frisbee discrafts. Or so he says. RenYi’s just a down-to-earth guy who’s just happy to be able to do what he wants. But we all agree with Chang Ming - our proudest moment is when myBurgerLab went ‘live’ after months of brainstorming, trialing and overcoming hurdles.
What are your upcoming projects for the future?
RenYi would like to see myBurgerLab expand into more areas in the Klang Valley, and maybe even up north and south of the Peninsula. He’d also love to be more involved in community-based charity projects. Meanwhile, Wee Kiat is keen to organise a free Ultimate Frisbee tournament, as well as to eventually set up a young entrepreneurship incubation programme.
What do you want the world to remember you for?
For Wee Kiat, he wants to be an inspiration for young entrepreneurs. Chang Ming… well, he’s still working on it! As for RenYi; he would want to be known as a philanthropist who helped those who needed it most.