Shock reason why celebrity chef shut burger joints
A TOP-END burger bar fronted by celebrity chef Neil Perry has closed its doors, two years after opening in the Brisbane CBD - because we've reached peak burger.
Perry's Rockpool Group closed the Burger Project - which promotes itself as having "pure, quality, integrity-driven produce" - in Edward St on August 2 "as a result of a saturated burger market in Brisbane", a spokeswoman said.
"We are working on an exciting new concept that we expect to open at this location in September," she said.
"We will update on this project closer to the launch."
The Edward St branch closure follows the first Brisbane Burger Project, in South Bank, also wrapping up.
But the group backed by the high-profile chef says its still working to expand in Queensland.
"Rockpool Dining Group continues to expand in the Brisbane and wider Queensland market, with The Bavarian opening at The Barracks on Petrie Terrace August 2, creating 45 full-time and casual positions," the spokeswoman said.
"A further 45 positions will be created at The Bavarian Robina when it opens at the end of August.
"Our new concept will inject a further 15 jobs into the city."
The Burger Project closures are a long way from the excitement that gripped the dining public when the Burger Project's first Queensland outlet opened in South Bank with queues out the door in February 2017.
Edward St opened in June of that year, with Burger Project promoting itself as using restaurant-quality ingredients like Cape Grim beef and Lilydale free-range chicken.
South Bank and Edward St have been removed from the Burger Project website but nine outlets remain in New South Wales and Victoria.
Perry, who made his name with the acclaimed Rockpool Bar and Grill and Spice Temple, had been upbeat about the CBD and South Bank launches, saying then that Burger Project was just the beginning for Rockpool in Queensland, with a host of new venues to in Fortitude Valley or Newstead and the Gold Coast.
On Friday, the Burger Project name had been stripped from the 144 Edward St sign and the shop was closed up.
In July, Rockpool Gining Group Chief Executive Officer Thomas Pash responded to claims of underpayment of staff, appointing a third party auditor to work with Fair Work.
"In the past three years we have dealt with eight complaints about pay," he said in a statement on the group's website.
"This is in the context where the group employs over 3000 employees.
"We have no outstanding issues with the Fair Work Ombudsman."
Perry said Rockpool "care for and value our employees who have been part of Rockpool Dining Group's contribution to the Australian hospitality industry for a long time."