HUNGER BUSTER: Best Affordable Gourmet Burgers in Manila!

Text by Paul Wenceslao, Photos by JR Velasquez

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College is the breeding ground of young entrepreneurs, as students learn the fundamentals on how to come up with a business concept and make its products quite tempting to its target market. Such is the case with Erika Cantor and her friends, owners of the burger booth Hunger Buster. A refined and classy lady, not a lot of people would suspect Cantor as a purveyor of grilled delights in Ateneo de Manila. Well, in this case, big surprises can come in stylish packages. And Hunger Buster’s burgers do pack a wallop in taste and value for money.

Hunger Buster started as a business idea in a class in Ateneo wherein participants are supposed to put up a small business and sell items to students, faculty and other customers. Cantor and her friends – Kenneth Chan, Eries Chan, Brett Monsanto and JC Carlos – unlike the average college slacker, saw this as a challenge not just to get good grades, but to actually make it big on the business front. 

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Hunger Buster

Apart from focusing on their products, the Hunger Buster team made it a mission to aggressively expand their clientele, making their presence felt through social media as well as joining different food bazaars in Metro Manila, including Manila’s food hawker capital: Midnight Mercato. 

“Sales were strong in Ateneo. Come lunchtime, a lot of students line up to try our burgers,” says Cantor. They became a big hit in school and in the other bazaar they joined thanks to their yummy burgers and flexible marketing approach. 

“When we took home the top prize in Foodgasm (an event by UP Ecosoc held in Mercato), even more people purchased our burgers,” adds Cantor. “We focus on our customers which is why we made our burgers affordable; we even adjust our price depending on the buying power of the crowd. Customers can also add an extra patty to their burgers if they wish.”

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Being a college hit was not the limit for Cantor and crew; upon receiving word of The Next Big Food Entrepreneur, they confidently passed an application. The contest soon became an avenue for growth, with Hunger Buster progressively improving its products, booth design and promotional strategies. They eventually won Best in Marketing in TNBFE, a six-month stay in Mercato as well as the satisfaction of the buying public, this writer included.

“What makes our burgers special is our patty – containing a fair percentage of meat and lean fat,” Cantor exclaims. True enough, the Hunger Buster burger is never short on flavor. Their signature patty is thick and juicy and has a strong beefy taste, most certainly satisfying the palate of any burger lover. 

Hunger Buster’s best-seller – called Dying – comes as a big sandwich with a large slab of beef, melted cheese and a generous serving of bacon. The beefy flavor pops then pleasantly lingers on the tongue, gradually embracing the tangy smack of bacon and cheese. Large as the burger may be, customers are known to order successive servings upon consumption.   

Hungry Buster

Erika Cantor and her friends view The Next Big Food Entrepreneur as the perfect opportunity for expansion and growth as young entrepreneurs. Once Hunger Buster formally begins its stint at Mercato, they will get the chance to enjoyably bust hunger one customer at a time. 

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Disclosures: OAP is a co-founder of Mercato Centrale and The Next Big Food Entrepreneur. 

P.S. Thank you to our sponsors for The Next Big Food Entrepreneur 2014 competition!

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3 thoughts on “HUNGER BUSTER: Best Affordable Gourmet Burgers in Manila!

  1. Hmm, I wonder if their patty’s better than SnackShack’s. The quarter pounder there is only P70. Can’t be beat, huh? Unless of course this Hunger Buster is far superior.

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