Young Americans Center for Financial Education and Park Burger are thrilled to introduce you to the 14-year-old winners of Burger Biz! This team created the Omnivore’s Colorful Challenge, a delicious and more nutritious alternative to the standard hamburger. In addition to winning $500, creators Gabe and Kellan will have their burger featured in Park Burger restaurants throughout the month of November, where a portion of its sale will benefit the hands-on financial education programs of Young Americans Center.
Learn more about the Burger Biz challenge from Adam Akisanya, Senior Marketing Manager of Gastamo Group, meet Gabe and Kellan, and watch their segment on Colorado & Company!
Question: What is Burger Biz?
Adam Akisanya: In a week-long workshop, a group of 6th-12th graders learned about the basics of the restaurant industry from industry experts including Craig Diamond of Shamrock Foods, Molly Meets of Two Parts. I did a session, too! Students used this knowledge to create their own burger concept, which they pitched to a panel of judges at the end of the week. The judges picked four finalists to present at the Burger Biz Finale last Saturday, October 26, where Park Burger chefs actually built each burger idea for the judging panel to try. Besides earning a $500 prize, the winning burger will be a featured “Burger of the Month” at Park Burger restaurants starting today through the end of November.
Q: How did this event come about?
AA: In 2018, Park Burger’s President wanted to provide youth with real-life experience in the restaurant industry. He partnered with YouthBiz, a program of Young Americans Center for Financial Education, to create a workshop that would bring together students, industry experts, and entrepreneurship in a fun, hands-on way. This is the second year we’ve done Burger Biz, and we’re so impressed with the creativity, thoughtful ideas, and passion we’ve seen from the participants. We’re already planning for 2020!
Q: Why is supporting youth entrepreneurship so important to Park Burger?
AA: Park burger is celebrating their 10 anniversary this year. They are a local company–we started with just one restaurant on Pearl Street–so this is a way for us to give back and support our local community.
Question: Gabe and Kellan, tell me a little bit about you – name, age, where you go to school?
Gabe Nagel: I’m Gabe Nagel, I’m 14, and I’m a freshman at East High School.
Kellan Clapp: I’m Kellan Clapp I’m 14, and I’m also a freshman at East High School.
Q: Why did you decide to take part in Burger Biz this year?
GN: I wanted to do Burger Biz because it looked fun! However, I also participated in the program to learn more about entrepreneurship and the education Young Americans is providing towards this necessary skill.
KC: When Gabe told me about it, I also thought it looked really fun. Plus, I love burgers.
Q: Explain your burger idea. What was your inspiration?
GN: Our “Omnivore’s Colorful Complex” is inspired by a need in our society. 117,777,600 people are considered obese, and we’re here to stop this! We wanted to create a burger that’s big on flavor and color but that’s healthy to eat, both from a consumer perspective and an environmental standpoint. We chose ingredients like a bison patty that is better for our environment, necessary in a world with rising obesity and climate change crises.
KC: So, our burger is made from bison, and it contains purple Brussels sprouts, fig jam, goat cheese, and bacon. It contains just 520 calories, 50 grams of protein, and it’s affordable.
Q: What was the hardest part of Burger Biz?
GN: One of the hardest parts was deciding on a concept that would not only be delicious, sustainable, and enjoyable but also one that makes sense economically to Park Burger and the consumer. We wanted to keep our burger affordable and keep Park Burger successful, so they can donate more to Young Americans.
Q: What aspect of the event did you enjoy the most?
GN: It was really helpful to have a partner to work with and to bounce ideas off of. However, with all collaborative projects, there are challenges. We primarily faced this in the distribution of work and meeting up to practice our brainstorm, analyze, and practice our presentation. Overall, we really enjoyed working as a team. As they say, two minds always work better than one.
KC: One of the best parts was being able to taste our burger at the finale!
Q: Congratulations on being a finalist in the competition! Was it difficult to pitch your idea at the Burger Biz finale? How did it go?
KC: Pitching to the judges was quite intimidating at first, especially because our presentation had a few technical difficulties loading our slides. But once we got started, we were really pleased. And, the judges obviously liked it, too! There were a lot of really good ideas, so we really had no idea who would win.
GN: But beyond the point of winning, is the learning that Park Burger and Young Americans have partnered on to help our Colorado Community.
Q: What’s next for you? Do you want to open your own restaurant someday? Do you see yourself owning a business?
GN: I actually have my own business, called Gabe’s Bazaar! So, I’m looking to use this experience to help make my business better, and I hope to use it to help me develop a concept I’m working on: a youth business accelerator.
KC: I’m actually thinking about starting my own business someday. I’m not sure what it will be, but I’m interested in computers and robotics. It might be something around that.
Q: And finally, where can people go to taste this burger?
AA: We have four Park Burger locations: one on South Pearl Street, one in Hilltop, one in Highlands, and one in RiNo, and their burger will be available at all throughout November.