Growing up, the South African man Tiyani Maluleke loved helping his mother in the kitchen. He would assist her whenever he could and never forgot the recipes she taught him.
After losing his job as a mechanic in the same month COVID-19 struck, he had no choice but to take up cooking burgers to survive financially.
The South African entrepreneur named his food truck business Grub Worx, and constructed it by hand. Since its launch, Grub Worx has become popular in Soweto and sometimes receives early morning orders. In the virtual space, the firm has received positive reviews on Facebook.
Aside from making the burgers, he also delivers them to customers. He does so using a vehicle he designed, or a scooter delivery service, and one of his loyal customers is Bertha Zwane.
“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.