Changing the landscape: How an Indonesian burger outlet is inventing opportunities for women

Written by Leo Galuh Published on     6 mins read

It is important to provide women not only with opportunities but also life-long skills that will sustain them for a long time, says Heru Dwi Soesilo.

Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a worldwide shift in employment opportunities, as well as pivots in businesses who need to adapt to the situation to keep afloat. In this unfortunate situation, there have been many people who’ve lost their jobs as companies struggle to reduce manpower costs to survive.

Last month, a study done by the Catalyst on the womens’ labour force participation showed that the pandemic had disrupted women’s employment opportunities by a larger percentage of 24% as compared to men. While the global labour force participation rate has been declining for both genders in 2020, there is a need to understand that women are less likely to participate in the labour force than men. This meant that there is still much work to do in this area.

Heru Dwi Soesilo is one of the founders of 2080 Burger. Image courtesy of Heru.

In light of this, one of the Bali-based burger outlet 2080 Burger has strived to make some changes to this landscape. Since their opening in January 2020, they have been able to survive the pandemic and hire more women staff in the belief that women should be given equal opportunities when it comes to career options. I reached out to speak to Heru Dwi Soesilo on his burger outlet as well as leveraging women in the workforce.

Leo Galuh (LG): Could you share why you decided to set up ‘2080 Burger’ in Bali?

Haru Dwi Soesilo (HS): I started this business with my partners,  Antonius Bramudha, Adi Purwoko, and Arif Yasamaeri Gea in January 2020. The four of us had been in the food and beverage industry for a long time, and we wanted to do something different.

Our first outlet was opened in Uluwatu, a location that is dominated by foreigners who love to surf. Those were our main customers initially, whereby 70% of them were foreigners with 5% local. However, the number of local customers have grown to 30% since we opened. I think one of the reasons for succeeding was due to our burger styles, which is more on texas barbeque or American style grill. We are also the first burger outlet in Bali that adopts the use of charcoal, which helps us to differentiate from other burger outlets. It was something that we wanted to hold on to, as using charcoal to grill patty would give it a smokey flavour.

The very first customers of 2020 Burger were mainly foreigners. Image courtesy of Heru Dwi Soesilo.

While many businesses have been affected by the pandemic, we have managed to continue operating during the lockdown in Bali last year. Since we have to comply with the health protocol regulations, we opened up orders online so there would not be any in-person contact. As time went by, we were noticed by more people and was requested to open outlets in the capital city, so here we are now.

Leo Galuh (LG): Is there a meaning behind the ourlet name ‘2080 Burger’?

HS: Yes of course. We often say in a joking manner that we men have wives, so we need to remember that 80% of our income belongs to the wife while the rest of the 20% is for us. I mean, as husbands, we need to remember that contributions to the family should be made equal, and a man should be able to partake in family responsibilities as well.

Jokes aside, 2080 is actually referring to our burger patty’s composition, whereby there is only 20% fat and 80% pure Australian beef. We wanted to educate the customers on the proper way to eat burgers. Many people think that burgers are junk food, but it is not always the case. Food can be healthy, depending on the way you cook it, as well as the quality of the ingredients you use. We even have a vegan option on our menus, which is Mushroom burger.

Leo Galuh (LG): How have you leveraged opportunities for women at your burger outlet?

HS: We believe that women can thrive in workplaces as well, and there is a need to give them an opportunity and space to grow.

For example, we’ve just hired a lady, Sugar Nadia Azier, to manage our outlet in Bintaro. While she had no prior experience in the food and beverage industry, we see the potential in her that could be developed. She had a really positive attitude and willingness to learn the skills and was quick to make decisions in time-tight situations, so there were no qualms as to why she couldn’t be hired and achieve her potential in a managerial role. Our brand ambassador is also a woman – Her name is Nadya Puspa, a Bali-based graphic designer in visual arts. We’ve given her the freedom to create designs for us, and guided her along with my experience. It’s been great so far.

Sugar Nadia Azer (Left) is the manager at 2080 Burger Bintaro Outlet while Nadya Puspa (Right) is their brand ambassador. Image courtesy of Heru Dwi Soesilo.

In my opinion, everyone should be given equal opportunities, but we’ve also realised how important it is for a society to step forward in hiring more women to diversify a team. While there are misconceptions and prejudices towards women on how they should only tend to the household, we beg to differ. Women have shown good capabilities in managing teams, and we realised that given their nature, they are generally more sensitive and adapt well when it comes to people managing skills. They also pay more attention to detail which is good for the workplace as well. If we give them the chance to shine, they can outdo many other people in the same field.

Leo Galuh (LG): What are your goals for 2080 Burger in the next five years?

HS: We are aiming to have a branch in every part of Indonesia as well as be the best in Southeast Asia. We have been recognised as the seven best burgers in Bali recently, so this is a good start. Also, we would like to own a moving grill where we can bring it everywhere to the customers. It would be amazing to serve the customers while having a campfire party since it is in our Indonesian culture to bring the feel of “family” everywhere.

With regards to increasing opportunities for women at our outlets, as long as women have the willingness to work, we would hire them. We believe that anyone who joins us is an asset – our women staff in Bali have shown that nothing is impossible, and it has been heartwarming to see how they have been growing by learning many things.

The team in Bali. Image courtesy of Heru Dwi Soesilo.

Leo Galuh (LG): What do you think Indonesian business owners can do for women?

HS: In the last five years, I’ve seen how women in Indonesia have become braver in speaking out their minds and ideas. There is now more courage to express themselves as compared to the past. It’s been wonderful to see how Indonesian women can now be perfect self-starters and initiate things to do by themselves.

In terms of business owners, I think a growing culture of “sense of belonging” is important. While financial concerns are at the top of many womens’ minds, I think it is important to provide them with lifelong skills or the right guidance to develop their potentials so that they can go further in their professional career. This will also help in building loyalty, which I think is a very expensive value these days. Businesses need to realise that job-hopping and re-hiring is not a long term solution while developing the skills of those women they hire will help. In short, while we do give women a chance to work, it is more important that they are able to survive in the workforce long term with solid skills.

Leo Galuh is an Indonesian based journalist for analytical news service. He loves to meet people and generate ideas for stories. He believes that everyone has an inspiring story that worth-reading. Leo travels a lot and always craves mouth-watering cuisine. Read more of his adventures on HalalTrip

Disclaimer: This article was written by a community contributor. All content is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the writer. If you’d like to contribute, you can apply here


Leo Galuh


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