Sven Freystatzky: Burgerlich Cologne and Hamburg

Burgers with a difference. In Sven Freystatzky’s restaurants customers can design their own burgers. The service is also unusual: all orders are placed digitally via a tablet. 


Sven Freystatzky finds normal burgers boring. He would rather focus on quality and the creativity of his customers. An interview about the benefits of tablets versus trays and the experiences of a man who has started a number of businesses.

Mr Freystatzky, you are the owner of two very special burger restaurants…
Yes, exactly. Our vision for Burgerlich was that customers should be able to build their own burgers. All our food is freshly prepared, using the most sustainable means possible.

Your customers place their orders digitally. What gave you that idea?
Lots of things are done by smartphone or tablet these days. So we thought: why not in the food service industry too?

Did you have to work hard to convince your customers?
The young people think it’s great. The older ones are a bit sceptical at first. But in the end, most of them admit: wow, it’s not actually that difficult – and maybe it gives them an introduction to the digital age. Especially since they still have contact with the staff.

Does your business benefit from the new system?    
Definitely. On the one hand, for instance, it means students without any specialist training can work for us, and on the other, the system also covers resource management, staffing and inventory. So, overall, we reduce our HR costs and our inputs and can see exactly where there is still room for improvement.

You have started several businesses. What advice do you have for young self-employed business owners?
I would advise them that self-employment brings a huge amount of responsibility with it. If you aren’t successful, your ego has to take a back seat. You have to be hard on yourself to succeed. It is not just about being a good cook, but also about having business sense. But it’s worth it: the feeling you get when your idea finally bears fruit is priceless.

Part of success boils down to happy employees. Do you have any tips on personnel management?    
The most important thing is to communicate your vision to your staff in ways they can understand and to be a role model. Responsibility is also important. If you give staff the feeling that they are part of the business, their work improves automatically.

What does the future look like for Burgerlich?
We want to continue refining our concept. Of course we have a dream that one day our customers will come into the restaurant, order and pay via smartphone and go home happy. These are the dreams of every developer.

Custom burgers via tablets  

There are no printed menus in Burgerlich – everything is ordered digitally. The principle is as simple as online shopping: using a tablet embedded in the table, customers put together their own burgers, meals and drinks and then place their orders using a special smart card. The order goes straight to the kitchen – and a cappuccino appears on the table almost immediately.

Home-made pleasures

A treat for discerning fast-food-lovers in Cologne and Hamburg: Burgerlich has been serving classic burgers, fresh salads and sweet treats in two German cities since 2014. The menu, developed by experienced entrepreneurs Sven Freystatzky and Gregor Gerlach, focuses on a selection of home-made premium burgers. All of them are freshly prepared to a high standard and reflect the official company slogan: “No ordinary hamburger”. A special feature of the restaurants is the digital order process.

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