Fighting Back – Bomburguers

By Sílvia Carvalho d’Almeida

In this new series we look at Algarve businesses that have found innovative ways to evolve following the COVID pandemic and have fought back to become bigger and better.

The restrictions imposed by the government to tackle COVID-19 lead to some businesses having to be reformulated to be saved from bankruptcy in order to keep functioning and maintain their employees.

This is particularly true of coffee shops and restaurants. I met and talked to one of the restaurant business owners who most suffered because of this pandemic, and learned how she found a simple but effective solution to tackle the crisis.

Ana Teresa Sequeira started out in the culinary world at 18. She received training at Portugal’s School of Tourism, achieving her 4th level of education in cuisine and pastry. She has always worked in the sector, and the highlight of her career was being offered a job at Benares, the first Michelin-starred Indian restaurant in London, where she was responsible for all the pastry. Active and determined to succeed, Teresa decided to invest in her career. She enrolled in a degree in Hotel Business Management at the University of Algarve in Faro and while there had an opportunity to start her own business. She found the right space, secured investment and founded Almare Gastrobar.

In January of 2020, the restaurant opened in Faro. Two months later, the mandatory confinement due to the first wave of COVID-19 meant the restaurant had to close its doors. It reopened last summer; however, the pandemic situation was still worrying, the low season was coming, and the new confinement was announced. Ana Teresa Sequeira wondered what her next move should be? She did not want to close the restaurant nor let her staff go, but the expenses were there, and so she needed to think smart and find a way to capitalise on her assets and make money.

Delivery and takeaway seemed to be the only options at the time. After some research, she found out the most popular products were pizzas, sushi, and hamburgers and so she created Bomburgers, a completely digital hamburger house.

Using Almare Gastrobar’s kitchen, she could keep the same team to create food that could be delivered to people’s homes, without compromising the quality of the local ingredients she used or the service. More importantly, she would not need to close Almare Gastrobar.

The secret, she says, “is to have brought close to me the right people, and to have invested and learned more about the digital world, which brings us a whole new way of doing things, and of communicating with our customers. Practically all the money I had to invest in this endeavour was spent creating our online shop, where people can place orders. We mostly communicate with customers on social media.”

She does not reveal exactly how much she invested in her new business, but says: “With no more than five thousand euros, it is possible to create a good brand.” Faro municipality has provided her business – and others – with taxis to deliver the food.

Ana Teresa is rightly proud of Bomburgers’ green credentials – the hamburgers are delivered in biodegradable packaging – and its commitment to good customer service.

“There is always someone to answer people on social media and on the telephone. They make sure we provide a great service and prompt delivery. Any problems are dealt with immediately,” she explains, adding, “We believe in customer satisfaction.”

Ana Teresa wants business owners to know it is possible to innovate and to overcome the current difficulties even with a small investment. She created Link a Ring, the first coworking kitchen in the Algarve and has already extended Bomburgers to Portimão where she recently opened another online restaurant named iti Poke Bar, with her partners Maria and Pedro Esteves. This new restaurant serves the Hawaiian delicacy Pokeball.

This industrious entrepreneur has found a way to fight back from difficult circumstances, caused by the pandemic and founded a new business which I am sure will stand the test of time.

Photos © Sérgio Morais

Link a Ring:
Bomburgers Faro:
Iti Poke:


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