If you know, you know
It’s not just another chip-shop but a movement too: sustainable hospitality, community-driven, student-friendly pricing, and food that hits the spot. I sat down with owner, Stan Lee G, and asked him a few questions about the things that make Lucky G’s.
If you haven’t heard about them, then you haven’t had a good feed. That’s a fact, not an opinion. Lucky G’s is a West Auckland-based burger, chip—sometimes, if you’re lucky—sandwich, but most importantly, mean meals joint. They’re constantly expanding and trying new things. They’ve got a secret addy, so iykyk *winks*. They do have vegetarian options, and the fact that it’s out West works well for students, given this area is flat-city. I also love that they’re fellow 20-somethings who just grind it out, whilst upholding values and beliefs that represent our generation—whether that’s about business or even respect. And don’t get me started on the food, because it’s fucking good.
How did Lucky G’s start and what’s up with the secret addy?
It started in 2020, during the pandemic. During the first lockdown I was craving an In ‘N’ Out cheeseburger and started cooking skillet burgers at home and they were absolutely mouthwatering, delicious, and super fun to make. I’d always dreamed of owning a badass fast food shop, but Southern fried chicken was my first vision. I wasn’t even a big burger fan ‘til my ex took me to have In ‘N’ Out when I was living in Cali, the three-burgers-on-the-menu-thing blew my mind! I really appreciated the brand, history, and balance of flavours. I was bored of my day job, it was starting to get hard to get out of bed and I knew it was time. […] I had a mate, who was back in NZ from Aus […] bumming around and I hit him up, to see if he was keen to be a part of a biz I was starting: Lucky G’s. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, so I gave him 50% […], in return, for him to put in the mahi. Rest is history there.
The secret addy started because I didn’t have 100% confidence in my product yet. I wanted to gauge it based on how busy it got […] before I put the brand name out there. Plus, I really wanted to renovate the shop and drop Lucky G’s as a full package… but that never eventuated, as we just got swarmed. The locals found us; they told their friends, that told their friends, and we never had to drop the addy since. I just wanted us to grow organically—we didn’t have enough staff or cooking gear to handle the volume. The quality and service was my priority. Anyone can force-feed their products via paid advertising these days, too much catfishing. You know you can trust word of mouth, that’s how it works when it comes to a good mechanic.
How did you know you wanted to start a business?
I always knew I was gonna start a business, I had a ‘lil clothing hustle with my best mate in high school, my last project was a car part I sold worldwide […]. So, I’ve always had little run ups, and just started gaining confidence more and more […], but my passion’s really in building a cool, timeless brand with good product and history. Like for our logo, I drew that and the name has multiple meanings: like ‘G’ is my last name, everyone knows me as Stan Lee G, it’s also something that relates to us growing up in Aotearoa, we call each other “G’s” not ‘cause we’re about that gangsta life, it’s just what we call our homies—but then when something’s good, growing up, we said that something was gangsta. Some people have been making assumptions that we are ex-reformed gangsters or criminals, which cracks me up… but there’s many meanings behind our name and that’s what it’s about at the end of the day.
My favourite part was the sign: “No respect = No service”.
Yeah, we don’t baby our customers, we do hospo differently here. Hospo staff are some of the hardest working and underpaid; we make chump change and cop everyone’s moods. We keep that saying: “No respect, no service.” to remind people to treat others how you’d like to be treated. Like I’ve always been bothered when, let’s say you’re with friends and you rock up to a shop, and they close at 9:00 p.m., you go in at like 8:50 p.m., like you know the people in there are about ready to go, they’ve packed up and they’ve cleaned… they’ve got lives too.
Everyone here is so young, how did you all find each other?
Ah, yeah, the team! Yeah. So, they were all customers […] and I was like “what do you do?” and just approached them […]. Yeah. we are young, we get that a lot. We work really hard aye, people love that… And actions speak a lot louder than words, we’ve gained a lot of respect, just from working so hard and treating people nicely. People will see our page on Insta and think we’re all professional, and then you come in and you’ll see the same faces day in day out, talk to us and realise that we’re actually a super small operation. Sometimes people show up and expect a corporate franchise and then there’s some that are just genuinely blown away by this whole operation, being run by the team we have, with the budget we’ve got, making the products we make.
How do you manage to give such student-friendly prices, whilst maintaining the quality?
Basically, I just wanted to create something that I wanted to go to myself, but honestly, we’ve actually had to raise the prices many times, as I continue to learn how to run a business. Like there’s so many factors and costs that I wasn’t even aware of that are so important aye, like emptying the trash, getting filters changed, power, rates, taxes, public holidays, leave, repairs—all that shit, you know? And I used to think like ‘oh, you know, raise the price by like a dollar that should cover it,’ but nah there’s a lot of things… and honestly we’re just learning as we go on […], but you know, if I were to just do it like everyone else we wouldn’t be where we are now. Ultimately, businesses determine the price but you as a customer determine the value. We prioritise quality but have to balance it with the cost of goods, which determine the recommended retail price. We rely on skill and care to really make our products shine. We do make mistakes, so not all are created equal, but we do try and continue to work on making our products better, more consistent, and more affordable.
All in all, it’s safe to say that home is where the good eating is, where the workers are respected, and where the humility remains. I’ve never come across a business like Lucky G’s. When we ‘support small businesses’, we root for the underdogs, we support small bizzies like Lucky G’s.
Follow them on instagram: @luckygggggggg
If you want to know more about the addy, ask a friend who knows or DM me at @gabbiedebaron on IG.