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Move over Five Guys, appetite for Aberdam’s smash burgers grows with 3,500 sold in Aberdeen in five weeks

There’s no denying burgers and fries are some of the most popular dishes. You just have to look at any drive-thru menu or restaurant’s offerings and they are bound to make an appearance.

Many big chains like Five Guys and McDonald’s make millions off of the duo every year and now one business hopes to get a slice of the action.

Michael Robertson and David Griffiths established their Aberdam street food business in April this year when they launched the successful Backyard Beach Collective and Backyard at Union Square pop-ups in Aberdeen.

Michael Robertson and David Griffiths of Aberdam.

Using the pop-ups as an opportunity to serve up Dutch fries and sauce, the demand was so high Michael and David knew they’d have to find the brand a permanent home for winter.

In September they opened at Shiprow Village after investing between £20-£30K in one of the units and now have a team of nine working for them.

But what was it that made the duo turn to smash burgers?

Big Bacon Dam.

Michael says his obsession with the McDonald’s business model played a part, but the duo also wanted to bring a new independent style of smash burger to the masses.

Since launching in April Aberdam has served up 20 tonnes of fries and the duo predict the burgers will also generate huge numbers having already fired out 3,500 burgers with 2,500 on Deliveroo alone in the past five weeks.

Smash burgers

Using The Tilly Butcher’s meat and working with the team at The Vegan Bay Baker to develop the right seeded, glazed bun, David and Michael have tried to source local ingredients across the whole menu which also now includes loaded fries.

Michael: “We’re keenly priced for the quality of the burgers. We took inspiration for smash burgers from Five Guys, McDonald’s and those other businesses. We’ve taken something that has been tried and tested and put our own local spin on it.

From left: The Big Bacon and the Hot Dam burger.

“We always wanted to do burgers at Backyard but we were just too busy. It was a natural progression and we’ve collaborated locally for them which is even better.

“Smash burgers cook pretty quickly – that is the nature of them. They only need a few minutes each side and that really worked with our style of business in getting good food out fast. We have our burgers ready in six to seven minutes, but we need to get them down to two to three minutes to grow.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the McDonald’s business model and there’s so much potential.”

David Griffiths cooking up a burger.

Deliveroo success

With their fifth week on Deliveroo under their belt, Aberdam has served up more than 2,500 burgers in that time while also servicing and additional 1,000 sit-in and takeaway customers from Malones and Ivy Lodge on Shiprow. They also get a lot of passing trade, too.

Michael said: “This unit has just coped with the volume. There’s been times we’ve had to shut Deliveroo off for a short period of time to catch up.

Some of the items customers can order on Deliveroo.

“We need to take care of those customers in the bars so that is really important to get the balance.

“We knew Shiprow Village had huge potential and we knew we could evolve the brand from just being chips and sauce to so much more – and we have.”

Second location

Actively looking for a second city centre location, the duo plan to have multiple venues across different locations and hope to have the company in a position to be franchised in the next few years.

The name Aberdam covers the local element, Aberdeen, and the firms ties with Amsterdam where they source their fries and some of their sauces and the bitterballen.

Aberdam’s unit on Shiprow in Aberdeen.

“It is a true fusion of Aberdeen and Amsterdam as we’ve got so many local producers on some dishes, and then we’ve imported products from Amsterdam too to make it truly authentic,” added David.

“We need a second location to keep up with demand and take Deliveroo to the next level while servicing the customers across the locations. We need it in place as soon as possible.”

What should you order?

Open five days a week, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are dedicated to evening service while Saturday is from noon to 11pm and Sunday from noon to 8pm.

The duo has ordered two pallets of fries from Amsterdam for the festive period and with more than 20 items on the menu, as well as customisable fries, there’s plenty to try.

⏰ 5PM – 10PM📍 @shiprowvillage 🍔 NEW MENU🔥 LET’S GO!• • •🐮 @the_tilly_butcher 🍞 @veganbaybaker 🧂 @angusandoink •…

Posted by ABERDAM on Wednesday, 27 October 2021

David said: “We’ve noticed at the weekends the Big Dams (double patty burgers) are more popular but the Lil Bacon Dam and the Lil Dam have also been flying. For those who like spice, the Hot Dam is certainly the one.

“The burgers have taken off. We were certain they would as we’d done a lot of research around them and lots of trials.

“We’re very competitively priced and the other burgers on delivery platforms are really focused on loads and loads of toppings and making them huge. But we wanted to focus on simple done well. For us it’s a winning recipe.


“Braveheart fries have been one of our most popular and the salt and pepper chicken has been the most triumphant – we’ve sold more than 1,000 portions in five weeks!

“Our team has had input in the whole menu and the Braveheart fries were Laura’s idea.”

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