Now the former chef is now prepping to open his 16th burger bar.
The inaugural RE Burger (the name is a play on its owner’s surname) sprung to life in late 2016 as a food truck, proving popular off the bat and moving into an Albany St bar about a year later.
In the following four years he opened just as many stores, until the burgeoning franchise hit critical mass and RE Burger bars began sprouting up exponentially across New Zealand.
The 16th RE Burger bar will open in Petone next month, after which Reiber is ready to slow things down a notch.
“Because we’ve gone through this big mess of a patch of growing at a phenomenal rate, I really just want to go back and kind of spend a bit more time on the menus and sort of go back into the baker house and work away on a few things that I need to catch up on basically,” he said.
The rise of RE Burger as a national franchise had not been without its challenges, including the complications that swept the hospitality industry throughout the pandemic, and the learning curve for Reiber had been steep, he said.
“It’s been mental … To figure out every stage, where and which direction to go, and when you’re sort of being pushed and pulled in so many directions, you don’t really know which way you’re going. I guess we’re just lucky that we’ve been choosing the right direction.
“It’s been a personal sort of journey for myself, going from somebody that just opened a trailer by myself on the very first day, to then having a full-on restaurant.”
Describing himself as more a creative than an entrepreneur, Reiber’s personal touch has extended from the original food truck to designing each of the 16 restaurants throughout the country.
“I really went to town on the vibe of the business.”
The success of the business has allowed Reiber to lean into his creative side, while his business partner keeps him grounded.
“He’s an accountant, which helps me greatly, so we’re in touch daily and he constantly keeps me grounded in a way only an accountant can. He’s a realist, I’m the optimist.”
The Petone store is set to be one of the franchise’s largest, which Reiber hoped signalled the start of RE Burger stepping up to bat with some of the big players in the industry.
“If you had told me seven years ago that this is what I would be doing today, I would have laughed at you.
“I count my blessings all the time, I constantly appreciate what I’ve been able to do.”