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Take me back, Betty

PROVIDING good quality food and the right eating environment is a passion that runs deep for Retro Betty’s proprietor Michael Wiss.

The former owner of Retro Cafe in Wembley, which closed two years ago, has spent the past six years developing and refining a concept he believes is unique.

Retro Betty’s draws on various themes from the 1950s to 1970s – it is hype, funk and retro all rolled into one with an American-style of eating.

Mr Wiss has had input into every aspect of the business, from the design of the chairs down to the look of the menu and the names of the burgers, which he and his 20 employees produce.

He tries to use the letter ‘B’ whenever possible to stick with the name Betty. His burgers include the Betty, Big Betty, Bubba, Boss, Bud Buster, Bean, and Buff, while his slogan is Better get a Betty Burger.

Mr Wiss said he hoped to capture a share of the billion-dollar fast food industry. He said people were constantly complaining to him about the quality of food available from the big fast food chains and were looking for a healthier alternative.

Mr Wiss has recently opened a new store in Northbridge on the corner of James and Lake streets following the success of the Leederville Retro Betty burger cafe that opened two years ago.

He said good locations were crucial to the success of any eatery. The Leederville cafe has about 200 customers each day, while the Northbridge cafe, with seating for 100, is catering to about that number daily at the moment.

“Northbridge needs to be dragged up. It’s getting tired and needs places like ours to liven it up,” Mr Wiss said.

He said he hoped to take the concept into new, high-profile areas, but expansion plans were being stifled by a lack of finance to fund the $100,000 cost of opening a new store. Mr Wiss hopes someone will step forward who wants to be part of his dream. Franchising is not an option for Mr Wiss as he has seen other franchises fail to maintain parity between the stores, with the overall business suffering as a result.

“This is an exciting con-cept that needs to be pushed further through expansion and increased marketing and greater exposure,” Mr Wiss said.

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