Brian Yong first began dreaming of owning his own food truck when he visited the United States on an exchange programme during his university days. For Yong, the American food truck scene was on a "whole different spectrum."
It was not until the midst of the pandemic that he started Hash n Smash, which Yong runs alongside being a Personal Trainer.
Originally from Southeast Asia but raised in Auckland, he grew up surrounded by both Kiwi and Asian cultures. This is heavily reflected in Hash n Smash's menu, which serves hearty American-style smash burgers with an Asian twist.
"The style of food we make here isn't to put as many ingredients into our food that we can think of and call it a day. We want to recreate the classics and elevate every element of those ingredients. In short, I create the food that I want to eat."
While Hash n Smash pride themselves on serving unbeatable burgers, Yong adds that they are not just a food joint.
"We always explore what our customers wish and want. For example, we launched our very first merchandise collaboration with our friends at Butter Baby and more ideas are in the works for 2023."
In the future, Yong aspires to open a brick and mortar store for Hash n Smash. He also hopes to continue giving back to the charity Digitautua, which helps to give children laptops for learning in New Zealand. Currently, the charity receives a percentage of Hash n Smash's sales.
'As a computer science graduate, I feel the need to help in any way from my experience and a cause that I personally support."
Yong's top piece of advice for anyone looking to get into the hospitality industry is to take up every opportunity that presents itself.
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. We wouldn't be here if we had never taken that first step."