Support floods in for Auckland burger joint as it fears closure

Source: 1News

The family behind Auckland's renowned The White Lady late night burger truck says they're so "grateful" for Kiwis' support as they fear being forced to close.

The White Lady has been a mainstay in Auckland's CBD for the past 75 years.

In April, 2022 Auckland Council reduced its annual licence to six weeks after complaints from a nearby business. The council has since granted a three-month licence until September while it investigates.

The White Lady operations manager and the grandson of its founder, Max Washer, told Breakfast the business has been run by his family for generations.

“We’re four generations deep, running from the late ‘40s and we’re all very involved in our business - mum, dad, my sister, my brother - and one day, my little daughter might be behind the grill hopefully as well."

READ MORE: Popular Auckland burger truck fears closure over rules

The food truck had been operating on Commerce Street in the Auckland CBD for the past 15 years before being moved last November following the complaint, triggering a review process.

“Normally, we’re on a 12-month street trading licence and that’s been shortened a number of times to one month, two weeks, six weeks and now three months and we’re under constant review with some of the things,” Washer explained.

Washer said the business has seen a “big influx of business” because of Aucklanders returning to the CBD and the closure of nearby businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ve got crowds blocking the pavement, apparently. Litter is one they’re on us for and intoxicated patrons.

“We’re doing our best to work with the council like we always do.”

He said while they’ve had extra staff on to “maintain the area around the cart”, as well as putting up signage and queuing bollards, “we’re busy”.

Washer said the constant lease renewals is making it difficult to run the business.

“Every business needs security and an outlook and having a three-month lease for any business is going to be really tough. How do we tell our staff that they may or may not have a job in three months?

“We’re just being scrutinised. We want to work through it. We love our city. We just want the best for our neighbours; we want the best for Auckland Central. We just want to do our part and keep doing what we do.”

He said The White Lady has had “so much support from New Zealanders” since their plight made headlines nationwide.

“We’re so grateful. Thank you, everyone, for writing in. It’s been overwhelming, really, the response, so thank you, Aucklanders, New Zealanders - everyone. Incredible.

“We’ll keep doing it as long as the people keep coming.”