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Rapper-Turned-Entrepreneur Says He Had To Build His Smashburger Joint, Trill Burgers, ‘From Next To Nothing’

Bun B’s Trill Burgers has won the heart of Houstonians.

This was evident during the inaugural two-day Honeyland Festival in Sugar Land, TX, as the smashburger restaurant consistently attracted a lengthy queue for its menu items. Offerings included the Trill OG Burger Combo and Vegan OG Burgo Combo.

Support for the establishment has been profound. As AFROTECH previously told you, over 53,000 burgers were sold within one month of Trill Burgers opening shop in Houston, TX.

Formula To Success

Bun B, born Bernard James Freeman, walked through the process of making his celebrated burger during the event panel, “Chopped & Screwed: Trill Burgers,” on the Eats & Sips Stage. He also discussed some of the secrets to Trill Burgers’ ongoing success in the service industry with AFROTECH.

Photo Credit: Bob Levey

“I think our service stands apart, right? This is not just a food company, this is a cultural company, and we meet that as well for people,” Bun B told AFROTECH in an interview. “When people come into Trill Burgers, it feels trill to them. Their perception of what they feel trill is, they feel that when they walk in that door and they hear music that’s familiar to them. You walk into Trill Burgers, and you get a crash course on Houston’s culture and not just Hip-Hop culture, but culture in general. And I think that we, as a company, not only contribute as a restaurant but also as a cultural destination for the city of Houston.”

Pioneer On Transitioning To Food Sector

Before Bun B made his imprint with his latest brain child, he was esteemed and remains so today for his impact on Hip-Hop, an industry now marking its 50-year milestone. The Port Arthur, TX, native reveals that for years he was dedicated to just navigating the music business until he diversified his outlook.

“For many years, being a recording artist, I thought I was in the music business solely,” Bun B said. “It took me a very long time to realize that it’s not just the music industry, I’m in the service industry. I have a product that I’m trying to present to people. I have to present it to people repeatedly at different places, different spaces, but I still have to try to create the same experience for people every time that transitions perfectly into what we do with the food. The way I put care and concern into presenting the music is the same way that we have to put care, concern in presenting this food.”

Overcoming Setbacks

The world may see the evident showering of support for Bun B from Trill Burgers being named America’s Best Burger by “Good Morning America” or by the jam-packed parking lot for his restaurant at 3607 S Shepherd Dr. in Houston. They may even see his celebrity support from the likes of Drake, E-40, and Miguel. But for Bun B, the focus centers on fulfilling a promise to bring the best product to market. This follows after overcoming what could have been a major financial setback.

“Just to be very honest, we went through a period in this company where we were not where we thought we were financially,” he expressed. “And there had been misappropriation of funds. We had to really build this company up from next to nothing, but we knew that we had a solid product, and the team that we had left was committed to fulfilling that promise that we gave to each other about putting the best foot forward with this burger. And we came back stronger than ever. So, I am proud of the fact that this company has weathered the storm. We’ve had little issues. We’ve had major issues, but we’ve been able to continuously present this burger to people.”

Legacy And Generational Wealth

Looking ahead, Bun B reveals he wants Trill Burgers to stand the test of times. It is about creating generational wealth and leaving behind a legacy beyond his contributions as an artist.

“It’s amazing to have this one brick-and-mortar location, and if we never got any brick, I’d be extremely proud of what we achieved,” Bun B expressed. “But that being said, I would love to have this burger presented to all people in all places and build this company in a way that companies should be built, with the thought of creating generational wealth and starting something that finishes long after you’re gone. I’m 50 years old. If I lived to be 100, I would hope that I wouldn’t live to see the height of this company.”

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