August 14, 2022


Houston’s Burger-chan on ‘Good Morning America’ burger contest

3 min read
Many of those wide-eyed viewers were locals who have since rushed in to their Galleria-area...

Many of those wide-eyed viewers were locals who have since rushed in to their Galleria-area restaurant for a taste. The couple speaks about the aftermath of their appearance on GMA and how it has affected business.

Chron: When did you know you were going to be on Good Morning America?

Diane Feng: They sent us an email on June 16 letting us know we were selected to participate in the “United States of Burger” competition. When I first saw the email, I thought it was spam, but then I saw that it came from, so I figured it was probably legit. 

Was it a surprise?

Willet Feng: We had no idea.

Did you have to keep it a secret prior to the segment airing on TV?

W.F.: We didn’t want to tell too many people in case they changed their mind, or decided to go in a different direction.

D.F.: The producers did not explicitly say not to say anything, but we kept it mostly a secret. We did tell some of our regulars though. We were allowed to invite friends, family, and staff to the filming at Saint Arnold Brewery. And leading up to the air date, I asked if I could promote the competition on social media to let people know to watch, and they encouraged that.

What was the energy like during the filming at Saint Arnold?

W.F.: It was fast-paced and loud. There were drummers, cheerleaders and sports mascots.

D.F.: It felt surreal. Actually setting foot there and seeing the equipment and monitors, and knowing that millions of people would be watching, I thought: “This is insane.”

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Bun B's Trill Burgers and Burger-chan owners Diane and Willet Feng faced off on Good Morning America's United States of Burgers competition.

Bun B’s Trill Burgers and Burger-chan owners Diane and Willet Feng faced off on Good Morning America’s United States of Burgers competition.

Courtesy of Scurfield Group

Despite losing to Bun B and Trill Burgers, did being on GMA affect business?

D.F.: We arrived for the filming on Tuesday at 3:30 a.m., and we were done at 9 a.m. We rushed to the restaurant to prep for lunch service, and we thought it would be a little bit busier because of the show, but we were definitely surprised by how many people came in. A line formed when we opened and did not subside until we closed. That was strange for us on a Tuesday.

Did customers mention the show?

D.F.: Yes, they were excited to tell us they watched us on the show, and they asked us questions.

W.F.: Some people told us that we should have won, and some said they couldn’t get a Trill burger so they might as well try us.

You posted on Instagram that some customers are actually confusing you with Trill Burgers. What’s the story?

D.F.: I wouldn’t say we have been inundated with calls, but since the show aired, we have had at least one call a day with someone asking for a Trill burger. One guy tried ordering a Trill burger in line, and I told him that was actually a different restaurant.

Why do you think people have been confused?

W.F.: Maybe because Trill Burgers doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar, and we do.

It’s been one week, has business returned to its regular pace?

D.F.: Since last Tuesday, we have been busy from beginning to end. We just resumed accepting online orders after a week. We turned online ordering off the day after the show aired, when a 22-person order came in right at 11 a.m. while we already had a line of 10 people waiting. It would have been a lose-lose situation, and we wanted to cater to the people who made an effort to come to the restaurant. That was a good call.

Have you had to make changes or adjust operations based on the spike in business?

W.F.: I hesitate to make changes based on a singular event. I don’t think this spike will last that long, but if it is prolonged, we may decide to change things.

Do you plan to compete on TV again?

W.F.: Yes, we would do it again, but we aren’t necessarily chasing it.


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