Craving for Oman burgers leads retrenched Malaysian pilot to open stall selling ‘smashed’ patties

Mohammed Naeem is grateful to have his wife, family and friends support his burger business. — Picture via instagram/naeemnassir
Mohammed Naeem is grateful to have his wife, family and friends support his burger business. — Picture via instagram/naeemnassir

PETALING JAYA, Nov 27 — Former Malaysian pilot Mohammed Naeem Md Nassir knew that he could not keep idle when he was retrenched from his job in April this year.

Mohammed Naeem from Shah Alam was a pilot with Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS) from 2014 till 2018 years before securing a job with Oman Air in 2018.

“When I received the termination letter from Oman Air this year because of the pandemic, I knew the aviation industry would take time to recover from its losses.

“I took up freelancing drone videography but that wasn’t sustainable as it’s a niche market.

“A newcomer like me would find it difficult to get a job in the drone business as compared to those with connections and experiences.”

He told MalayMail that while he and his wife were at home during lockdown, they were also craving for burgers just like the ones they had in Oman.

“Something about the Oman burgers just hit the right spot. And there was one famous burger joint serving smashed patties — so my wife and I researched recipes and experimented on these burgers.

And thus began Mohammed Naeem’s venture into the burger business and founded his own burger stall known as Smashed located in Shah Alam that has been in operation for the past two months now.

“The burgers I typically enjoy indulging in are expensive, so I wanted to provide an affordable option with the same quality.”

The 30-year-old, who is helped by his wife at the stall, said that he had watched many tutorials online and practised making the burgers in his kitchen every night for a few weeks.

“I took about one month to practise my cooking and grilling skills — and I am glad that my wife isn’t bored of my burgers till today.”

Working in Oman, Mohammed Naeem was fortunate to earn a living where he could increase his savings — and that money was used as capital to establish Smashed.

“In fact, I was lucky to have met the owner of Burger Bros located in TTDI as he introduced me to many suppliers that gave the best price for me to purchase my groceries.”

Mohammed Naeem confessed that the transition from a pilot to selling burgers was drastic.

“I was so used to being in the comfort of a cockpit, managing switches and flying planes to something new which was constantly standing by the side of a hot grill.

“However, both jobs are similar in terms of ensuring that the process is smooth, safe and efficient.”

The 30-year-old said that when he was a pilot, he was used to food being served to him while now, he is responsible for serving his customers' food.

“It is a very humbling experience and I very much enjoy it especially when I see the happy faces of my customers, having my wife by my side and having the support of friends and family,” he said.

Smashed stall is located inside a restaurant called Nasi Kandar Zubair Bistro in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam.