Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes in the film “The Menu.” Photo by Eric Zachanowich. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures.

“The Menu” – a satirical, black horror/comedy about the restaurant industry and the artifice of the foodie – might not seem like a great source of inspiration for a good cause. But for Billy Kramer, it helped give him the idea for the Burger Benefit. 

“The Menu” (soft spoilers ahead) follows a group of wealthy diners who pay an inordinate amount of money for one night at a celebrity chef’s (Ralph Fiennes) exclusive restaurant. The outlier among the patrons is Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), a last-minute, non-upper class addition to the group who at the end of the day, just wants a good old-fashioned cheeseburger. 

In an interview with Rough Draft Atlanta, Kramer said he thought the movie did a good job of nailing down the different archetypes of diners you might find in a restaurant of that echelon. But at the end of the day, you’re not looking to impress the food influencers, the famous actors, or the food critics – you’re looking for the Margots. 

“They just want [the food] to taste good,” Kramer said. “Margot is the person you cook for.”

From one movie, the idea for the Burger Benefit – which will be held on May 7 at NFA Burger in Dunwoody – was born. On May 7, different chefs and burger experts from around the country will all deliver their own take on the cheeseburger from “The Menu” with all the proceeds going toward Giving Kitchen, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps support food industry and hospitality workers in need.

“It’s a great organization,” Kramer said. “It’s restaurant people helping restaurant people.” 

Kramer had grown up steeped in a culture of giving back. He said his father was involved with the Two Ten Footwear Foundation while his mother helped out with local charities. When he first heard about “The Menu” on The Sporkful podcast, hosted by Dan Pashman, he started dreaming up the structure of the Burger Benefit.

Chef John Benhase, owner and partner at Starland Yard in Savannah, was featured on that podcast episode for his role as one of the real life chefs who helped advise “The Menu” production. Kramer reached out to Benhase and asked him if he wanted to come out to Atlanta to do a pop-up at NFA Burger. That small idea quickly expanded into the full-fledged Burger Benefit as a way to help out Giving Kitchen. 

“I fully believe that if you’ve had any success in the restaurant industry, the food service industry, that you owe it to give back to the community that has helped you become successful,” Kramer said. 

On the day of the benefit starting at 11 a.m., up to three chefs will take over their own grill for one hour. That group of chefs will rotate each hour on the hour and prepare their own version of a classic burger. Guests will purchase tickets for their time slot of choice in advance, but the chef who will be making their burger will be kept a surprise. The schedule for the benefit is expected to be released the day before. 

An example of the cheeseburger from “The Menu” that patrons can expect at the Burger Benefit (credit NFA Burger).

Kramer said that the benefit has 19 burger connoisseurs thus far, including Kramer and Benhase themselves. Other participants include George Motz, burger expert and author of “Hamburger America”; Walt Ehmer, CEO of Waffle House; and Jonathan and Justin Fox, owners of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

Tickets go on sale at noon on April 14, but early bird tickets will be available on April 13 for anyone who signs up for the Burger Benefit newsletter here. Tickets cost $20 and include one burger and crinkle-cut fries. 

Kramer said he hopes to continue to host the Burger Benefit annually in different cities across the country. The goal for next year is to head to New York. 

“The other cool thing about this event is we’re exposing the Giving Kitchen to parts of the country that have never heard of it. If somebody in New York contacted the Giving Kitchen today, the Giving Kitchen would help them,” Kramer said. “I think if we do this event well enough, we could help the Giving Kitchen grow across the country.”

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.