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  • #991863
    • Total posts: 1

    Hello people.

    Location: Melbourne
    Please take some time to read this.
    From seeing the amount of help/support/constructive criticisms people made me want to do this.
    I do apologise if these questions were rather covered before, as i couldn’t find any info i was looking for.

    My dad owns a catering business, quite successful because he makes a few dishes worth killing for, not literally.Mind you, my dads food has been very popular only within our indian community as thats all he markets to.

    Now to the real story, Im a university student, studying Engineering. Finishing my degree in 2 years, i am planning on starting up my own indian restaurant/take away. It will most certainly will NOT be your traditional indian restaurant.

    Now the reason why i think i can make it; after my drunken 21st antics, next day at uni, all i could hear were people talking about how good a couple of dishes my dad made were (mind you there were only these two dishes at my 21st). In fact, there were Instagram posts about it. In fact, it was such a talked about thing, i basically got forced to have people over just for my dads two combination dishes once again. Then my friends started ordering my dads food for their 21st parties.

    Believe me when i say i am a very socially outgoing person, I have never ever seen or experienced anyone react like this to a food they’ve tried at a party. So, i know this not your ordinary “your dads cooking is awesome”.

    Most recently, I was at a 21st birthday where i had bought over the two dishes as per their order, being put up against so many variety of different dishes such as 4-5 different kinds of Sri-Lanken food ( Cooked by a different person), Pizza, Finger foods, etc. Every other food remained basically untouched till my dads food had finished. At one stage looking around all i could see was plates with nothing but my dads food. Mum’s came to me asking the recipe and a dad swore he was going to make it exactly the same somehow. I had people coming up to me asking where my dads restaurant was. In fact, i overheard a person say “Oh, is there Jerin’s dads food?” prior to the party starting.

    Now, the thing you’ve got to keep in mind is that at my age (22), everyone is a “foodie”, dinning at anywhere but the fast food giants (Mcdonalds,KFC,Hungry Jacks) is the new in thing. So, all these comments came from them.

    My girlfriend’s dad and my dad both own quite successful hospitality businesses,Sri Lankan takeaway and Indian food, respectively. Basically giving me two awesome mentors.

    Anyone that is Indian or Sri-Lanken here will know that if you have an idea like this BEFORE you finish university, and go to your parents with it, you better somehow already know the ins and outs with every possible research done, they are NOT/NEVER willing to help, so this is my start.

    Now the questions:
    -From the popularity my dads food has gained ( which I have been help cook for awhile now), given the right amount of exposure, will it be successful signature dish.
    -I would like to use minimal to none of my parents money to start, so where is the smallest place i could start? I have heard of food markets where you can set up and sell your food (girlfriend is quite the foodie), would this be a good place to test out and see if this idea is plausible?
    -If not where can i start?
    -I have read about Insurance,Equipment,Running cost, Labour, ATO, OH&S , etc. (i also have two very awesome mentors to run to if i get to that stage)
    -What i need to know is is this going to be a good idea?
    -How else can i do my market research?

    Any advice will be much appreciated, even criticisms, anything.

    Yours sincerely,
    Another Dream

    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
    • Total posts: 2,566

    Hi there,

    Welcome to Flying Solo!

    You’ve done a brilliant phase of market research already, and have already validated one business idea – i.e. people have had you cater for their parties, correct? You have validated the business so far only in this format, so THIS is the best and safest place to start.

    Your idea MAY work in other ways such as a restaurant, take-away, food-truck, or something else but that hasn’t been proven yet.

    There are other advantages to starting with part catering: 1) Low setup cost; 2) Good cashflow – you only outlay money when you get bookings; 3) You can start at whatever scale you like – one party at a time while you perfect your service and build your brand.

    Once you get your brand going and money in the bank, you can think about testing other options. But since you’ve already tested this one niche with success, start booking them in!

    Good luck. :)


    • Total posts: 2,104

    Markets and fetes and sometimes there is the food market at schools
    The whole idea sound fantastic.
    Do they have popup food stalls in the city still in building drive ways
    and two or three dishes is all you need
    Good luck and when I next come to Melbourne the word should be out.

    • Total posts: 4,485

    Makes me think that FS do community reviews of websites, etc. Maybe they can somehow setup a monthly event for the FS community to provide food tasting services for possible startups. Now that I have written it not sure how but I am sure there are some brains in the group here who could build on the idea.

    Could be food tasting, networking, etc.

    • Total posts: 61

    Hi, I love your enthusiasm! I take it you’ve worked in your dad’s hospitality business? If not, what you might want to do is to go and work in one as a cook or whatever role you can get closely resemble to what you want to do. You want to learn all you can from not just cooking but running a business as well. There’s a whole lot more than just churning out good food. There are a lot of chefs out there that fail because they don’t have a good business sense. They just think that food will win over the customers. It’s not as easy as that. If you have good all round business skills, it will carry you further than just pure cooking skills. You can always hire people to do the cooking for you.

    Good luck with your venture. I’m sure you’ll do well with the right attitude and recipe ;)

    Cheers, jj

    • Total posts: 6

    Hi mate,

    I would start very lean. And by lean before you book a food stall, get on your phone / social media and text all the people you can who were there eating the food. Saying something like “People are wanting to know more about the food, cooking up some great dishes soon, get back to me if you want us there at your next gathering – chip in for the ingredients only”.

    Make a Facebook page, hold a few gatherings invite them to subscribe to your page. Then book a food stall let them know you will be there and to get the word out. Rent a commercial kitchen and scale up to more food markets.

    (Build small / measure / learn ) [repeat]

    Let me know if you want more ideas.

    Matt Maher

    • Total posts: 112

    Hey mate,

    Melbourne is an awesome place if you love food. I’m from Sydney. But have visited Melbourne recently for business trips. It’s amazing compared to Sydney. The culture, the relaxed environments. The helpings are great. So I guess the first tick on your list is the fact that you’re looking to start a venture in Melbourne, where people like to spend money on eating food outside their own kitchen.

    The other tick is I guess I sensed an eagerness to try new things. The friends I was with all weren’t shy in trying new things. So if you’re saying your stuff is not going to be conventional Indian cuisine, then that’s another bonus.

    So you’ve got things working for you there.

    Cash flow is important. So the ‘start small’ drive is very good. Keep your overheads to a minimum. But one thing I’ll mention which you’ll quickly realise is that Indian cuisine compared to other cuisines is more expensive to make. It requires more preparation time, more utensils and the raw materials are expensive as well, as most of them are imported.

    So you’ll quickly realise, that if you’re competing with cuisines which can source materials locally, their cost of operations being lower can allow them to lower their costs, thus attracting customers who want to pay less.

    So that’s one thing you have to be mindful of when running an Indian fast food joint. If you sell a dish for $10, $4 is just going to be the raw materials. Your staff, rent, utilities etc. are all on top. So either you try and bring it down to around $2.5 or $3 which is quite hard. Or you make sure you generate enough volume to make it worthwhile. Not trying to scare you, but bringing it into reality. The major metropolitan markets are quite packed. There are a lot of people dining out, but there are equally that many places for people to eat. So if you have an idea to make yourself stand out, you’ll have a great chance to succeed no matter how much you charge.

    Those are my two cents :)

    Best of luck mate.

    The Profit People
    • Total posts: 76

    I love Indian food so if you are ever in Sydney please look us up :-)

    Having been in the food business in the past we measured our business based on these 4 pillars

    1. Quality
    2. Service
    3. Atmosphere
    4. Value for money

    We actually asked our clients to rate us (from 1 to 10) on these criteria on a weekly basis and gave the feedback to our team. It both inspired them and gave us all something to aim at. We also used this system to benchmark how the businesss was performing.

    This system gave us honest feedback from the people who mattered the most – Our customers.

    Another thing we did was to collect email addresses and mobiles where ever possible. It gave us the opportunity to ask people to come back for more…. wish we put this in place when we first started.

    Lot’s more to share but hope this can help in your planning phase and when you’re up an running.


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