FOUNDER'S FRIDAY: Bao Down - A Pork Bun King on a Mission With Tak Hing

July 27, 2017

In 1998, at the back of a small bakery in Braybrook, Victoria, a pork bun empire was quietly born.

Meet Andrew Wong, the steamed bun king, who turned his family’s small wholesale bao business, Tak Hing Food Co., into a mass market phenomenon. 

Andrew joined forces with his father, who was targeting the Asian community with his steam buns, supplying only to restaurants and small Asian grocery stores. Recognising an opportunity to expand into the Western market, Andrew had higher hopes for the Tak Hing brand.


The Top 5 Must-Haves for Every Commercial Fitout

June 28, 2017

Design for the senses.

Case study after case study shows us that a well-designed space attracts more customers and achieves more sales than a tired looking interior. Often as customers, we don't always pinpoint what it is about a space that makes us want to linger in it a little longer, or spend a little more. What we know is that at its most basic level, this motivation stems from feelings of comfort, aesthetic pleasure, and full sense engagement.

The built space is unique in that it is the one place where all of your five senses are engaged. From the smell of coffee, to tantalising visuals of a food theatre, the touch of a textured menu, ambient music in your ears, and the crunch of something delightful, it is one of the only places where we are able to experience a brand in its entirety. Well-designed interiors directly play to this full engagement of the five senses.

As designers, we've dissected the precise touchpoints that contribute to creating this feeling for customers. Over the years, we've experimented with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that - materials, lighting, finishes, consultants, you name it - to come up with the perfect mix of things that should never be overlooked when designing a commercial fitout. Be it a restaurant, bar, cafe, shop, kiosk, or office, these elements remain as the Top 5. 

To find out how to connect with your customers' senses through interior design, download this guide. Pssst...we're also giving away a list of our favourite suppliers for each must-have. See how your fitout stacks up today!


Is Your Hospitality Business Feasible?

June 07, 2017

We'll admit we're suckers for Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules as much as the next guy, but its important not to let the allure of TV's most entertaining culinary protégés become the only inspiration for opening a restaurant. We're all for chasing dreams, and we want to see you succeed. There's a big difference between cooking a meal from a mystery box of ingredients and running an entire hospitality venture.

While Australia is home to many of the world's greatest restaurants and cafes, we've seen many an operator fail as well. Now more than ever, being a hospitality game player is about reading and adapting to the market. Even some of Australia's top restaurateurs have had to pivot their hospitality approach to cater to a changing market. George Calombaris likely didn't expect he would be running a fast casual empire in a matter of years when he started his career in fine dining, but his success with Jimmy Grant's has proven otherwise.

Hospitality is fun. But just because your favourite pastime is eating out doesn't mean you are going to love being a restaurant operator. At the end of the day, hospitality is a business, and if it isn't regarded as a business with commercial viability in mind, success may be hard pressed to find. From our years of working with clients and being operators ourselves, our advice is to approach your venture with the right attitude and follow the right steps to determining feasibility. These are the first steps towards a bright future in F&B!


8 Things To Consider Before Signing Your Retail Lease

May 16, 2017

The hard part is over - your concept has been decided, branding is complete, and you've ummed and ahed over locations for a while before finally deciding on where you'd like to set up shop. Chances are if you're like most restaurateurs (unless you have a heap of cash) you will be looking at leasing a site. 

A restaurant lease is arguably one of the most important components of your business. And we'll admit we would be bluffing if we said they were always easy to decipher. Terms like contributions, terms, and CPIs, can be especially overwhelming if this is your first time going about the process. That's why we've put together a guide of 8 Things to Consider Before Signing Your Retail Lease. 

Always do your homework on the site before signing on the dotted line. Consider if the space was previously a restaurant, and if not what Category 1 works are in place or are going to need to be installed. Things like gas supply, grease traps, air conditioning, and core holes can become some of the most expensive components of a fit out if you have to put them in yourself.

Setting up shop can be expensive. Consider asking your future landlord if a contribution can be provided. This could be in the form of a rent free period or cash toward a fit out. A landlord doesn't want their building to remain empty any more than you want to feel ripped off by a lease. See if you can work together to negotiate a deal that benefits both parties.

The most important advice we can give is to seek legal advice before signing any lease, as there are always clauses and provisions that require the professional advice of a solicitor. 

Download the guide to read up on contributions, core works, rental terms, contributions, liquor licenses, bank guarantees, and more! 


FOUNDERS FRIDAY: JARED CALNAN AND HIS NEW GAL, LAZY SU                                                         ISSUE#2

April 13, 2017

Is there a recipe for success? Apparently yes. According to Jared Calnan, debutant director of our new favourite food concept, there is. Passion, opportunity and timing; all thrown in together without too much consideration.


THE NEW BREED : JULIEN MOUSSI - The commercial creative

February 17, 2017


Julien’s a man on a mission. The 28-year-old founder has opened nine standout hospitality venues in the past four years and although you may not know his name (yet), you definitely know his work.



January 27, 2017

We always love seeing what's new, upcoming or even just hanging around. Looking to get ahead of the curve? Check out this installment of Minded to check out some of the trends we've spotted that we think will grow through 2017. 



December 24, 2016

We're so excited it's finally summer and the silly season is upon us. The year has gone so fast, so we're going to see it out with a bang. Check out our latest installment of Minded for some great ideas on how to join us in seeing 2016 out in style.


Consider These 4 Things Before Naming Your Brand

November 09, 2016

"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names" - Proverb

Why its important to nail your brand name:


In Pursuit of The Steak Sandwich - One Man's Dream to Bring Back An Aussie Icon

November 03, 2016

An interview with Dean Sholl, traditionalist and founder of Empire Steak, on his mission to bring back the steak sandwich.