My Story About Selling Hospitality Businesses
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left school, and as I finished year 10 and enrolled for the secondary and final term of year 11 and 12 as it was known back then, I questioned what I was doing. I didn’t even really enjoy school and here I was signing up for 2 more years. My mother (in all her wisdom and with her strong European working ethic) steered me towards the blue collar future, and of course what was a Sydney wog suburban boy to do?
I was 16 when I found myself in Surry Hills working for a crazy French chef peeling bags of potatoes, cleaning toilets and constantly being reprimanded for not getting it right. Although I appreciated my 3 weeks there, I next found myself working in a City French Crepes restaurant and my first job was lighting up the 16 burner stove and slamming out 100,s of crepes for the lunchtime service, rhythm and timing was everything. Whilst both humbling positions, I was on the move to excel, and soon I landed a position as 2nd year apprentice at Sydney’s Premier Fine dining restaurant in Potts Point.
On $83 a week doing 60 hours, I learnt to appreciate quality, craftsmanship, comradery, stamina, and attention to detail. It was here where I learnt to make real food the French way, Hollandaise in a bottle hadn’t been invented yet, and chopping parsley was the task that head chefs tested your ability on. We made everything on site, nothing was bought in apart from the best raw ingredients, and whilst I loved the freedom of creating a dish without a recipe, free balling it was not an option when it came time to making soufflés and Ice-cream.
I stayed here until I became 2nd chef several years later and with reference in hand, I embarked upon a myriad of what can only be described as colourful 2nd chef and head chef positions in some of Sydney’s more notable establishments.
Dining out was obviously the measure to your own ability, and whilst I immensely enjoyed eating other chefs food, I strangely enough always had an issue with the quality of Ice-cream that accompanied my dessert. It might sound petty, but it bugged me, so I set out to see if I could make my own Ice-cream for Chefs to buy. Starting in a small kitchen we leased a 1.5 litre Robot coupe Ice-cream churner. The “Food God” of the time was Leo Schoeffield, and I delivered a parcel of sample product to his Bronte residence. The next week, the SMH Short Black article had borne a sweet baby and we promptly moved “Nicecream” to our first 14 sq. metre production shop in Obrien Street Bondi.
18 months later we were off to Charing Cross, to an ex bakery site that we converted to an Ice-cream wholesale and retail, and 2 years after that to the old “Serendipity” factory on Glenmore road Paddington. This 300 sq. metre site allowed us to cater for Qantas first class, the Opera house theatre, The Capitol theatre and about 300 retail and wholesale customers. We were bursting at the seams and contemplating another move when a business broker approached us and offered her wares. Taking this option after 7 years of hard slog wasn’t a hard decision. We didn’t know what was around the corner, but we didn’t need to. When you make space for an opening, it will present itself and the subsequent around Australia trip of a lifetime in style for 18 months is one thing I will hold close to me always.
Escaping Sydney and Landing in Noosa was a godsend. A Sausage roll manufacturing business experience and then another restaurant here in Noosa, 3 kids, a divorce and time to reassess.
When we are on the treadmill, it’s difficult to sometimes look from the outside. At 50 I was still working in a kitchen questioning my path. That lightbulb moment when you say “What am I doing here?” and snap. Selling Hospitality businesses became my next career move – one that I am passionate about. And this passion has seen me expand that umbrella and specialise in the sale of ice cream manufacturing businesses.
I would love to hear your story about how you have created, your brand, your way. Not everybody is ready to sell right now as we are all on different paths, but through the relationships we build now, I would like to be the man you come to see when you are ready to sell. An appraisal of your business would be my pleasure and comes at no expense to you so if you’d like to have a chat about your story, I would love to sit down with you and discuss the possibilities.
0413 118 718
Hospitality Specialist Broker