Yuni's Kitchen

Yuni's Kitchen – the dream that became a sustainable business

After winning a $5,000 radio advertising package as part of ANZ’s $2 Billion Lending Pledge, Yuni’s Kitchen is in a prime position to take advantage of its growing word-of-mouth referrals.

We had a chat to Yuni to learn about how she found success in such a short time.

The restaurant recently opened its doors in Melbourne’s inner suburb, Northcote and while Indonesian food continues to grow in popularity throughout Australia – and in the Melbourne market, Yuni and Matthew Kenwrick found a way to make their new Indonesian restaurant different from the rest.

Cooking fresh and without MSG was the answer. Yuni knew this meant their speed of service would be slower but the taste of their dishes would be a cut above the competition.

Yuni’s is an open kitchen design that looks for a deeper bond with its customers. “We wanted the business to allow a connection between patrons and the chef,” clarifies Yuni.

When starting up, Yuni took advice from friends who had been in the industry – and locals. “After our first year in business we’ve achieved the highest rating for an Indonesian restaurant on Urbanspoon – without relying on the Indonesian community,” says Yuni.

It was a fast learning curve having to overcome some early problems such as wastage and poor cash flow. However, Yuni got past these difficult issues to gain regular customers who book in advance and give them rave reviews online.

In fact, word-of-mouth has been one of the fundamental reasons why Yuni’s Kitchen has been on the road to success. As Yuni points out, “most of our online leads come from Urbanspoon, Facebook, Google Maps and other review websites.”

They also have a website in the pipeline, which Yuni describes as “the icing on the cake.” It will allow them to build better branding in the years ahead.

Advertising is one expense they can’t afford right now. It’s why they entered ANZ’s $5,000 radio advertising competition – with a prize to help small businesses promote themselves in their local area.

Yuni is hopeful their radio advertisement will “bring in new customers – especially younger crowds – and boost our word-of-mouth reputation.”

Yuni has the following tips if you want to turn your dream into a sustainable business:

  • Take your time – work in the industry first to gain knowledge without the risk of diving head first into your own business.
  • Double your expected cost – of what you think you’ll need to get your business rolling. Then, keep your costs in check. Yuni and Matthew found council costs excessive while marketing money seemed to go in a flash.
  • Be honest to yourself about staff – in the beginning, Yuni had to remove staff that weren’t contributing to their goal. “If they’re not willing to go with your ideas and plans, then find staff that will,” suggests Yuni. Once they had regular customers, they were able to be more selective when hiring staff.
  • Develop consistency – find out what your customers like and be consistent with the service and products you offer them.

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