The lessons we learned in the first weeks of running a restaurant

Posted on 27 october 2017

You can plan all you like when setting up your kitchen, but there are some things that you can’t get a feel for until you’re in the thick of things.

The phrase that was thrown around constantly in the first couple of weeks was 'we're going to need a bigger boat!!' We didn't have our prep quite right and our equipment couldn't keep up with the task.

We knew we had a pretty good menu sorted when we opened the doors of Sum Yung Guys, but we didn't anticipate a number of items becoming the clear favourites. For example, Roti bread became the most popular item on the menu – we definitely didn't see that coming!! The problem was, we had a domestic mixer trying to keep up with the demand.

We were also trying to churn out high volumes of meals with elements that required slow cooking as well as finishing off in the oven. It became pretty clear we needed a second oven.

Basically, we were doing bigger numbers than we thought we would (not a bad problem to have!!) but we needed some serious upgrades. This is what we ended up having to upgrade:

  • We got a second combi oven to allow us to do our slow cook prep
  • We got a bigger flat top. Because we just needed the extra room!!
  • Planetary mixer - we needed to keep those Roti's coming and it made our lives so much easier
  • Shelving – we needed as much prep space as possible!!

We learned these things as we went, and sometimes they were tough lessons to learn. We know the kitchen will continue to evolve as the menu does; but we'll be ready for it next time!!


Matt Sinclair has worked in front-of-house hospitality for almost 15 years. He was a runner up on Season 8 of MasterChef, inspiring him to start up the hugely successful 10 Piece Cutlery Food Van at the Brisbane EatStreet Markets. 

Now, Matt has taken the plunge into owning a restaurant which opened its doors in June 2017. Follow his journey from food lover, to food van owner to fully-fledged restaurateur.