Nick Savvas had never worked in hospitality before. He’d never pulled a beer, served up a plate, taken an order, or even made a coffee. But last year, he decided it was time to follow through his lifelong dream to own a restaurant. Alongside his cousin and his brother-in-law, Nick opened the doors to Three Locals in Fairfield, Victoria, on Australia Day of 2016.
Even today, Nick doesn’t work in the hospitality industry full time. He runs a project management consultancy and therefore has taken up a background role at Three Locals. As an outsider of sorts to the notoriously close-knit hospitality industry, Silver Chef was a valuable service to Nick as he’s still learning the ropes.
“Hospitality was something I wanted to do, but had never been involved in before,” says Nick. “I had never worked as a waiter, never made a coffee – but it was always something I wanted to try.”
With Silver Chef’s help, he was able to identify what equipment the venue was missing to suit the new menu, and finance to have it available for use straight away.
The alternative, says Nick, would have been too time consuming, as they would have had to trawl secondhand equipment sales sites and local papers to fill the gaps in their commercial kitchen. But with Silver Chef, they found a one-stop-shop to get them up and running pretty much immediately after purchasing the existing space.
“We needed to fit out the restaurant, and I was put onto Silver Chef’s services by one of your employees,” he explains. “It was a no-brainer: to go to a firm that could supply what we needed – because we didn’t need everything, just a few big pieces – and be the core provider.”
The Three Locals cafe and restaurant has become a community hub, with the venue open for breakfast and lunch with an 80 person seating capacity.
They decided to keep the menu simple but delicious, with the modern Australian cuisine varying from old favourites like steak sandwiches and a classic big brekkie; to more modern dishes such as quinoa salads and pulled pork tortillas. This is a venue dreamed up as the perfect family restaurant.
The story behind the Three Locals is the tale of many hospitality business owners: here were the three Fairfield locals who saw a gap in the market, and decided to give it a go themselves.
“I live in the area,” says Nick. “We all love the Fairfield strip – it’s a good community, good bunch of cafes, and the place we used to go was pretty rundown and average. So we thought, ‘we can do this!’ and so we took it over.”
Their success has been found by other locals, who have flocked to Three Locals as their preferred cafe in the bustling family suburb of Fairfield.
“Customers often say that we are the number one cafe in the street,” says Nick proudly.
Like most modern hospitality businesses, the multiple owners come from different working backgrounds. Nick prefers to remain behind the scenes, but loves to jump on the floor every now and then, when needed.
“We all bring different strengths to the table,” says Nick. One of us three works in the venue as the operations manager, and myself and the other guy, we’re involved from the sidelines. We of course know what’s going on, on a day-to-day basis, but we don’t actually work in it.”
Although, this wasn’t the case in the first few months of setting up the Three Locals, when their refurbishment and renovations coincided with the Christmas/New Year period. Working through from the beginning of December to the end of January to open by the 25th; Nick was prepared for the Silver Chef process to close down over the holiday period.
And yet, with Silver Chef closed only for the few days between Christmas and New Year’s, they managed to remain working through the holiday period – meaning their equipment was sourced and installed within a week.
“If we didn’t have Silver Chef,” says Nick, “we definitely wouldn’t have been able to open when we did.”
Nick and his business partners opted for Silver Chef’s Certified Used secondhand equipment, which meant they were able to save a considerable amount of money without sacrificing quality.
Silver Chef’s Certified Used equipment means that you can control fixed costs while delivering professional grade hospitality equipment – often less than 18 months old – at a reduced price compared with new. Each item has undergone a rigorous six stage refurbishment process and comes with a warranty.
Using the Certified Used solution, Three Locals got two juicers, a single glass door counter top fridge, sandwich prep bench, blender, milkshake maker, pie warmer (since returned), and two Black Magic 2 door bar fridges.
Looking forward, Nick hopes to open another venue sometime in the future. “I’d love to do another one!” he says. “With the same model: stay on the side, and oversee the business.”
Silver Chef loves to work alongside business owners like Nick. What he lacked in previous experience in hospitality, he more than made up with in enthusiasm and quick thinking. And for Nick? He was able to turn a dream cooked up over his morning coffee with family into a reality.
In his words: “It’s a good feeling to know – I’ve created this.”