The 5 biggest lessons we learned opening a restaurant

Posted on 28 july 2017


Negotiate and understand your lease

This is one of the biggest overhead costs and you really need to know what you’re getting yourself into. For us, it took much longer than expected and we relied on a solicitor to help us understand the terms and how to negotiate a better outcome. And we were really glad we did!!

Be agile with your design and fit out

We had a pretty good idea of what we were looking for in a venue but when taking on an as-is premises, you are going to have to make some compromises. Although it is a dream to start a restaurant from scratch and build it the way you imagine, it just wasn’t feasible for our budget.

In our case, during the fit-out we were faced with a few surprises, so learning to adapt the design, the layout and roll with the punches was huge.

Find the right people

We specialise in cooking food and running front-of-house not figuring out a bottom line or negotiating a contract. We knew our strengths and sought advice from experts where our skills were lacking during the fit-out process.

Take your time and find a professional that suits your needs and has your best interests at heart.

Have mentors

People will generally have a knee jerk reaction when you say you’re going into business with mates. Having mentors on hand who encourage you, but paint a picture of what it’s really like and the challenges you will face, was really helpful for us. Being able to pick up the phone when you run into trouble to talk through situations with people who have been there before is worth its weight in gold.

Having a support system of family and friends to keep you going when things get tough is something you can’t do without.

Attitude is everything

If you’re going into business with friends or family, make sure you have a common end goal and a passion to get there. Otherwise you will find your wheels will fall off pretty quick, you can get through pretty much anything if you have the right attitude.



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.