** Form Template **
Alternative Coffee Brewing Guide Form
Quick Wins Ebook Form
Knight's Coffee & Tea, NSW

Knight With Shining Reputation Sure To Save You With His Coffee

Knight’s Coffee & Tea makes a big promise with their slogan, ‘Sublime Every Time’. 

But, headed up by major coffee fanatic and long-time hospitality industry worker Jake Knight, we think they might just be in with a chance.

He came prepared: Jake made his first coffee way back in high school, when he worked as a barista after class. He continued on working in cafes after graduation to save for his first overseas trip, and stuck with hospitality as he travelled through the UK and more. Upon his return, he began his three years of business school - but even still, Jake was making coffees. 

Working for two of Australia’s biggest coffee suppliers - Toby Estate, and Campos - Jake cut his teeth learning about not just the tastes, but the origins of the beans. By the time he was ready to start his own cafe, his education in how to supply his customers with a latte that was ‘sublime, every time’ was complete.

Knight’s Coffee & Tea opened their first store in Sydney’s Haymarket almost four years ago now. “I’ve always had an interest in hospitality,” says Jake. “My uncle was a chef, and I grew up around family who worked in restaurants and cafes.” He learnt from a young age, that it pays to find your passion, and pursue it - and for Jake, that passion was coffee.
But what he boasted in passion, he lacked in age and experience. “I was only 22 when I set up Haymarket,” says Jake, “And I was going into the banks, only for them to look at me like - ‘You’ve got no hope, mate’ - I was way too risky!”

But Silver Chef looked at Jake differently. He had already at that point spent five years working in the coffee industry, had worked for two major coffee houses, and had a business degree. His positive merits far outweighed any danger associated with his first-time-business-owner status.

According to Jake, Silver Chef just ‘got it’, and has been looking after him since day one, establishing a strong business relationship that continues almost five years later, and beyond.

I was going into the banks, only for them to look at me like - ‘You’ve got no hope, mate’ - I was way too risky!

“For younger people starting up small business,” explains Jake, “there is not as much capital or business history as someone older. Trying to buy all your equipment straight up is a daunting task, not to mention one that will put you in a huge amount of debt. Silver Chef caps your payments as well, so there’s no surprises, and a real safety net in your first year of business.”

The first year of business for Knight’s Coffee & Tea was successful, but not without its challenges. Jake calls it his ‘big learning curve’, and is still surprised at how the different the end result was from his original expectations. “It was so great having that stability, like at the end of 12 months, being able to ask - did we actually need that small piece of equipment? No? Let’s give it back.”

At not even 30, Jake Knight knows how it feels to open a business as a young person. He said one of his biggest challenges was overcoming the common perception of the big banks being the ‘trusted’ option. The big lending organisations, as Jake points out, are working across multiple industries, and do not have a focus on hospitality alone.

“People have a fear about not going with the big banks. They have a fear with the smaller companies that there will be something nasty in the contract. But Silver Chef really gets the idea”, says Jake, “Things change, you might want to upgrade, it won’t always stay the same. Silver Chef know what you need.”

Having survived the tough world of small business from a young age, Jake is extremely encouraging to others who might be considering doing the same. 

With a caveat, of course - “It’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!” Jake warns with a laugh. “I was always tied to the performance of the business. When it did well, I was elated - when it did badly, I would be shattered. I think the mood swings were tougher on my girlfriend than anyone else!”

With a clear passion for what he does, and the flexibility of Silver Chef acting as his business partner-in-crime, we look forward to Knights Coffee & Tea number three opening soon with that same promise - sublime, every time.

Jake Knight
Knight's Coffee & Tea, NSW
Greenhive Kitchen, QLD

Greenhive Kitchen Finds The Silver Lining With The Help Of Silver Chef

“Pretty much everything happens for a reason, and now I know why that happened to me.” 

Every business start-up has an amazing story behind it. People leave whole careers behind, punt all of their life savings, and bravely step into the unknown for little more than passion and love of the game.

However, it’s fair to say that Maria Faalafi has had a journey a little more exceptional than most. Several years ago, Maria found herself in the hospital emergency room, crippled with severe migraines and digestive issues. 

After years and years in pain, she had also begun to suffer panic attacks and depression that were so bad she was forced to quit her job as an engineering drafter and spend most of her time bedridden. And as they say, when it rains, it pours: around the time Maria left her role, her husband lost his carpentry job also, leaving them with a mortgage, health costs, and an uncertain future.

But, as it often does, food came to the rescue.

Maria took her health into her own hands and decided to completely change her diet. With experimentation and research, she came to realise she was suffering a severe gluten intolerance and hyperglycaemia, both conditions that are managed with major dietary changes.

It was this newfound expertise with clean, organic food that inspired Maria and her husband to open up a cafe in Brisbane’s West End. But as they set up a commercial kitchen to prepare the food (and comply with the stringent commercial food prep laws) they realised another, more exciting, concept had emerged: a commercial kitchen for rent. 

“I wanted to trial our (cafe) product before opening anything,” explains Maria. “...and I thought maybe I can rent out our kitchen to other people like me.”

“But we actually realised that the commercial kitchen was more of what we wanted to do.”

And so The Greenhive Kitchen (previously Green Bee Organics) was born.

It would have been too hard for us otherwise. Silver Chef made it possible for us to start.

The concept took off with an unexpected rate of success, so much so, that Maria is moving the business from West End to a larger St Lucia venue that can host three times the amount of renters. 

And all of this was made possible with the help of Silver Chef.

“I used Silver Chef to rent pretty much all of the equipment in the initial set-up,” says Maria. “And then I bought some of it off, and now I am renting again. Everytime I need new equipment, I go through Silver Chef.”

“It would have been too hard for us otherwise. Silver Chef made it possible for us to start.”

To date, Maria has purchased a six burner cooktop, secondhand planetary mixer, six tray self-cooking centre, blast chiller freezer, undercounter dishwasher, two burner cooktop on stand and a food processor. Still on rent is the stainless steel bench, secondhand bowl cutter, a second single door upright freezer and a secondhand vacuum sealer. 

As her offering evolved, Maria has also taken advantage of the easy Silver Chef return policy, opting to give back her vegetable cutting machine, secondhand single door upright freezer, and glass cake display.

From cooking classes to small Australian start-ups who can’t afford a full commercial kitchen, Maria sees the success of The Greenhive Kitchen in it’s flexible nature.

“It’s probably one third cooking classes, one third wholesalers, and one third people trying out going to market,” says Maria, noting that the ability to ‘try before you buy’ is a blessing for anyone wanting to road test their concepts before launching to market. 

Looking forward to the future, Maria sees the Greenhive Kitchen concept growing. 

“We are starting renovations in about a week, and are looking to move in a month or so.” Will she be using Silver Chef into the future? “Absolutely!”

Silver Chef is exceptionally proud to have partnered with Maria, and we are so excited to see what’s next for Greenhive Kitchen. Another great reminder of how we can turn dreams into reality, or in this case, turn a whole life around.

Maria Faalafi
Greenhive Kitchen, QLD
Twelve Boar, QLD

Twelve Boar takes Aussie takeaway to smoky new places

In a country passionately dedicated to their prized fish and chips, it took one very brave American to crack the take-away market with something wonderfully un-Australian.

Richard ‘Rick’ Palesh has been in Australia for eight years now, and observes with a dry wit the historical love we have for old fashioned fish’n’chips, and in more recent years, the kebab. In his new home of Cleveland, QLD, there are a staggering ten takeaway fish and chip shops alone: it’s would be an understatement to say it is the Friday night food of choice.

And yet, in recent years, Rick began to notice a shift in Australian food trends, with the introduction of traditional American ‘diner style’ and Southern comfort food to our shores. American burger shops, smoked meat houses, and grills started popping up in the urban centres - but something was missing. 

“I noticed that all of these people opening up American food joints were actually Australian,” notes Rick. “And that flavour was missing something.”

And that something was actual, first-hand knowledge of the American style of cooking. 

Armed with a passion for American cuisine, and a lifetime of knowledge behind his native country’s food and flavours, Rick set about opening up ‘Twelve Boar’ American Smoked BBQ House in Cleveland.

As a former engineer, this is Rick’s first foray into the world of food and hospitality. It came as a rude shock when he first approached the banks for a loan - only to be met with a resounding ‘no’. Rather than agree to a loan against the hordes of expensive equipment Rick would be buying, the banks pointed out that “an oven means nothing to us!” 

Unable to raise the cash needed for the banks to match the loan, Rick met with his equipment distributor, Food Strategy. For the distributor, the solution was simple: go with Silver Chef. Once Rick made that first phone call to the team at Silver Chef, he didn’t look back.

With his wife and business partner Beth, Rick was able to secure all of the equipment and finance he required to get Twelve Boar up and running. As he says, Silver Chef was not like a loan, and more of a business partnership.

“Sure the banks can give you money,” says Rick, “but Silver Chef is a business partnership. They bear the weight on my behalf - like, if there was something I didn’t use, and had to return in, that is something Silver Chef would deal with. They’re not a bank. Silver Chef is constantly enquiring if we need anything, and they really care about the business.”

Not only were we able to get Rick up and running, we were able to do quickly as well. “Silver Chef was the quickest. With the banks I had to actually go in, sign papers, and wait for up to 4 weeks for a response. When I was looking for extended credit, all I had to do with Silver Chef was apply online and i had a verdict within 24 hours.”

Silver Chef is a business partnership. They bear the weight on my behalf - like, if there was something I didn’t use, and had to return in, that is something Silver Chef would deal with. They’re not a bank.

In April 13, 2015, Twelve Boar opened its doors, and has seen a prosperous and exciting year since. Cleveland is a notoriously quiet suburb of Brisbane, with its seaside location and mild weather attracting retirees and young families. Not exactly the right demographic to be trying out exotic new cuisines - however, via strength and persistence (and some damn good food), Rick has won them over and his business continues to grow.

The equipment Rick required and has subsequently hired through Silver Chef is extremely specific to his style of cooking - there are slow cookers, deep fryers, and of course, his prized Alto Shaam Slow Cook, Hold and Smoker Oven - well, two of them, actually. 

Since opening, Rick has also upgraded and swapped out several items.
“We were recommended certain equipment, but as we started, we realised we needed something else,” says Rick, who has also added on additional items - like an extra fryer - to keep up with growing demand. 

Rick assures all prospective hospitality business owners that there is no way to know what you will need for your business prior to actually starting - putting emphasis on the importance of the Silver Chef flexibility to return and/or upgrade equipment.

“Each restaurant is a specific genre,” says Rick, “And in time you realise there is something more you need. We spent a lot of money getting started, and there’s no way we would have had the $8,000 for a new fryer when we realised that’s what we needed a few months in.”

Rick and Beth returned their Blue Seal 4 burner gas oven range with static oven and later got a Blue Seal 600mm single pan fryer. 

“It was so easy! We literally just gave the oven back, paid a deposit for the new fryer, and got the new equipment. There is always something, as you refine your kitchen over time, you will figure out you either don’t need, or is missing.”

So, what’s in a name? Wanting to break free of the single-word brands like ‘Grilled’, Rick worked to create a name that would be easy to remember, and evocative of the all-American style food he was creating. ‘Twelve Boar’ therefore came about from the intensive 12-hour smoking process that is used overnight to create the juicy and tasty pork, beef, and brisket he serves.

If your mouth is watering, then make sure you get to Cleveland to sample some of his delicious menu, including pulled pork and slaw burgers, buffalo wings, and beer battered onion rings. And if you’re not a local, fear not - Rick has plans in 2016 to open another branch. But until then, he’s working on getting that true American flavour just right.

Richard Palesh
Twelve Boar, QLD
The Red Velvet Lounge, TAS

Tassie Cafe Proves Anything Is Possible

There’s something special about country cafes. With the unique personality and home-made freshness that only a small business can provide, The Red Velvet Lounge welcomes you from first sight. 

Nestled into the lush countryside of Cygnet, around 55 km from Hobart, The Red Velvet Lounge sits snugly between the picturesque mountain ranges and quiet streets of the small town. Famous for its cakes, biscuits, and sourdough bread, The Red Velvet Lounge is famous among locals and visitors alike - which, considering its recent turn of events, is nothing short of remarkable.

In November of 2014, the historic 100-year old building tragically caught fire, and was burnt to the ground. Believed to have started in the kitchen and spreading quickly to their famous dining area, both investigators and insurance companies couldn’t offer much further explanation for the fire than this: it was just damn unlucky.

Owner Steve Cumper was devastated. The kitchen - the heart of his iconic restaurant and cafe - was destroyed. His dining area was unusable. He was losing money by the day as his bills ticked over. But worst of all, his insurance policy didn’t even come close to covering the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage the fire had caused.

“At this point, I thought the fire was a sign to pull up stumps,” says Steve, a hospitality veteran of over 30 years. “But we had such an overwhelming response from the broader community who organised a fundraiser.”

“Attending were a whole lot of industry people and organisations who banded together to raise $35,000. And that really steeled our resolve to get up and keep trying.”

Among the people to hoist Steve and his staff back into business was Silver Chef. Already a loyal customer of the Silver Chef brand, the equipment lost in the fire had only just been paid off for full ownership by Steve a short time earlier. “I contacted Silver Chef,” remembers Steve, “with a ‘Wish List’ and a ‘Reality List’. Luckily, they were able to help me with both.” Indeed, the existing relationship between Silver Chef and Steve meant that replacing his kitchen was as easy as a phone call.

To preserve his cash flow, Mr Cumper decided to rent nearly $90,000 worth of kitchen equipment and stainless steel benches through Silver Chef, rather than buying it outright.
“I was working to an incredibly tight budget and didn’t want to tie up what cash I did have in expensive kitchen equipment,” says Mr Cumper, whose wages bill alone is about $300,000 a year.
“The ability to get the equipment you want immediately without having to outlay a shed-load of cash is very attractive; renting the equipment off balance sheet was a no-brainer.”
Silver Chef’s willingness to fund new and used equipment also helped The Red Velvet Lounge keep its costs down. With an incredible $75,000 loan from the government, Steve had only a small gap to cover when it came to setting up a new and renovated kitchen. 

The ability to get the equipment you want immediately without having to outlay a shed-load of cash is very attractive; renting the equipment off balance sheet was a no-brainer.

On Saturday evenings, The Red Velvet Lounge transformed from a cafe into a fully-fledged restaurant, and the kitchen reflected this versatility. Almost everything prior to the fire was from brand ‘Simply Stainless’ - four work benches, dishwasher, sink benches and gantry.

Following the fire, The Red Velvet Lounge saw a whole new kitchen installed. The combination of new and second hand equipment now included exciting new options like a Robot Coupe ice cream machine and Henkleman vac packer. In addition to restocking the essentials, Steve also chose to add in a new Expobar coffee machine and versatile Mecnosud spiral mixer. His new kitchen was complete.

Steve Cumper is no stranger to the perils of the hospitality industry. Starting out at the tender age of 16, Steve overcame many hurdles to win the successful name he currently has in the Australian food and beverage industry. He was the winner of Country Style magazine's first ever National Country Chef of the Year award, and the iconic The Red Velvet Lounge was even included in a 2014 issue of the Wall Street Journal. 

When asked what ‘Plan B’ was if the cafe could not be rebuilt, Steve laughs. “There was no Plan B. I’ve got very strong views, and I don’t think I could work for anyone else. I have extremely high standards, and I’m not prepared to compromise those things.” He cheekily adds, “The only real back up plan was for me to go back to male modelling.” 

And it was this determination and passion for his work that has seen Steve rise from strength to strength since the reopening of The Red Velvet Lounge earlier this year.

One cannot help but marvel at the highly responsive and innovative era businesses are lucky enough to operate in these days. It was not long ago that losing your business meant, well, losing your business. To watch your building burn to the ground spelt the end of the road for many, as raising the cash to rebuild would have taken years.

In 2015, however, response time is the basis on which so many companies are growing their offering. Silver Chef knows that every moment spent waiting is an opportunity lost, a customer not served, and another cost incurred. So it is our goal to allow our clients to have their business operating as best it can, as soon as it can.

Steve Cumper agrees. “The nature of lending money has changed over the years. Quite frankly, people could not have found the spaces in between established commercial markets to find, purchase and create a new market.” As Steve has shown, by having the right equipment, at the right time, everyone is a contender - regardless of difficult circumstances.

So, we asked - how would you describe the new and improved Red Velvet Lounge? Steve says the refurbishment has allowed him to replace an “idiosyncratic space that had patinas of interest layered over the years” with a more appealing one.
“It’s a beautiful space—it’s lofty, airy, light, warm and the same bonhomie we were noted for is still in the bricks—that’s going nowhere.”
Also unchanged will be the “frocked-up yet unpretentious” country food for which The Red Velvet Lounge is famous, including its Nanna-style cakes—“think upside down quince cake with custard”.

Sounds very, very inviting to us.

Steve Cumper
The Red Velvet Lounge, TAS

We've helped over 33,530 people achieve their dreams