Pineapple Express, QLD

Trendy Brisbane Eatery Pineapple Express Takes Modern Approach To Hospitality

Pineapple Express are onto a good thing.

The Brisbane eatery are a cafe with “...a special emphasis on superfoods, and everything that is ‘good for your insides’”. An on-trend concept based out of an even trendier location - the booming Portside precinct - it is hard to imagine this concept ever doing poorly. Cleverly leveraging the current paleo, vegan, and exotic food trend sweeping the Australian food and beverage industry, this small cafe is attracting big attention.

Some people are made for hospitality. And listening to 34-year-old owner and director of Pineapple Express Leigh Metzeling talk about his experience, you can tell that he’s one of those guys. His CV reads like a dream in hospitality management. This guy has literally covered all territory. 

He started out taking ‘hospitality’ as a vocational subject during his school year, before moving on to a chef’s apprenticeship at The Hilton, eventually switching to a degree in Hotel Management (““It was too intense in the kitchen!”). And thrown in just for good measure? A tertiary BA in Business, Advertising and Marketing.

From scrubbing pots to scribbling slogans, Leigh knows the hospitality industry inside out. “You get to know what works in the business,” laughs Leigh. “You get to know what areas to put together. You’ve got the cogs - like the kitchen, the stock, the equipment - and then the front of house, which is the people.” 

But for hospitality veteran Leigh, the Silver Chef solution was a recent discovery.

Leigh is still happily surprised at what an excellent business partner they have made. “It would have been so tough without Silver Chef,” says Leigh. “It’s a total ease of burden, and made the equipment side of things so easy.”

Leigh is one of five directors in the Pineapple Express cafe, and also runs two other venues - Capulet bar in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, and SASS Management on the Gold Coast. A smart investor with plenty of experience, he had no trouble launching his business through traditional methods. With a strong business history, he was approved for a traditional bank loan from the start.

It would have been so tough without Silver Chef. It’s a total ease of burden, and made the equipment side of things so easy.

Along with the bank loan, Pineapple Express also got a kick-start from the partner’s private savings to cover the purchase and building costs. But when it came to the fit out of the equipment, they were looking for a more innovative solution than simply shelling out their own cash. It was then that their building team, Tu Projects Brisbane, told Leigh about the Silver Chef offer. Not just a perfect lender for those looking to start their own business, Silver Chef also caters for successful businesses simply looking for a smart alternative for their equipment lending. 

“Silver Chef is a great option for us,” notes Leigh. “There is a base payment per week, and we didn’t need to pay it all upfront. The guys at Tu Project just said, here is what you need, and here’s where you should get it.”

Following Tu Project’s advice, Leigh called Silver Chef, and was approved on the spot. Within a week, his equipment arrived, and Pineapple Express opened its doors to Brisbane’s healthy army of green-smoothie enthusiasts. 

So for a successful young entrepreneur like Leigh, it is the flexibility and total commitment to his equipment that was the primary attraction to Silver Chef. “If something breaks down,” says Leigh, “there’s a solution to the problem. You don’t have to wait.” 

More importantly, he was able to order exactly the equipment he was wanting, without having to settle for a replacement brand or model. In fact, Leigh opted for an end-to-end fit-out – from benching, sinks, juicers, blenders, shelving, microwave, ice machine, display cabinet, dishwashers, fridges, ice makers and chiller freezers, he went with Silver Chef for it all. 

As one of five partners in the Pineapple Express venture, Leigh loves the community feel to the management team. “We all bring skills to the table,” he says. Silver Chef understands modern business is all about supporting collaborative ownership - and it is therefore exciting to watch this group of young friends work together to launch their dream cafe.

It’s an exciting new world for small businesses. It’s easier than ever to turn your dreams into a bricks-and-mortar reality. The innovation of Silver Chef works off exactly that premise - this is 2016, not 1966! There are smarter ways to get your business off the ground that just setting yourself back into deep debt.

We’ve been around providing Australians with hospitality equipment for 30 years. That’s three decades of dedicating ourselves to understanding how we can help those specifically in the hospitality industry. We like to believe that we’re the perfect business partner to young guns like Leigh Metzeling, and can’t wait to see what he - we! - are doing next.

Leigh Metzeling
Pineapple Express, QLD
Noosa Boathouse, QLD

The Master of Reinvention Phil Bradford Takes on Noosa Institution with Silver Chef 

​Noosa Boathouse owner Phil Bradford is a veteran of the Australian hotel and hospitality industry. 

His impressive resume is an exciting - albeit exhausting! -  journey through hotels, restaurants, and management; a worldwide journey that took him everywhere from Ayers Rock to the chilly streets of London.

Now the owner and director of one of Noosa’s local institutions, The Boathouse, Phil has added another feather to his hat with the extensive renovations on the waterfront venue. With a stylish rooftop bar, huge function space, and trendy coffee shop; the Noosa Boathouse feels brand new thanks to the midas touch of Phil Bradford.

But all stories must have a beginning, and for Phil, that was in a Darwin fish and chip shop at the age of 13. Humble beginnings that taught him, from his teens, how a venue operates from the deep fryer up. By 15 he was working at a family friend’s restaurant, and by university he was working front of desk and as a porter for a Darwin hotel chain.

After he graduated, Phil headed to Indonesia, where he continued working for hotels. Having found his niche, the industry then swept him up on a 20 year whirlwind career, working in Ayers Rock, Hamilton Island, the UK, and Indonesia to name a few. In 2006, he felt that he needed a sea change, and worked for almost six years as the commercial manager for petroleum company OzFuel. 

This sea change wasn’t quite what he hoped for, however; the long stints in remote areas like Charleville and Cloncurry saw him miss his true passion - hospitality. By 2008, he was back in the game, and back by the sea. He purchased the original Noosa Boathouse from an old industry friend, and by 2013, was in the driver’s seat as owner and director.

In the years since, he has slowly but surely reworked the space to create a modern and exciting venue, with significant attention paid to the menu for the notoriously picky Noosa culinary crowd. And he couldn’t have done it without Silver Chef.

“I actually hadn’t heard about Silver Chef before The Boathouse,” says Phil, noting that in the massive scale of the hotel industry, all equipment and fit outs are generally purchased outright from the start. “It was a chef mate of mine who said: take my advice. Don’t buy it outright straight away. If it’s sizeable, trial it through Silver Chef first.”

After overseeing the opening of dozens of hotels worldwide over his 20+ years in the industry, Phil knew to be wary of rushing in and setting his plans in stone before first testing the market. Flexibility, he says, is always the key to pleasing your customer. From menus to layout, equipment to design, you must always be light on your feet and able to shift and move with your audience’s needs.


It was a chef mate of mine who said: take my advice. Don’t buy it outright straight away. If it’s sizeable, trial it through Silver Chef first.

“A lot of businesses go out and spend a lot of money on what they think they’ll need,” notes Phil, “and then it becomes redundant.” So, he decided to test out his new equipment over the 12-month rental period with the Silver Chef Rent-Try-Buy® system.

Different customers see different benefits to the Silver Chef solution, and for Phil, it had less to do with easing the cash flow issues with starting a new business, and more about trialling the right equipment for an untested concept.

“We had no issues with cash flow,” says Phil. “If I wanted to buy the product, I’ll buy the product.” He needed to test the equipment first - and money can’t buy that. Indeed, for experienced businessmen like Phil Bradford, Silver Chef acts as the innovative, flexible, and modern-thinking business partner behind the scenes.

It was the ease of mind, too: being able to bundle things together as one purchase, rather than sourcing individual deals. “For all our big ticket items we went through Silver Chef. We tested it out, 12 months ticked over, and we buy it outright with a big discount. Easy.”

Nowhere else will you have this kind of flexibility with equipment. To be able to ‘try before you buy’ is a rare opportunity, particularly with large scale, expensive pieces like Phil is currently hiring.

In his time with Silver Chef, Phil has clocked up an impressive worth of equipment rentals. He has used the Silver Chef system to test out large scale items such as a Moffat range 6 burner convection oven, a Skope undercounter chiller, and a Moffat griddle with stand. He has also purchased several items outright including their Electrolux combi oven and Eswood undercounter smartwash dishwasher.

After a lifetime in hospitality, Phil has a lot to offer when it comes to discussing upcoming trends in the food and beverage industry. “It’s come back a lot from the GFC,” he notes, saying that the immediate downturn following the financial crisis of 2007/2008 was a real blow to the hospitality business.

“These days, it’s all about good service. You must have value for money - that doesn’t mean it’s cheap - and you then must back it with service, and consistency. Consistency is the biggest thing.”

For a man who seen luxury hotels and restaurants come and go for the better part of 25 years, we think we’ll take his word for it.

Phil Bradford
Noosa Boathouse, QLD
Dezerts, NSW

Sweet Tooth Seachange For Dessert Lover Andrew

Once upon a time, Andrew Sharkawi was just another podiatry student with a killer sweet tooth. 

Along with his friend George Iskander, a pharmacist, Andrew was a die-hard dessert fan. The medical duo became the connoisseurs of where to find the best after dinner treats in Sydney, frequenting every cafe and restaurant they could find. In the end, they realised their sweet tooth was actually leading them somewhere more exciting than finding the best Nutella crepe in was to become their career.

Two years later, Andrew and George are the joint owners and managers of one of Sydney’s favourite dessert haunts, ‘Dezerts’, a two-level homage to all things chocolate coated with a cherry on top.

Dezerts is located in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Brighton Le Sands, and is a local favourite. They offer hearty breakfasts, burgers, coffees, smoothies, and of course, a dessert menu that will have you drooling. 

“George and I were constantly going out for desserts - mid week, weekends, everything!” explains Andrew. “Eventually we were like - why don’t we open our own dessert shop?” 

It was a massive career change for Andrew and George, but together, they combined contacts, business ideas, and their shared passion for chocolate, to get Dezerts off the ground. So how exactly did they make the leap from diagnosing foot disorders, to designing desserts?

“I’m pretty passionate about business, so is George,” says Andrew. “And so basically, we said ‘let’s just do it now’. We can recover ourselves should anything go wrong whilst we’re we took our idea and just ran with it.”

But little did they know they would be up and running as quickly as they were.

“We found a location, but they weren’t selling - so we made an offer, and they accepted. It all went really fast,” remembers Andrew, “we had three weeks from purchase to open our doors.”

At just 25-years-old, Andrew and George were quite young to take on the challenge of opening a small business, especially since neither of them came from hospitality backgrounds. But they used their ‘fresh set of eyes’ to their advantage, working hard to create a venue and a menu that would attract both a younger crowd and a family audience.

We called up, figured out we could get everything brand new and in one lump sum, so we signed up straight away.

“There are teenagers and young adults who are always out [in Brighton Le Sands] during the weekend and also during the week who aren’t just wanting dessert, but coffees, or a nice lunch,” explains Andrew. “We target families as well, with young kids - we made sure we had pram access, and a function room upstairs to cater for everyone.”

Their menu and their demographic was under control, but for these first time foodies, the setup was a little less straightforward. After releasing a rather aspirational food menu after a tastings session a few weeks out, Dezerts had a 15,000 strong following on Facebook - before they had even opened the doors! The pressure was on to live up to the hype.

“In the area of newly established business, a lot of people would bring up Silver Chef,” says Andrew. “It was like - go to Silver Chef, go to Silver Chef, go to Silver Chef. So we called up, figured out we could get everything brand new and in one lump sum, so we signed up straight away.”
The biggest drawcard for Andrew was being able to manage their cash flow. “Obviously, cash flow is essential in starting new business,” he says, “so having a payment that is minimal, as opposed to a lump sum cash flow that would destroy you in an emergency, was critical to us.”

With their kitchen sorted, 35 staff hired, and their Facebook following ballooning to more than 240,000 fans (wow!); Dezerts had one thing left to perfect: their desserts.

“These days, everyone eats with their eyes. So we cater for their eyes!” says Andrew. “We make it look so appealing: if it’s meant to be small, we double it or triple it - and suddenly, people are like ‘Aw, we gotta have this!’”

The Dezerts menu takes full advantage of the huge dessert trend sweeping the world at the moment - namely, supersized milkshakes, giant pancakes with homemade ice-cream, and golden waffles that are quite literally drenched in Nutella and chocolate. The bigger, the better. 

Their aesthetically-enticing desserts have won them a huge online following with whom they interact with on a daily basis. Whilst Andrew and George usually work from a remote office, popping in daily to check on their staff, they always make time to get onto the Dezerts Facebook page and have a chat with some of their customers.

But when it comes to imparting the greatest piece of wisdom he has learnt after two years in the hospitality trade, Andrew’s focus isn’t on his customers, or even the desserts he’s serving them: it’s his staff.

“Look after your staff, and they’ll look after your business,” says Andrew.

“They say, ‘look after your customers’, but if your staff are happy, they’ll look after your customers for you. If you don’t look after your staff, they will compromise your customer’s happiness, and in time, they will affect your business.”

Wise words from another great young Aussie entrepreneur paving the way in the new world of modern hospitality. And proof to all of us, that our relentless sweet tooth can offer us far more than just a hefty dentist bill - it can create a whole career!

Andrew Sharkawi
Dezerts - NSW
Craft Coffee, QLD

Silver Chef Helps Young Gun Craft Coffee Chapter In Family Business

Andrew Kelly comes from a family of entrepreneurs.

His father and brother work alongside him at their family-owned ‘Tactile Learning Centres’, a craftsmanship-inspired training college in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. And yet, at just 23, Andrew decided he wanted to step up the family business, and open his own espresso bar out the front of their new college.

Remarkably humble for a small business owner of such a young age, Andrew is relaxed about his newest venture. “Before starting Craft Coffee, I worked as a barista,” he says, “and I remember thinking - I love this. I could do this.” With the family-owned learning centre on the lookout for a new location, Andrew broadened their search to find somewhere that could accommodate a coffee shop, too.

Eventually deciding on Brisbane’s inner-north suburb of Albion, Andrew got to work. “The ideas came way before the practical,” laughs Andrew as he remembers the months of planning that came before Craft Coffee was even built. It was during these planning stages that good friend - and Silver Chef customer - Mark Pearce of the Cleanskin Coffee Co gave Andrew a nudge in the right direction.

Pretty much, they made it possible.” ‘They’, of course, is the team at Silver Chef.

Like many customers before him, Andrew was blown away with how easy the process was. As a first-timer - and a 23-year-old first timer, at that! - Andrew was not only given full faith by the Silver Chef team financially, but also as a professional support. Andrew recalls months of ‘Help, what do I do?!’ phone calls with Silver Chef staff before he finally got his business underway.

Through his friend and Silver Chef equipment supplier Mark Pearce, Andrew purchased a La Marzocco 3 group espresso machine, and Mazzer electronic doserless coffee grinder for the Craft Coffee opening in November of 2015. Several months on, and Andrew is now looking to take the next step into food production, already discussing building plans and permits for a cafe kitchen to be installed. He has already had $10,000 of funding approved from Silver Chef, and predicts his new kitchen will be ready to start cooking just two months.

Andrew is learning quick and fast about the reality of owning a small business. Already his building plans were delayed by council by 5 months (and costing $10,000!) - and just one week after opening, a competitor coffee business launched just two doors down...without council approval. 

Regardless, Andrew is excited about the future. “I love the cafe atmosphere,” he enthuses.
“It’s very staff based, very friendly, very open, and all about building a steady customer base. I love that social aspect. 

“I mean really, you’re not just making coffee. You’re making friends.” 

With an attitude like that, and a hunger to learn, Andrew Kelly and Craft Coffee are sure to go far. Just another amazing business Silver Chef is so proud to align with, and proof that with energy and creativity - Silver Chef is here to make your dreams happen.

Andrew Kelly
Craft Coffee, QLD

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