Ya-Malaysia restaurant group undertook a new marketing strategy and refinement of food offerings in 2019 with the Realise Business team on board. Fast-forward to 2020 and the restaurant is busy pivoting towards production of its popular hot Malaysian sauces.

Like many business proprietors in Parramatta, Sam Tech, the owner of Ya-Malaysia, has been coming to terms with fluctuating foot traffic and its impact on business profits. Sam was already familiar with the work of the Realise Business Team, who helped his business with rental and marketing advice during the early and developing stages of the Parramatta Light Rail project. This time Sam sought advice from adviser Tim Noye on how to improve the financial viability of Ya-Malaysia’s Church Street Parramatta restaurant.

Facing new directions

‘Pivot your business’ is the strategy keeping many enterprises viable since the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns disrupted regular custom and future plans. Restaurants across the globe have encountered major challenges, but instead of shutting down and stepping away from a lossmaking business, many owners have embraced a new direction, stabilised revenue and pivoted to a workable new business model.  

With three Ya-Malaysia premises to manage in Paramatta, Chatswood and Rhodes, Sam Tech contemplated closing down the Parramatta restaurant when foot traffic dropped away in response to the pandemic lockdowns. However, an innovative idea to pivot the business offered a potential solution that would suit current industry conditions.

In his discussions with Realise Business, Sam revealed he was reluctant to close the Church Street restaurant, which has many excellent features. One key advantage of the Parramatta premises was the galley style kitchen set up, where a lot of the group’s food preparation regularly took place. This feature also made the premises suited to the mass production of food items.

Switching to a commissary kitchen

Sam was provided advice on how best to keep the Parramatta premises by turning it into a ‘commissary kitchen’ producing goods that are supplied wholesale to other food and beverage businesses.

It was an attractive option for Ya-Malaysia because the right infrastructure and equipment were available already, as was expertise in producing great food. It meant Sam could turn the business in a new direction without significant outlay or cash injections. It could keep one foot on the ground by converting signature menu items like the hot Malaysian sauces to wholesale goods. And it certainly helped that the sauces such as Ya-Malaysia’s Spicy Sambal, already had a following with longstanding customers across Sydney who missed their frequent visits to the restaurants.

The process of pivoting involved careful analysis of the current overheads and business model and planning how to implement the new side of the business with guidance from Realise Business. Sam has worked on practical aspects such as cost-effective branding in the form of stickers that will be labelled with OH&S storage instructions, so as not to affect his liability.

Advisor Tim Noye is positive about Ya-Malaysia’s business journey commenting, “Sam was given clear visibility of how we were going to work together to start his wholesale Malaysian sauce business. The outcome is that Sam feels more upbeat and empowered to make positive change during times of crisis and disruption. Further planning and outcomes will include retail and larger scale entry into local food distributors.”

Sam’s advice

Sam has kept his business balanced and created a positive future. Since turning the kitchen towards building a wholesale Malaysian sauce business he feels like a new lease of life has passed through the Parramatta store.

Sam is also very positive about the future of the Parramatta premises commenting, “Working with Tim from Realise Business has opened my eyes, reinvigorated my sense of passion for my Parramatta store and given me a much-needed sense of accomplishment.”

There are many opportunities for hospitality businesses to develop new products and processes in the current environment.

For details on how Realise Business can help your Paramatta business pivot in a new direction, call us today.