A lack of charcoal chicken in Parramatta formed the inspiration for Vasco’s Chicken, established in May 2018 by Angela Vessopoulos. Following a fit-out for indoor and outdoor dining, Angela recruited a manager, service staff and capable kitchen team tasked with creating tasty hot dishes and salads; they awaited the customers who would surely come.

They did not foresee that, with minimal foot traffic, Vasco’s would struggle to break even. It was at this point that Realise Business stepped in to offer free business support services. First, Realise Business advisor Katherine Blizard met with Angela to conduct a ‘Business Health Check’: a look at her Cost of Goods (COGs), labour costs and operational costs against incoming revenue. Together, they discovered that Angela’s labour and goods costs equalled around 80 per cent of Angela’s sales.

To create a profitable model, Vasco’s would need to cut labour and goods costs by 10 per cent each without compromising quality and service. Angela and her kitchen team set about costing every product they made, from salads and hot dishes to chicken and sandwiches, and realised items were being priced too low. Angela increased the menu prices in small increments without jeopardising the overall value for her customers.

Then, Angela and Realise Business analysed the staff roster against hourly sales reports and adjusted shifts to ensure that staffing levels were at their highest during peak periods.

To maximise the shop’s potential, Angela stepped off the floor and began to dedicate 20 per cent of her time to marketing – speaking to local sports teams about sponsorship, creating video for Facebook Advertising, develop “bundle” deals to attract customers and joining local business networking groups.

Within eight weeks, Angela could see a significant increase in sales and profit. Profits jumped, more customers visited and she had a happier team. Vasco’s is now expanding its space with a new café called VasCafe. Realise Business is providing practical advice and support to help develop the menu, lodge an application to council and recruit a great cafe team.

Vasco’s participation in the Realise Business Free Business Support has seen business owner Angela benefit from practical advice, mentorship, support and useful marketing and operational tips.

‘Katherine has been a wonderful support during my start-up phase,” says Angela. “I have implemented many ideas and have seen an improvement.”