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Business can demand everything—especially in hospitality.

Recipe For Success: How Periwinkle Restaurant Beat the Pandemic

Business can demand everything—especially in hospitality.

When French chef Frank Boulay and his wife Karin set up Periwinkle family restaurant on the Sunshine Coast, they needed accounting support that gave the business everything it deserved.

Frank had helped open the Ritz-Carlton at Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean—and been Executive Chef at the Sheraton in Noosa. They knew Periwinkle would be a culinary hit—but without the backup of a parent company, they needed bookkeeping and accounting.

After all, they had enough on their plate.

Imagining a lifestyle business.

After working around the world, Frank came to Noosa to imagine better.

“We worked for 4 years in Sydney in a French restaurant, then moved down to the coast,” Frank says. “I spent 4 years at Sheraton Noosa getting to know the culinary culture”.

When they found Peregian Beach, just south of Noosa, they knew it was the place for Periwinkle—and the place to start a lifestyle business.

“The idea was a family restaurant—the kids around, working with my wife, having more family time. But that didn’t last long! We got too busy.”

“We had in mind maybe 3 chefs and 3 on the floor—now we’re at 8 chefs and close to 11 front of house—plus my wife and I,'' Frank says.

Get it right from go.

Success can be its own challenge.

With Periwinkle’s huge growth curve, Frank was glad that he’d engaged SRJ Walker Wayland’s Katrina Brennan from the very start.

Katrina worked on the business plan with Frank and Karin, then helped them get up and running. “She found us a point of sale system, and a solicitor and bookkeeper she’d worked with”, says Frank.

Setting up a restaurant is a big job—staff and equipment, decor and menu, pricing and suppliers.

“It’s hard to be everywhere”, says Frank. “Katrina helped us with financial setup—getting everything in line. It saved a lot of time.”

From a baseline of well set-up accounts, Frank could take control.

“I do financials myself—the books and the payroll. But SRJ helped me understand it all first”.

Beyond setting up Periwinkle—and helping it navigate growth—Katrina found opportunities Frank would have missed. Having someone onside who saw the bigger picture was a big business edge.

“They keep me updated on all the government grants we can get. It’s hard to keep up with all of that—they keep me informed every step of the way.”

Good for growth.

The systems and relationship Katrina and Frank set up have been tested during COVID—but not because of empty seats.

"We’ve been growing at 25% year on year. This year, even more. Even now, it’s winter here and we’re fully booked nearly every day. It’s ridiculous.”

During the pandemic, that led to problems with staffing. Periwinkle employed a lot of casual backpackers—but during COVID they were gone.

“When the demand is there and you can't find people, it’s difficult—you have to do it yourself. We’ve done 15-hour days—because you have no other choice.”

For Frank, turning to a trusted advisor in a crisis is the big advantage of working with SRJ Walker Wayland—and helped Periwinkle restructure towards more permanent local staff.

“We went straight to Katrina. We spent the whole day putting a new business plan together”, says Frank, “with grant funding she’d helped us secure”.

“We changed our pricing—we realised we’d been undercharging”, says Frank.

When Katrina reviewed the industry benchmarks, something had to change.

“Our costs are very high”, says Frank—“but I don’t care about that—that’s where quality comes from in French cooking— that’s what people come back for.”

“It’s difficult to compromise—I can’t do it,” Frank says, half-embarrassed maybe, but more than a little proud.

Speaking non-accountant.

Through it all, Frank’s liked the human factor at SRJ Walker Wayland.

“They’re very approachable—they’re not corporate people in that way. Any questions are welcome—and they explain things well”, says Frank.

“Katrina’s a very down-to-earth person—we can talk to her about anything.”

Together, they’ve found the recipe to restaurant success—in a business supporting the local economy and food suppliers from around Australia.

“It’s gratifying to start from a blank page and bring something like this to life”, says Frank.

“Like any business, it’s hard. But if I had to do it all again, I would pick Katrina and SRJ again.”

SRJ can’t accept tips—but we will accept the compliments of the chef!

We imagine better for your business every day. For a confidential conversation with an SRJ Walker Wayland partner, contact us today today.

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