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  • Kelly Martin

Arcadia Street Case study – Dual business strategy

Updated: May 3, 2021

In 2018 our landlord wanted his office back so we found a new location down the road in Arcadia Street. The only catch was that there was a condition in the lease that required the business to be food-related. Opening a food business had always been a dream for Ken so we took the plunge and started planning a dual occupancy space – it would be an architecture office and a restaurant.

In a Rubik's cube kind of way, we managed to squeeze a commercial kitchen and architecture office into our 4m x 9m space. The biggest design challenge was forcing us to re-define what was required in terms of space for the architecture office and work out the smallest functional commercial kitchen. From experience we knew that the architecture office didn’t require frontage meaning we could maximise the servery area.

Due to our internal space limitations, 100% outdoor dining was the only option. This led us to the next problem - we had zero storage so we needed fixed furniture. Durability was key, as was something that could not grow legs and walk away. Off the shelf park furniture didn’t suit our style and custom furniture wouldn’t fit the budget. As a happy medium, Ken designed the tables from recycled hardwood with fabricated steel legs. The sandstone blocks pay homage to the old Roman ruins in Turkey and created ‘the most comfortable seats in Noosa’.

Custom corten planter boxes are economical and look great. The greenery softens and provides separation between diners while defining the edges of the tenancy.

The ultimate goal of the restaurant was that one person could run it. This was purely from a profitability point of view as staff wages are the biggest expenses. Ken, who has no formal food or hospitality background, has designed a menu of fresh food that can be cooked and assembled whilst serving drinks and doing the dishes. Generally, this has been the case, although he does have help on weekend evenings, but it’s a constant balance of adding more before it becomes too much for one person.

The left out space behind will be converted into my office and here are some concept ideas I’ve been working on. Once completed we have essentially doubled our income potential from tenancy without sacrificing anything essential to how each business needs to run. The biggest lesson we’ve learnt is that being flexible in your thinking and expectations can lead to some of the most interesting outcomes whilst still maintaining profitability in a commercial sense.

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