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Client Feature: Little Leaf Cafe

Posted 3 Sep '15

We can’t say enough how much we love small business; especially our clients!

We sat down for some Q&A with Jasper, director and creative chef at Little Leaf Cafe (Corporate House, Murarrie) to give you a little insight into his cafe, how he came to own a small business and some of the challenges and important things to consider when becoming a business owner.

Q. How did Little Leaf Cafe start?

A. ” I was working as the head chef at a restaurant in Manly, Brisbane’s Bayside. The owner had two cafes as well as the restaurant, he talked to me about consolidating by selling off one of the cafes. The thing that got me was that the cafe was only open Monday to Friday, being situated in an office park. I purchased the non-exciting “Gateway Park Cafe” and re-branded it to suit the alfresco space and lush gardens of the park.”

Q. What makes Little Leaf Cafe different from other businesses in your industry?

A. “Me!

I’m a qualified chef with over 15 years industry experience, having done my apprenticeship in fine dining restaurants, (Restaurant Two & Armstrongs) and working in many different businesses in the Brisbane food scene.

We make almost everything fresh from scratch everyday. This is something people understand and are desensitised to by advertising. A large number of food venues buy in almost all products either part or fully made. Why? it’s cheaper, it’s more consistent and it saves on labor. When making our muffins each morning, we get the flour, sugar, eggs, milk, fresh fruit and CREATE the mix, we don’t use a packet mix and simply add water or order them in.

Some of the other things that we make in house are; chutneys, relishes, jams, cakes, slices, pickles, sauces, pressings, dressings, pies, tarts and all the other things that matter.”

*Empire side note – Jasper’s homemade jam drops and banana bread are the BEST*

Q. Starting a small business can be challenging in today’s market. What is one thing you feel was a challenge for you and how have you overcome that?

A. “Paperwork and all of the behind the scenes running of a business got me in the beginning. It’s not covered in a chef’s apprenticeship and owners of restaurants I knew before I started my own business didn’t discuss how much you need to get done to make a business run smoothly.

You overcome challenges in business through trial and error, and some really good advice from mentors and people who have owned their own business for years. Eventually you can balance the paperwork side with the creative side of business.”

Q. When did you start using Empire Accountants for your business accounting and what differences have you noticed since working together?

A. “I started using Empire about a year into trade. At the time my accounts were mess. My bookkeeper had passed away and had not given anyone her MYOB passwords. I was behind lodging my BAS and desperately needed to get everything in order. After getting me up to date, The Empire has set up XERO so I can do a lot of the jobs I was getting a bookkeeper to do (and I can do it all from my phone anywhere anytime). My quarter BAS is now stressfree.

I am constantly recommending friends, family and anyone who “can’t find a good accountant” to Empire. Tax is something you have to do, but it doesn’t have to be painful!”

Q. Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start a business in Brisbane?

A. “Take off the rose tinted glasses and really look at what you want to do before you start. Take the time to study your market and stalk the place you want to open. Expect everything to cost three times as much as it should. You are only going to succeed if you really work hard on your business!”

We would like to thank Jasper for his time and great advice for business owners in Brisbane. Jasper has kindly put out the following offer for Empire readers and fans:

If you have an private or corporate event coming up, this is perfect for you! Learn more about Jasper and Little Leaf Cafe here.

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