For more than eight years, Beach Almond Restaurant has provided modern Asian cuisine to diners in tropical Palm Cove, Far North Queensland. But increased competition and the opportunity to attract a wider audience meant the restaurant needed to fund a new vision to diversify.
There’s a big appetite for high quality seafood in Far North Queensland. And it’s something Brian Holding and his wife Sarah realised as soon as they arrived in Palm Cove.
However, while Brian had always had a passion for food, the creation of a restaurant wasn’t in the original plan.
“Beach Almond is actually a phoenix in that my wife and I were trying to build a small boutique hotel in this location,” explains Brian.
“We’d already built a small boutique hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand. We came back to Australia… and timed everything perfectly for the Global Financial Crisis.
“It was very, very difficult, so we thought to ourselves, ‘We have this beautiful location and iconic beachfront overlooking the Coral Sea, so we need to make this income-generating.’
“We have a passion for food and a lot of experience in hospitality, so we decided to turn Beach Almond into something that was economically viable and get us out of the hole that the GFC had lobbed us into.”
And that something was a beautiful Asian seafood restaurant.
The challenges of hospitality
With a quality product, amazing location and two owner-operators dedicated to making the restaurant profitable, it was no surprise that Beach Almond Restaurant has been a success.
But the world of hospitality can be a tough market to navigate, especially with seasonal fluctuations and changing customer preferences.
“Day-to-day challenges are very interesting in Far North Queensland,” says Brian.
“The tyranny of distance has been reduced by the jets flying in and out regularly, but we are still a long way from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“We also realised that our restaurant is upmarket and boutique, serving modern Asian seafood. We do steak, chicken, pork and curries as well, but seafood’s not inexpensive. So, we end up in a price range that’s sometimes not so comfortable for certain groups of people.”
Brian and Sarah decided they needed to open a new product in a different price range that could appeal to a larger group of people.
Turning a vision into reality
To achieve this vision, Brian sought a financial lender that not only understood the challenges of small business ownership, but also the difficulties of surviving in a regional economy.
“Despite the fact that Palm Cove is a wonderful area, getting access to the funds to be entrepreneurial and creative, and to turn our dream into a reality, has been difficult,” says Brian.
Recognising that a small business loan could help to make his Beach Almond dream a reality, Brian turned to Prospa.
“We chose Prospa over a traditional bank because they understand what it’s like to be a small business. They understand that we are individuals competing in a very competitive world,” he says.
“We didn’t need charity and we didn’t need sympathy.
“But we did need someone who understands what we are trying to achieve, and we needed someone to work with our business goals, so we could achieve them.
“It’s nice to know we have a funder that also wants to see us succeed.”
Hear more about Beach Almond Restaurant’s story:
Part of the funding from Prospa helped Brian and Sarah open up Beach Almond’s casual tropical lounge, called The Beach. With a sandy floor and leaf-strewn ceiling, it’s full of coastal charm. The Beach serves street food, such as Chinese-steamed buns called ‘Yum Buns’, at a lower price point than the restaurant.
“This project would not have been possible without Prospa’s help,” says Brian.
“The traditional forms of banking are a little bit more conservative, but we were able to communicate to Prospa what we were trying to achieve, and we found that they were able to share our vision, which was very important to us.”
A Prospa Small Business Loan has helped Beach Almond to:
- Diversify by opening a casual street-food tropical lounge, The Beach, offering a lower-priced modern Asian menu to a wider audience.
- Better manage seasonal fluctuations in cash flow.
Want to expand your offering and tap into a new demographic? Ask Prospa about a funding solution that keeps your small business moving.
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