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Conveniently located in Ashfield, the heart of the Inner West, is the latest recipient of the BizGiver grant, the Sto Lat Restaurant and Café! The restaurant specialises in Polish and European cuisine, while offering a unique, and for some, a familiar environment, adorned with Polish inspired decor.
Eleonora Paton, one of the Directors on the board of the Polish Club says the inspiration behind opening the restaurant and café was to increase foot traffic in the club. They identified that having a good restaurant was important not only for customers to enjoy a good meal but, also for the club to become a more viable destination for holding functions. Having opened the restaurant and café only three years ago, Eleonora says that business is booming and that the other board members and herself couldn’t be happier with the continued growth of the business.
Eleonora says that the favourite thing about her job are the constant surprises. This ranged from getting a call out of the blue from the food editor at The Daily Telegraph to do an article on the restaurant’s own invention – Pierogi Sunday; to Channel 7 contacting them wanting to do a segment on Sunrise, focusing on the restaurant and club. Eleonora was pleased with the outcome saying it was a “really great portrayal of Polish food and culture.”
Additionally, the restaurant has also caught the attention of multiple airlines who have contacted them about the possibility of using their influence in the Australian-Polish community to advertise codeshare arrangements from Warsaw to Australia and New Zealand. Eleonora cites the restaurant’s consistency in quality food and service when it comes to the opportunities that come their way.
When asked if there was a story or theme that best showcases the spirit of the business, Eleonora responded with saying that “what we do is we provide a restaurant, café and club with a Polish and European theme, whether its people with Polish heritage or who have an interest in trying something new, they have a place to visit… we are a bit of a destination.” Eleonora continued, citing nostalgia and family as a reason for the restaurant’s popularity, “we find a lot of people had a Polish grandparent and haven’t had Polish food for a while and so Sto Lat Restaurant is quite nostalgic for them.” This sentiment is echoed in a review one happy customer left on their Facebook page, “I love the food here. Everyone is so friendly. Traditional Polish food just like mums and Babcias.” Eleonora has also found that their customers are very loyal and have been with the restaurant for a while and has come to understand and appreciate what she describes as a “symbiotic relationship.”
The Sto Lat Restaurant and Café entered BizGiver in the hopes of purchasing equipment that will improve the health and safety conditions for their staff, enhance their customer’s experience, as well as reduce their environmental impact and business expenses. They wished for new tables for both the restaurant and café sections. Eleonora stressed the importance of acquiring the new tables, saying the layout of the restaurant often needs reconfiguring, so lighter, collapsible tables were at the top of their wishlist.
When asked what advice she would give to aspiring business owners, Eleonora offered a ton of great tips: “Be prepared to invest a lot of time in the business. Select an industry that you love and know a lot about so that it does not feel like work. You also need to constantly change. Don’t think that you can ever stand still and still be successful. Your customers always demand new and exciting experiences and you need to give it to them. Finally, you need to constantly market yourself. If you don’t market yourself and what you sell, no one will know how great your product is. Don’t underestimate the power of really good marketing.”
For our lucky readers, mention this article and the Sto Lat Restaurant and Café will give you a free drink with any main meal purchased at the restaurant. The offer is valid for two weeks from the date of this article being published.
Own a small business? BizGiver grants the wish of one lucky business owner to help take their business to the next level. Enter here!