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Hydeaway Cafe: A Conversation with Owner Eugene Giesinger

Eugene Giesinger, is the heart and soul of Hydeaway Cafe. As the owner, Eugene is on a mission to make everyone feel right at home. “We aim to be all-inclusive and create an environment where nobody feels intimidated,” he says. We got a chance to hear more about Hideaway and what it takes to run a catering business. 

Could you tell us a bit about your business?

Eugene: Sure, I started Eugene’s Bronte 12 years ago. Initially, we were a café, but we wanted to expand and offer catering services. That’s when we launched Hydeaway, which came about through a colleague and business partner of mine in Canberra. He helped with the fit-out, and now I run the day-to-day business. Hydeaway operates under the umbrella of Big Fig Catering, and we cater for functions and cocktail parties. We do a wide range of F&B options, from a la carte dine in, to take away and catering for parties.

What was your inspiration to take the leap and start Hydeaway?

Eugene: The traditional café business model isn’t really financially sustainable anymore, so we needed to find a way to scale up and stay viable. It was crucial for our future. Bronte provided the production space, while Hydeaway became the face of the operation. During COVID, we even opened a restaurant in Kings Cross with the idea of selling take-home meals like lasagnas and meatballs for families. However, the demographic in the area had changed a lot over the last 10 years, and that business eventually collapsed. Luckily, the opportunity for Hydeaway came up.

In fact, four years ago, when the site was being built, I was invited to tender for it. I had forgotten about it until I was reunited with the project but I had actually written the original business plan for the site. It felt serendipitous to be reunited with this old project and I took the leap with my now business partner.

Can you share two things you wish you knew before starting your own restaurant?

Eugene: Firstly, I wish I had known that the BAS and GST aren’t my money, and I should put them aside. That stung. But for any new owners out there, it’s important to treat them separately and not mix them with your own funds. Otherwise, it can become overwhelming.

Secondly, I learned the value of keeping things simple. Initially, I wanted to do everything. I’d travelled extensively and had so many ideas for different cuisines and formats. But I’ve realised that it’s better to find a niche and focus on it, keeping things streamlined.

How do you stay inspired and ahead of the curve?

Eugene: We constantly try new things and don’t stop experimenting. If something doesn’t work, we move on to something else. We offer a range of services, including functions, take-home meals, à la carte, and even cookies. We aim to be all-inclusive and create an environment where nobody feels intimidated. You can’t stay still!

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

Eugene: Honestly, it’s the work itself and the people you do it with. Working with people has taught me a lot about managing a team. Many of my team members have been with me for multiple years, and we’ve built strong relationships.

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Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended for general informational purposes only and may not be specifically relevant to everyone’s personal situation. It should not be considered financial advice or a substitute for professional tax or accounting advice. Each individual’s circumstances are unique, and laws can vary. For tailored advice, please consult a qualified professional. Contact Sleek for further information on how we can help you.

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