Papa Do’s Chicken opened its doors over the June long weekend, introducing a flair of trendy street vibes through their fusion flavours of fried chicken, burgers and desserts with Vietnamese influence. Owned and managed by 4 young brothers, their strong family bond and passion has resonated in the attractive energy they bring to the local community. We spoke to Kelvin and Abel to hear about their business story:
What is your name and role at Papa Do’s Chicken?
I’m Kelvin, and I’m responsible for overseeing the management of Papa Do’s in terms of daily operations as well as back-end admin. Abel is our head chef, who created the menu – the kitchen is his domain and where he is continually experimenting with new flavour combinations. Mark and Edward work at the front-of-house whilst Mark also works as our bartender.
How did Papa Do’s Chicken begin?
Kelvin: We have been looking into opening our own hospitality business for the past 2-3 years. As Abel has been working in the restaurant industry for 7 years, he has a wealth of experience that inspired this opportunity. We did extensive research to find the best option and environment for us, which would also align with a representation of us. We considered taking over cafes and restaurants, but we settled here [in Cabramatta] as we saw an opportunity to bring something different to this market – something trendy.
I can’t deny that it wasn’t difficult as we were setting up the business – there were definitely high tensions amongst the 4 of us, but we were able to get over it quickly and come to an agreement. Starting a new business was a huge risk, but each one of us have our own strengths and collectively we created a strong team – at the end of the day, I get to spend time working with my brothers.
What do you love most about having a business in Cabramatta?
Kelvin: Meeting the locals and being a part of the local community is the most rewarding. I’ve made it a priority to remember people’s names whether it be our customers or other local business owners. Learning customers’ orders and becoming a part of some people’s daily routines have made us assimilated with the local community.
Do you have any advice for small businesses just starting up?
Abel: Be patient and don’t stress out. I’ve had previous experience with opening a new restaurant where I was able to learn and apply to the opening of Papa Do’s. One of the most common mistakes is when owners feel like not enough sales are made so they keep introducing new things on the menu. You can’t please everyone in the market, so it’s best to showcase what you’re best at.
Kelvin: Understanding your market is a huge thing. Firstly, you don’t want to introduce your concept in an area where locals would not be receptive. As your customer base starts to build, learn from them too – what are the popular dishes? what needs to be changed? Being in a local Vietnamese community, the older demographic would appreciate a Vietnamese written menu, which is something we’re introducing.
Being a newly opened restaurant, how important are reviews to your business?
Kelvin: Reviews are extremely important to hear people’s honest opinions. We read them roughly once a week and make an effort to respond to them too. We faced comments about slow service and pricing when we first opened but we still earned high ratings from those customers for their overall experience. We find it important to maintain professionalism and don’t be too emotional when responding – honestly, it’s hard to separate yourself sometimes.
What’s one quirky fact about your business?
Abel: Not so much “quirky” but there is actually a lot of science behind the creation of our menu items. It’s more than just understanding the taste of textures of ingredients, it’s also about their reactions with each other. I’m fascinated by “experimental cooking” – understanding flavour pairings and how different cooking processes release different flavours. That’s how our menu was invented and it works.