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Meet the inner city Sydney Cafe owner fulfilling his dreams

Joe Pinneri has worked in hospitality all of his adult life, but now, he’s master of his own domain in the CBD of Sydney.
Calling a slither of inner Sydney your own isn’t for the faint hearted. But Joe Pinneri took a leap of faith when opening up his own café in Kent Street just over a year ago, and he’s not looking back.

It wasn’t easy at first, he admits. “Initially, Part One Espresso was a little hole in the wall in central Sydney. I quickly learned that December is a tough time to be opening a café. It’s pretty quiet in the city, and when people started coming back from their holiday, they just didn’t seem to realise we were there.

“It was a shock to the system at first. I had come from a café that was going through 27kg of coffee beans a day and for the first couple of months, we were lucky to be going through a kilo of coffee a day.”

The fact that the café wasn’t instantly successful taught him the virtue of patience, he says.

“My advice to others looking at opening a new business is to be patient”, Joe Pinneri

“I told myself to be patient, but it’s absolutely terrifying to put your life into a business and to be sitting there for nine or 10 hours a day waiting for customers. I was questioning whether I’d done the right thing by opening a café many times.”

He decided to open the laneway next to the shop, add tables and more seating, as well as throwing an opening party to help spread the word and bring new faces into the café. “Having regular faces coming in daily has taken the business to another level. Our growth trajectory is healthy, and things are looking up.”

Part One Espresso celebrated its first birthday in December. The café has since grown into a regular haunt for local corporates seeking their morning caffeine hit, or a bite of lunch.

Pinneri’s quirky café fit-out, and clean and healthy food philosophy has earned him loyal customers, who regularly return for the home-grown herbs and produce that pepper the menu.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re in business, including insurance, cleaning and of course the accounts, which Joe’s uncle, an accountant, handles.

When it comes to insurance, it’s definitely worth making the time to sit down with a Steadfast insurance broker to talk through the policies you’re going to need.

A Steadfast insurance broker can partner with you to source and tailor insurance policies, to ensure you get the one most suited to your needs and avoid paying for cover that you won’t need. Whether its a compulsory policy such as worker compensation, or a recommended policies such as business interruption insurance, which can cover the revenue you would have earned if a disaster (such as fire, flood, cessation of a key supplier) hadn’t happened, are well worth talking to your Steadfast insurance broker about.

Pinneri also recommends that other small business owners maintain a bird’s eye view on the business, admitting it’s easy to get bogged down in the daily grind.

“We’re not one of those cafes that sources everything from elsewhere. Everything we sell has been grown or made by us. We also work hard to make sure this café has a homely feel. We’re now doing 6kg of coffee a day, which is about 30-31kg a week. My goal is to up that to 40kg a week, which we’re on track to achieve,” he says.

“We’re not just about serving the best coffee you can get, but we also try and put a smile on our customers’ faces, who have ducked away from the office job that they might not be enjoying so much that day.

“Word of mouth is the best form of advertising in the café game”, Joe Pinneri

“Word of mouth is the best form of advertising in the café game, so you want to be giving them more than one reason to come back again tomorrow, and recommend us to a friend back at the office.”

Joe plans to make a few changes to the café next year, including some couches at the back of the café to create a welcoming area for those wanting to dwell a little longer and a change to the laneway furniture.

“It’s great to work for yourself, because you directly benefit from your hard work. As opposed to working for someone else, when hard work just spells exhaustion at the end of the day and the same pay packet.

“My advice to others looking at opening a new business is to be patient. It’s not all gangbusters in the beginning, but if you’ve got a good product and a good personality and you love what you do, you’re in the right place and you’ve just got to keep plugging away at it. You’ll get there; patience is a virtue.”

 

To sample Joe’s coffee, visit Part One Espresso, 484 Kent Street, Sydney, 2000.

Joe’s story is a part of our SME Hero’s Series.

This content series has been recently developed to highlight small business owners doing well in their community, as they share their insights and various challenges in business.

Others articles in this series that you may like:
* Melbourne CEO Kate Morris takes business life in her stride
* Sydney CEO says drive and hard work led her to the top of her game

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