Meet Dylan who designs and fabricates shipping container to be used as event displays and commercial kitchens. He has also opened up a shipping container café business called the Brekkie Box Cafe.
Before opening the cafe, Dylan’s first company, DC innovations, was operating for a year and selling custom designed shipping containers. Dylan’s engineering background and trade knowledge helps the success of this business.
“I had basically gotten into a position where I was working pretty hard and not getting time for anything else. And I was working for someone else’s benefit and I thought I could apply my skills and do this for myself. I saw an opportunity for the market, and it was something I enjoyed doing, with enough diversity, and so I pushed forward from there.”
In March, Dylan opened up the Brekkie Box, a container ship café, to help with the cash flow for the rest of his business. With no experience in hospitality, Dylan made sure to hire staff with strong industry knowledge.
I started up a company called DC innovations about 12 months ago, which designs and fabricates shipping containers for multiple purposes, such as event display and commercial kitchens. And I have opened up a shipping container café trading as The Brekkie Box. That is predominantly what I’ve been talking to Tracey about. My main focus has been getting that up and going. We opened up on the 30 March – just in time for Covid-19! In fact the restrictions came in about the same time the approvals from the council came through.
I have a background in heavy industry and avionics. I worked in coal mining and also in manufacturing in an aluminium smelter as a maintenance supervisor and manager before starting up with the company doing custom shipping containers. Now I have four casual employees and they are working part-time hours, so about 30 hours a week. Hospitality is completely new to me, so having staff with experience has been great. Getting the right people in was part of the plan and they have lots of experience and lots of ideas and have been great.
Working With Many Rivers To Open the Cafe Small Business
I got some advice on the financial planning side and with the business plan, although we did cover that also through NEIS. But the main part was that Many Rivers helped to provide the finance for the initial start up of the business. I suppose the accessibility of the information relevant to getting a business loan. Also the ability to get a loan at a reasonable rate given that the business was only starting up and without a track record. Being able to access that was instrumental.
The community support has been a big one. People have been very positive about what we are doing. And my staff are great. They really go above and beyond, like baking cakes and slices at home and bringing them in. Their attitude is great and they are very invested in the business.
It hasn’t been Covid-19, believe it or not! In fact given the takeaway nature of the business, we’ve been okay. We have actually received good media coverage, which has been great. In an ordinary climate we might not have received that coverage. Through Covid-19 we have been given the opportunity to think creatively about how to make the cafe business work. I would actually say the biggest challenge has been cash flow, given that start up expenses have needed to cover operating costs. We didn’t have much of a budget to start with so that has been something I’ve had to watch.
Dylan’s Future Goals for his cafe small business
I am hoping to get a couple more Brekkie Boxes going in the local area and ultimately interstate into different regions. And also at some point I’d love to establish a workshop to build more units for myself and for others.
Thanks Dylan for sharing your business journey so far. Make sure to follow the Brekkie Box on Facebook.
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