After 15 years of running their family fruit and vegetable business, brothers Jonny and Michael Tabet decided to start a new venture using their fresh produce knowledge grown from Charlie’s Fruit Market (in Everton Park), Charlie’s Fruit Wholesale (based in Gaythorne) and Charlie’s Fruit Online.
“We felt there was a need to evolve from having a normal fruit and vegetable store, especially after the big supermarkets started to expand their range,” Michael explains.
In 2015, the brothers added a juice bar, Charlie’s Raw Squeeze, to Charlie’s Fruit Market. Since then, they have opened 10 independent stores across South East Queensland and have started franchising the business.
“Charlie’s Raw Squeeze was the best thing we have done,” Michael adds.
What’s your role in the business?
Johnny and I are the company directors and overall managers, overseeing the daily operations, as well as acting as menu designers and testers.
How did you raise capital to finance your venture?
Our two business partners, Yahya Hasham and Abdul Sacur, saw the potential in opening a juice bar and invested in Charlie’s Raw Squeeze.
Where is your business located?
We locate all Charlie’s Raw Squeeze stores outside shopping centres, which saves on our rent and enables us to invest more in attracting customers. We have stores in Everton Park, Stones Corner, Wynnum, Morningside, Clayfield, Kenmore, Clontarf, Ashgrove, Redbank, Maroochydore and North Lakes.
What are some unexpected benefits of owning a small business?
We get to do what we love and overcome new challenges.
What is the biggest challenge in running this type of business?
As most of our advertising is through social media, we make sure all employees are aware of how important customer service is to our business, as bad reviews could really hurt us. We also want to make sure all our employees are happy while working for us.
How do you market your business?
We have a very large presence on social media, which is where we put our advertising budget, and we also sponsor local clubs, fundraisers and events.
What’s the greatest lesson you have learned in business?
Owners must be involved in daily procedures from the smallest issue to the largest, and that is why we are only franchising our business to owner/occupier franchisees.
What has been the best financial investment you’ve made in your business?
Our main kitchen, which we use to supply our stores with our unique healthy desserts and salads. We also invested in studying our food costs, to update our menu, and training our employees.
How do you stay up to date with the latest business information?
We get our business information from Council’s website, our accountant and the Australian Tax Office.
Who do you seek advice from for your business?
Our accountant and our monthly profit and loss reports.
Where do you see your business in a year’s time? Five years’ time?
I would like to see Charlie’s Raw Squeeze franchised across Australia.
What three things should someone consider before starting a business?
Make sure you have the availability to do long hours, have a unique business idea that you can be passionate about and believe in, and have backup plans in place — especially funds.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
We would have franchised the business from the start.