Boutique patisserie LuxBite has come a long way since Bernard Chu launched the company in 2010. Since then, the brand has had its delicious creations featured on MasterChef Australia – remember the Lolly Bag Cake? – has been commissioned by Disney to create a birthday cake for Mickey Mouse and has worked with Hello Kitty to craft themed treats and merchandise.
Today, with around 20 employees and two stores in Melbourne (a flagship in South Yarra where everything is made and a city store where you can pick up their bestsellers) LuxBite is focused on perfecting its delicate sweets, using French cooking techniques infused with Asian flavours that nod to Bernard's home city, Malaysia.
And while Bernard has a "never say never" approach to expansion, he is more excited about being part of fun, pop-up activations and consultancy projects: setting up a pop-up café within The Daily Edited store at Chadstone mall, creating the dessert menu for popular restaurant chain New Shanghai and feeding punters at The Royal Melbourne Show
Bernard sat down with us to talk about how LuxBite is using its Qantas Business Rewards membership to maximise the number of Qantas Points the company earns, ensuring he gets to far-flung corners of the globe in the name of market research.
"I love to travel. I go home to Malaysia a lot but I was also recently in London to check out new patisseries, meet chefs and share ideas. I also went to Ghana in West Africa to look at chocolate from the perspective of fermenting and harvesting, the processing and raw materials – what is chocolate before it gets to us? It's not work when you do what you love. Plus, I continually want to improve my knowledge and be able to come back and share that with staff."
"I love travelling to Japan as well. Japan and Taiwan are at the top of the world when it comes to trendy techniques and packaging. LuxBite's packaging is very inspired by Japan. And then there's Paris, which I love, but which is much more rustic on the dessert front." I do some domestic travel between Sydney and Adelaide as well. Every year we have a few pop-ups and events in Sydney. I often take staff with me to help out. We were recently commissioned by Disney to create a birthday cake for Mickey Mouse. We had to send out cakes from Sydney and Melbourne to 30 media contacts. I couldn't ship the products from Melbourne so flew up to Sydney to finish the cakes, which were then couriered out."
"The company's Qantas Business Rewards account earns points every time I book a domestic or international Qantas flight and the person flying also earns points and status credits at the same time. I always pay with my Westpac BusinessChoice Rewards Platinum cardOpens external site which earns the company even more points. So on a single flight, as a Qantas Business Rewards member, I earn almost triple the amount of Qantas Points."
"We pay for all business expenses through that credit card and get Qantas Points every time we spend. It's just smart. We're a small business so why not earn a lot of points for everyday expenses?"
"I recently used points accumulated in our Qantas Business Rewards account to purchase an iPad from the Qantas Store. It was really easy. I was on the Qantas Store site recently and saw they have the iPhone 10 and new Apple Watch on there, available for purchase already!"
"But the main way I redeem points accumulated is to upgrade international flights for business travel. I'll buy Premium Economy tickets and use points to upgrade – if there are no allocations for upgrade left, well, I'm still flying Premium Economy. I sometimes transfer points from the company's Qantas Business Rewards account to my business partner to use for travel and have also transferred to staff and family members before. It's a nice perk to have Qantas Points so freely exchangeable."
"There are so many Qantas Points to earn and so many ways to earn them. There are a lot of loyalty programs out there but there are none that are quite as generous as Qantas Business Rewards.I'm always looking for, and thinking of, how LuxBite can earn and maximise the number of points we have. We're a small business so if we can get points from everyday business expenses, that's a real bonus."