Hungry for expansion, Sydney eatery Our Father has grown its offering to include a bakery and outdoor events space with the help of a Qantas Points-earning Business Card that offers flexible funding and smarter ways to pay.
For years, Jerome Manion would drive past the local corner store in the southern Sydney suburb of Burraneer and prod his dad, “That’s the spot for a cafe.”
In 2019, after biding his time and saving money, the now 28-year-old pounced on an opportunity to take over the lease on the property and opened Our Father.
“I started working in hospitality in 2011, literally polishing cutlery,” says Manion. “And I’ve never really left the industry, just taken on new roles and kept learning.”
Our Father’s goal was to service the neighbourhood with a café that was inspired by those seen in the city. Inside, the white-walled eatery is fitted with blush tones and blond timber furnishing and serves quality coffee, all-day breakfast (dishes include avocado on toast with labneh and cherry tomato salsa) and fresh lunches influenced by the suburb’s waterside lifestyle (think: grilled barramundi served with Vietnamese nuoc cham dipping sauce).
“The Sutherland shire has a reputation for being a bit of a bubble. I wanted to bring the style of cafés from out of the area to people like my parents.”
The café has quickly become a local institution; in peak times, customers spill out the front doors. The business, which first opened with 17 staff, now employs 28 and has expanded to include an on-site bakery named More that serves hot bread and sandwiches, such as the beef and pickles bagel, made on-site. A courtyard space designed for event hire continued the growth, made possible with the help of the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card.
“The Card has helped me to dream a little bigger,” says Manion. “Knowing I have no pre-set spending limit¹ allows me to bring new ideas to the business, like the addition of the bakery.” Thanks to American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card’s dynamic line of unsecured funding that adapts and grows with your business, Our Father has been able to get more kitchen equipment, ovens for the bakers, and better coffee machines for the baristas.
The addition of the bakery, More has created new revenue streams for the business, including catering. “It’s centred around convenience, which we’ve learned is really the key for our customers.”
Having up to 51 days to pay for purchases² on the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card has also helped Manion balance cash flow during the expansion. “It’s been useful to be able to put our large expenses on the Card and have a buffer on our side where we can pay it back later – and earn Qantas Points, too.”
Since getting the Card, the business has earned hundreds of thousands of Qantas Points, using it to pay for as many everyday business costs and larger capital expenses as possible – everything from fresh produce and food supplies to coffee machines.
The business earns up to 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday business expenses with the Card and 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas products and services.³ “I also put some of my utilities through the Card, things like the gas and water bills, which earns us 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.³”
As for what’s next, Manion concedes that he’ll “never really be content; I’ve always got new ideas and new things to do in hospitality”.
With this in mind, he’s in the early stages of a new project with his family, setting up a destination restaurant called Hamptons on the Bay, which will be accompanied by a wine bar and seven cabins for accommodation, in Swansea, on the east coast of Tasmania. “Opening that is what’s really in our sights and I’m sure the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card will be there to help.”
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Jerome Manion shares his top small-business tips …
The key to… keeping staff engaged
“When I first opened the store I put it into my full-timers’ contracts that if they are here for five years then they get to go and travel overseas. We use the Qantas Points earned through our American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card for this,” says Manion. It’s a tactic that has helped him retain his key talent. “Right now I have four employees that are on track to making it happen in the next year and a half.”
The key to… funding smarter growth
The decision to expand Our Father into a bakery and event space was a calculated risk. “The Card’s flexibility with no pre-set spending limit¹ allowed me to access funding and definitely helped me make that decision to expand, which has led to new avenues for the business. Plus the ability to earn something back on our expenses through Qantas Points³ is a huge plus.”
The key to… managing day-to-day expenses
As a small business owner, you can’t stay across every facet of your operation. Manion knows this and has a “shop Card” for any incidental purchases his senior staff need to make. With the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card having no fee for up to 99 Employee Cards⁴, it’s a simple way he can keep his business flowing smoothly, earn Qantas Points and remove the need for time-consuming employee expense claims.
The key to… working on the move
Manion, his partner and his two children recently had their first family holiday. “But as a small business owner, you’re never really off the clock. I had to take the laptop with me,” says Manion. As an American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card member, Manion receives two complimentary domestic Qantas Club Lounge passes each Card Membership year⁵, making it easier to work on the go. “It’s good to be able to set up in the Qantas Lounge, check in and fire off a few emails.”
The key to … finding your next move
“The new restaurant in Tasmania is being built at the moment so I’m travelling down there every six months or so and that’ll increase as we get closer to opening. It’s exciting and a beautiful part of the world – hopefully we’ll be able to produce something beautiful there,” says Manion. As a Qantas Business Rewards member, the points Manion’s business earns when flying will be tripled when booking eligible flights with the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card.⁶ “The points we earn will offset the cost of future business travel.”
*100,000 bonus Qantas Points: Offer only available to new American Express Card Members who apply, are approved and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on their new Card in the first two (2) months from the Card approval date. Eligible purchases do not include Card fees and charges, for example annual fees, interest, late payment, cash advances, balance transfers, traveller’s cheques and foreign currency conversion. Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18-month period are ineligible for this offer. 100,000 bonus Qantas Points will be awarded to the eligible Card Member's Account 8-10 weeks after the spend criteria has been met. Subject to the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions. $450 annual fee applies. This advertised offer is not applicable or valid in conjunction with any other advertised or promotional offer. This offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice.
Click here for Terms and Conditions.
American Express approval criteria applies. Subject to Terms and Conditions. Fees and charges apply. All information is correct as at 1 August 2023 and is subject to change. This offer is only available to those who reside in Australia. Cards are offered, issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited (ABN 92 108 952 085). ®Registered Trademark of American Express Company.