JUSTIN LANE COOKING UP A STORM

Written on the 2 November 2015 by Jenna Rathbone

JUSTIN LANE COOKING UP A STORM

FROM trading marbles in primary school, to running one of the city's top restaurants, Adam Haralampou is the epitome of entrepreneurship.

The founder of Justin Lane says business is in his blood and his career started in the playground, selling anything he could get his hands on to his classmates. 

Now, through his thriving pizzeria, the budding entrepreneur is arguably responsible for the rejuvenation of Burleigh Heads and James Street as a popular hangout for tourists and locals alike.

"I found this arcade; it was probably the most run-down little set of shops at the time, and I just had a vision of growing and expanding within it," says Haralampou.

"I took a punt and in 2011 I started Justin Lane."

Justin Lane started as a small bar and downstairs dining area with 110 seats, and grew to include an upstairs function room and a second bar, which can seat a further 100 patrons.

This expansion still saw a line-up at the door, leading Haralampou to launch Cavalier - an authentic Italian restaurant, which is situated next door to Justin Lane.

"I noticed we were losing people and business at the front door," says Haralampou.

"When people and groups were waiting for a table, we would send them somewhere else while they were waiting.  For me it made sense to create a venue next door that catered to those people and also brought in its own crowd."

In addition, Justin Lane has started a home-delivery services that caters to residences within a five-kilometre radius of the Burleigh restaurant.

The ultimate vision is to implement a strategy to service the entire Gold Coast.

"When I first started doing delivery I thought that doing 100 pizzas a week would be a worthwhile exercise, but we are doing triple if not quadruple that now," says Haralampou.

Although Justin Lane has established a thriving reputation for itself, Haralampou says it hasn't been easy.

"A big challenge in a business with a high number of staff is learning to understand, manage, nurture and juggle a lot of different personalities that are working closely together," he says.

"If you talk to most business owners, they will always say the same thing, that when you have a lot of people there is a lot of things that vary and can go right but also go wrong, and so being able to keep everyone motivated is a challenge.

"Every day brings a challenge, big or small, and I know that sounds cliché but every day there is something you have to manage.  It is just having that ability to adapt really quickly to a situation, fix it and find a solution that is what makes a business resilient and strong."

Another challenge has been liquor licensing laws and limitations to establishing entertainment venues on the Gold Coast.

"I would love to do live music but the thing is you can only do it in certain areas you can only do entertainment venues in two precincts really on the Gold Coast: Surfers and Broadbeach," says Haralampou.

"But not a lot of people want to go to Surfers and Broadbeach any more to go out.  They want to be able to have a few drinks at places like Bine and eat at places like mine and then go somewhere afterwards, but not necessarily the main entertainment precincts that are filled with nightclubs.

"Council should relax a few of the laws that are preventing people like me from opening an entertainment venue in a place like Burleigh."

Haralampou has discussed his options with the council and says there is a perception that the council wants to keep "all of the problems" in one area and control it.

"But you look at place like Melbourne or Sydney, that are all spread out, and you tend to have less problems because you are not releasing 2000 people on the streets when there is a lock-out in one area," says Haralampou.

"I don't think it is a negative at all to allow more entertainment venues and bars to pop up on the Gold Coast."

Haralampou says he has a few other business ventures up his sleeve, and aims to build his portfolio on the Gold Coast.

Prior to operating Justin Lane, Haralampou owned The Cabin in Nobby's Beach - his first business that was later sold with the profits used as capital for his Burleigh business venture.

Haralampou is encouraging other young entrepreneurs on the Gold Coast to 'have a go'.

"Do your research, make sure you weigh up the pros and cons of what you are about to do, halve your projections, and double the time you plan to put in at the start," says Haralampou.

"If you still think it is a worthwhile business venture, pursue it.  Don't wait for the perfect idea, just have a go."


Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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