RESILIENT BATTLE TO STAY OPEN ON HOLIDAYS

Written on the 5 January 2012

RESILIENT BATTLE TO STAY OPEN ON HOLIDAYS

A Main Beach restaurant and bar is refusing to close on public holidays, despite penalty rates putting pressure on the bottom line.

Glass Dining and Lounge Bar owners Shanan Harmelin (pictured) and Patrick Gennari are fighting to keep their doors open on public holidays.

“I work harder, get my son and husband in and use all our free labour,” says Harmelin.

“Public holidays are still hard for us, but we do everything to the letter. We can’t close a restaurant of this calibre because of penalty rates.”

Even if the business only breaks even for the day, Harmelin says she wants to keep the establishment open.

“At the end of the day, you just do what you can. It costs us $10,000 just to open the doors on a public holiday,” she says.

Harmelin and Gennari have been busy since Glass Dining was established in 2009.

The pair took over the lease after Fenix Real Estate, which acquired the Marina Mirage shopping centre from the failed MFS group in 2005, spent $40 million on renovating the entire property originally developed in 1988 by Christopher Skase.

“They regretted demolishing the former View Restaurant to build a walkway to the boats,” says Harmelin.

“They put the site up for bid and asked my partner and me to take over the lease and build it from scratch.”

The pair spent $1.5 million on the works and have celebrated each year since.

“We invited 200 of our closest and dearest customers to our second-year anniversary in June 2011,” says Harmelin.

“Our restaurant is all about being close to customers. People think it’s a home away from home.”

Harmelin plans to lure more group bookings for functions and events.

The restaurant accommodates events to celebrate the Melbourne Cup and participates in boat shows every year.

“We get an office team out on a boat, on which we serve food and drinks,” says Harmelin.

“We are also incorporated with the Gold Coast 600 to cater for their events. Everyone’s a VIP as soon as they walk in the door.

“We create a connection with guests to make it special for them and make them feel special.”

Glass Dining forecasts 15 per cent revenue growth for FY12.

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YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR FINALIST
Shanan Harmelin
Glass Dining and Lounge Bar
HOSPITALITY
Age: 37
Business Est: 2009
Staff: 35
Growth: 10 per cent
Turnover: $3 million


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