STEAKING A CLAIM
Written on the 24 November 2010
Steven Adams was an aeronautical engineer with British Aerospace when he decided there was more to the skies than designing and building A380s.
Adams and wife Autumn flew their worldly belongings, and the pet dog, to Australia with no clue of what they were going to do. The words ‘Moo Moo’ at that stage were simply double onomatopoeia.
That was 2001. This year their successful Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill and its associated entities will turn over close to $10 million.
With 150 staff and two new restaurants adding zest to the burgeoning Moo Moo brand, the Adams’ dizzying ascension as one of the Gold Coast’s most successful restaurateurs, has had at least one constant ingredient — attention to detail.
“There’s a saying in aerospace that you can’t change a tyre at 30,000 feet and it’s that kind of eye for detail that has made Moo Moo the success that it is,” says 36-year-old Adams.
“It’s not just offering people a meal; it’s more of an experience. We change the décor and make sure we have the best quality produce, it’s some of the best available in Australia.”
The Moo Moo pasture has now expanded to Brisbane and Fiji.
A $3.5 million refurbishment of the historic Port Office building at the Stamford Plaza Hotel, where Siggis’ has operated for the past 22 years, is now underway. Head chef Phillip Foote will be retained by Moo Moo.
It will be managed by Neil Mitchell, who has returned to the group after running Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen.
“We’ve spent the past five years building up our restaurant on the Gold Coast and after winning multiple state and local awards, we felt that it was perfect time to give locals and visitors to Brisbane a taste of what we have to offer,” says Adams.
“When we were approached by The Stamford Hotel to take over the Port Office space, we immediately knew that this location would be perfect for us.
Brisbane is already home to many magnificent restaurants and we hope to complement the existing standard of dining offered in the CBD .”
The Fiji operation is a joint venture with Starwood Hotels, manager of brands including the Sheraton and Westin.
The Moo Moo brand will have an international flavour when it becomes the choice du jour for tourists at the The Westin Resort and Spa, Denarau Island.
Gold Coast restaurant manager Dave Taylor and executive chef Philip Edwards have spent some time with in Fiji working on set up, the menu and training staff.
“We were thrilled when we were approached by Starwood Hotels to take over the famous Steakhouse Bar & Grill restaurant that has been operating in Fiji for the past 36 years,” says Adams.
“It’s an absolutely divine location and we are truly excited to make Fiji our first international site. We’re over the moon.”
Adams expects 20 per cent growth this year for Moo Moo and 10 per cent from the Broadbeach Pizza Hut — the only franchise kept by the Adams’ as part of their ownership of three Pizza Huts and six Subway stores in Brisbane which have since been sold.
And while the US could be on the radar, it’s some way off.
It’s understood that Starwood has bigger plans for the Adams’ family, but for now efforts will be focused on the tasks at hand. Gold Coast, Brisbane, Fiji – that’s a lot on the plate - just don’t mention the ‘f’ word.
“We will always be a boutique restaurant, Moo Moo will never franchise,” asserts Adams.
“We have a lot to do in Brisbane and Fiji, it’s a complex operation that involves a lot of training and we need to get it right. At the same time Moo Moo’s Broadbeach is our baby and we don’t want to neglect that.
We’re pretty excited about getting the two chefs together from the Gold Coast and Brisbane, because even though they’re brilliant at what they do, they can learn a lot from one another.
“The positive thing that comes from all of this is that we give people career opportunities and it’s good to see them move ahead and know that we had a hand in their development.”