Lismore bar and restaurant expands after natural disaster

The new owners of LaVida Bar and Restaurant were affected by the Lismore floods of March 2017 and suffered a significant downturn in trade. Some of the damage only became evident months after the flood. It affected staffing, processes and procurement. The couple also had plans to launch a live music venue within the establishment and wanted to carry them out to help generate income.

‘We reached out to Business Connect through the Lismore Council because we were new to the business and with everything going on, we needed someone to confirm our plans,’ part-owner Kevin Porter said.

‘We wanted to make sure we hadn’t missed anything major and we were heading in the right direction. We also wanted to increase the income of the business so starting the live music area was imperative.’

Because of the flood, Kevin and Karen had to spend a considerable amount of money on fixing things instead of injecting that money into new ventures for the business.

Business Connect advisor Gary Wheatstone first addressed profitability and looked at costings, wastage, kitchen efficiencies and expenses. This culminated in price reviews for the menu. Staff training was also discussed, which led to the delegation of responsibilities, a training schedule and a Code of Conduct.

With support from Business Connect, the restaurant reopened within a few months after the flood. The live music venue was successfully opened on 1 June 2018 to a packed house and the couple continues to expand the business.

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