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The Seafood Restaurant

Nestled right next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and established in 1978, Kirribilli Seafoods is known for its fresh, high-quality food and friendly customer service.

Hendra Rioh, Kirribilli Seafoods

Offering a wide variety of culinary dishes from the sea, it’s a definite “must” on any foodie’s destination list.

The current owner, Hendra Rioh, was originally an employee of Kirribilli Seafoods when his boss decided to sell the business.

A chance worth taking

Hendra states, “I took the chance and bought the business in partnership with two other guys. I then fully took over a few years after. Since then, I never looked back and have really enjoyed providing the best seafood to our local customers, students, and tourists.”

Hendra didn’t blindly jump into restaurant ownership. He moved to Australia with a Certificate III in Hospitality and began working in a fish market.

He continued to gain experience in the food industry through various jobs in hospitality until he started working for Kirribilli Seafoods.

Service with a smile

He has now been with the business a total of twelve years, eight years as an owner. Currently, he has a small team of seven staff members that keep things running efficiently.

“Retaining invaluable employees has always been a focus of mine as I believe it takes a strong team to run a good business.”

Hendra also attributes his exceptional staff to one of the main reasons that customers select Kirribilli Seafoods over his competitors.

In addition to appreciating the fresh seafood, his customers frequently comment on the staff’s friendliness.

The secret of success

Kirribilli’s primary customers are local residents, students and tourists, and Hendra’s love for them becomes apparent when he is asked about some of the advantages of owning his own business in the food industry.

“I have always enjoyed the interaction with my customers. I get to know so many people and become part of the local community. We’re blessed with so many nice, warm-hearted customers who treat us as their friends and family.”

This support is likely a direct result of Hendra taking the time to engage with them and respond to their feedback.

“I learn from listening to my customers’ needs and wants. I’m always open to trying new things. Additionally, I find that putting myself in my customers’ shoes helps me have a more balanced perspective.”

Overcoming challenges

Of course, running his own business has not come without its fair share of challenges. The ups and downs of the economy have always affected his bottom line, but in the past few years, he thinks the biggest shift in the industry has come from the rise of food delivery services.

“Many customers prefer to go to these platforms and have their food delivered now. We have no choice but to join them.”

Even though they are delivering his food to his customers, Hendra still views them as his primary competition because they are changing people’s behaviour.

He explains, “Customers can now just stay at home and have access to hundreds of restaurants.”

Also, these delivery services charge businesses a significant percentage of the food price, resulting in an overall decrease in his profit.

Even in a highly competitive market, Hendra shares that one of his primary marketing tools is word of mouth.

“Our business has been established since 1978. A lot of our customers have either lived in the area or gone to the local schools. Although they have since moved on from the area, they keep on coming back because they like the quality of our food.”

Looking towards the future

Hendra is excited about what the future holds for Kirribilli Seafoods and continues to set goals for continued growth and success.

He shares, “In the next year, we’d like to leverage our outdoor dining area and offer restaurant-quality seafood to our customers, so they can enjoy the same quality for almost half the price. We’d do this by serving our food on nice plates instead of the typical takeaway boxes we currently use.”

Within the next ten years, he is hoping to expand the business by opening up another shop in a different location.

“We’ve been thinking about this, but family comes first. We chose to grow our family before our business—we are expecting our second child early next year!”

As far as advice for those wanting to begin their own journey in the seafood restaurant business, Hendra offers this:

“Keep the quality of your food...serve fresh, good seafood, and your customers will definitely appreciate it and keep coming back.”

Faye Ferris

About the author

APAC Sales & Marketing Director for, the world’s most popular website for buying and selling businesses globally, which attracts over 1.2 million visitors each month.