Client Story: Let Them Eat

Client Story: Let Them Eat

In 2008, Danielle Frankish and Tanya Agius started Let Them Eat with a goal of moving vegan and vegetarian food “out of the ‘hippie’ stereotype into the mainstream” to create wholesome, healthy and tasty food for all.

The pair started out with a wholesale business and a market stall, building a name for themselves prior to opening their first retail location at Central Market.

“Opening our first high-end store at the Central Market was definitely a turning point for Let Them Eat,” says Danielle. “It not only gave us consistent turnover, but also exposure and a name for ourselves that we could leverage.”

The company’s growth has been constant over the last four years at around 16%, mainly thanks to additional stores and growth in the catering side of the business. Today, they’ve added locations at Burnside Village, James Place, Norwood Place and Westfield Marion, and at two markets: The Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market and Stirling Market. Their products can also be found throughout South Australia, at several events and in numerous stores and supermarkets.

Most recently, the team has opened a vegan deli at Central Market and launched a new online ‘Click and Collect’ service, which is available at all retail stores as well as Adelaide Showgrounds and Stirling.

Challenges & successes during the business journey

Like many businesses, Danielle and Tanya struggled with cash flow in the beginning.

“Early on, we took some large risks and didn’t have the cash flow to manage the failures or slow starts, so we had to work our way out of them,” explains Danielle.

However, the single biggest challenge over the last two years has been COVID, which in addition to affecting foot traffic created high levels of uncertainty.

“COVID was initially a nightmare, as the outcome of a media conference would affect the sales for the next week,” says Danielle. “With freshly prepared food, you couldn’t plan for that. It wiped out 90% of our turnover for weeks at a time during the lockdowns.”

More recently, the team has had to battle supply chain issues with equipment, equipment parts and even ingredients, with either no supply or supply at greatly increased costs.

“Having the flexibility to think out of the square with solutions to minimise costs and during times of huge stress has definitely gotten us through,” Danielle says.

“Persistence, positivity and a strong work ethic have been key,” she adds. “We might be slightly insane, as well, because we have a tendency to say yes to things and then work out the details of the ‘how to’ afterwards!”

Oreon Partners’ role in the business journey

Danielle and Tanya have been Oreon clients for nearly three years and were originally referred to the firm by Angela Grogan from Best Business Results.

“Angela recognised that Danielle and Tanya needed to make the switch to a new accounting firm to get their accounts in line and implement a variety of systems to give them clarity on where the business was,” says Oreon Senior Manager John O’Brien.

While Oreon has helped the company in numerous ways – including restructuring the wholesale business into its own company, assisting with accounting and bookkeeping and accessing government funding during the COVID crisis – all parties agree that the most important thing Oreon has done is help them switch over to Xero accounting software and use a variety of other technology applications and tools, such as Dext, Futurli and Square.

“We’ve thrown a lot of technology at them, but it’s saved them an incredible amount of time and provided a much better understanding of the business,” says John. “They no longer get a shock at the end of the year when they get their financials, as we work with them the whole way through the year on targets and actuals. Now they know where the business is heading, rather than reacting to last year’s tax bills.”

“From the beginning, Oreon gave us answers – and from that, confidence,” says Danielle. “Honestly, our accounting was a giant mess, and we had no idea what was going on in the big picture. Life has been much less stressful with the systems and technology we now use to provide us with real time data collection and viewing. I will be forever grateful.”

Future of the business

Where will their company be headed next?

“It depends on which one of us you ask!” says Danielle. “Although we’re consolidating post-COVID, I do see a future for Let Them Eat interstate . . . I just need to convince Tanya what a good idea it is!”

To learn more about Let Them Eat, visit their website.