A family business run by couples Vinnie & Mary, George (Mary's brother) & Con, and Becky who is also Con's sister – the café restaurant is the brainchild after years of running catering and wholesale businesses. 
"In 2014 we felt like we wanted to do something different. In wholesale you're stuck in the 4 walls, you don't really talk to anyone and feel locked in." Vinnie says. But how did the concept of The Hatter and Hare come about? "We discussed the idea of a High Tea, so we hired a marquee and chairs and set up a ticket event in the car park. When it sold out, we realized that this was what we enjoyed!"

Focus on key areas of success.

Despite finding a suitable location, it was almost 2 years before doors opened at their current location in Bayswater. "The first thing we did was the High Tea again, and it's something that is a staple and tradition to this day." It's no surprise that it's a popular spot – and they have a large selection of food, cakes, and desserts to feed the many customers that walk through the door.

The family have a diverse array of skills which cover all major aspects of the business. "George has been around the industry for ages, so we knew that we had to have a pastry kitchen for him, and he manages food production. Con and Becky manage the Admin and Marketing while Mary oversees staff and the front of house and I manage operations." Vinnie tells me. "We don't step on each other. There are days where we don't agree, but there's a healthy relationship to this. We all respect the decision that's made, and we'll support it".

"A lot of people have offered to franchise the business or invest in us so we can expand; but we know that we're successful for a few keys' things. We're a family run business. We know that we can control product quality and consistency. We're good at building relationships with our customer and, we can solve issues when we're here. Once you start to expand the business though, you lose control" explains Vinnie. "Customers now know more about food culture, and ingredients and they all know how to cook. If we give them something that isn't of good quality, that's how you begin to lose the customer. We're thankful for the support from the community and this lets us evolve."

Passion fuels the imagination. Vision drives the mission.
The interior décor of the store and the massive selection of desserts makes walking into The Hatter & Hare seem like you've stepped into a new world. "We're always thinking of something new. We get bored too easy, so we'll change the interior or the menu every 3 months. You have to think out of the box, if we didn't do all of this – what's the point the point of going to the Hatter & Hare?"

Part of their creativity makes its way into the whimsically named dishes like Chase the White Rabbit (Miso Scrambled Eggs with a variety of Mushrooms and Shiso) and the Knave of Heart's Treat (a reimagined French Toast with Chocolate Ganache, Pistachio Ice Cream and fruits) – but that alone does not convey the experience of dining at the Hatter and Hare.

Their drive to constantly innovate is evident. "We want to become an icon, and destination for food and drink. Maybe we don't have a name right now, but that's a goal which inspires us every day" says Vinnie. "My dad always told me that you've got to think out of the box to survive. Everything changes quickly, especially in hospitality with café trends. 10 years back, no one had a designer fit out and you didn't hear of artisan coffee companies. These are all normal now and the market is very saturated. People think it's easy to run a café, but a lot goes on behind the scenes. Making sure the front of house is good or the kitchen is running smoothly is not enough, you need to be constantly thinking and evolving".

Supporting your vision
"When we started the business, we didn't have cashflow to buy equipment outright - you're looking at $20 to 30 grand for a combi oven! We met Arthur (the Flexikitch Sales Manager) when we were in the planning stages for the Hatter and since then he's given us a lot of advice, he always recommends the right product for us"."What made us choose Flexikitch is the flexibility that it provides the business - from 1 product we've now got 15-20. I'm reminded that I'm talking to a business owner who understands how businesses are affected if things change or a plan does not work out instead of a corporate office where they only care about winning. They take care of the customers and want to work together so we're in the same boat."

"It's good to have people supporting you when starting a new business. Do your homework before you go ahead and analyze some numbers. If you can't do something, get your options, and find an alternative. Having Flexikitch in the market helps small scale businesses with options and we're glad that we came across you guys".

We want to walk before we run
What's coming up for the family? "When you fall it's hard to recover, so we want to take our time to do things right. An opportunity came about naturally for us to open a bakery next door, so that's what we decided to do. We'll have a studio where students have baking classes and people can watch how the bread is made. We've got a catering kitchen, it's a large space for us to be creative."

We've always wanted to be a destination for people, somewhere that's a bit different" Vinnie tells me. "You're not going to the mechanic next door and dropping by for a coffee after. People coming here have to be intentional." The big picture for Vinnie? "It might take 3 or 4 years, but the goal is you spend 8 hours, a whole day here with the family. Morning brunch, a couple of beers at the afternoon. Grab a loaf on the way home. You have everything in one location – that's my vision"