Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Mixed Bag of Winners

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Mixed Bag of Winners

Article excerpt

SANDY Lawrence may have only 10 months' experience in the hospitality game, but she has a lifetime of experience as a restaurant customer.

So, she knows the importance of little things like comfortable chairs, service with a smile and decent reading material.

"As a customer, I would always think about what I would do if I had a restaurant and how it could be improved," the Sandy's @ Golden Beach owner said.

"I know restaurants put uncomfortable chairs in because they don't want customers to stay too long. I know they don't put in good magazines because they don't want customers sitting there for two hours...whereas I've had people come here who have stayed four hours and we have about 40 good magazines to read.

"I refuse to take bookings on Mothers Day even though most restaurants book them in shifts, but I can't do that because then you have to ask people to leave."

The restaurant, in the old Moorings premises, is the culmination of a dream for Ms Lawrence, who spent 15 years with the Federal Police and was living in Singapore doing anti-money laundering investigations and countering terrorist financing before she decided to move closer to family on the Coast last year.

Her restaurant won the hospitality award at the 2010 Caloundra Business Awards.

"I think we won because a lot of people involved in the awards had been here," she said.

"We also do recycling, I like to give kids a chance by hiring apprentices, and we try to blend in with the environment because we are by the water.

"The first 10 months have been tough, but the restaurant has a very loyal customer base and a large VIP list.

"The award is something to show customers who have been coming here to support us and they are as excited as us. Everyone wants to hold the trophy."

Fellow award winner, this time in the eco friendly category, Spencer and Karen Shaw named their business after a brush turkey.

"They are hardworking bush-dwellers who don't give up, and that's us," Mrs Shaw said. …

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