How a small Berkeley business that was ready to close has become popular outside the suburb.

Berkeley business boosted online: Hasazem Kenawy, Louie Kennedy and Vimal Alilakuzwy at growing Berkeley business Earl and Pearl pizzeria. Picture: Greg Ellis.
Berkeley business boosted online: Hasazem Kenawy, Louie Kennedy and Vimal Alilakuzwy at growing Berkeley business Earl and Pearl pizzeria. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Not long after Louie Kennedy opened Earl and Pearl pizzeria in Berkeley two years ago things were not going so well.

While he was getting some local customers calling for pick-up or delivery, not many people from outside the suburb were ordering his pizzas.

It wasn’t long before Mr Kennedy thought about closing his new business

But things started to turn around with the arrival an online food delivery service.

Menulog not only kept the doors open but soon accounted for 30 per cent of Mr Kennedy’s business. And plenty of that growth has come from outside Berkeley.

Mr Kennedy described his first six months in business as very challenging.

:”It is hard to start a small business. You tend to go in a but under-capitalised and you are stretching yourself. I am only 35. I am no millionaire. Marketing is the most important thing. It is just as important as your product. We would have closed down if it wasn't for Menulog. It has made a big difference to me here.”

Mr Kennedy said for a takeaway business really benefit from the new trend towards online delivery services.

He said it helped drive exposure and that increased sales.

“It is a bit hard being a small business because you don’t have the time or the budget of the bigger brand franchises,” he said.

It is a bit hard being a small business because you don’t have the time or the budget of the bigger brand franchises

Louie Kennedy

Mr Kennedy said new platforms like Menulog did take a percentage of sales but they really helped put a small business’s name out there.

“Marketing costs a lot of money. And you don’t always have the time when you are running the store and getting all the fresh ingredients. So the online platform is a big help. But I have to back that up with quality and service for our pick-up and delivery.” 

Mr Kennedy said the increase in sales had resulted in more work for drivers so having his business grow is creating jobs..

Orders for delivery are coming from further afield which means many more new customers are trying his pizzas.

Mr Kennedy said his job was to provide such a good product and service they those people keep coming back as loyal customers.

Menulog shows up in news feeds when people search for a pizza in other suburbs. “They have seen me and many have tried me and I have been able to retain that business which is good. Berkeley is actually a good location because it is central to all the main roads that got to many suburbs.”

Earl and Pearl has done so well that the small Berkeley business took out the national title of Australia’s Most Popular Restaurant in the Menulog Summer Restaurant Awards.

And that has resulted in Earl and Pearl’s customer base expanding even further.