FINALLY – we found a new kitchen for RecipeTin Meals!! 🙌🏻 (Our food bank.) Come in and take a peek inside – we moved in today!!
Finally – a bigger, better kitchen for RTM
After 18 months of hunting, we have a new home for RTM! This is the biggest and most exciting thing that has happened since….well, since we started RTM during the pandemic!
Our new RTM kitchen is located in the Ryde area of Sydney (about 10 km north of Sydney) and is much larger than our current inner city kitchen. We’ve been bursting at the seams in our current location for well over a year.
But this new kitchen – it’s set up for exactly what we do: cooking and packaging large volumes of meals!
This is a massive milestone for the future of RTM and our ability to expand the number of meals we produce to donate to those in need. After 18 months of searching, all the dead-ends and let-downs, all the research, I feel like that is the pain we had to go through to be rewarded with the grand prize – the kitchen of our dreams! 🥰
The kitchen of our dreams
Here’s why this is the kitchen of our dreams:
Larger – Five times larger than our current kitchen! No more sucking in our tummies as we squeeze past each other lugging giant pots of soup!
Far better equipment – A plethora of commercial grade equipment including two Rational ovens (fellow hospitality people will appreciate that!), enormous soup and stock cookers, a large bratt pan, super powerful QUIET exhaust fans (this is gold!), no less than two Robot Coups (magical food processor-type things), blast chillers, every pot, pan, bowl, small appliances, and utensil we could ever dream of….the list is long!!
Image how much buttercream we can make with this stand mixer!! GIANT CAKES, HERE WE COME!
Walk in fridges – It has FIVE walk in
winefridge / freezers. The benefits of this are massive for us for many reasons, one being that we can start accepting produce donations. In particular, meat donations, which is our largest cost but we have no freezer space to store them (it’s a “get what you’re offered when it’s offered” situation).
Efficient layout – The current kitchen is a rabbit warren! Our new kitchen is one big open plan space which means we can work more efficiently.
High volume food production – We purchased this kitchen from a catering company so it is set up to efficiently cook and package large numbers of meals. It’s quite different to restaurant kitchens which are set up to serve diners. As an example, restaurants are usually designed to maximise revenue generating dining space and minimising kitchen space. Whereas we want all kitchen space!
There’s even an entire area dedicated to just dishwashing. WHAT A LUXURY!!!
Single level access – If you could SEE the precarious stairs in our current kitchen! The RTM team will not miss lugging heavy boxes filled with cans of beans up the stairs then hundreds of meals down the stairs every day. Also, just generally, it is a safety hazard that always worried me.
In this new kitchen, delivery trucks and our food delivery cars can drive right up to the back door and it is flat access right into the kitchen!
Close to me – It’s only 5 minutes from my home. Super handy! Not just for visiting, but also to drop meals that we make at RTE or I make myself to add to the RTM meals we donate.
Excellent location to service the whole of Sydney – it’s located near the intersection of major roads for easy access in all directions of Sydney.
Affordable rent – It’s located in a suburban area on a small strip of local shops so the rent is much more affordable than where we are now in the city. And parking is free! We currently have to pay for parking in the inner city – ouch, it hurts! But necessary – for food delivery.
Other critical things….
And on top of all of this, there’s a whole bunch of other things that will make the work environment better for the team, including:
The fact that there’s a shower (pan frying chicken for 6 hours is messy work!)
There will be a team lunch table….there is nowhere at the moment!
Stephen (RTM boss Chef) has an office (he will not miss working sitting on milk crates using the chest freezer as a desk). Here it is….he assures me he’s not going to miss this!!!
Ah yes, here he is at his plush new office desk! Doubled as a lunch table for today.
This news is coming to you in real time because we moved today! There was/is a lot of cleaning and organisation to be done in both our old kitchen and new one. The team needs to ensure they know exactly how to use all the equipment in the new kitchen. I couldn’t even figure out how to turn on the lights. 😂
GOAL – MORE MEALS!
Right now, we’re making 400 meals a day, plus desserts, with a full time kitchen team of 3 (RTM Boss Chef Stephen, Chef Hannah and Dan The Man!). That’s 100,000 meals per year. JB (The RTE Big Boss Chef) estimates that we will be able to produce up to 1,500 meals per day in our new kitchen, with a larger team. That’s 375,000 meals a year!!!
I hope to increase to 450 meals daily with our current team, as soon as possible, just through the efficiencies of working in a better kitchen. And to double this within 12 to 18 months. Then, onwards! Expand into new cities!
Donations and funding
With growth comes the need for funding through donations, volunteers, corporate partners and government funding. I’ve held back on raising funds because I want to “do it properly”.
What do I mean by this? Here’s the thing about RTM. While I can and do “move fast” in many aspects of my business, when it comes to big, important decisions. I take a much more considered approach.
Failing is not an option with RTM. I cannot “give it a go” or “have a crack at it”. There are people relying on our meals every single day. We have never missed a delivery since we started RTM, and this must continue to be the benchmark.
So, expansion has to be done properly. I refuse to embark on a wild fund-raising program until I have the right team to run larger operations, managing external stakeholders, implement the right processes and support infrastructure.
And putting all this in place will take time. My goal is for RTM to continue long after I depart this world. I want to do this right than to rush and make mistakes.
Our benefactor, Dozer ❤️🐶
So for now, with the revenue-generating side of my business continuing to grow, thanks in part to my cookbook doing pretty well, Dozer will continue to sacrifice his treat budget to support RTM.
Why do I do RTM? Firstly, let’s be clear, I’m no angel. Or, if I am, I have horns. 😈
To use an analogy shared by a wise man*, I do this because business growth is not what fills my cup. Revenue or increasing public profile does not make me happy nor make me feel satisfied. The last 12 months has proven that, definitively.
But being able to do RTM – this is what makes me spring out of bed at 5 am every morning! It’s my passion. It gives me purpose. It gives me job satisfaction and makes me happy.
And so, with that, I’m signing off.
Monday is our first full day cooking in the new kitchen. I can’t WAIT!!! – Nagi x
A very big thank you to Chef JB
Actually, I’m not done yet because I forgot to mention someone important! ⬇️⬇️⬇️
Many people helped with the move, most especially my whole team, putting in big days leading up to move day.
But I have to do a special very big thank you to our Chef JB for his commitment and efforts over the past 18 months to find a new RTM kitchen, going above and beyond helping me with the purchase of this kitchen (I know nothing about commercial kitchen equipment), making this move happen and mostly, for his unwavering dedication to running RTM, every day since we first launched it during the pandemic.
RTM would not exist if it weren’t for him. He was the driving force behind the initial set up, hiring the team, getting it started. He is the one who runs it for me (our 3 chefs at RTM report to him), he is the one I rely on to ensure costs are controlled and the food quality is of what I call “RecipeTin standard”.
This is on top of everything else he does on the RecipeTin Eats side of the business, working alongside me for all the recipe development and testing, travelling Australian for the Good Food & Wine Show, weekly recipe contributions to newspapers!
So a very big shout-out to JB, a huge thanks for being the protector of the most important part of my business – RTM. – Nagi x
Life of Dozer
Ironically, having given Dozer all the credit for the existence of RTM, he will never step paw in here due to strict health regulations. But he was here on spirit on move day!
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