From mum’s kitchen to a Michelin recommendation! How one restaurant owner cooked up her own financial success

Julie Macleod has realised her dream of running her own Malaysian restaurant, but it wasn't given to her on a plate. At 22, Julie switched career paths completely, having never before considered cooking as a profession. She decided to start small, gaining experience in kitchen roles and working her way up.

"If you’d told me at the age of 18 that I was going to own a restaurant I would have absolutely laughed out loud"

Inspired by her mum’s delicious Malaysian home cooking, Julie started small with her own street food stall. With a start-up fund of only £4000, Julie bought cheap induction hobs for £20 and only had a paper sign for her business, but still she found there was a very healthy appetite for her dishes!

Julie made the decision to move back home to save money, and, although this felt like a sacrifice, she was also very grateful, as it allowed her to invest in her dream. Now, Julie's restaurant is sustaining itself and a staff of six. It now boasts a permanent sign and has been featured in the Michelin guide!

Want to get your start-up cooking with gas, like Julie?

Whatever your passion, if you want to create your own business you’ll need stamina and keen financial sense. Julie took calculated risks that paid off and, by starting small and building up to her restaurant, was able to re-invest any profit back into realising her culinary ambitions.

Here’s how Julie balanced risk and reward to open her first restaurant and build an original brand:

  • Finding mentors. Talking to other people doing similar things helped Julie learn from their experiences.
  • Following her passion. Julie loves her job and this helps her remain on course to deliver great food to her growing numbers of customers.
  • Keeping emergency savings to one side maintains Julie’s peace of mind, and ensures her business is able to cope with any unexpected costs.
  • Meeting local business advisors in her community. Attending talks has helped Julie access funding and build a network with other local business leaders.
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