Sri Lankan Hoppers expand after market stall success

In just one year, Sri Lankan food business Hopper Kade has transformed from a market stall to a sit down eatery. But it hasn't been easy. Founder Ruvanie De Zoysa and her partner Chris have had to convince members of the Sri Lankan community, and others, to try their take on traditional food.

Ruvanie De Zoysa describes her pop-up eatery, Hopper Kade, as a place where newcomers can get a crash course in Sri Lankan cuisine.

"It's like a 101 for people who are new to the flavours," the mother of one told SBS.

" are gluten free and made with coconut milk and water and they're essentially like a crepe."

With a background in marketing, Ms De Zoysa found herself at home with a new baby two years ago thinking about the lack of healthy food made to order on the go.

"I wanted healthy choices for my child. The love for food has always been something that we've had and we've always eaten from a young age," Ms De Zoysa says.

So, the new mum and her partner Chris started cooking at market stalls across Sydney, starting in Balmain.

"The feedback was great, I remember the first time someone bought a hopper and I was like "Oh my god they're buying them!""

The pair have poured tens of thousands of dollars into the business and have recently moved into a more permanent space at Tramsheds in Sydney.

Hopper Kade rents the kitchen on a six-month contract, allowing for more stability than a market stall and a higher number of sales.

"At the market place we started off doing maybe 30 serves a day, which gives you a fairly good sample.

"Now we're doing about 300 serves a day and we project for that to increase by another 150%, if not more," Ms De Zoysa says.

The pair hope to create a series of concept stores across the country in the next 18 months.

"We want to produce premium food on the go, but that is takeaway," Ms De Zoysa says.

"The idea is not to dine for hours at a time, it's about foods that we know and love."

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Source: Small Business Secrets