Eighty/Twenty — Mostly healthy and a little indulgent: Eighty/Twenty’s approach to good food

Mostly healthy and a little indulgent: Eighty/Twenty’s approach to good food
Gone are the days where healthy eating meant eating just a salad. With places like Eighty/Twenty with 8 locations across Canberra, eating a healthy meal will always be a delicious one.
by Jay Ooi Feb 13, 2024 — 2 min read
Mostly healthy and a little indulgent: Eighty/Twenty’s approach to good food

About this business

Business Type

Cafe/Restaurant Locations: 8

Location

Canberra,
ACT, Australia
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Gone are the days where healthy eating meant eating just a salad. With places like Eighty/Twenty with 8 locations across Canberra, eating a healthy meal will always be a delicious one. 

With a menu that’s focussed on no artificial colours, flavours, or added sugars, they’ve got some killer dishes like their Grilled Lime Fish or Buckwheat Waffles (which we tried and can confirm are delicious). And the other 20% of the time when you want to indulge? They’ve got you covered there too.

 

From one store to eight

Owner Aakash Shah loves food – he’s been in the game for 23 years, and when he took over the cafe (just one at the time) over 5 years ago, he had a vision to bring healthy food to more people.

“We actually expanded our menu to make it available for everyone from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” says Aakash. “We have around 30 different menu items, so we have a lot of smaller breakfast options.”

Eighty/Twenty slowly started expanding, and once the city went into lockdown, they started offering some free meals to those struggling, as well as pay-what-you-want groceries.

“We did receive a lot of community support. There were people who would only buy $10 worth of stuff but they ended up paying $20 because they just wanted to give us $20,” says Aakash.

 

One system for all locations

The group of cafes use Square Point of Sale across their 8 stores for the past two and a half years.

“It’s simple, and allows us to manage all the locations, so it’s been easy for us to do it,” says Aakash.

With a dedicated customer display, the Square Register also allows customers to see what they’re paying for before they pay. The cafe even introduced QR code ordering for a period, but quickly realised their customers really wanted a human interaction.

“When we started doing the QR I used to get a customer coming to the counter saying, ‘how am I going to be talking to you now?’” says Aakash. “And that’s the only reason why we stopped that, because we were not actually able to communicate with those new customers, so there was no bond.”

Something for everyone

Eighty/Twenty prides themselves on their food – creating healthy meal options that taste damn good at a variety of prices, and even making it as a finalist at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards

“What I really wanted to do is expand the category of food and make food available to a lot of people. I don’t want people going to fast food for their $10 meals, I want them to get real food, and be able to go to a nice cafe. So we have meals from $10 to $35,” says Aakash.

“We have a team of around eight chefs, and we have two head chefs that have worked with us from the very first day of the business,” says Aakash. “My background is I’m an engineer, but from a young age I’ve loved doing food.”

And that’s good news for us, because we love the food there. Whether it’s for a healthy meal or something a little indulgent, Eighty/Twenty has you covered.

 

Jay Ooi
Jay Ooi is a Social Media Manager at Square and a contributing writer to The Bottom Line.

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