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Living the Australian Dream: The Journey of Gemma and Leo from The Little Red Dumpling

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The Journey of Gemma and Leo from The Little Red Dumpling

Moving to a new country is exciting and scary, a world of opportunity lies ahead along with a few challenges.

When local business owners, Gemma and Leo first migrated to Australia to study, they had to navigate a new county and customs. Originally from China, the couple met at UQ, where they were both doing a postgraduate degree in accounting.

“Initially I, studied in New Zealand when I was 16. I ended up finishing high school there before coming to Brisbane to do my bachelor’s degree in business (Hotel and event management) at Griffith University” stated Gemma.

“It was like fate that we met. If we hadn’t travelled to Australia, we probably wouldn’t have met each other. Leo’s home town is Dandong, a town near the border of North Korea and I’m originally from Guang Zhou which is near Hong Kong,” Gemma explained.

“As there is no direct flight, travelling to his hometown from my hometown takes even longer than flying direct from my hometown to Brisbane.”

After meeting as international students, little did they know they would fall in love with the country, they now call home.

“After graduating, we loved Australia so much we decided to stay by applying for the skilled migration visa,” stated Gemma.

“Leo worked in multiple industries such as car sales and real estate; while I was an accountant, however, I didn’t enjoy the work very much. So, we decided to take a chance and try something completely different, drawing upon our love of food we decided to open a restaurant.”

Discover what Gemma and Leo had to say about running a successful business and balancing family life.

Why did you choose to become a part of a franchise (Little Red Dumplings)?

As the restaurant industry is absolutely brand new to us. While we had worked in the hospitality industry before (first jobs), owning a restaurant is entirely new. So being a part of a franchise was easier for us. We are very grateful for the support from our franchisee who is also our good friend and neighbour for many years.

What are your thoughts on living and running a business in Logan?

The people in Logan are very nice and friendly. Many of them have become friends with us over the years. We opened in December 2019, just before the start of the pandemic, we would not survive without the support from our customers and the government.

What drew you to the Logan area?

We live on the south side of Brisbane and found that Chatswood Central Shopping Centre is a very convenient location; close to M1 and only a 10-15 minute drive from where we live. Leo also used to work nearby and realised there was an opportunity in the market as he couldn’t find many Chinese restaurants around.

How do you provide the right mix/balance between family & running a business?

We have two young children, who are in Prep and Grade 1. It is challenging to balance between family and business, especially with a restaurant. When the kids are home it’s usually our most busy time at the restaurant. We take turns to work and look after the kids.

I (Gemma) am usually the one who stays home with them so going to work becomes a kind of rest for me. I think it works the opposite for Leo. He loves to be with the kids too. Though he couldn’t be home most of the evenings to have dinner with them, he will try his best to attend all their school activities and spend time with them whenever possible. For example, he will be a parent volunteer on an excursion, sports day and swimming classes, etc. The good thing about running a business is flexibility, we just make the most of it to suit our family schedule.

What is the trick to running a successful family business?

Be available and flexible as much as possible. Unexpected things can happen at any time. We just have to work around and be wherever needed. Support each other with extra patience and a grateful heart.

On the other hand, we are very blessed to have so many good, reliable staff at the restaurant as well as help from our mums and even good friends or neighbours if the kids need to be minded.

What are some of the challenges of running a successful business?

For a lot of restaurant businesses, it is easy to have a great start. However, keeping up the high standard doesn’t come naturally. It requires a lot of attention to every detail and aspect. From the taste, presentation, the freshness of food, service provided and training that is given to the staff as well as the atmosphere, maintenance and cleanliness of the environment.

For us, there is still space for improvement. Running a restaurant business can get challenging and tiring easily, that’s why we think it’s important to keep enthusiastic, be creative and persevere.

What is your most popular dish and what would you recommend people try when they visit?

A lot of new customers think we just sell dumplings. Although we do have a large variety of dumplings with different fillings and cooking methods, I don’t think they are the tastiest options on our menu.

Try out the entrees and noodles and you will be surprised with simple but delicious cuisines from different parts of China. The cumin-flavoured lamb ribs, wasabi prawns, chicken in red chilli sauce, braised beef noodle soup and cold noodle salad are all very popular. On top of that, we also have bubble teas and a variety of freshly made drinks that are not to be missed.

What’s a little-known fact about you?

While we are not working, our staff and customers still find us eating at Little Red Dumpling. Occasionally we bring our family and friends along as well. We do wonder when we will be tired of dining at our restaurant. However, so far it hasn’t happened yet!

For more information about Little Red Dumpling Springwood, book a table or order online, visit their website, www.littlereddumpling.com.au/springwood or call (07) 3290 0729 to speak to one of their friendly staff.

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Emily Stack
Emily Stack
Editorial Team
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