Cryptocurrency and T-shirts: How a broke Docklands duo bought fish and chips


Meet the young duo from Docklands who bought fish and chips at NewQuay Promenade using only cryptocurrency and t-shirts.

Mel Patil and Duke Holder went bankrupt due to the pandemic, so they decided to start a new food business called Designer Food 101.

The bank did not give them a loan, and their own families called them “crazy”.

But the savvy business duo managed to make a few hundred thousand dollars from cryptocurrencies and RedBubble, an online marketplace for print-on-demand products.

And now, after four Melbourne city “chicken wire” inspections, Ms Patil and Mr Holder have finally opened their doors, ready to take the old fish and chip shop to new heights. And so far the reviews are good.

“We want to support the community by giving them what they want, and also giving them a place to relax and rely on,” Ms Patil told Docklands News.

Ms Patil said one of the reasons they chose to buy the company was because Mr Holder lost his job at RMIT University due to the drop in the number of international students during the pandemic.

Ms Patil, who now works as an IT professional, has said for the past year and a half that she trades cryptocurrencies, including Shiba – on which she has made a ‘fortune’ – Ethereum, XRP, Tron and other smaller rooms.

She said she bought Bitcoin when it was trading at $ 18,000 – the price at the time of writing was over $ 79,000.

“We were broke, we were broke renting an apartment in Docklands,” Ms Patil said.

Mr Holder said “no bank would touch us” because it was a start-up during the pandemic.

One trade after another that has passed… they all said the same thing, “Are you crazy to start a business?” People are closing!

Ms Patil said even their own families refused to support them.

“Even the family wouldn’t help us, they all said, ‘you’re crazy!’ ”Ms. Patil said.

“We had to do all of this ourselves, we had to finance everything ourselves. “

But the duo saved thousands of dollars doing most of the store prep work themselves.

While working full-time at her IT job, Ms Patil said she worked at the store during her lunch breaks or after work, and sometimes until one or two in the morning.

Mr Holder said he had accumulated 17 hours a day for a month to prepare it.

And even after making the purchase, the road to opening was not easy for Ms Patil and Mr Holder, who said the city of Melbourne had trained them on expensive little technical details.

“Weeks went by and people were like, ‘Why don’t you open up? “And we said, we can’t, the board just keep moving the goalposts,” Ms Patil said.

“And it got to the point where people in the area were actually ready to sign a petition, we had a lawyer who said they were ready to represent us, we had so much support from the community because people just wanted this store to open. “

“We are barely reaching the breakeven point at the moment because there is no tourism, there are no international students and no sporting events,” Holder said.

Ms Patil said the former owners of the fish and chips were a local husband and wife, who had owned the business since 2009 as well as children’s play centers around the Docklands.

“Basically they wanted to focus on other things and the pandemic made it difficult,” Holder said.

“And Mel and I knew the fish and chips weren’t enough to get everyone excited, we had to do something different, add more.”

So far, Ms Patil said they have had huge success serving food at the front of the store from double boiler, as well as food made to order.

Mr Holder said they’ve already tried home-made burger, gourmet pizzas, and “the crispiest fried chicken you’ve ever had” – all sold.

“It comes down to the name, we are called Designer Foods 101 because the whole motto is you design it, we’ll create it for you,” he said.

Mr Holder has so far said that they have hired staff from a “mix of cultures”, including Sudanese, Europeans, Chinese, Indonesians and Persians.

“The mishmash of cultures ends up in the food,” Holder said.

“Everyone has their own vision of food. We are open to new ideas, to developing things and to bringing Docklands to life, ”Ms. Patil said.

Mr Holder, who is himself from Thailand, said one of his many culinary ideas came to him recently after visiting sushi shops in the CBD with a food thermometer.

“The problem with sushi is a lot of people get salmonella, it’s supposed to be 65 degrees. [celcius] or more, or four degrees [celcius] in the fridge, which means it will be as hard as a rock, ”he said

“I tested this in four different sushi shops in town with a thermometer, and I tested the sushi and the median [temperature] was 18.5 [degrees],” he said.

“To get around this problem, our idea is a hot rice roll, which will contain ground meat like pork or beef that will tear well when you bite into it.”

A metro-style, ingredient-selectable method of ordering food is also on the agenda, in which $ 10 per kilogram or more of foods such as scallops, shrimp, and cashews are included. at one end, and cheaper foods at the bottom the other.

Ms. Patil and Mr. Holder are currently looking for more staff. To contact us, call 0451 089 078. Instagram: df101_melbourne •


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