The Tyro Blog

3 November 2022 - 5 min read

Case Studies

A taste of Southeast Asia in Coogee: Sugarcane restaurant

Located in eastern New South Wales, Coogee is home to one of Sydney’s most popular beaches. It’s also home to Sugarcane restaurant; a Southeast Asian restaurant that’s been serving up vibrant dishes and drinks for the past 15 years (nine of which were spent in Surry Hills before moving to their current seaside spot).

We spoke with owner and head chef Milan Strbac to learn about his hospitality business – how it came to be, what makes it unique, and how Tyro helps them on the daily.

The beginnings of Sugarcane

A chef by trade, Milan spent 10 years cooking prior to opening his first restaurant. For the first four years he cooked primarily western dishes. After having lunch at Thai restaurant Longrain and getting a job there soon after, he spent the rest of his cooking career preparing Asian dishes. During his time at Longrain, paired with his travels in Southeast Asia, he developed a passion for Asian food and hasn’t looked back since. 

As a lover of all Asian food, when it came to starting his own restaurant, Milan didn’t want to pick a particular country to grace the Sugarcane menu. “When I branched out to do my own thing, I wanted to do a Southeast Asian restaurant, so I had a vast number of cuisines that I could pick certain dishes from as opposed to just a Thai restaurant or a Vietnamese one.” Luckily, this choice paid off for Milan. “I found that it has appealed a lot to the customers that we’ve got,” he says.

So why the name Sugarcane? Milan says he wanted something that would relate to the restaurant, to the food, and to the color scheme of the original restaurant in Surry Hills. “We thought that Sugarcane translated really well into that.”

What makes Sugarcane special

When customers dine at Sugarcane, they get more than just a mouthwatering menu – they get an experience. “It’s definitely a really good vibe here. We’re always busy. It’s loud. It’s fun. It’s quite dark in here in the restaurant. And I think the whole ambience goes really well with the food, and hence the success we’ve had since we moved here six years ago,” Milan explains. 

Milan believes Sugarcane’s success comes from a combination of the food they offer, the service they provide, and price point. “People come here with minimal expectations, because we’re not one of the well-known restaurants in Sydney, and they’re always blown away by the experience and we’ve just found that that has been a large part of the Sugarcane success.”  

A lot of love and care has also been put into the Sugarcane menu, with Milan bringing ideas back from his travels in Southeast Asia and infusing it into the dishes. “Me and my wife spent a lot of time overseas. We’d go two or three times a year. We’d do Vietnam, we’d do Thailand, we’d do Malaysia, Singapore, and then we’d come back and play around with some stuff and see what would work or we’d talk to some of the chefs here and see what they thought,” he says.

Why Sugarcane choose Tyro as their everyday companion

Sugarcane uses Tyro EFTPOS to keep their business moving. Having previously used an EFTPOS machine from a big bank that just wasn’t cutting it, Tyro’s seamless POS integration has been a gamechanger for the busy restaurant. 

“We turn over quite a few tables on a Friday or Saturday, we could do 250 people in a hundred seat restaurant. So every minute counts. When we are turning those tables over, it’s got to be quick, efficient and user friendly with the customer and also for the staff.

Sugarcane has also made use of Tyro’s EFTPOS features built for hospitality, including Pay@Table, Tipping, and SplitBills1 which Milan says have been a no-brainer for the business. 

“Pay at table is very important for us because it’s very quick, it’s user friendly for both the floor staff and the customers,” says Milan. “It’s also got the tipping function, which is great.” 

Milan has found SplitBills particularly useful as they do a lot of larger bookings. “We just split it evenly and you tap it and go, and it makes that whole experience better for the customer because I find sometimes customers can be a bit unsure how they’re going to work the bill at the end because some of them have had drinks or some of them had this and that does help that side of it.”

When it comes to automatic credit card surcharging, it’s now an entirely different ball game for the team at Sugarcane using Tyro’s Dynamic Surcharging2. “What we did pre-Tyro, we just had a flat percentage fee just to cover all our bases because with our old terminal, it didn’t have it didn’t the surcharging feature in place to charge the card accordingly. But when we signed up with Tyro, one of the things was it could read the card and then surcharge that card depending on whether it was a Mastercard, AMEX, or Visa, so that made life a lot easier for us,” says Milan. 

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1 Tyro’s Pay@Table, SplitBills and BarTab features are only available where the POS/PMS supports the integration. SplitBills is only available with Tyro’s Pay@Table feature. 

2 Dynamic Surcharging is available for Mastercard, Visa, eftpos, UnionPay, American Express, JCB, and Diners Club on CounterTop EFTPOS and Mobile EFTPOS machines, and excludes eCommerce transactions. By default, we do not include your EFTPOS machine rental costs into the calculation of your cost of acceptance, however you may choose to apply these costs into your calculation of your cost of acceptance via the Tyro Portal subject to the surcharging rules as set by the RBA and enforced by ACCC.