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SME SECRETS: Tan Viet Noodle House

11:00am March 15 2024

Tan Viet Noodle House built up a loyal customer base in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta and has expanded its operations to other locations. (Thomas Evans)

How do you keep a home-grown family business true to its roots, while stepping up to the challenges of the modern age? 

For the second generation of the Lam family, owners and operators of Tan Viet Noodle House in the western Sydney suburb of Cabramatta and other locations, it all comes back to quality.

“Our menu is very limited, but we’ve done that on purpose,” they said. “We are known for our crispy chicken, people come and line up because of that.

“It’s important that you focus on quality because that’s the one thing people always come back for.”

The Tan Viet ‘Master’, the current generation’s oldest uncle, started a Chinese Stir-Fry restaurant in Marrickville in 1986. The business moved to Cabramatta in 1992 and soon established itself as a key part of the local community.

Cabramatta has one of Australia’s largest Vietnamese communities and has become a popular destination for food lovers from all over Sydney and beyond. 

“Cabramatta is a very special community. All the businesses help each other in that way. You come here and you eat lunch, you pop down the road for a sugarcane drink, you go grocery shopping.

“Everything connects. You don’t just come here for one thing, you can get everything you need here in Cabramatta, and I think that’s what makes it such a vibrant community.”

The business has banked with St.George since moving to Cabramatta more than three decades ago.  

“We have backed the Lam family from the time they opened their first restaurant in Cabramatta. Our relationship has stayed strong as they have opened new restaurants and food production facilities in other locations,” says Jason Yetton, Chief Executive, Consumer at Westpac.

“More recently, this included working closely together to navigate the significant business and financial challenges posed during COVID. The key to our long-term relationship has been the helpfulness and expertise of our business bankers and branch teams. 

“The Lam’s story is typical of many in Western Sydney, which is Australia’s third largest economy and one of the fastest growing regions in the country. The community is very multicultural and vibrant, and this is reflected in the growth and diversity of small businesses,” Yetton says. 

St.George remains committed to supporting the Lam family as they look to expand the business.

Westpac Chief Executive, Consumer Jason Yetton on a recent visit to one of Tan Viet's restaurants. (Thomas Evans)

They also have a premises in Darling Square, a premium eating precinct in the heart of Sydney, which has opened up new markets both amongst Cabramatta locals who work in the city, and customers who live too far from the suburb to visit.

Another recent development is their frozen meal lines, which are designed to meet the needs of the busy consumer.

“We’re concentrating on our frozen range this year. We want to make it more accessible for people to enjoy our food.

“Some people are buying five or six meals at a time, so they don’t have to think about cooking.”

As for the future, the team are focusing on maintaining their quality and keeping their business manageable as they take on business leadership roles.

“We are the second generation, our parents are getting older so we’re stepping up and doing the best that we can to preserve what we have.

“It’s important that we keep in line with our traditions and keep the food the same but also be savvy to make it more accessible to our customers.”

Thomas Evans joined Westpac Wire in 2022 as a Video Producer. With experience across varied media forms, he strives to tell powerful and engaging stories in all the work he produces. Hailing from Sydney, he began his career in Marketing before shifting into multimedia.

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