As with many of Australia’s small businesses, The Budgie Smuggler is family owned and operated. When some brothers, a mate, and their father wanted to open a bar, The Budgie Smuggler opened as an event space that specialised in weddings, but hosted everything from Christmas parties to birthday bashes.
When their business boomed, one question kept getting asked each time an event was held in the space: “Are you guys open to the public?”
The owners decided to give the people what they want, and their public cocktail lounge Budgie Bar was born.
With the onset of the pandemic, The Budgie Smuggler was forced to close doors and cancel all planned events. Not only was this heartbreaking for the team, but also for all the brides, grooms, birthdays, and workplace parties that had been planned in the upcoming months. They were also forced to close the Budgie Bar, which was just finding its feet. Despite this, Charles says the amazing support of their local community has spurred them to find a way to return the favour, even though they couldn’t host them at the space.
Although their doors were shut, the team wanted to make sure the Budgie Bar name was still out there in their community. They immediately started local take-away of their beer, wine and bar-food for their local community, but quickly realized that everyone wanted to have their cocktails.
They acted quickly, developing their cocktails into a bottled format while their design team got working on labels, bottles, and boxes, and figuring out the best way to provide for their supportive customers. Since this decision they’ve made many changes to how they operate, and they now ship their bottled cocktails nationwide, and have collaborated with some fantastic local businesses.
Through all these changes their customers have been amazing. Charles says there is no way the team could have survived if it wasn’t for the support of their loyal locals. The moment their take-away operations were launched their customers immediately jumped on board, and when restrictions were eased, they were there waiting, and the space was booked out almost every night.
To return this support, Budgie Smuggler sponsors their local football club and players, ran a fundraiser for their local volunteer fire service in the wake of the Bushfires, as well as supporting international orphanages. None of this support is at risk despite the threat of COVID-19, as they believe that if ever business supported their local community and support organisations, the world would be a much better place.
The team at The Budgie Smuggler have worked tirelessly throughout the year, and Charles says the resilience of their staff is something to be proud of. The team is deeply appreciative for the support of their community – it was only a matter of hours before they came to support their take-away service, and they wouldn’t be open without them.