Photography: Juan Castro
We sat down with Tim McDonald the co-founder of Mexican masterpiece FONDA.
Where are you currently based?
Our support office for Fonda is in Richmond but I live Elwood, which is a lovely little community.
You’re the co-founder of the Mexican Restaurant chain ‘Fonda’, how did the concept for Fonda first come about?
Dave and I were just talking one day and just realised there was no one offer a fast, casual, fresh Mexican experience. You either had to go to maccas or dress up and go to full restaurant and then if you wanted Mexican you were getting very heavy, greasy stodgy food, there was nothing that was fresh and fast. So we went for a bit of a research trip to Mexico for inspiration and when we got back we just got stuck right into it.
Please tell us about how you first became involved in hospitality:
I worked in a few cafes ect when I was younger but that was the extent of my knowledge, this was our first big leap.
Please tell us about the ethos behind Fonda:
The Fonda ethos is Mi Casa Su Casa, which we feel embodies how we treat our staff, like our family, and how we treat our customers, like guests in our own home. We drive Mi Csa Su Casa in everything we do and is often the phrase that we bring out when we are making decisions about the business, if it doesn’t fit within that ethos then we don’t think it will work.
What do you think has been the key to Fonda’s success?
The people. All day everyday it’s the people. Without a great team, none of this would be possible. Our team is as dedicated as we are to Fonda.
Fonda is currently located across Melbourne and Sydney, do you have plans to expand to other states?
We are definitely looking to expand and have been doing a bit of research in the sunshine coast and Brisbane, so watch this space…
Which dishes and drinks do you recommend for a Fonda newbie?
There are a number of ways you can go here, I think it’s best to be a bit methodical about it. Kick things off with a corn, our corn has been a bit of a staple on our menu for years now so that’s a must. Then I’d probably say go to the fish taco that’s a crowd favourite. After those two snacky items I’d finish it off with a chicken or pork quesadilla. Beverage wise, it’s margs, you gotta have a marg and if you are marg beginner start with maybe our watermelon or mango house flavours and then you can progress to the traditional.
Really it’s always best to share our food, then you get a bit of everything
What do you hope that your customers’ typical night out at Fonda might look like?
We want all of our Fondas to be a place where people connect, we want to bring people together for a feel-good shared experience; great food, great drinks & a great vibe.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Everything and anything to be honest. I love a bit of country love a good crime podcast but most of the time I’m listening to wiggles to keep the kids happy.
What’s planned for 2023 and beyond?
Big big things, we want to continue to expand at a steady pace and of course continue to ensure our teams are our number one focus along the way.