Profitable Hospitality Podcast

Most people are interested in trends and predictions, especially for the restaurant and foodservice industry. In this interview, Ken Burgin talked with Johann Moonesinghe, CEO and co-founder of InKind, a funding and customer loyalty system that’s now available in the US and Australia. We discussed foodservice trends, changing customer expectations, raising capital, modern loyalty systems and lots more.

Johann loves food, wine and technology, and he watches industry developments closely to make sure that his restaurant clients are ahead of the game with their marketing and customer service. As a former restaurant owner, he understands the struggles a local business goes through, and also the value of good technology and the power of a group of regular customers.


Ken Burgin has another conversation with Paul Leach, a business broker and the director of GSE Business Consultants. He’s sold nine of his own food businesses over the last 24 years, and has learnt a thing or two about how the sale process works, and the value of having your business ‘ready to sell’ at any time.

We discussed the importance of having well-documented systems and processes, and the value of cloud-based systems that make it easy for a purchaser to verify figures (eg Point of Sale, accounting, rostering and bookings). We also talked about the importance of a good long lease, and the many small things that make a business attractive to a potential buyer. Paul had buyers making unsolicited offers for some of his businesses – maybe that could happen for you too!

Direct download: 29820Creating20a20Business20That_s20Easy20to20Exit20Anytime.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:15am AEST

Ken Burgin had a lively conversation with Brisbane accountant Jason Andrew, who is keen to challenge the financial habits of hospitality entrepreneurs. Their decisions are too often based on ‘gut feeling’ and emotions, rather than the truth that accurate figures can reveal. Jason has just published a book Stark Naked Numbers, and gives a great blueprint for ‘High Touch’ businesses like cafes and restaurants, and how they can focus on the daily and weekly numbers that show what’s really happening.

We also discussed his 5 Principles for running a successful business, starting with a commitment to make yourself redundant, and then working to maximise margins, optimise cashflow, leverage your assets and continually ‘sharpen the saw’ with learning, innovation and better business habits. Whether you’re a ‘numbers person’ or not, you will learn a lot from Jason’s approach to making a business successful.

Direct download: 29720Financial20Habits20of20Successful20Cafe202620Restaurant20Owners.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:08am AEST

Ken Burgin talks with Paul Leach, a business broker and the director of GSE Business Consultants. He’s sold nine of his own food businesses over the last 24 years, and has learnt a thing or two about how the sale process works! We discussed the different professionals involved in the sales process, and went step-by-step through the decision to sell, preparing it for sale, listing the business, establishing a selling price, looking for buyers, negotiation and closing the transaction.

We also talked about negotiation with landlords, satisfying suspicious buyers, the value of ‘growth potential’ and keeping momentum through the sales process. Paul has handled many cafe and restaurant sales, and it was great to draw on his extensive experience.

Direct download: 29620How20to20Sell20Your20Business20for20the20Best20Price.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:25am AEST

Ken Burgin talks with Andre Ursini about the opening of his new Italian restaurant Orso, in Adelaide. We previously interviewed Andre in Podcast #283 From Master Chef to Italian Restaurant Success, and it was great to catch up with him again to talk about his second restaurant.

We discussed the challenges of renovating and opening in a historic building, building and strengthening a team of employees, expanding the management systems and creating a competitive edge against other restaurants in the city. We also raised a question often asked in interviews with restaurateurs: ‘how do you have a business and also have a life with your family?’.

Direct download: 29520Andre20Ursini.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:28pm AEST

Ken Burgin talks with Ilija and Nicole Sumracki, the owners of Nutrition Republic in Adelaide. Their business has grown from one retail shop, to four very popular food outlets, catering to people who want to ‘consume real, whole, unprocessed food, and have an awakening to the unnecessary and not so healthy ingredients used in many commonly bought foods’.

We discussed how they share responsibilities, managing cashflow and administration, developing business systems, creating a positive culture and working with a growing team of staff. Neither of them have a hospitality background, and they’ve learned and grown at a fast pace – there’s a lot they share that you will relate to!

Direct download: 29420Ilija20and20Nicole20from20Nutrition20Republic.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:53pm AEST

Ken Burgin talks with foodservice equipment expert Cathy Goodwin about the selection, maintenance and repair of all that expensive equipment you have in your kitchen. In the constant rush of foodservice production, it’s easy for this to be neglected.

We toured around a typical kitchen, discussing dishwashers, stoves, refrigeration and freezers, deep fryers, exhaust systems, drainage and plumbing – when it’s working well, it can produce some great profits. And when it breaks down, the repair bills can be a shock! You’ll enjoy tapping into Cathy’s wide-ranging knowledge and experience.

 

Direct download: 29320Kitchen20Equipment.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:41am AEST

For a change of pace, Ken Burgin talks with Blair Hughes, a sporting fan engagement specialist and long-time sports enthusiast. He’s visited sporting grounds and stadiums all around the world, and advises teams and venues about the best way to give fans a memorable experience, beyond the time they spend watching the game. Food & beverage are obviously a very important part of this, and he had some great observations about how this is changing and improving.

Topics we discussed included prices and ‘fan-first pricing’, speed of service, and broadening the offer beyond traditional hot dogs, chips, pies and beer. We also talked about catering to dietary needs (eg gluten free), food for kids, reducing packaging waste, and technology changes to maximise through-put and fan enjoyment. It was a lively and very interesting discussion. As well as his excellent web page and blog, check the many fan experience he has gathered on Pinterest and Facebook.

Direct download: 29220Food20at20Sporting20Events20-20Speed20and20Innovation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm AEST

Your menu can be a powerful sales tool, or a hit-and-miss catalogue of the food and drinks you sell. By taking a careful, even scientific approach to layout, contents and design, it’s possible to increase sales of your most profitable items, and influence people to order more than they originally planned.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with behavioural specialist and consumer expert Bri Williams about the many elements that can be brought together for effective menu design. It starts with an understanding of the basic ‘irrationality’ of customers, and builds with the form, menu choices and descriptions used, plus pricing, highlights, typeface, paper and colours. It’s a fascinating subject, and one that can give foodservice operators some quick wins if you take care with menu design and production.

Direct download: 29120The20Science20of20Menu20Design.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:18pm AEST

The food products you see on supermarket shelves don’t just happen by accident – the recipes were carefully crafted by chefs, food technicians and marketers to meet the flavour, presentation and price expectations of the retailer and the consumer. On a smaller scale, the same process is undertaken by a chef developing a new recipe for a restaurant.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Corporate Chef Adam Moore about how new recipes and food products are developed. We discussed his 6 Step Development Process, and how it’s been applied to successful food products. We also talked about food trends, product life-cycles, and why some recipes are more popular than others.

Direct download: 29020New20Recipe20and20Product20Development.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:00pm AEST

Ken Burgin is talking with restaurant profitability expert Ivan Brewer, and they’re attempting to work out what will drive restaurant success in the future: 2019 is very different to 2009 or even 1999!

They discussed Ivan’s background in restaurants and fast-paced hospitality, and where he learned his greatest lessons. Plus the modern skills that smart operators need to manage tough conditions and ever-growing competition. They also talked about skill shortages and labour productivity, and the simpler levels of service that customers will accept, if wage costs are to be reduced.

Direct download: 28920Rethinking20What20Drives20Restaurant20Success.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:32am AEST

Ken Burgin continues the conversation with chef and kitchen management expert Andrew Briese of Cooking the Books.

In the second of two podcast interviews, they talked about theoretical and ideal food costs, improving yields and the importance of standard recipes. Check the first conversation in Podcast #286: Managing Food Purchasing, Storage and Stock Control.

Topics covered in this interview include:

  • What sort of food cost percentages should chefs and business owners aim for?
  • What is the costing best-practice you see across different types of food businesses?
  • Best ways to do accurate recipe costing
    Doing the maths – formulas and rules of thumb
  • 'Make or Buy' decisions
Direct download: 28820Understanding20Food20Costing2C20Yields20and20Standard20Recipes.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:49pm AEST

Meet Simon O'Regan from the EARL Canteen group in Melbourne's CBD - 7 stores and growing! They specialise in breakfast, lunch, coffee and catering. Since opening their first store in 2010, owners Simon and his partner Jackie Middleton have maintained a steady pace of expansion in this very demanding precinct, recently adding a central commissary and catering kitchen.

Their inspiration came from being 'two hungry waiters who, at the end of service every night, watched big chefs do simple things with fancy ingredients. It gave them an idea. Simple, honest, everyday eats made from the finest, locally sourced produce. Good-morning breakfasts, wake-me-up coffee, wholesome salads and fancy sandwiches made fresh every day.' They've also seen the benefit of technology innovation and smart marketing - there's a lot to discuss in this conversation with Ken Burgin.


Ken Burgin talks with chef and kitchen management expert Andrew Briese of Cooking the Books. In the first of two podcast interviews, they had a lively discussion on the initial stages of the food management sequence: ordering, storage and stock control. Topics covered include:

  • Common mistakes people make when they choose suppliers
  • Best practice for ordering methods and deciding on quantities
  • Best practice with storage or dry and cold goods.
  • Managing the ever-present problem of theft
  • Stocktake methods for small operators – who usually never do stocktakes!
  • Managing and measuring food wastage
Direct download: 286_Managing_Food_Purchasing_Storage_and_Stock_Control.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:36pm AEST

Customers want fresh, not stale; inspiration, not gloom – it’s time to turn off the news! One way to lift everyone’s spirits is to share the things that we love, that our staff love, and our customers love. Put a smile on their faces and share the love of food and entertainment, music, customer stories and business success. Now you’re creating great word-of-mouth marketing and conversation starters – and lots to share on social media! Talking about what we love creates a strong personal connection between staff, managers and customers.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin shares themes and ideas to get you sharing the love and reaping the benefits. And like the love between two people, sharing this affection a little and often is more important than an occasional big event and then nothing for months.

People love to be inspired by hard work and commitment rewarded – from you, the community and your employees. They can also love the business owners, so it’s good to share a family photo or some stories from the past. People love their town or local area, so your support for sporting teams, schools and charities keeps customers inspired and connected. People love photos and videos, the modern means of communication, so record and share food, parties, special customers and behind-the-scene activities. Many people also love animals, and you can include them in social media sharing without bringing them into the shop – Facebook and Instagram are great mediums for this. And people love events and celebrations – ideally once a month, not just Valentines and Mother’s Day.

Direct download: 28520How20to20Create20a20Business20That20People20Love21.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:25am AEST

This is a change of pace for the podcast – Ken Burgin talks with Sally Irwin, director of The Freedom Hub, an organisation that helps people trapped by human trafficking and slavery. This is not the chains and slave markets we envision from the 19th century, but the degradation and restriction of people’s freedom is no less real - Sally shares some graphic examples. And it’s happening in western countries like Australia – this is not just a ‘third world’ problem.

We also discussed the organisation’s Survivor School to help rehabilitate victims and give them work opportunities, and how restaurants and cafes can avoid purchasing food products made by slave labour. There’s a lot to think about…

Direct download: 28420Modern20Slavery_2.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:31pm AEST

Ken Burgin talks with Andre Ursini, owner and founder of Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar. Nine years ago he was also a contestant on the first series of Master Chef in Australia, and then used his love of hospitality to open and develop a highly successful Italian restaurant. He’s about to open a second and much larger business, and also has plans for a wedding venue.

You’ll enjoy Andre’s honest and open approach to business – we discussed his methods for finding and keeping good staff, managing equipment, using reputation as the main marketing channel, and how he finances daily operations and expansion. We also talked about menu styles and content, and how staff have the opportunity to work at the restaurant’s vegetable garden – it’s an inspiring story!

Direct download: 28320From20Master20Chef20to20Italian20Restaurant20Success.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:01am AEST

Ken Burgin talks with Veronica Fils of Restaurant Lume, a venue that describes itself as “a restaurant reimagined for people who are bored with traditional fine dining. Those fed up with formality and stuffy service, but who want an experience”.

We agreed that for high-priced and high-quality dining to survive, there needs to be a very different approach to managing customers, service and reservations, plus the cost of labour, food and beverages. Restaurant Lume has embraced these challenges, and uses the latest technology to support growth and efficiency – it’s great to hear their optimism.

Direct download: 28220Talking20About20the20Economics20of20Restaurant20Operations.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:23pm AEST

Ken Burgin talks with Vanessa Cullen, whose business Forward Thinking Design works with cafes, restaurants, fast food operators and retailers. She has a wide range of experience and the discussion covered design for new businesses, shopping centres, main street businesses and renovating a tired or outdated space.

We also covered the latest food and design trends, food courts, landlords, branding, concept development and customer expectations. This business has B Corp accreditation, and their tagline is ‘the socially responsible design studio’ – it all works hand in hand.

Direct download: 281_Talking_About_Cafe__Restaurant_Design.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:40pm AEST

Nadi Elias is an accountant who has bought into a cafe! He has many clients in the cafe and coffee roasting business, and has probably advised many more people to walk away from these opportunities. If he’s gone ahead and taken the plunge, we need to know why!

Ken Burgin talked with Nadi about due diligence and valuation for a business purchase, setting up good systems, building a team, partnership agreements, accounting systems and keeping track of the numbers. His book Count More Beans is an excellent guide to building a successful cafe.

Direct download: 280_What_Happens_When_an_Accountant_Buys_a_Cafe_.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:04am AEST

Many hospitality operators are not, but nature, ‘numbers people’ and it’s easy for this important area of management to be neglected. In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Christine Green from Restaurant Bookkeeping Australia about how to get the best results from your account-keeping system.

They discussed cash flow management, the importance of separating personal and business expenses, integration with Point of Sale systems, claiming GST credits and the correct coding of entries. They also talked about preparing a business for sale, how to reassure buyers and the role of accountants.

Direct download: 279_Getting_Better_Results_from_Your_Restaurant_Bookkeeping.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:50am AEST

Should we regard LinkedIn as the serious, professional side of social media? With more than 500 users worldwide, it can be tremendously powerful as a marketing tool to build your business and your personal reputation.

In this episode, Ken Burgin discusses the three steps for LinkedIn effectiveness – building a complete, professional profile, growing your circle of connections, and expanding your influence by sharing quality content. Small steps day by day will soon lead to very satisfying results.

Direct download: 278_Using_LinkedIn_for_Restaurant_Marketing__Personal_Branding.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:30am AEST

Ken Burgin talks with celebrity chef manager Karen Lateo of Entrée Management, about the many ways chefs can build a local and national reputation. With the rise of TV cooking shows and the public fascination with chefs and food, there are now many more options for a chef who wants to make a name for them self.

We discussed the value of having your own YouTube, being able to talk and cook at the same time, and developing presentation skills. Plus, the difference between publicity and talent management, how to be paid, negotiation with clients, the right way to use social media, and the work needed to get yourself noticed.

Direct download: 277_How_Chefs_Can_Build_a_Positive_Public_Profile.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:04pm AEST

Ken Burgin talks with bar manager and entrepreneur Daniel Knight about the many factors involved in creating and running a great bar. The small bar sector is one of the most dynamic parts of the hospitality industry, where successful bar operators combine technical skills, leadership and entrepreneurial flare to help them thrive amidst so much competition.

We discussed Dan’s 3 P’s for bar success – People, Product and Passion. We always hear about People in hospitality discussions, and Product is the many things that create the physical experience. Passion can be harder to define, and needs strong and creative leadership – you’ll understand this important element much more from this conversation. You can find Dan at his blog My Bar Secrets.

Direct download: 276_How_to_Take_Your_Bar_from_Good_to_Great.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:56pm AEST

Christine Mathison-Green is a chef, a former restaurateur and passionate about hospitality. She’s employed hundreds of people over the years at her ten restaurants, and worked with many different cooks and chefs. She writes about food and travel, and shares dozens of interviews with chefs on her website Just the Sizzle. She’s also set up Off the Hotplate, a support site for chefs who want to avoid burnout and learn better ways to handle the emotional demands of a cooking career.

In this discussion, Ken Burgin talks with Christine about the background to the command-style management of kitchens - where the classic ‘Yes Chef!’ response started. We also discussed the needs of young chefs, the value of mentoring, the increasing number of women in cooking, and the importance of realistic hours. We all know chefs are in short supply, and I believe we have some answers to the problem in this discussion.

Direct download: 275_Finding_Motivating_and_Looking_After_Good_Chefs.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:37pm AEST

Corporate Culture Specialist Greg Hawks talks to a lot of employees and business leaders, and they all believe in the importance of a strong, positive workplace culture. But what does that really mean, and how can it be developed?

In this lively interview, Greg talks with Ken Burgin about the four pillars he sees supporting a great culture – honour, excellence, identity and significance. Words that by themselves may not mean so much, but his explanation and examples brings them together into a clear and achievable roadmap for every restaurant, cafe or foodservice business.

Direct download: 274_How_to_Build_a_Culture_of_Greatness.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:52pm AEST

Craig Macindoe looks surprisingly calm for someone who has opened so many restaurants, and right now he has 10 under his control at the Kensington Street restaurant precinct. Maybe it’s because he can now work on strategy and marketing, instead of being caught up in the kitchen. As a chef, he brings valuable insights to management – cost control, menu development, purchasing and product quality.

Craig talked with Ken Burgin about modern restaurant trends, equipment, partnerships, customer expectations, recruiting staff, social media marketing and the many management skills he has learned over the last 20 years. It was a fascinating interview.

Direct download: 273_Talking_to_a_Chef_Who_s_Opened__Run_42_Restaurants.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:32pm AEST

Simpler is usually better in business – restaurant processes can be done more quickly, there are fewer costs, less need for highly-skilled staff, and fewer mistakes. This is not about ‘dumbing down’, but removing the complexity that can often develop in menus, customer service, management and financial reporting.

Ken Burgin gives you a quick hit list of more than a dozen ways to bring back flexibility and speed to your operation, in the front of house, kitchen, marketing and administration. Your staff, customers and accountant will thank you!

Direct download: 272_How_to_Simplify_Your_Business_for_More_Profitable_Results.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:18am AEST

It was fascinating to talk with WeChat marketing expert Matthew Brennan about online marketing and e-commerce in China. In many ways the country is leading the world with innovations in social media and cashless payments, particularly through the communication and payment channels of Tencent (owner of WeChat) and Alipay.

We also discussed the integration of menus into apps, ordering and food delivery systems, and how tourists from China will be researching and preparing for their trip to another country. This is the future!

Direct download: 271_Using_WeChat__Chinese_Social_Media_for_Restaurant_Marketing.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

With the growth of mobile phones, calls to your restaurant are more important than ever – a quick Google search finds your number, and if a call is made, it’s likely to be about an important issue or sales opportunity, rather than just a booking request.

In this lively interview, Ken Burgin talks with Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor about phone answering, sharing information, and handling complaints. We also discussed how to handle staff training, impatient customers, and combining sales with good customer service. And don’t miss her great advice on eliminating 5 Frustrating Voicemail Phrases – we’ve all used them!

Direct download: 270_Smarter_Phone_Management_in_Restaurants_and_Bars.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:44am AEST

Word of mouth marketing doesn’t work automatically, and it’s not always positive. It can develop slowly and accidentally, or you can take the lead and give people lots of positive experiences to share with their friends, week after week.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks about the many different ways customers experience your business, and the five key areas that drive word of mouth – design, speed, generosity, flavour and inside information. You may be surprised that there are so many positive things happening – let’s get the good news out there!

Direct download: 269_How_to_Drive_Word_of_Mouth_Marketing.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Join us to learn how an experienced chef plans a menu makeover, taking a good product and making it even better. Ken Burgin talks with Executive Chef John McFadden and hears about the process of menu simplification and cost control he is using for the new menu at Abode Bistro, the restaurant at Sydney’s ParkRoyal Hotel.   

We also discussed flavour improvement, food trends, staff training and the changing popularity of lunch and dinner menu items in a busy city location.

Direct download: 268_Menu_Simplification_Flavours_and_Profitability.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

What makes food taste wonderful, or bland, or maybe it’s sour, hot or bitter? There are so many things to understand with food flavours, so we asked Adam Yee, a food scientist for assistance. He talks with Ken Burgin about the chemistry of flavours, how we experience them, and how a chef can use this knowledge to create memorable tastes and popular recipes.

We also discussed potato chips, smoky flavours, , snacks, desserts and what makes ethnic food so popular. The food scientist sees the essential elements of taste coming from flavour, texture, depth, time, heat and moisture – everyone in the kitchen is a scientist in one way or another!

Direct download: 267_Understanding_Food_Flavour.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:36am AEST

Ken Burgin interviews Steve Sidd, a chef and experienced restaurateur. He now runs Indulge Brasserie at Moorebank Sports Club, recently named Best Family Restaurant in the Restaurant & Catering Assoc. National Awards for Excellence.

Serving 5,500 customers per week, this is a high-volume operation in an area of young families and a large army base. We talked about how he develops a  menu, meat, seafood and vegetable options, purchasing and negotiation with suppliers. We also discussed healthy food options, kids’ menus and popular desserts – Steve has developed a winning formula that we can all learn from!

Direct download: 266_Menu_Development_for_a_Family_Restaurant.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:47am AEST

Ken Burgin caught up with Julia Campbell, founder of the recently-formed Women in Hospitality group, and Clare van Vuuren, a board member and owner of Sydney’s popular Bloodwood restaurant. The mission of the organisation is to “inspire, recruit and retain more females in the hospitality industry and to give them the confidence to back themselves in their professional development.” There has been an enthusiastic response to their events and mentoring program.

We discussed male and female leadership, the value of networking events, sharing business information, and building the confidence of women to take on management roles. We also talked about the industry competitions that end up with all-male winners, and handling sexual harassment in the workplace.

Direct download: 265_Talking_about_Women_in_Hospitality.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:56am AEST

It was great to meet up again with Executive Chef John McFadden to learn about his culinary career, and what it takes to become a kitchen leader.

We discussed his early learning, the leadership qualities of chefs who’ve inspired him, and how he has developed skills in planning, menu development, people management and finance. We also talked about the importance of bringing on the next generation of cooks and the value of having clear standards and accountability. We need more chefs with his passion and commitment!

Direct download: 264_How_to_Become_an_Executive_Chef.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

For this podcast, Ken Burgin headed out early to Sydney Markets to talk all about vegetables with Chef Julio Azzarello from Gourmand Providore. Julio is surrounded by fresh ingredients at the largest markets in the southern hemisphere, so there was plenty of inspiration for our conversation.

We discussed the most economical vegetables for daily use, cooking methods, how the seasons work, using Grade 2 or ‘ugly’ vegetables to save costs, and building a positive relationship with your supplier. It was great to get back to the source!

Direct download: 263_Using_Popular_and_Profitable_Vegetables.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Ken Burgin talks restaurant and food photography with professional photographer Brandee Meier. These days, everyone eats with their eyes, so great images are more important than ever… and there’s a big difference between what’s done with a phone and the work of a real professional.

We discussed how to choose a good photographer, preparing for a photo shoot, and organising lifestyle, food and bar photos. Plus the technicalities of copyright, file formats and the many ways that photos can be used.

Direct download: 262_How_to_Organise_a_Great_Photo_Shoot_at_your_Restaurant.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Steve Hui is the points whisperer – his business I Fly Flat works with business owners to get the best travel deals from credit card points, and increase the number of points you earn. Everyone in business uses a credit card, but most people don’t know hot to maximise their points, or choose a card that gives the most flexibility for points redemption.

Steve’s conversation with Ken Burgin will definitely have you thinking differently about how you pay bills, and taking a fresh look at the cards you accept from customers.

Direct download: 261_How_to_Use_Your_Credit_Card_for_More_Points_and_Travel.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Becky McCray is bubbling with enthusiasm about the possibilities for food startups and pop-ups in small towns and rural areas. She regularly tours through the US and Canada, energising and inspiring communities to activate their main streets and empty buildings. Food is an essential part of that strategy.

Ken Burgin talked with Becky about locating businesses within museums and public spaces, using empty restaurants, sampling events, food trucks, cutting through regulations and low-cost ways to promote a new business. This is an interview that will definitely inspire you – make sure to download the 101 Tiny Business Ideas from her website.

Direct download: 260_Talking_About_Low-Budget_Food_Start-ups.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Taco Bill restaurants have been a success in Australia for more than 50 years - they are still fresh, modern and popular. In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Stan Teschke, one of the business partners, about how they manage the food, the staff, the parties and the extravagant drinks. They now have 33 stores, with 27 of them franchised, so there’s also the need to watch standards and ensure franchisees remain profitable and true to the brand.

We also discussed how Stan learned his trade as a restaurateur, what hasn’t changed with customer expectations, and the role of email, social media and traditional mail in their marketing mix. Please enjoy this wonderful interview with a master of the industry!

Direct download: 259_Taco_Bill.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Breakfast gets your business and customers off to a strong start – there’s definitely money in the morning. Breakfast is easier to prepare, and you don’t need expensive chefs or high-cost ingredients. Great coffee, speedy service, and a combination of classic or new food items creates a very successful formula.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Graeme McCormack of Food Associates about how you can make the morning into a very profitable part of the day. They discussed beverage and menu options, how to innovate with traditional items, portion sizes, all-day brunches and packaging options for take-away.

Direct download: 258_Profitable_Breakfast_Business.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

We all look for good food and hospitality in a country town or tourist destination – sometimes we find it, and sometimes we don’t. This week’s guest Deborah Culhane is a lawyer working in the large rural town of Albury-Wodonga and she closely watches the success of local restaurants, cafes and wineries. Why do some succeed and others fade away?

Ken Burgin talked with Deborah about the reasons for rural businesses success, and the value of Chamber of Commerce membership for networking and discovery. We also discussed how small operators can compete with the large chains, take advantage of tourism promotions, and the value of ‘anchoring’ a business to a tourist activity.

Businesses mentioned in the podcast include The Black Sheep in Coryong, Boynton’s Feathertop Winery and Riverdeck at Albury. Also check the videos from Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaigns.

Direct download: 257_Cafe_and_Restaurant_Success_in_Rural_Areas.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

The B Corp movement says that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders - it also has a responsibility to the community and to the planet. B Corps meet high standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. They ‘aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems’.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with business advisor Tim O’Brien of Hatched.io about the value of B Corp accreditation, and how to achieve it. This involves assessing your performance in the areas of environmental impact, the workforce, customers, community and corporate governance. Start with the free B Impact Assessment – you may be surprised at how well you do, and B Corp advisers will help with the process. You can also hear the story of how Pablo & Rusty Coffee Roasters became certified, and the value that has added to their business.

Direct download: 256_How_a_Restaurant_or_Cafe_Can_Become_a_B_Corp.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

It’s hard not to be fascinated by the food, presentation and service when travelling overseas – there can be a lot of inspiration. But what can be applied back home – will it appeal to local customers and give us a competitive edge? Every food business needs to be developing new products, and updating existing one – better flavour, production methods and service. 

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Graeme McCormack of Food Associates, about his recent trends tour to New York and London. He and his team were looking closely at new products, display, merchandising, packaging, new flavours and changing attitudes to healthy food claims. There is lots of inspiration for your next menu!

Businesses mentioned in the podcast include Gail’s Bakery, Ottolenghi, Marks & Spencer, Greencore and Pret a Manger in the UK. Plus Eataly, Shake Shake and Katz Deli in the USA.

Direct download: 255_Casual_Food_Trends_from_New_York_and_London.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Sustainability sounds like one of those worthy topics that is too serious for the happy world of cafes. But our guest today, Kim Elena Ionesco says it’s one of the most interesting and exciting jobs in the coffee industry! Kim is the Chief Sustainability Officer of the Speciality Coffee Association and has developed this role and watched the industry advance for the last 10 years.

Ken Burgin interviewed Kim about the wide range of sustainability projects underway, from plantations, to transport, roasting, retail, right through to disposal of the cup. The type of work done on farms is changing, and climate change is having an impact. Roasters have new options for processing beans with less energy, and there are many ways for cafes to work more consciously and use fewer resources. SCA have published some excellent Green Guides to help you with the process.

Direct download: 254_Sustainability_for_Cafes_and_the_Coffee_Industry.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

The shortage of chefs is on the mind of every restaurant operator, and each year it seems to get worse. But chefs have a choice of where they work, and even with shortages, smart operators will have more success attracting talent if they tune into the wants and needs of the people they’re after – chefs are no different to other professionals.

It’s inspiring to talk with executive chefs and managers who are successfully finding and keeping the right staff - they see it as a challenge that can be overcome. One such person is  Gary Johnson, National Food Manager of the Spirit Hotels Group. Ken Burgin talked with Gary about how he has dramatically reduced the turnover of chefs, created a development program for younger chefs to move into responsible positions, and runs a continual training program to improve their management and leadership skills. It’s a great story!

Direct download: 253_Successful_Chef_Recruitment_and_Retention.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Hospitality is a fast-paced and often stressful industry, and doesn’t have a great track record for looking after its people. It’s no wonder that we have high turnover and difficulty keeping good staff – chefs, managers and front of house. We need to improve our support for employees at all levels, so they can handle the pressure, feel valued and look after themselves. The annual RU OK? Program has special relevance for an industry with so many casualties.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with psychologist Annette Koy about how to help employees become stronger and more resilient, and the value of listening. We discussed strategies for business owners, senior staff, chefs, new managers, men and women. You can contact Annette Koy through Linkedin.

Direct download: 252_How_to_create_a_more_resilient_workforce.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:49am AEST

It’s never too early to start planning for the biggest profit season of the year – Christmas! And as the saying goes, the more you plan, the more you earn, so let’s get started.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin shares dozens of ways to make November and December more popular and profitable, starting with the Christmas Menus. It’s also important to communicate early with previous Christmas party customers and be more effective with how you reach out to potential new business. Booking systems need to be smooth and efficient, and event agreements should leave no room for cancellation or disagreements. There are also great options for selling hampers, Gift Vouchers and all the merchandise at your counter.  

Now wrap this up with smart marketing and a great atmosphere (music, decorations and service) – it’s not just a profitable season but also a solid boost to a great new year!

Direct download: 251_Create_a_More_Profitable_Christmas_at_your_Restaurant.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

It’s good to know there’s a serious side to cooking competitions - very different to the fireworks and drama of Masterchef and other TV food shows. Every year there are dozens of culinary competitions across the country, where chefs compete against their peers to create the best flavours, textures and appearance, using a high level of skill and technical proficiency. They work against the clock, and sometimes don’t know what they’ll be cooking until the last minute – it’s a nerve-racking business!

To explain the competitive world of professional chefs, Ken Burgin talked with John McFadden, Executive Chef at the Pan Pacific Hotels Group. He’s passionate about the industry, and dedicated to training the next generation of chefs and cooks. We discussed the competition scoring process, what judges look for in cooking techniques, the attitude of a winning chef and the value of these events to attract people to the industry. Connect with John on Linkedin, and see his food at the Parkroyal Hotel.

Direct download: 250_Talking_About_Chefs_and_Food_Competitions.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Ken Burgin recently met coffee roaster Saxon Wright, to hear about Pablo & Rusty’s recent certification as a B-Corp. Speciality coffee seems to lead the way in the beverage industry with its focus on sustainability from grower through to consumer. B-Corps ‘aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems’, and the Silver Chef group is a proud member of the worldwide B-Corp community.

We discussed the growth of the business, their commitment to sustainably sourced produce, and the additional B-Corp priorities of environmental action, improved employee conditions, customer and community support, accountability and transparency. Even coffee waste is being imaginatively re-used with their Huskee Cup project. The company is growing fast, and Saxon sees the focus provided by B-Corp standards as an important part of their success.

Direct download: 249_How_a_Coffee_Group_Became_a_B-Corp_Business.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:22pm AEST

Do you ever wonder why some cafes and restaurants are constantly in the news? Stories regularly appear in the local paper about their food, events and award-winning staff. Their chef may even be heard on local radio and seen on TV. What’s the secret? To help us understand how the media works, Ken Burgin interviewed public relations expert Jules Brooke about the type of stories that will create interest, how to prepare a Media Release, where to send it and how to use the publicity that follows.

We discussed the value of sharing ‘educational’ content, how to build your own profile, and a wide range of story ideas that will appeal to busy journalists. We also talked about the style and format of photos needed by the media, and when to engage a professional photographer. To help small businesses do their own public relations, Jules has developed the HandleYourOwnPR website, with expert writing and story advice, plus local Australian media lists. You can start sending media releases to your local journalists this week!

Direct download: 248_How_to_Get_the_Media_Interested_in_Your_Restaurant.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:46am AEST

Suddenly food trucks are all around us, and can be a simpler way of entering the food service game than signing a lease for a traditional shop. Flexibility and mobility are two of the positives, but there are also challenges with establishing a recognised brand, working out of a tiny space, and the need for constant promotion.

 

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Harry Fleming, a chef and owner of The Bun Mobile – Brisbane’s original food truck and still a leader with its innovative menu and a huge following of hungry fans. We talked about establishment costs, regular social media posting, good photography, food safety, production kitchens, and the importance of a location calendar. Harry is very generous with the information he shares, and combines a successful business with regular holidays, which he also shares on social media! You can follow the Bun Mobile on Facebook and Instagram, and also check his Downey Park Food Truck collection.

Direct download: 247_Building_a_Profitable_Food_Truck_Business.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Kitchen work needs a lot of people for supplies, production, service and cleaning. Timing is critical and hierarchies are important – we need smart, experienced managers to create a profitable result. So what are the qualities kitchen leaders need for 2018? They’re very different to 10 years ago.

Helping chefs to become great leaders is a passion for Chef Chris Hill, and the driving force for his book Making the Cut, and new book Lead Like a Chef. In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Chris about his 7 Dimensions of Chef Leadership, and how to apply them to industry challenges: attracting people to cooking careers, the shortage of women and people of colour in kitchen leadership, high stress and relationship breakdowns, substance abuse and addiction. It’s a challenging list, and Chris’s fresh take on leadership shows there is a way forward if modern leaders embrace new skills.

Direct download: 246_v2.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:36am AEST

Colin Harmon is a four-time Irish Barista Champion and owner of Dublin’s 3fe Coffee, one of the world’s most innovative and progressive specialty coffee shops. His work in coffee has extended to roasting, training and consultancy work, as well as developing coffee equipment for the specialty market and beyond.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Colin about how he has developed his cafes and roastery, and created a business model that combines efficiency, quality, great service and a positive employee culture. It’s an inspiring story, and he has shared all the details in his new book What I Know About Running Coffee Shops – it’s a great resource and highly recommended.

Direct download: 245_What_You_Need_to_Know_About_Running_Coffee_Shops.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:08pm AEST

Feeling frustrated that staff don’t appreciate the value of cost control and sales promotion? Maybe they think you’re just rolling in money – all those sales go straight to profit! Only when you’ve coached them about the real cost of running a business will they realise the importance of controlling expenses, suggestive selling and turning every customer into a repeat.

In this podcast Ken Burgin shows you simple ways to build the number skills of your managers, chefs, production and service staff. We use examples of labour costs, recipe costing and utilities, bringing them back to costs per hour or per customer to make the biggest impact. If you want staff to help you create an efficient and profitable business, start working on their understanding of cost and profit drivers – it pays off!

Direct download: 244_How_to_Train_Staff_to_Understand_Money_and_Cost_Control.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:44pm AEST

There’s something about the artisan origins of craft beer that attracts passionate support and loyalty. They’re small and independent, compared to the brewery giants, but they still need to run on sound business principles, with good distribution, great marketing and a strong point of difference.

Steve Jeffares is one of the pioneers of craft beer and ale houses in Australia, and he recently opened Stomping Ground Brewery & Beer Hall, in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. He now has his own brewery, a large bar, and a terrific restaurant open 7 days a week. Ken Burgin talked with Steve about the range of beers offered, the food, the customers, and how they promote the business. We also discussed the huge growth of craft beer in Australia, and the importance of his Great Australian Beer Spectapular festivals.

Also mentioned in the interview: the annual list of Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers, the Handle Your Own PR website, and an interesting article on The Future of Business is Giants Pretending to Be Small.

Direct download: 243_Growing_a_Successful_Craft_Beer_Business.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Do some of your staff have chronic financial problems? Modern life is expensive, but we’re talking now about constant money shortages, borrowing from family, debts with friends and overdue bills. Gambling temptation is everywhere we look – online, phone apps, sporting games, poker (slot) machines in pubs and clubs, and of course casinos. Chances are some of your staff need help.

Ken Burgin interviewed Gerard Byrne form the Salvation Army’s Addiction Help Services – they work with people whose lives are affected by drugs, alcohol and gambling. We talked about how to identify and talk to someone with a gambling problem, how to refer them for help, what treatment may involve and how to educate all your staff about the problem. If you need help, or know someone who does, contact the Salvation Army on the link above, or the Gambling Help Line.  https://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au/

Direct download: 242_Helping_Staff_with_Gambling_Problem.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:31pm AEST

Overseas workers have become an essential part of the Australian hospitality workforce, just as they are all over the world. But that doesn’t stop immigration from being a political football, which means unpredictable changes in government policy that makes workforce planning difficult. In April 2017, changes were announced on who can work in Australia, and their rights to become a permanent resident.

To help us navigate these changes, Ken Burgin talked with Justin Browne of Edupi Hospitality Immigration Specialists. Justin has many years of experience in hospitality, and now with immigration. We discussed the type of workers who want to work in Australia, the skills they have and how to help them settle into a new culture. We also discussed the costs and paperwork involved, when extra training is needed, and options for people who want to work in a rural area.

Direct download: 241_Immigration_Update_for_Australian_Restaurants.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Do you have good, up-to-date Job Descriptions for everyone working in your business? Sometimes they’re filed away where no-one can find them. Or describing business activities that are way out of date. A well-written Job Description can be a powerful guide and tool to help with recruitment, performance management, training and even termination.

 In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Doug Kelsall, the Talent Division Manager of Benchmarque. He’s recently revised and updated the library of 24 Job Descriptions available for download at Profitable Hospitality, and we talked about what is included in well-written JDs for managers, line staff and trainees. We discussed essential duties and responsibilities, the importance of a purpose statement, accountability, knowledge, experience, qualifications and measuring performance.

Direct download: 240_How_to_Use_Job_Descriptions_for_Better_Performance_1.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:34am AEST

Teamwork: everyone believes in it, and there are thousands of books written about it, but it’s more often talked about than actually achieved in most workplaces. On the sporting field the benefits are obvious, with different skills working together to chase a common goal… winning!

In this podcast, Ken Burgin looks at all the elements that make for successful teamwork, including shared goals, good leadership, measuring results, solving problems, a combination of skills, and the value of coaching to improve performance. A strong and happy team creates a vibrant business with excellent service, a great product and a growing reputation. It won’t take long to improve your team’s performance and the profits will follow!

Direct download: 239_Creating_good_teamwork.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:48am AEST

The world of speciality coffee is getting bigger all the time! It’s no longer just based in Australia and North America, but also growing strongly in the traditional coffee-drinking countries in Europe, and enjoying incredible growth in Asia. To maintain the high standards expected of specialty venues, good training is essential.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Ellie Hudson, the Director of Professional Development at the Specialty Coffee Association of America. We talked about practical skills, sensory awareness, global knowledge and the importance of business owners keeping up with modern coffee trends. We also discussed the variety of training methods – coaching, tasting, quizzes, videos, visits to roasters and using mobiles as a training delivery mechanism.

Direct download: 238_Talking_About_Coffee_Training_and_Education.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Do your staff have one eye on their mobile phone and one eye on their work? Social media is all around us, and digital distractions are plentiful. It’s easy for social media clumsiness to turn into a big issue if the wrong comments and photos are shared by staff. In many cases, they don’t realise that they’ve done the wrong thing – guidance is essential. A comprehensive and easily-explained Social Media Policy is a very important part of your staff management toolkit.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Richard Edwards of Whites Legal, a Melbourne firm specialising in hospitality businesses. He’s helped many owners and managers with employment issues, and has drafted the Social Media Policy that is available to download from the Profitable Hospitality website.

Direct download: 237_What_to_Include_in_a_Restaurant_s_Social_Media_Policy.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with restaurateur Brett Carboni of Tsunami Restaurant in Perth. We talked about growing his business from when it started in 1998, change and development through the GFC and economic changes, menu changes and building the function side of Tsunami. Plus the importance of constant marketing, how he uses social media and keeping his professional knowledge up-to-date.

We also discussed the growth of his SuperSake importing business, and how he promotes sake sales through festivals, tastings, special dinners and public education. He even writes the SuperSake blog while doing his workout at the gym in the morning!

Direct download: 236_Running_a_Successful_Japanese_Restaurant__Sake_Business.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:07am AEST

A comprehensive and easily-understood Staff Manual is an essential tool for modern restaurant and foodservice management. Especially as employees are usually the biggest concern (and cost) for most operators: recruitment, hiring, productivity, behaviour, guidance and occasionally, dismissal. Just relying on team spirit and people ‘doing the right thing’ is not enough – it’s important to be ready for every situation.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Richard Edwards of Whites Legal, a Melbourne firm specialising in hospitality businesses. He’s helped many owners and managers with employment issues, and has drafted the suite of Staff Management Policies that are available to download from the Profitable Hospitality website.

Direct download: 235_What_to_Include_in_Restaurant_Staff_Manual_1.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

A good children’s menu is about more than just attracting families to eat with you. It can also be an important way to build your reputation, positioning you as a place that children enjoy and the food is healthy. You don’t just drop everything into the deep fryer.

In this podcast Ken Burgin discusses the many angles to a successful children’s menu – the choice of food, the way it’s cooked and served, how staff look after children, pricing and discount options, and how to use a popular kid’s menu to spread good news and attract more customers. 

Direct download: 234_Designing_and_Promoting_Popular_Children_s_Menus.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

What have vegetables got to do with numbers and business? We’ll find out from Trudi Yip of the Numeric Eight bookkeeping and accounts management business, which she started in 2006.  She has more than 20 years experience running small businesses and comes from a family of entrepreneurs – in fact she first learned about business as a child by counting potatoes in the Sydney Markets before dawn.

She’s brought her business experience and insights together in a new book called Counting Potatoes – Transform Your Creative Passion and cleverly connects potatoes, onions, pumpkins, ginger, garlic and even watermelons up to all the elements of business success. Intrigued by the sound of this? The interview is definitely worth listening to!

Direct download: 233_Counting_Potatoes_for_Business_Success.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:00am AEST

Customer service – it’s so important, and can be so variable. Chances are it’s what people talk about more than your great food and beverages, especially if things don’t go right. Consistency is key, so visitors know what to expect and managers know that when they’re not around, service will be delivered to the correct standard.

 

In this podcast Ken Burgin interviews Justin McGurgan of training and consulting firm Zealifi. We talked about how customer expectations have changed, and the role management must play in creating a strong service culture. We also discussed the effectiveness of monthly training, the role of supervisors, and how to measure success. Here’s a man who is passionate about customer service, and who gets great results from his enthusiastic training programs.

Direct download: 232_Managing_Customer_Service_for_Consistent_High_Quality.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:56pm AEST

Many of the people who listen to this podcast aren’t chefs, but many of you do have responsibility for kitchen results. It’s the heart of the house, and the product of all that ice, fire, food, hard work and creativity can either attract and delight, or sometimes leave customers unimpressed. If you own or manage a business where food is served, you must have an understanding of how the kitchen works.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks from his own experience as owner of a busy cafe and restaurant, and from what he’s observed working with chefs and restaurant operators as a consultant and through Profitable Hospitality. In recent years, good technology has given chefs more control, and managers much more access to costing, ordering, workflow, sales and customer responses. Good communication is always essential, and that too benefits from modern channels to keep everyone ‘on the same page’. Good teamwork is when everyone feels they have the control they need…

Direct download: PH2023120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:52pm AEST

No one likes to pay taxes, and sometimes the hospitality industry plays a bit fast and loose with the way they avoid them. In fact there are many ways to minimise your taxes legally, without resorting to semi-legal avoidance tactics. Make as much money as you can, then get a good accountant working on all the ways to keep most of that money in your hands. You’ll sleep better and the bank will be impressed.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Chris Wheatley from Scope Accounting about his top 10 ways to maximise tax savings. We talked ‘big picture’ first, about understanding the tax options within your business structure, and then focused on wage and superannuation payments, claiming for equipment purchases, maximising stocktake deductions and getting the most from vehicle expenses. Plus a lot more suggestions along the way – credit card payments, home office costs, home internet and even sunscreen!

Direct download: 230_edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:54am AEST

Success stories are always favourites with podcast listeners, and this one is terrific. I’m talking with Samantha Bottegal of the PekoPeko Cafe group in Western Australia. She and her partner have grown their business from one to three cafes since they started in 2003, and they’ve made sure that growth has also meant having a better life style.

We talked about Samantha’s early experience with food in Japan, the enthusiasm for Japanese food in Australia, challenges in her first business and developing systems to manage sales, recruitment, communication and financial management. We also discussed the value of expert consulting advice, and how loyal staff will step up to manage a business for you - even when you take a holiday in the busiest month of the year!

Direct download: PH2022920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:07pm AEST

It's usually easier to give praise, and we often avoid the more difficult moments when negative feedback needs to be given to an employee who’s a bit slow, making mistakes or not following guidelines. It could be a frontline worker, someone in the kitchen or a manager. Roger Simpson of The Retail Solution has some excellent tactics to improve the timeliness and effectiveness of feedback - the negative, the positive and for improvement.

We talked about when to have the conversations, how they should be structured, words to use and avoid, the importance of listening and when to follow up. Roger has trained staff and managers on this topic, from some of the leading foodservice operators in Australia - he knows what works and shares it with you now. Definitely an interview to pass on to supervisors and your management team.

Direct download: PH2022820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:02am AEST

We like the idea of online training, but it’s easy to think it’s just for big restaurant groups with lots of resources. In fact there’s a lot that an independent restaurant or cafe can do to get much of their training online. The benefits are considerable – better consistency, training sessions that can be run at any time, and access to material that can be sourced from industry as well as what you create.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks again with restaurant trainer John Isbell. It’s a follow-up to Podcast 225 on How to Create an Effective & Affordable Training Program. We discussed the areas that best lend themselves for online training, the ‘baby steps’ you can take to get an online program started, integrating online sessions with face-to-face training, and ways that staff can help create content.

We also talked about ready-to-use training systems, using YouTube videos, the staff who may not be so quick to adapt, and measuring ROI. I hope you’ll get lots of inspiration from this interview – I know I did! You can find John on Linkedin and on Twitter

Direct download: PH2022720Edited28129.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:30am AEST

It’s easy for menus to become more and more elaborate, as everyone adds their ideas and favourites. Before you know it, prep and service times are longer, and labour and food costs rise. This can be a problem for individual restaurants, and a major issue for franchise operators.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with chef Richard Robinson of Food Associates in Sydney. He works on the development of recipes and menus for foodservice businesses of all types – maximising flavour, simplifying production, reducing labour costs and ensuring that the recipes contribute to the business concept.

We talked about how he analyses a recipe, what items can be outsourced, and skilling up your workforce so they all work quickly and efficiently. We also discussed supply chain issues, flavour shortcuts and making sure special diets are handled in the easiest way possible. This is an interview to share with everyone in the kitchen!

Direct download: PH2022620Edited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am AEST

Can you afford regular staff training? John Isbell, our guest in this podcast says you can’t afford not to train, especially as competition increases from new concepts and venues. Our customers also have increased expectations and product knowledge, so every business needs to be optimised for peak performance.

John is an experienced restaurant trainer, working with independent operators, restaurant groups and franchises to help them get the best from back of house, front of house and management staff. We talked about the quick wins a trainer can get with a new program, and the priorities for kitchen, service and leadership teams. John also had some great suggestions on how to involve staff in helping to create training content, and putting your activities into a calendar that will continue to benefit the business month after month. Lots of inspiration in this episode!

Contact John Isbell through Linkedin or Twitter

Direct download: PH2022520Edited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am AEST

Gradually restaurants and foodservice operators are becoming aware of the scale of worldwide Chinese tourism - more than 100 million people from China went overseas in 2016, and the number is growing steadily. That means lots of opportunities, especially if you tune into the particular needs and desires of this market.

To help us understand tourists from China, and the food culture there, Ken Burgin talked with Glen Hingley from Destination Taiwan. Glen is originally from hotel sales and management in Australia, and has lived in mainland China and Taiwan for almost 20 years. He’s watched the growth and change of Chinese restaurants and food culture, and is an excellent guide to a world that is still a mystery for many westerners. We talked about how Chinese people prefer to eat at a restaurant, red wine, flavours, comfort food, and how to make your guests feel welcome.

Direct download: PH2022420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:11am AEST

It’s been said that managers look after things, and leaders look after people. A manager handles the roster, security, service quality and logistics. Leaders handle the more challenging tasks of motivation, team building, discipline and all the personalities in restaurant life - customers and staff. Some managers are good leaders, and others not so much. It’s a tough call for a young manager in their early twenties to handle the human side of the job - every business has a big range of ages, personalities, skills, language abilities and experience.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with restaurant coach and consultant Donald Burns about how young staff can build their skills and experience to become good leaders. When they can handle the ‘people side’ of hospitality with confidence - conflict management, interviewing, coaching and teamwork, a whole new world of careers open up. We need more real leaders in the front and back of house! Connect with Donald Burns on his website and RestaurantCoachUniversity.

Direct download: PH2022320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:02pm AEST

Some of the most popular Profitable Hospitality podcasts are interviews with successful cafe and restaurant owners. Entrepreneurs who are tuned into customer desires, ready to take risks, keep a sharp eye on costs and have a knack for marketing and staff management.

One of these smart operators is George Dannaoui, partner-owner of the Moody Chef cafes in Sydney. George has been in hospitality for 13 years and shares his insights about business development, menu design, cost control, marketing, landlords, leases and finance.

George will also be the special guest of Profitable Hospitality and Silver Chef at a full-day workshop in Sydney on 18 March. This is a unique event held at one of his cafes, exploring what makes his businesses work and how you can have similar success. More information and bookings here - don't miss this! 

Direct download: PH2022220A20Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:51pm AEST

The P word - Planning. Everyone thinks it’s a good idea, but who has the time, and isn’t it all a bit complicated? Think of a plan as a bit like a map - a guide for how to get from where you are now to where you want to be. That next place might have more sales, lower food costs, better customer feedback and the ability to attract better staff. All of these are ‘big issues’, and will need work - writing them down is an essential first step.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with management consultant Cindy Tonkin. We discussed the major parts of any planning process, setting priorities, how many things can be handled at once, and getting your team involved. We also discussed calendars, to-do lists and project management systems - it was a great discussion, and considering it’s a serious topic, we also had a few laughs along the way! You can find Cindy at ConsultantsConsultant - check her books, articles and newsletter.

Direct download: PH2022120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:20am AEST

Social media and online activity are essential parts of your marketing mix, but don’t overlook the many ‘old fashioned’ ways to attract and delight customers. These tried and tested methods attract interest, build loyalty and keep people coming back... and telling their friends.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks about how to use business cards, decoration and ‘quality signals’, your front window, internal pictures, illuminated signs, and the 5 key drivers for restaurant word-of-mouth. Also discussed were the value of direction signs, regular events, support for community groups, list building and excellent customer service. You can start many of these activities this week!

Direct download: PH2022020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:11pm AEST

Chances are you’ve stayed with the popular accommodation service AirBnB, either locally or overseas. It’s popularity is growing, and unlike hotels, the hosts generally don’t offer meals and try to keep their guests eating in-house. So that means a lot of them need to eat locally - and there may be hundreds of AirBnB properties in your area!

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with long-time AirBnB host Paul Hart. He has an AirBnB property in Melbourne’s popular St Kilda area, and has used AirBnB widely overseas. He also takes part in the huge AirBnB Open conference held in the US each year - an enthusiast! We talked about the best ways for cafe and restaurant owners to reach out to local AirBnB operators, how and what they are recommending to their guests now, and Paul’s excellent new service RoamLocal, that gives local businesses an easy way to connect with AirBnB guests.

Direct download: PH2021920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:59am AEST

It’s more than just smiles and optimism. A positive mindset enables you to handle the ups and downs of the hospitality industry with more confidence and certainty, and with less strain. Problems aren’t so overwhelming, and a clear path for business growth becomes more apparent. You’ll be less focused on what your competitors are doing, and focus on the improvements that can be made at your own cafe or restaurant.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with restaurant business coach Donald Burns. He works with a wide range of restaurant owners, showing them how to tackle business challenges, quieten the ‘inner critic’, improve employee culture and of course, boost the bottom line. Many people are attracted to hospitality for the lifestyle and profits – a positive mindset gives you the power and focus to achieve that.

Direct download: PH2021820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:54am AEST

In this podcast we’re not talking about new furniture or equipment, but a management makeover that addresses profit levels, customer satisfaction, employee performance and growth. Many businesses limp along until they are either sold or close. The smarter ones call in the experts to help fix the problems.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with turnaround expert Jim Affeldt from Haley Kammerer. They’re the restaurant consulting arm of the Sodel Concepts group in Delaware (with more than 10 restaurants and foodservice operations). We discussed the primary importance of getting the business culture right, points of service, menu analysis, cash flow, inventory, marketing and systems – it’s a real A to Z of what’s needed for restaurant success.

Direct download: PH2021620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:50am AEST

Let’s face it: most hospitality people are not big on numbers. They prefer to make the drinks, welcome guests, sell events or cook great food – doing and communicating, not counting and analysing. But without a close eye on the figures, profits can melt away in this highly competitive industry...

To prepare for the new year, Ken Burgin interviews accountant Chris Wheatley of Scope Accounting. We talked about many ways you can make business more profitable, and your life more enjoyable, by taking control of the numbers. We discussed record keeping, cloud-based bookkeeping systems, staff and food costs and all the ways to integrate control into a ‘dashboard’. The old demarcations between bookkeeper, accountant and business owner are disappearing fast – this podcast has information you can take to the bank!

Direct download: PH2021720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:59pm AEST

Rose Johnstone, editor of Time Out Melbourne, is in a unique position to see how savvy hospitality operators are using social media. She’s also actively using the major channels to promote Time Out stories and events – they are busy people!

Ken Burgin talked with Rose about how smart operators are using Instagram and Snapchat, and the continuing value of Facebook. We discussed what content is best for each channel, the type of images that get the best response, the value of video and what makes a good ‘story’ on the new Story features. And of course how to turn cool social media content into real sales. You can follow Time Out on Instagram and Facebook – they do a great job!

Direct download: PH2021520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:29am AEST

There’s no shortage of opinions on what makes a successful cafe. Looking at businesses that succeed (or not), it’s obvious that marketing and management are the major drivers, and within those two headings we can identify location and size, design and layout, the employee team, good service, menu and products, equipment, financial management and of course marketing in all its variations.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Andrew and Claire Bowen, authors of The Daily Grind - How to Open and Run a Coffee Shop That Makes Money. Having created three  thriving cafes, they’re in a unique position to talk about success, and what new operators need to consider. We also discussed how existing business owners can improve and grow - it was a very productive conversation. You can find Andrew & Claire's book here and also check their excellent website.

Direct download: PH2021420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:16am AEST

There’s no avoiding social media, especially for restaurant, cafe and hotel marketing. And there’s much more to a digital marketing strategy than just ‘getting one of the young staff to handle it’. Hospitality managers, owners and leaders need to take social media seriously and develop comfort, skills and fluency for this modern digital world.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with leadership coach Des Walsh about how leaders can build confidence to guide social media strategy and interact online with colleagues and customers. We also talked about which social media channels are the most appropriate and effective for hospitality marketing, and building your own reputation. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or Instagram – you don’t have to use them all, but you can’t hide in the shadows and pretend this doesn’t apply to you!

Direct download: PH2021320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:13pm AEST

Long hours, heat and stress – that’s the working life of many chefs and kitchen staff. And even though they’re surrounded by good food, many chefs rely on coffee, snacks and sugary drinks to get through the day. Another reason why hospitality finds it hard to keep good people!

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Pip Seldon of The Healthy Tradie Project. She usually works with trades men and women in the construction industry, helping them to improve their job performance, mental clarity, diet, mood and energy levels. Here we talk about the cooking trade, and how her 6 essentials apply for a better work and personal life: exercise, mindset, nutrition, play, sunshine and sleep. You will enjoy her practical approach to improving work, whether you’re a chef or a manager who needs to improve productivity in the kitchen.

Direct download: PH2021220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:58pm AEST

Have you noticed how some bars and restaurants are constantly in the news, or a chef is being quoted and making a name for herself? Chances are a public relations person is helping to get their story into the media, and keep them top of mind with the public. PR people aren’t magicians, but their years of experience and contacts can be great way to cut through and have your message noticed.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with publicist and communications expert Prue Gillespie. She has worked with restaurants, bars, events and foodservice entrepreneurs over quite a few years, promoting their products, helping them build personal profiles and even putting out a few ‘fires’ when things don’t go to plan. A professional publicist can be a great asset for any size of business, and Prue gives us great insights into how to leverage public relations and become much more recognised.

Direct download: PH20Episode2021120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:46pm AEST

It was great to catch up with Court Desautels, Group Leader & COO of Canada’s Neighbourhood Restaurant Group in Guelph, Ontario. The group has been on the expansion trail for some years, and recently embraced the process of B-Corp certification. We’ve talked about B-Corp before in the interview with Silver Chef founder Allan English (podcast 203).

Court and I discussed how their two Borealis Grille restaurants, Woolwich Arrow Pub and Miijidaa Cafe have built on existing commitments to local produce and sustainability, and taken on the additional B-Corp challenges of improved employee conditions, customer and community support, accountability and transparency. It’s an inspiring story and the net results have been double digit sales growth and reduced costs – items on every business owner’s wish list!

Direct download: PH20Episode2021020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:18pm AEST

It’s great to revisit previous podcast guests and find out how their business has grown and prospered. There are usually plenty of lessons along the way, about managing money and costs, managing people, sales and marketing, plus time management. I first interviewed Gus McAllister of The Tippler & Co Bar & Eatery two and half years ago, and how things have changed!

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Gus about how he has built a strong local network of business customers and residents, effective use of his time and money for marketing, menu development and staff control. We also discussed how he has built a strong function & events side of his business and made everything more systematised.

Direct download: PH20Episode2020920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:14pm AEST

How things have changed – instead of being a fringe request that’s ignored by most restaurants, vegan and vegetarian food is now a popular choice. A recent survey in Australia found 1 in 9 people (11.2%) said they are ‘vegetarian or almost vegetarian’. That’s a lot of customers looking for menu options beyond a salad or pasta with tomato!

To help us understand how chefs and restaurants can cater for this growing demand, Ken Burgin talked with chef and cafe owner Paul Smith of Green Zebra in rural NSW. He’s now a vegan, and tries to create vegetarian food that meat eaters will love! It has to be more imaginative than yet another serve of pumpkin risotto or vegetarian lasagne. We discussed the challenges of creating healthy food with flavour, presenting food on a plate so it’s not always ‘meat in the centre’, and all the angles to modern menu design. Paul is a thoughtful and creative chef – I know you will enjoy this interview. You can also find him on Twitter and his new website PlantYourMenu.com

Direct download: PH20Episode2020820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:19pm AEST

“There is a growing expectation that businesses are responsible for the material as well as the moral development of their employees. There is a growing expectation in society that business will play a larger role.” These are the words of Mike Connell, the head of People & Culture at Silver Chef and my guest in this week’s podcast.

Silver Chef (of which Profitable Hospitality is now a part) is a public company, very different in scale to the cafes, restaurants and foodservice operators that they finance. But there are many things they are doing that are directly applicable to businesses of any size, to act as a ‘force for good’ in the world, and to attract and engage the best employees around. Let’s not be afraid to use the words ‘morality’, ‘values’ and ‘workplace culture’ – you will enjoy Mike’s very practical approach to putting these concepts into action.

Direct download: PH20Episode2020720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:56pm AEST

In restaurants and bars, we don’t have a great track record for successful relationships and happy families. Long hours, lots of stress and working when others relax - it can be exciting, and a recipe for instability. The idea of ‘work-life balance’ seems to have bypassed this industry!

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with therapist and counsellor Colleen Morris about how we can reduce the pressure and increase happiness in our very consuming jobs. We talked about how to recognise the signs that a relationship is under stress, the different ways men and women communicate, and how to be more aware of a partner’s needs. We also discussed how to help friends having partner problems, and helping young staff to be more successful in their personal lives. This was a very satisfying interview, and one I hope you will share with your team. You can find Colleen at Watersedge Counselling, and on Twitter.

Direct download: PH20Episode2020620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:00pm AEST

Traditional wine training with serious faces and tasting notes doesn’t quite cut it in 2016 – employees don’t find it inspiring, and customers want better information and enthusiastic recommendations. There’s a lot you can do to make your wine training faster, brighter and more effective – it all leads through to better sales.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks to Kyle Thacker of online wine directory Uncorkd – we each had plenty of ideas on how to add energy and variety to wine training, whether it’s quick tastes or a detailed comparison. From sensory sessions to online videos, quizzes, winery visits and staff choosing ‘wine of the month’ – use this podcast to revitalise your training and boost sales.

Direct download: PH20Episode2020520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:51pm AEST

Successful bars have a good team of employees – it’s fair to say you can’t have one without the other. In this second of two interviews, Ken Burgin talks with Ben McBeath, managing director of Sydney bars The Arthouse Hotel and the Treehouse.

We discussed all the elements that go together to make a productive and high-performing workforce, how they handle recruitment and induction, promoting managers from within the ranks and what makes ‘bar people’ different. We also talked about incentives and bonuses, and how to improve workplace culture and diversity. Hear's your opportunity to listen to one of the leaders in the industry!

Direct download: PH20Episode2020420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:54pm AEST

B-Corps are companies that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. They come in all sizes – from small cafes, to large coffee roasters and food manufacturers. Here’s a list of some of the B-Corps in the hospitality sector.

Collectively, B Corps lead a growing global movement of people using business as a force for good. Through the power of their collective voice, one day all companies will compete to be best for the worldTM, and society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity for all.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Allan English, the founder of hospitality finance company Silver Chef. He has been a passionate supporter of the B-Corp movement for a number of years, and Silver Chef was certified in 2015. It’s having a profound and positive effect through all areas of the business. B-Corp certification is a process that your business could also embrace – it’s worth looking through what’s involved.

 

 

Direct download: PH20Episode2020320Edited20DELUXE.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:33pm AEST

Everyone believes in waste reduction – it’s been drummed into us since childhood. And commercial foodservice has extra challenges with large quantities, food safety issues and customers who don’t eat everything on their plate. In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Dianne McGrath of Watch My Waste, a large-scale survey of foodservice operators and and consumers.

The research is still underway, and already she’s found surprising information about the percentage of food purchases that end up in the garbage, why that happens, and how unaware most operators are of the scale of the problem. The consumer survey information is also interesting – preferences about portion sizes, left-overs and what’s served on a plate. Lots of great money-saving information in this very informative interview and on Dianne’s website.

Direct download: PH20Episode2020220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:05pm AEST

There are many moving parts involved in a successful bar – the beverage list, stock management, service systems, financial management, staff and marketing. In this first of two interviews, Ken Burgin talks with Ben McBeath, managing director of Sydney bars The Arthouse Hotel and The Treehouse.

Ben shared lots of great insights about the range of services they offer, the need for very regular upgrade of interiors, tracking numbers, managing competition, efficient service and effective marketing.

Direct download: PH20Episode2020120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:00pm AEST

Food technology and hospitality subjects are very popular at high schools. This is driven in no small part by TV food shows like Masterchef, and people like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. Whatever you think of TV chefs, the interest in cooking is very welcome – now we need to leverage this to turn keen students into our keen young employees!

In this interview I went back to school and talked with a Food Tech teacher and three students at Auburn High School in Melbourne. We discussed the most popular parts of the their cooking course, the range of topics covered, the Masterchef factor and what they imagine is the life of a chef in a restaurant or cafe. It’s time to make friends with your local hospitality teachers and students - talent is waiting!

Direct download: PH20Episode2020020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:16pm AEST