Profitable Hospitality Podcast

Every restaurant manager, owner and chef worth their salt makes sure to watch and visit the latest hot places and clever competitors. Many of your customers got there first – they’re after newer and better – the pressure is unrelenting!

 In this podcast, Ken Burgin looks at how you can take an organised and strategic approach to learning from competitors. The focus of your observation will be on three main areas: the visitor experience, productivity, and sales & marketing. It’s much more than just looking around and snapping photos. Consider the staff, the furnishings, how the atmosphere is created and how management orchestrates the experience. Is the place productive, and how can you work out their running costs? You’ll also be looking at the menu, the marketing and social media activity – that’s where you see customer reactions. 

Make sure to check the Sales & Marketing Dept and the Online Marketing Dept at Profitable Hospitality – lots there to help you be more competitive!


Direct download: Podcast2011220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:48pm AEST

Work can be a bit rough in some restaurants and bars – high pressure, long hours, impatient managers, heat, late nights and alcohol. No wonder staff sometimes say and do things that they shouldn’t – insults, sex talk, swearing, pushing and yelling. For a long time the attitude was that you put up with it or got out. But modern workplaces  now have a much greater focus on safety and management’s ‘duty of care’ – protecting staff is not optional. And employees are much more aware of their rights and legal protection.

 In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with HR expert Natasha Hawker of Employee Matters. We discussed definitions of sexual harassment and bullying, plus the idea of ‘Duty of Care’ and how it applies to managers and supervisors. Also covered were grievance procedures, investigation methods, and the responsibility of staff who witness harassment or bullying – there’s a lot to consider.

Also make sure to check the Staff Management Dept and Downloads at Profitable Hospitality.


Direct download: Podcast_111_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:22pm AEST

If you're watching staff productivity, menu performance or changing customer tastes, the results usually show up in the sales figures. But what should you check first? Most POS systems offer hundreds of report options, but a few key numbers will give you the most important information.

 In this podcast, Ken Burgin goes through 10 important restaurant KPI’s that will show you the success of your sales effort, and help to uncover where improvements can be made. It could be in food, dessert or beverage sales, number of items per customer, menu design or the selling skills and productivity of employees. You’ll find lots more information on sales improvement at Sales & Marketing and the Menu Marketing departments of Profitable Hospitality.


Direct download: Podcast2011020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:46am AEST

Entrepreneurs are inventors, and they’re also risk-takers – ready to go out on a limb with a money-making idea. They’re opportunistic, they like the idea of ‘extreme sport’, focus on the positive side, know how to find followers, and keep an eye firmly on the financial success of a project. Our industry thrives on entrepreneurs who are constantly designing, testing and occasionally failing with new bars, restaurants and cafes – it’s exciting to find a ‘new place’ that ticks all the boxes!

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Harry Hawk, a New York-based marketer and hospitality operator who tells us how he set up a highly-popular beach bar – hiring and training staff, dealing with massive crowds, handling government regulations and keeping customers happy so they stick around, spend up and tell their friends. Plus PR,  issues with neighbours, fast food, power supply and even the toilets. You can find Harry on Linkedin.


Direct download: Podcast_109_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:21am AEST

It’s a common request – how can we train new staff in the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective way? Or work with current staff who are not getting the sales results you want, they’ve stopped smiling, are often late, and aren’t supporting the team. We also need supervisors and store managers who can take the lead and deliver this coaching whenever it’s needed.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Roger Simpson, an experienced retail trainer and consultant who works with businesses to increase service levels and grow sales. He’s worked in all sectors of hospitality, and one of his famous (and ongoing) clients is Beechworth Bakery, a business that’s transformed an entire rural town and the face of modern bakeries in Australia. We discussed his 4 step system for turning leaders into coaches, and his 5 key steps for success with staff – it’s a great discussion.

You can find Roger at TheRetailSolution and I recommend you download his excellent free e-book.


Direct download: Podcast2010820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:35am AEST

It’s easy to put all your energy into Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as the main social media channels for restaurant, hotel and bar marketing. They’re hugely popular, and the advertising options can be effective. But ‘there’s a serious side to business’ where you can make professional connections and turn them into customers and networking opportunities – that's best done with Linkedin.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin shows hospitality business owners and managers how to use Linkedin to enhance their own professional reputation, and reach out to others through its unique networking system. The sales opportunities can be particularly useful, and are rarely used in our industry (but heavily used in the corporate world). Find local professionals you’d like to do business with, connect, make friends and hopefully do business. It needs a ‘slow and steady’ approach, and there’s lots of upside. I hope you will also connect with me on Linkedin – just seach for Ken Burgin in Sydney.


Direct download: Podcast2010720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:06am AEST

Friction and arguments between restaurant floor staff and the kitchen - it's boring, unproductive and costly. It’s usually a result of poor communication and unrealistic expectations, plus senior management who aren’t taking leadership on the issue. 

In this podcast, Ken Burgin of Profitable Hospitality goes through more than a dozen ways you can improve communication and reduce tension between FOH and BOH – clearer goals, a better understanding of teamwork, more productive meetings and an improved flow of information. Plus fixing the system breakdowns (and sometimes equipment breakdowns) that cause unnecessary hardship when the pressure is on. Don’t give up on this issue – when tension flares, it leads to increased costs, loss of sales and high staff turnover


Direct download: Podcast2010620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:25am AEST

Does the use of social media lead to more sales? What’s the ROI for the time and money you put into Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos and other social media channels? Yes, these questions are still being asked, although at least people are now  more focused on the best channels to use and what type of content creates the behaviour you want.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks to Sean Callanan, the founder and CEO of SportsGeek, a sports digital marketing agency. He’s an avid sports fan, and his business focuses on connecting sporting teams, players, fans and sponsors using modern technology and social media. In sport the talk is about members, fans, game attendance, loyalty, scores and results. Compare this with restaurants, bars and clubs where we discuss customers, visitor numbers, weekly sales and per-head spend. Both industries should be watching and measuring what fans like (and don’t like), what excites them and what lights up social media. Hospitality has a lot to learn from the world of sport!

You can also hear Sean on his popular SportsGeek Podcast and the regular Beers, Blokes & Business podcast – both part of my weekly routine!


Direct download: Podcast2010520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:28pm AEST

Most staff are happy with things just the way they are: they’ve built their life around the roster, the work rhythm, the other employees and what makes the boss happy (or not). When you want to make changes there is sure to be some resistance, but if costs are rising, there’s not much choice.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin covers a wide range of staff management changes – from recruitment to rostering, training, accountability and teamwork. Plus bonuses, pay rates and even social media policies. Regular, steady change will keep you ahead of the competition and positioned as the best place to work. Don’t forget to also check the Staff Management Dept at Profitable Hospitality, and the huge number of downloads – all available 24/7.


Direct download: Podcast2010420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:43pm AEST

Centennial Park is very different to a restaurant or bar, but their ability to find stories in the daily events, landscape, visitors and staff are an impressive model for anyone who is wondering about ‘what do I write about’ on a blog. It’s not a small space, with more than 20 million visitors per year and a space that covers 220 hectares (approx 550 acres).  Their blog is always interesting, and it’s backed up with great use of social media to reach different audiences.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Craig Easdon, Manager of Marketing & Communications at Centennial Parklands – he’s a fund of information about content creation for the blog, the publishing calendar, social media management and creating popular web content that appeals to visitors, world-wide web browsers and the media. Full and happy disclosure – I live 100 m. from the park and walk around and through it most days of the year!

Direct download: Podcast103_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:29pm AEST

Supplier prices keep rising, and traditional cost-cutting methods don't always work – you can’t just reduce the portion size, or use cheaper product. Menu price increases are another option, but that’s not always possible - you’ve got competitors and customer reactions to keep in mind.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin looks at some of the ‘quick fixes’ you can do to control the cost of vegetables, dry goods, meat, seafood and dairy products. Reduce the cost percentage, and increase the gross profit margin – there are many things you can do that will together make a substantial impact. Don’t forget  that good recipe software has to be part of the mix – we recommend the Profitable Recipe Manager and the Profitable Kitchen Manager Set.


Direct download: Podcast_102_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:56pm AEST

Many managers and chefs think they deserve more money, and most of the people who make salary decisions are struggling to keep down wage costs. So how do you have a productive discussion? There are many ways to request a salary review, in a way that can be a ‘win-win’ for both parties. 

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Sabiha Vorajee, an HR specialist who’s worked with a wide range of companies in the area of reward and remuneration. Through her company High Value Woman, she specialises in coaching women how to negotiate higher salaries – to gain the confidence and skills to ask for what they deserve. Here she shares tips for women and men, plus suggestions for senior management on how to handle salary requests. If you don’t keep salaries comparable to the market, you will soon be losing staff. Pay and benefits is a topic that makes everyone ‘lean forward’ – I’m sure you will find this interview very interesting!


Direct download: Podcast_101_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:28pm AEST

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks about dozens of ways to create a more efficient and paperless business. It won't happen overnight, but month by month you will find more and more ways to stop the flood of forms and paperwork. 

Does this mean new and unfamiliar ways of working? Yes – you need to get the team on board, and most of them are quiet happy with 'the good old ways' but that won't lead you into the future. Your profitable competitors are making this a priority – using iPads, tablets, mobile apps and web services. And making demands on suppliers to get with the program!

Services discussed in this podcast include  ToDo Cloud, Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, Deputy, BurstSMS and the Fujitsu ScanSnap.


Direct download: Podcast_100_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:35pm AEST

Hospitality operators have mixed feelings about card payments – we like to offer convenience, but we don’t love the fees charged by banks and card companies. And like many fees, they always seem to be going up! This may be changing, with new competitors, and new, more secure ways to make payments.

In this interview Ken Burgin walks with Paul Wallbank, a digital strategist and writer on technology and business. We discuss the impact of Apple’s new payment system, how Paypal is competing with new services, plus the offers from Google and the banks. Will this result in some real competition for a change? It’s just possible that it will – now could be a good time to ask your bank to ‘sharpen their pencil’ and hold back from making long-term agreements. You can read more from Paul Wallbank on his website and on Twitter


Direct download: Podcast_99_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:43am AEST

From venue bookers to agents, and all types of managers. Producers, promoters, publicists and ‘friends of the band’ – there’s a whole cast of characters behind the singer, comedian or musician you want performing at your venue.

In this podcast Ken Burgin talks with Chris Keeble, a woman with a wealth of experience in the entertainment industry. Chris helps us understand ‘who’s who in the zoo’ and how to get the best results - a full house of happy customers. She’s undertaken most of the roles, and also writes shows – there’s no better person to be our guide! You can find Chris online at her website and Linkedin


Direct download: Podcast_98_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:44pm AEST

A lot has changed for businesses using Facebook – it’s no longer a free ride. Just having people ‘like’ a Facebook Page won’t guarantee that fans will see your news and updates. For that to happen, you need much more compelling content. Competitions are a great way to spark up interest, and have always been a part of hospitality marketing – now you can drive them through Facebook as well.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Nathan Latka, the CEO of Heyo, a company that gives you the tools to create powerful Facebook contests, promotions and deals. It’s the service we use at Profitable Hospitality because it’s super-easy to set up and it gets results. Not only can you put attractive, mobile-friendly campaigns together, but you’ll stay on the right side of Facebook’s strict rules about competitions. Nathan explains the 6 elements of a popular competition, and what type of prizes give the best success rate – sign up for Heyo’s free 7 day trial and give it a spin!


Direct download: Podcast_97_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:32pm AEST

A change of pace in this interview – Ken Burgin is talking to another industry podcaster, Eric Cacciatore from Restaurant Unstoppable. He’s a young industry gun who’s hungry to find out how new and seasoned operators are handling social media and marketing, staff management, technology, innovation and competition. It’s no surprise that cacciatore means ‘hunter’ in Italian!

We covered these topics and more, with Eric sharing from the experience of his interview guests and the ‘knowledge bombs’ they throw his way! I was interviewed by Eric a few months back for his Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast, and now he’s returning the favour for Profitable Hospitality – I hope you enjoy this non-stop show!


Direct download: Ken_Podcast_96_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:12pm AEST

Negotiation is part of everyday life – we’re always having to work out deals with family members, staff and suppliers. Occasionally there are BIG deals that need to be agreed upon – the sale or purchase price of a business, details of a bank loan, or the lease terms with a landlord. Many of the same negotation skills apply, but the risks can be much bigger.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Peter Panagiotopoulos, the Cafe Lawyer.  Peter works primarily with foodservice businesses, helping them to buy, sell and work out leases. He’s seen plenty of successful negotiation, and some that’s worked out badly for one or more parties. Offers, counter-offers, concessions, brokers, lawyers, timing, respect, caultural issues and the right way to communicate – there’s a lot we cover in this conversation.  

Direct download: Podcast_95_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:54pm AEST

Food & Wine Events are a great way to showcase your food, wine list and the skill of chefs and sommelier. Customers book and pay in advance – they’re keen, the numbers are known and the cash is already in the bank. What’s not to love?

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Rafael Delgado, an experienced sommelier based in Orlando, Florida. He has prepared a 7-course Menu, pairing American cuisine with Napa Valley Wines. In the first part of the interview, he describes how he has matched the wines with the food, focusing on regionality, balance of flavours, matching body, contrasting flavours and encouraging the use of all the senses. This is not just ‘swallow and talk’, but building on volume, aromas, weight and texture.

In the second part of the interview, they talk about all the ways an event like this can be promoted to existing and new customers – through ‘four wall’ methods within the venue, and via the website, social media, email and online event listing services. There’s a lot of marketing detail covered, with methods that can be used for any type of event.

You can find Rafael on his blog, and he was also a guest in Podcast 77 on Wine Trends, Wine Descriptions and Educating Customers.


Direct download: Podcast_94_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:47pm AEST

There are plenty of legal issues to be handled before you begin a new restaurant or bar: the lease, a contract if you take over an existing business, planning permission and all the details around finance and equipment. But there’s still more to come once you open the doors - that's our topic for discussion today.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks to Richard Edwards, a lawyer with Whites Legal a Melbourne firm that specialises in hospitality businesses. He compares this early stage of business to ‘the awkward teenage years’, when you’re growing up fast, making a few mistakes and having to learn quickly about what responsible adults do. We discussed essential employment law, staff policies that should be in place, insurance, Workcover and workers compensation, paying taxes, paying license fees for music, and the obligations and milestones in your lease. This interview has important information for all new restaurant, cafe and bar operators.


Direct download: Podcast_93_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:42am AEST

Marketing and social media keep changing, and video is more popular than ever – with customers, and with potential guests. Google also wants to show more video, not just text and photos. We all have a smartphone in our pocket - it’s time to take it out and film what’s happening all around. Customer comments, community events, interviews, staff, new supplies and ‘behind the scenes’ – hospitality is full of stories. Short is better – think of how much information can be squeezed into a 30-second TV commercial!

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Max Hitchins, the Hospitality Doctor. Over the last few years, Max has recorded hundreds of videos and posted them to his YouTube channel. He uses a regular camera, and sometimes just his phone, then adds titles and descriptions in the YouTube notes. He explains his video process, and how easily you can do it too. Everyone’s now talking about ‘content marketing’, and what could be easier than asking customers for an interview so they create it for you! 


Direct download: Podcast_92_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:37pm AEST

Ever worried that someone is copying your ideas without permission? Recipes, menus, designs – even your name. When people see that you’re successful, it won’t take long for them to borrow your ‘intellectual property’ – a quick Google search usually gives them most of what they’re after!

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Geoff Moller, a business consultant and expert on intellectual property. We discuss trademarks, business names and logos, customer lists, ‘trade secrets’, photographs and of course menus and recipes. There’s a lot of protection you can take advantage of if you take the right steps – and first you need to understand the terms and concepts. 


Direct download: Podcast_91_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:56pm AEST

Ever worry about how your staff manage their finances? Rent, cars, credit cards, mobile phone plans and another round of vodkas – it’s not just the young ones who get behind in their payments. We don’t pay high wages in hospitality, and many staff live from week to week with little left over.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with financial planner Craig Bigelow of Rising Tide. We discussed how to start positive conversations about money, improving people’s ‘financial intelligence’, using peer influence for positive results, the difference between good debt and bad debt, plus saving, insurance and wills. Craig worked in a bar for five years, so he knows how the industry works. This is a very positive discussion with value for staff (and owners) of all ages. 


Direct download: Podcast_90_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:51am AEST

There's a lot more to cafe success than good coffee. You need the right location, equipment, product knowledge and menu. Plus staff who can deliver great service and create a consistent product day after day. Then add smart marketing and a friendly helping of social media.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Levi Andersen of He first decided to pull shots for career day at age 6, complete with a Starbucks t-shirt. He resumed his connection with serious coffee during high school, and was soon running a family coffee stand, then a number of cafes. Fast forward several years and he’s now working with Coffee Fest and helping new and existing cafe operators to raise their barista skills, popularity and profits.  You can also follow him on Twitter and his regular podcast.

Direct download: Podcast_89_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:02pm AEST

So many meetings don’t work – too long or too short, some people talk too much, others say nothing. Important decisions may be forgotten or ignored, and accountability is avoided. Typical meetings in a restaurant, bar or hotel could be the ten minute pre-shift gathering, half an hour each week for the management team, or a monthly meeting for all staff, designed for education and updates – they can all be very useful.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Cindy Tonkin, the consultant’s consultant. She’s worked in many business settings – large, small, serious corporate and informal small operations. She brings great energy and creativity to this discussion, and will help make meetings a regular, productive and appreciated part of your management. She has also gathered for us a number of recommended articles on meetings – check them out and all the resources on her website.

You can also hear Cindy in Podcast #72 on How to Be a Successful Restaurant and Bar Consultant, and check here website The Consultant’s Consultant


Direct download: Podcast_88_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:22pm AEST

Banks can be a source of endless frustration. You want to borrow money for a startup, extend credit during a quiet period, or arrange finance for expansion…and the answer always seems to be ‘No!’. Most of the time, we just don’t know how banks work and how they make decisions.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Neil Slonim, The Bank Doctor. For 30 years he held senior leadership positions in Business Banking, Corporate Banking and in the ‘bad banks’ of both NAB and its subsidiary Bank of New Zealand. ‘Bad banks’ are the divisions where problem loans and borrowers are managed. Neil now works with small and medium size businesses to help them survive and thrive – he’s ‘the banker in your corner’.

We discussed finance for startups, how successful operators can raise money for expansion, how bank decisions are made and how to get the answer you do want to hear. As a part of his consulting service, he offers a very useful Bank Risk Report, giving you detailed information on where you stand with your bank, plus 40 suggestions on how you can improve your standing. More information at The Bank Doctor website, and use the discount coupon ABIS15. You can also follow Neil on Twitter and subscribe to his monthly newsletter. 

Direct download: Podcast_87_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:02am AEST

You can still create great food and stay connected with the public after a life in restaurants – that’s the reassuring message in this interview with Sydney chef Alex Herbert. Since closing her famous Sydney restaurant Bird, Cow, Fish two years ago, she has created a life that balances family, consulting, cooking for her stall at Everleigh Markets, and regular appearances at festivals and food events.

If you feel that restaurant life is taking its toll, or maybe you want to work with food but avoid signing a lease, there’s much to learn and enjoy when you listen to this interview. Part of Alex’s success comes from staying connected with customers and ‘fans’ through Twitter , Instagram and LinkedIn – just because you don’t have your name in restaurant lights doesn’t mean you drop out of sight.


Direct download: Podcast_86_Edited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:29am AEST

We all value the convenience of online banking and ticket sales, and can buy just about anything from a website. However many restaurant and foodservice operators have been slow to embrace all the ways e-commerce can help customers book, visit, eat, drink, spend up and tell their friends.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Scott Kilmartin of the Online Store Guys, an e-commerce agency that creates online stores and advises on e-commerce growth and development. We talked about why e-commerce is more than just money-sales, security issues, the rise of mobile payments, modern customers, and integrating social media into the marketing mix. Plus options to start with Paypal and then grow with one of the online shopping cart systems. Scott is passionate about online sales – let’s embrace that enthusiasm and use his insights for our food & beverage success.

You can also hear Scott in Podcast 83 talking about Developing an Icecream & Gelato Business.


Direct download: Podcast_85_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:36pm AEST

Most people like to get out of the city and enjoy country hospitality, local food and a more relaxed way of life – we all need a holiday! But what’s not always guaranteed is that our very high TV-tuned expectations will be met – it's a big challenge for any small rural business.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Steven Cumper of the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet, Tasmania – Australia’s southern-most state. This is a country cafe that really does offer all that you want and more – excellent food, attentive service, friendliness and hospitality. Steve took over the business seven years ago and the reputation has grown ever since. He also writes a regular blog The View from My Porch and is active on Twitter – well worth following online and when you’re in the area, make sure to visit!


Direct download: Podcast_84_Edited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:21pm AEST

Full dislosure: in my cafe days we made lots and lots of gelato every day, summer and winter. Two or three flavours, classics or experimental, and it was always very popular. There’s nothing like real house-made gelato, and the combination of milk + sugar + flavour + air gives a very profitable boost to the menu!

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with entrepreneur Scott Kilmartin. When he’s not involved with his ‘day job’ the OnlineStoreGuys, he’s developing the Shortbatch Icecream Co. As he describes it “Ice cream craver has idea, goes to gelato school in Italy. Travels the world, visits gelatarias in six countries. Opening ShortBatch initially in the form of an ice cream cart hitting Edinburgh Gardens in Melbourne's inner north...” We had a great discussion about production, distribution, sales, staff and social media – whether you sell icecream or not, you’ll find plenty of inspiration here for developing your own business.


Direct download: Podcast_83_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:03pm AEST

You’ve seen plenty of cocktail menus in bars, pubs and deluxe venues. With the familiar, the unknown, the overpriced and even the outrageous. So how are the profit margins – not just on individual cocktail recipes (they usually work out OK), but across the whole range? Is it a profitable list, or an ego trip? Does it reduce the sale of other easily-made, profitable drinks? Does it appeal to the majority of your customers, and the people you want to see more often? 

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Jason Jelicich of Barmetrix about how to go beyond the cocktail list and create a profitable cocktail program. Designed for popularity and bottom line results, based on research and knowledge of customers and marketing objectives. Cocktails that can be produced quickly during busy times, and appealing to men as well as women – there’s a lot you can do to improve results.


Direct download: Podcast_82_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:13pm AEST

It’s 30 years since Lucio’s Restaurant opened in the inner suburb of Paddington in Sydney. Its reputation is stronger than ever for great food and wine, friendly, professional service and a magnificent collection of Australian art on almost every inch of the walls.


In this interview Ken Burgin sat down with Lucio and Sally Galletto, son Matteo and daughter Michaela to talk about the growth and development of the business. They discussed the roles played by each family member, staff, menu development, the kitchen and wine list, cost control, plus marketing and social media. Visit Lucio’s when you’re in Sydney next, and if that will be a while, you can buy also buy his books online – publishing and public appearances are an important part of maintaining the restaurant’s reputation.

Direct download: Podcast_81_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:49pm AEST

People in hospitality often don’t realise that they’re ‘the most interesting person in the room’ at local events. If you're bogged down with running a business, it’s easy to overlook the opportunities right there in your local area – with the media, local associations, schools, social clubs and wherever people gather.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with media and presentations coach Jaimie Abbott about how restaurateurs, managers and chefs can turn their experience and personality into a major marketing asset. It won’t always be TV or radio, but there are dozens of other ways you can become well known locally – and customers prefer to do business with people they recognise. You can contact Jaimie at 


Direct download: Podcast80Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:58pm AEST

It’s the world’s second most valuable trade commodity, and the word ‘coffee’ is always buzzing in the media and urban stories. Cafes are one of the fastest-growing segments of foodservice, and the latest serving options range from DIY espresso pods through to pour-overs and cold-drips. 

In this interview, Ken Burgin talk with Christine Cottrell from Perfect Espresso and the Coffee Education Network, about the international trends she’s observed at coffee shows, competitions and cafes in Europe, the US and Australia. She and her partner have used this research to develop the Barista Bible and a wide range of industry training modules that are used around the world.


Direct download: Podcast_79_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:18pm AEST

It’s quite an achievement to grow and prosper for twenty years,  especially in a highly-competitive beachside suburb in Sydney. That’s the record of Rodney Sen and his family with this very popular business. It’s open seven days and nights and much-loved by the locals and tourists.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Rodney about his role in the business, staff recruitment and loyalty, cost control, menu development and food production. They also discussed marketing, social media and their very active sponsorship of local and international non-profit groups. Plenty to inspire you here – check the Barzura website, connect on Facebook, and call in when you’re next in Coogee – the view is not bad!


Direct download: Podcast_78_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:32pm AEST

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with sommelier Rafael Delgado, who's based in Florida. For him, helping customers discover and share the unified story between the food and the beverage program is the secret to successful wine sales, happy guests and repeat visits.

“Every restaurant has its DNA and the wine list should match that DNA. Every wine list should capitalise on the story of each bottle of wine, whether it’s the variety, the region, the ideal pairing with a dish, the winery or winemaker story, or a special wine feature such as weight.”

You can find Rafael at his blog OinosLogo and on Twitter. You can also hear another speaker on wine in Podcast 58: How to Sell More Wine.


Direct download: Podcast_77_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:26pm AEST

“The interested public can handle more, not less, information about food safety. The best restaurants will not wait for government; they will go ahead and make their food safety practices available in a variety of media and brag about them – today”. That’s the opinion of Dr Douglas Powell, a former Professor of Food Safety at Kansas State University now living in Australia. He's the author of the popular (and graphic) Barfblog and you can also find him at Powell Food Safety

In this interview he talks with Ken Burgin about the gap between the industry’s commitment to food safety and the often careless, inadequate reality. They discussed staff training (much of it ineffective), temperature monitoring, raw food, verification of food origins, handwashing, cross-contamination and the illnesses that can result from careless handling. Illnesses that don’t just cause an upset stomach, but can also cause a long-term organ damage and even death. 

At Profitable Hospitality you can download more than 600 Food Safety and Work Safety Posters - ready to print and change around regularly for staff training and awareness. 

Direct download: Podcast_76_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:19pm AEST

The world of hospitality is built on the back of family businesses – parents who worked hard and established a restaurant, cafe or bar, then bringing some or all of their children into the operation. Or it may be brothers and sisters who work together, building a business with shared skills and a deeper level of trust than is usually found between regular ‘business partners’. 

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with business advisor Aristidis Semertzidis. Trained as an accountant, Ari has worked with family businesses of all sizes. He has helped them to understand the shared responsibilities of a ‘family constitution’ and establish proper financial systems. We also discussed managing business succession between generations, and protecting family assets that have been built up over the years. You can contact Ari at WorkingKapital and on Linkedin.


Direct download: Podcast_75_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:37pm AEST

Many restaurants and venues want to do more of their own professional-quality photography. They know that smartphone cameras are useful, but there are limitations, especially at night. Having a professional photographer available is great, but may be outside the budget. So what pro camera should they choose for food and customer photos, event shots and all the images needed to show off their facilities?

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with professional photographer Mark Burgin, leading on from Podcast 68 on How to Use an iPhone for Quality Camera & Bar Photos. They discuss camera options, lenses, when the camera will be used, and the editing and post-production of photos. You may also have heard Mark in Podcast 5 talking about How to Work with a Professional Photographer. You can find his great work and wide-ranging hospitality portfolio at Mark Burgin


Direct download: Podcast_74_Replacement_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:34pm AEST

Growing restaurants always need to develop their management structure and systems. More staff and venues need different skills and different types of reporting and accountability. Melbourne’s well-known Apples & Pears Group have grown rapidly in the last few years – they now have more than 100 staff and 3 venues – the original Red Spice Road, plus Burma Road and the Orchid Room. 

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Gavin van Staden, Managing Director of the group, about developing his own management skills and those of his team. Growth is exciting, but it’s easy for profit margins to be squeezed unless a close eye is kept on sales, wages, cost of goods and marketing effectiveness. The growth and reputation of the group shows how well this is being done.


Direct download: Podcast_73_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:32pm AEST

So you’ve built up years of experience running a kitchen, bar or restaurant, and now you’d like to have more time at home or with the family. Great idea. Consulting often comes to mind when chefs, managers and owners look for another way to turn their knowledge into an income – surely people will pay for what you’ve learned?

In this lively interview, Ken Burgin talks with Cindy Tonkin. She’s known as the Consultant’s Consultant, and has helped many professionals turn their skill and passion into a consulting careers. She shares some great insights on establishing credibility, the importance of marketing (all the time), client relationships, managing the paperwork and of course, how much to charge. Listen to the interview and check Cindy’s very useful website and books at ConsultantConsultant.


Direct download: Podcast_72_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:49am AEST

Your online diary or blog is an opportunity to communicate directly with customers and online visitors – the latest news on menu changes, events, producers, the local area, staff and recipes. Plus information from ‘behind the scene’ – always of interest to a public obsessed with TV food shows! It will also give a boost to your search-engine rankings – Google gives preference to websites that are updated regularly. Your blog gives a human voice to your business and online presence - the casual conversations that people remember and value.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Clinton Power of Blog Success School – he teaches people how to set up a blog, and how to keep it regularly updated, interesting and widely read. We discussed why he prefers Wordpress as a blogging platform, how to use the right ‘keywords’ and posting format for maximum Google attention, content strategies, and where to find good photos to add interest to posts.


Direct download: Ken_Podcast_71_Update_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:27am AEST

In Podcast #64 we talked about stock control in bars - over-ordering, sloppy stock counts, storage problems, POS errors and stealing. In this second interview with Troy Kelly of Barmetrix, we bring the other elements of Gross Profit management into the equation: purchasing and sales. When you carefully manage all three, you’re well on the way to having industry-leading profit margins.

Troy runs a full-time stocktaking business for bars, pubs and restaurants, and there’s not much he hasn’t seen or fixed. Whether you run a restaurant, bar, pub or upmarket hotel, you’ll find very useful tips and techniques in this interview he recorded with Ken Burgin.


Direct download: Podcast_70_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:23pm AEST

There’s no shortage of happy, sad or annoyed customers ready to speak up online. Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor and Facebook make it easy for people to have an audience. It’s also easy for restaurant and bar operators to feel helpless and upset when they’re besieged by opinions, advice and putdowns. Help!

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Ed Charles of Tomato Media and food blog Tomatom. Ed is a business journalist who moved onto writing about bars, restaurants, food and producers. He’s also one of Australia’s original food bloggers, and now helps cafes and restaurants manage their online presence and reputation. Ed is a strong believer in businesses pro-actively shaping the story they want customers to hear – not just on social media, but with an interesting blog and a modern website. When you have a regular flow of good news, it will soon drown out the occasional grumble about a service error.


Direct download: Podcast_69_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:15pm AEST

It’s the extra brain in your pocket – a device that handles email, messages, websites, phone calls and also takes great photos. Smartphones have replaced most small ‘point and shoot’ cameras, and by being so available, there are a lot more opportunities for spontaneous customer, location and product shots in the restaurant, cafe or bar.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with professional photographer Mark Burgin. Mark uses big, black DSLR cameras for his professional work, but also loves spontaneous shots with his phone. He sees lots of possibilities with phone pictures, and some important limitations that need to be managed. We discussed his 4 C’s for good photography – Content, Context, Composition and Colour, and all the ways you can use a smartphone to take great pictures of your busy, happy venue. Find Mark online at Mark Burgin Photography and on Instagram at @MarkBurgin.


Direct download: Podcast_68_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:12pm AEST

Before Yelp, Urbanspoon and Facebook there were newspaper reviews and annual restaurant awards – respected, sought after and still relevant. Reviews turn the spotlight on one venue; restaurant awards compares similar businesses against a range of factors, including food, beverage, service, atmosphere and value.  

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Cath Kerry, an experienced restaurateur who now trains judges for the annual Restaurant & Catering Australia awards. We discussed how the judging process works to ensure a fair comparison between venues, and how judges assess the quality of food, beverage, service, atmosphere and value. We also talked about international and ‘timeless’ standards, and how relevant they are for modern casual, formal and ‘fine dining’ restaurants. Winning an award or even being a finalist is a great boost for your reputation – here’s what the judges look for.


Direct download: Podcast_67_Edited_CathK.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:55pm AEST

It’s much more than pushing buttons – good coffee making and barista skills involve technical ability and sensory awareness. Plus a welcoming smile and the ability to handle pressure.

 In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Christine Cottrell from Perfect Espresso and the Coffee Education Network about the 8 key training areas for staff who make coffee. These include knowledge of beans and machines, managing workflow, grinding and dosing, plus extraction and brewing. A skilled barista will also know the four milk skills, understand an espresso menu, be able to maintain their machine and have solid customer service skills. It’s a big list, and can be complex work - Christine's excellent Barista Bible is a great resource for business owners and trainers.



Direct download: Podcast_66_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:41pm AEST

Like to pay less tax? In this interview I’ve asked accountant Amanda Fisher from Connected Accountants in Sydney to give me the lowdown on how business operators can catch extra tax savings before the end of the financial year.

We know that wages, F&B and utilities are allowable costs, but what about the many ‘non-cash’ deductions like deprecation on the value of equipment, education, the cost of unsaleable wine, bad debts and retirement savings? Wherever you are, it’s worth spending time with your accountant to help find every possible legal deduction. This interview will get you started.


Direct download: Podcast_65_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:12pm AEST

Alcohol is valuable, so ordering, delivery, storage and service must all be done with extra care. Errors can occur in valuation of the stock used, Point of Sale readings, and reconciling the two. And if they don’t balance, what’s the reason?

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Troy Kelly from Barmetrix. Troy runs a full-time stocktaking business for bars, pubs and restaurants, and there’s not much he hasn’t fixed: over-ordering, sloppy stock counts, storage problems, POS errors, below-average Gross Profit and good old fashioned stealing. When Troy puts quantities and figures under the microspope, the truth is there for all to see. Listen to this interview and you’ll have new ways to improve your profit margins – this week!


Direct download: Podcast_64_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:43pm AEST

Steve Vallas is the proprietor of Honey Bar in South Melbourne. Offering ‘a drink for every mood and a toast for every occasion’, he’s created a popular venue with a friendly, casual atmosphere, good food and a great space for functions.

In this interview with Ken Burgin, Steve describes how he uses Twitter and Facebook to make personal connections with current and future customers – to have conversations, answer questions, and to let them know about future events. He prefers to invest time into social media ahead of traditional advertising and the discounts most competitors rely on - the results have been excellent.


Direct download: Podcast_63_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:14pm AEST

Here’s another list of free or low-cost software and online services that I use and recommend. Everything from word-processing to video production, photo fixing and faxes. Suggestions and feedback welcome – what are your favourite productivity or creativity tools? This list follows the first set on Podcast 23: 10 Great Tech Tools to Make Your Work Easier and there will be more!

  • LibreOffice – a free alternative to Microsoft Office, doing most of the same functions.
  • Teamviewer – access your mother’s computer screen when she calls for help and you're in a different city :)
  • Asana – online project management for teams, eliminating the confusion of email and keeping everyone on the same page.
  • Slideshare – put Powerpoint presentations online so people can watch them on the web.
  • FaxMate – customers still want to send faxes occasionally, so here’s a simple service that handles your fax number and emails you what’s sent.
  • Animoto – turn photos into short compilation videos with a music track. Great souvenirs for a special event.
  • Fotoflexer – edit photos online for free. Brighten, crop, resize, add text captions or combine into a collage.
  • Chrome Apps – if you use the Chrome browser (Mac and PC), there are lots of useful apps and extensions to add functionality. Ones I use are for Evernote (save a web page to an Evernote file), Pinterest (add a photo on a web page to a Pinterest board), a URL shortener to generate a compact URL out of a long one,  and even a quick Currency converter.
  • Camera+ - an excellent iPhone app to brighten and adjust photos. Useful to add shine and light to a photo before you put it onto Instagram or Facebook.
  • Jing –  I use Jing to do a quick screen recording and explain what needs to be changed in a design, article or spreadsheet. Or use it for quick explanations for staff about how to fill out forms and use computer functions. 
Direct download: Podcast_62_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:56pm AEST

Resentment, aggression, angry words and bullying – strong emotion show up in many ways at work, and the effects are felt by everyone – even customers. In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Duncan Morris, an experienced counsellor and social worker who has also worked as a manager in large organisations. 

Duncan explains the nature of anger, what causes it, and how managers and supervisors can handle angry situations when they flare up. Our job as managers and business owners is to create a safe and respectful workplace, and when there are angry outbursts and negativity, the situation needs to be handled quickly. This is a challenge for many supervisors, especially if they are young or inexperienced. You can contact Duncan at Watersedge Counselling.


Direct download: Podcast_61_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:28pm AEST

Most staff want to do the right thing, but sometimes they don’t know how – they may need more information and training. And sometimes they don’t want to do the work correctly – that will need a different type of strategy. Changing staff behaviour is usually at the centre of business transformation, and that’s the work of Ken Burgin’s guest today, Kevin Dwyer of Change Factory

In the interview we discussed how this change should be handled by supervisors and managers – the people responsible for ensuring staff perform at their best. We discussed the three pre-conditions for making change happen, and how ‘Skill, Will and Hill’ can get in the way. It’s a great discussion and of value for everyone in your leadership team. 


Direct download: Podcast_60_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:14pm AEST

‘Cut costs’ are the magic words – they get most operators paying a lot of attention. But first you need to know what your costs are and how to access the figures. Not just a pile of invoices or POS print-outs, but detailed weekly and monthly totals, organised logically and connected to your bank account.

That’s where bookkeeping comes into the equation, and there’s a revolution underway with how this can be done online. Instead of locked away on a PC, new cloud-based accounting services like Xero put the power and information in your hands anywhere you are online - it’s no longer strange and mysterious.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Amanda Fisher, CEO of Connected Accountants on the many advantages of ‘moving to the cloud’, and the ways that management services like rosters, invoice processing and POS can be connected to a central cloud system. More control, more information and many more ways to watch your costs and profit margins.


Direct download: Podcast_59_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:48pm AEST

What makes a wine list profitable and popular? Where there’s a good margin on wine sold by bottle or glass, and the list does a good job at ‘selling’ when there are no servers around to assist. Jennifer Anderson of is an experienced sommelier and restaurant server – you may remember her from Podcast 32 on How to Build a Strong Front-of-House Restaurant Team

In this interview Jennifer talks with Ken Burgin about the elements of a successful wine list, the math of wine by the glass and bottle and why a ‘progressive’ list makes decisions easier for customers and staff. We also discussed the language of wine descriptions and how to give service staff more skills and confidence to recommend wine and make more sales. Lots of juicy content here to make your wine list a real profit driver!


Direct download: Podcast_58_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:21pm AEST

Paul Rifkin is one of Australia’s most experienced executive chefs. He’s been running Campbelltown Catholic Club, a large social and recreational club south of Sydney for more than 13 years. The club has a wide range of food outlets: casual cafe and gelato, a food court, grill and special dinner events, through to extensive function facilities. 

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Paul about how he manages cost-control, purchasing, food safety, choice of equipment, workflow, staff and innovation. The menu appeals to a wide range of people, as the area has a broad demographic. Traditional food is always popular, and modern choices influenced by media and food festivals are well received. This is an organisation that’s always developing! In the discussion we refer to Paul’s costing method using primary and secondary costs, wastage and wages. Download the worksheet from the podcast shownotes at Profitable Hospitality to see examples of how this is used.


Direct download: Podcast_57_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:12am AEST

Reducing water, gas and electricity consumption makes financial sense, as well as reducing your impact on the planet. Less packaging in the front door and less waste disposal is plain common sense. A well-planned program to green your restaurant, hotel or bar can also be motivating for staff and is very well received by customers – there are so many positive stories if we take time to share them!

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Michael Oshman, founder of the US Green Restaurant Association. They’ve been working with foodservice operators, manufacturers, distributers and consumers for almost 25 years and are always finding plenty of new ways to reduce consumption and costs. Their website, and this recording, are packed with great information – share it with managers, chefs and suppliers.



Direct download: Podcast_56_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:57pm AEST

Almost every one of your customers has a mobile phone - they often use it while they visit your venue. Many restaurants and bars find that 60% and more of their web traffic now comes from smartphones or tablets – there are so many reasons to develop the mobile side of your marketing. 

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Greg Hickman of Mobile Mixed. They go through a wide range of steps that restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars should be taking to join the ‘mobile revolution’. Updating the website so it’s useful on the small screen, making sure you will be found on Google local search, SMS promotions to bring in customers, using keyword and short-code campaigns and deciding if you need a separate app (mobile application). There’s a ton of great information in this interview – Greg is one of the leading authorities in the field, and he’s recently released a great E-Book that’s also worth checking out.


Direct download: Podcast55EditedMusicAd.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:08am AEST

We know the value of hospitality to make customers welcome and ensure they come back. And there’s another level to this – using strategic friendliness and networking to get a lot more people to visit our venue and bring colleagues. Or make your restaurant, bar or club a place that people make their first choice for regular meetings and networking events.

Robyn Henderson of Networking to Win has been teaching the skills of networking for many years – to people in every industry. She’s bursting with great ideas on how hospitality operators can take the lead and create networking events, and reach out more effectively to others in their area. She has also put together a very practical guide on How to Start a Quarterly Business After-Hours Networking Event – ready for you to download and take action. Her website is also packed with great information and networking guides – she’s definitely one of the best!


Direct download: Podcast_54_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:02pm AEST

As a leader, you need to be able to manage people effectively. To find out what motivates individuals, and provide them with the support and energy they need to do their job to the best of their ability.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Kevin Dwyer of Change Factory, a consulting company that specialises in change management and business transformation. Kevin has worked with hundreds of teams and thousands of team members, including many in the field of service and hospitality.

In particular we discussed how leaders have to be able to Coach people who have varying degrees of accountability, and get the best out of them. This could be managers or supervisors, or people working behind the bar. They also have to be able to Communicate clearly – usually with more listening and less preaching. Finally, they need Drive and Energy, plus an awareness of what they don’t know (and how to find out).


Direct download: Podcast_53_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:01pm AEST

Gus McAllister opened his new bar after a lot of hard work and research. His experience as a hotel manager gave him a solid understanding of customers, wine lists and suppliers, plus the confidence to recruit a good chef and manage the kitchen. Gus also attended the Starting a Cafe or Restaurant Workshop in 2013.

We discussed location and site selection, the challenge of renovating a venue with a 'history', choosing equipment and creating a concept in tune with the local area in Melbourne. We also talked about administration, bookkeeping, marketing and menus. Gus has given us his ‘Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Opening a New Business’ – solid gold advice for anyone making plans for a cafe, restaurant or bar.

Make sure to check the Tippler & Co website, follow them on Facebook and if you’re in the area, say hello!


Direct download: Podcast_52_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:33pm AEST

Trend watching is a necessity for chefs and business operators. Not to be slaves to fashion, but to keep up with curious and knowledgeable customers… and competitors. There’s an excitement about new flavours and ingredients that leads to constant innovation and stories - on TV, the web and in magazines. Why not join the party?

In this interview with long-time trend watcher Phyllis Ann Marshall of, we discussed 5 key trends she’s identified in US restaurants for 2014. They relate to the importance of carbs and sweet treats, the experimentation of  innovative chefs, and the value of side dishes as a menu and profit booster. Plus the endless desire for healthy food with flavour, and a growing desire for locally sourced product – food with a pedigree. Phyllis is a sharp observer and has a great sense of humour – I know you will enjoy this interview. You can subscribe to her newsletter at and connect up on Facebook.

At, make sure to check the Menu Marketing Dept for great ways to use your menu to drive profits and popularity.


Direct download: Podcast_51_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:44pm AEST

Ken Burgin talks numbers and tactics with Jon Manning, the founder of – pricing is his business. It’s a wonderful moment when you finally have the courage to raise prices to reflect the real value of your product… and no one complains. It should have been done months ago! There are so many angles to pricing menus, wine lists and event packages, and in this interview Jon Manning shares lots of great ideas.

So much hospitality pricing seems to be based on cost-plus – either a formula or guess work. Like  letting a bookkeeper write the menu, instead of using your marketing brain. It can also mean you leave money in the customer’s pocket. Or if prices are pitched to high, it will depress sales and create a negative impression. Jon outlines a wide range of ways to use ‘value based’ pricing, and has some great observations on how to make menus and event packages more profitable and popular.

Direct download: Podcast_50_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:19pm AEST

It’s claimed that hospitality workers smoke at twice the rate of the general population! We all know the risks, but this industry seems to combine a set of working conditions and stresses which lead to a lot more smokers. However those looking to quit have a surprising rate of success when they are properly motivated and supported, and follow a set plan for quitting. Managers can definitely help!

In this interview counsellor and therapist Jacqueline Stone goes through the causes of nicotine addiction, and the best ways to quit. While the interview is targeted at managers and operators in the hospitality industry who would like to help staff members quit, anyone who is looking to give up cigarettes will find it useful. 


Direct download: Podcast_49_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:44pm AEST

In this second interview, Maz Valcorsa, the owner of Sadhana Kitchen, tells us how she started a raw food cafe and built it into a main street success. She came from a corporate background, and worked hard on researching the concept and learning about the business side of cafes and catering. I first met Maz at the Starting a Cafe or Restaurant Workshop and was impressed that even before she opened, she had more than 1,000 Facebook fans panting for her to start! 

We discussed issues familiar to every startup – landlords, leases, food costs, staff management, bookkeeping and administration. And how to have a balanced, healthy life when your business is growing fast. She’s also utilising online and cloud-based management systems, and has an excellent website designed to make everyone hungry. Plus great social media activity, especially on Facebook and Instagram.

In the first interview, Maz told us about raw food, the menu at Sadhana Kitchen and some of her clever marketing moves.


Direct download: Podcast_48_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:43pm AEST

So what is raw food – vegan, vegetarian, organic? Or just salad and juice? Actually, it’s a lot more sophisticated and interesting. Smart restaurant and cafe owners know there’s a huge number of people wanting fresh, healthier choices, and if they’re in Sydney, many flock to Sadhana Kitchen for the raw food and drinks.

In the first of two interviews, owner Maz Valcorsa tells us about the concept of raw food, menu development, how she’s developed a range of extremely popular desserts, and what’s involved in the ‘cooking’ and preparation. Technically, raw food has not been heated above 46 deg. Celsius (115 deg. F). Even if you don’t plan to go ‘all the way’, there are profitable opportunities for every foodservice business to add more raw, unprocessed meals and beverages. Maz will give you lots of inspiration.

In the second interview, she tells us about how the concept was developed, managing leases, landlords, staff, equipment and marketing. 


Direct download: Podcast_47_Edited_for_PH.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:34pm AEST

I love talking to chefs who take their skill with food and menus, and created an online presence and following. Sometimes this is B2B with their restaurant colleagues, or in many cases they reach out directly to the far-more-numerous consumers. 

Chef Dennis Littley has grown his blog and website into a very popular destination for food lovers, and he also supports bloggers to improve their skills. He does this  through regular blog updates and recipes, and through the huge following he’s developed on Google+. This includes regular Google+ Hangouts on Air (an example is on the shownotes). How he’s developed this is great inspiration for chefs who want to develop a life beyond long shifts and busy kitchens.


Direct download: Podcast46Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:42am AEST

In the second of two podcasts on efficient cleaning, Brent Williams of The Cleanest Image tells us about better cleaning of kitchen exhaust hoods, stoves, floors, walls, dishwashers, detergent use and getting rid of all that grease! Slippery kitchen floors are a major safety hazard, and food safety standards are demanding.

Moving into the bathroom, Brent explains why the toilet area is often not smelling clean and sweet (did you know bacteria actually fart?) and the cleaning mistakes often made in an area most staff want to wipe down and leave as quickly as possible!  Employee training is essential, and the right equipment. In the first podcast with Brent, he told us about efficient cleaning for the restaurant front of house and the bar.


Direct download: Podcast45BrentWilliamsEdited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:02am AEST

It’s more than just scrubbing harder and using more chemicals! In the first of two podcasts on efficient cleaning, Brent Williams of The Cleanest Image tells us about better ways to clean chairs, tables, counters, floors, carpets, walls and glass. We want to make a great impression, but do it without breaking the bank – a lot of cleaning products are wasted.

By understanding the chemistry involved (eg acid or alkaline levels), a better job can be done with fewer chemicals. Staff training is essential, plus the right equipment. In the second podcast with Brent, he will tell us about efficient cleaning for the kitchen and the toilets – both areas requiring thorough and careful maintenance.


Direct download: Podcast_44_was_43_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:56am AEST

Young chef Zane Heemi caused a social media storm when his blog article Never ever become a chef: advice from a chef went viral several weeks ago. Within ten days it had been read more than one million times and attracted almost 200 comments. It’s a no-holds barred look at the long hours and harsh conditions experienced by some restaurant chefs in Australia. Zane started with part-time kitchen work when he was at school, and ten years later still loves the industry and he’s a lot wiser.


In his article he lays it on the line: you will miss important life occasions, there’s no such thing as calling in sick, you’ll learn all about drugs and alcohol, relationships will be difficult, the hours are terrible and management often treat you like dirt (language modified for a family-friendly blog).


I caught up with Zane and asked him why he was so hard on the cooking profession, and is this really what we need when the industry is trying attract more workers? His answers were articulate, positive and amusing - he wants people to be very clear about kitchen work before they feel the heat.


One question I didn’t ask that you may have an answer for: why do these strong, opinionated chefs take put up with these bad conditions year in and year out? We’d love to have your comments on this important subject. NOTE: kitchen language NSFW.

Direct download: Podcast43Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:37pm AEST

One thing we know for sure: Facebook never stops changing. And the days of relying on it for ‘free marketing’ are almost over – very few of the posts on your business page are actually seen by fans – as few as one in twenty! The message is clear – ‘don’t build your house (the marketing campaign) on rented ground (you don’t own Facebook)’. A different strategy is needed.

In this interview, CJ Hudson of Stencil, a social research and strategy agency, looks at a number of hospitality businesses on Facebook – their strengths and options for better results. The key issue for him and his clients (and for you) is how to move people from a casual connection on Facebook (click Like) to engagement (like, share or comment on updates) to making a sale – book a table, attend an event or visit and pay. CJ has an enormous range of experience with Facebook promotions and advertising – you will find this podcast packed with useful information.

You can also view this as a video, where the audio matches up with all the Facebook pages we are discussing – it’s on the Profitable Hospitality page for members.

Pages discussed include Mona Vale Hotel, Nathania Springs Weddings, Cornersmith Cafe and Appliances Online – all examples of well-managed Facebook content.


Direct download: Podcast42EditedAudio.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:21am AEST

What do you know about stainlesss steel? It’s expensive to buy and install, and gives a professional, hygienic finish to your kitchen and bar. But there are different types of stainless, and different thicknesses - some are more suitable than others. In this interview, stainless steel specialist Laurence Burgin of Franklin Marine offers an expert tradesman’s advice on what covers so many surfaces in a modern restaurant. And you get to meet another one of my brothers!


There’s also a very useful Tech Tip in the second part of the podcast, about a smart piece of equipment that can eliminate the bulky documents that fill up your shelves and filing cabinet.

Direct download: Podcast41Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:37pm AEST

Many chefs and foodservice owners like the thought of selling online – no more customer or staff hassles, and a steady stream of income. But it takes more than just a good idea – production, hygiene standards, delivery and constant promotion have to be organised. You also need to stand out from a wide range of other packaged food, so the chef’s personality and presence can be an important part of the marketing.

JackieM of JackieM Truly Malaysian now sells food online, through markets and special events – she happily said goodbye to restaurant life. She’s built up a strong personal brand and an efficient distribution system that’s going from strength to strength. Her website is backed up by great use of social media – twitter, instagram and regular Google+ Hangouts where she demonstrates Malaysian cooking, food and flavour. It’s a great story that many chefs and restaurateurs can learn from.

Direct download: Podcast40Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:44pm AEST

Everyone wants their business to show up at the top of page 1 of a Google search – some do and a lot don’t. No-one knows the exact formula Google uses to work out the position, but there are a lot of steps you can take to improve your ranking. If you serve steak or pizza, where are you on the Google search if you do a search for those words, combined with your location? You also need to show up prominently if the seach is done on a mobile phone, and that requires some different tactics. 

In this interview, technology and web expert Scott Thomas of shares his insights and experience from working with a wide range of local hospitality businesses. In preparing for the interview, we both searched for businesses that had claimed their Google+ Local listing – it was a shock to have so much difficulty finding any! We discussed one good example, Le Kiosk Restaurant in Sydney, Australia, and let’s hope a lot more businesses take advantage of this service after listening to the interview.

Make sure to use the wide range of online marketing resources at the Profitable Hospitality Online Marketing Department.

Direct download: Podcast39Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:13pm AEST

It’s great to see a new business open with style and confidence, then build a strong local following. TopHat Coffee at Sydney’s beachside suburb of Clovelly is one of those cafes, and it was great to interview Angus Nichol, one of the partners, on how the concept was developed and is now being run.

We discussed location and site selection, the challenge of renovating an old shop, choosing equipment and creating an attractive concept. We also covered administration and bookkeeping, sales and cost percentages, marketing, menus and plans for expansion.

Make sure to check the TopHat website, follow them on Facebook and if you’re in the area… call in!

Direct download: Pocast38Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:11am AEST

I love talking to restaurant owners about how they’ve built a business from a small start to a large, efficient and popular operation. Misty Young, the Restaurant Lady is a great example of how this has happened – she and her family now have four Squeeze In restaurants in Nevada and plans for more.

To ensure the businesses grow and prosper, she has developed ‘5 Irrefutable Laws of Restaurant Success’, focused on Leadership, Operations, Financials, Product & Service and finally Marketing.

In this interview Misty explains what’s involved with each of these Laws, and the STAR context they’re built on: Strategy, Tactics, Accountability and Results. This is solid gold information you can ‘take to the bank’ – listen to it all and take notes! You can find Misty at and buy her terrific book ‘From Rags to Restaurants’ on Amazon 

Direct download: Podcast37Edited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:58pm AEST

Our industry revolves around late nights, long hours and plenty of liquor, so it's no wonder we have some staff with drug and alcohol problems. We actively promote wine, beer and spirits, subject to strict rules on preventing intoxication. But handling the alcohol and drug-taking problems of our own people can be a big challenge for managers – and unavoidable if Workplace Health & Safety obligations are taken seriously. In most cases, you can’t just say ‘goodbye’!

Professional help is needed, and an understanding of the range of problems from alcohol and marijuana through to prescription drugs, amphetamines, cocaine and heroin. You mightn’t like it, but ignorance won’t help your business when this is part of the landscape for most of your young staff.

In this podcast interview, I’m talking with Colleen Morris, a very experienced Drug & Alcohol Counseller with her own practice at Watersedge Counselling  There’s a lot to learn from the wisdom she shares, and it’s also worth reading her blog on a wide-range of issues encountered in modern workplaces.

Direct download: Podcast36Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:42pm AEST

It was great to interview Jason Jelicich again, one of the driving forces behind international bar management company Barmetrix. Jason has been developing the skills of managers (and more than a few owners) for more than fifteen years. In that time he has watched expectations of managers grow, epecially expectations about their ability to manage staff and a growing range of compliance issues. 

In this interview we discussed how to choose people with management potential, the importance of financial and negotiation skills, and developing accountability. Other topics included how to teach people problem solving, delegation, maintaining control and the ability to ‘coach and counsel’ when individual staff have problems. 

You can contact Jason through

Direct download: Podcast_35.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:33am AEST

Joe Dunbar is the ‘Food Cost Wizard’, and it’s my pleasure to interview him for this podcast. Accurate data and ‘the numbers’ are essential to know what’s really happening with restaurant and bar sales, production costs and the strengths and weaknesses of a menu. Modern Point of Sale systems have massive amounts of the data and intelligence available for this analysis, but it’s often misunderstood or ignored.

Joe explains the POS reports he finds most useful when consulting with clients, and the numbers that should be watched closely by chefs and managers on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. We also discussed integration of the POS with bookkeeping systems, inventory control and recipe management - expect a very high ROI (return on investment) from this 45 minute interview! You can also find Joe’s contact details and very informative blog at Food Cost Wiz – it’s well worth reading.

Direct download: 34_Joe_Dunbar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:21pm AEST