Profitable Hospitality Podcast

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