Profitable Hospitality Podcast

It’s been a great year for podcasting, both what we’ve produced for Profitable Hospitality, and for the spread of the podcast medium. More and more people know what podcasts are, how to find them, and how easy it is to tune in to your own 'personal radio station’. You no longer need to make an appointment with a regular station and hunt around for the episode if you missed it - what you want is there whenever you want it.

We presented a podcast for all 52 week of the year in 2015, and I learned so much from the people I interviewed and the subjects I researched. In this final episode of the year, I talk about particular lessons learned in the areas of Marketing, Personal Development, New Business, Productivity and Staff Management. You can see all the episodes mentioned here.

Thanks for all your comments, reviews and feedback - it means a lot to me. Here’s to a great year in 2016! Ken

Direct download: Podcast2016420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:39am AEST

Happy, friendly, fun, cheerful – definitely words you want associated with your business. Sometimes you've chosen well with staff who smile and share their enjoyment of life. Other times we need to remind them – hopefully their efficiency makes up for the occasional gloomy look.

For many, it's been a challenging year, and your job has been to keep smiling, creating warmth and hospitality for customers. There are many ways to 'build in the happiness’ so it doesn't depend on having a comedian at the bar. Ken Burgin goes through his Top 20 list of how to make sure your business is a genuine place of hospitality, 365 days of the year.

Direct download: Podcast2016320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:19pm AEST

Restaurant and cafe owners are often nervous about food bloggers, worried about what they will say and who will read it. But don’t we want more people hearing and talking about us – of course we do! It’s just taking some operators a while to get used to the huge diversity of blogs and social media activity, and the hunger for novelty and new flavours.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Lee Tran Lam, a food writer and editor, with her own food blog and podcast The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry. We discussed the changes she’s seen in food publishing, how to reach and engage with food bloggers, the role of PR agencies and the #1 factor that will catch the eye and interest of foodies and potential customers.

Direct download: Podcast2016220Edited2028229.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:12pm AEST

One minute I was interviewing Steve Cumper about his famous Red Velvet Lounge, and then a few months later it was gutted by fire! Every owner’s worst nightmare – a thriving business turned into a smoking ruin. You can hear the interview I did with Steve back in July 2014, and this time around, we talked about rebuilding and relaunching.

Steve has built up a big community of friends and fans in the small town of Cygnet in Tasmania. They rallied around in so many ways to help with the recovery, and he also had to work with his landlord, insurance companies, creditors, equipment suppliers, finance companies and staff to get things back on track. Plus the town’s expectatios that things would return to exactly how they were before. There are so many lessons here for how small operators handle ‘risk management’ – one of those terms we usually shrug off, but here it come to life in full, flaming colour. Steve is an interesting and articulate guest – enjoy the interview and please learn from his experience.

Direct download: Podcast2016120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:41am AEST

Enjoy this great conversation between Ken Burgin and food writer Barbara Sweeney. We sat ‘at the kitchen table’ and talked about food trends, food writing, publishing, modern consumers and how restaurateurs can connect with this world of constant change.

Barbara is the curator of Food & Words food writers’ festival, the ‘Talking Cookbook’ at one of Sydney’s largest farmer’s markets, and a food writer with Good Food, The Sydney Morning Herald and Country Style. She is also a member of TEDxSydney Food Team and a honey judge at Sydney Royal National Honey Show. Find out more about her achievements and interests on her website Barbara Sweeney.

Direct download: Podcast2016020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:52am AEST

It’s always a pleasure to watch a business grow from a dream, to the planning stage, through site selection, opening nerves and now popularity and profit. That’s how it’s been with the Little Green Corner in Geelong, Victoria, run by Hugh Whitehead. I met Hugh several years ago when he attended the Profitable Hospitality Starting a Cafe or Restaurant Workshop. The business is now open, popular and successful.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks to Hugh about choosing the location, why they keep the menu small, staff selection and scheduling, and working with customer expectations. We also discussed technology, social media and his approach to marketing. And as a bonus, Hugh is completely transparent about food, beverage and wage costs – which are excellent! Lots to learn here if you are starting a new business, or want to take a fresh look at your current operation.

Direct download: Podcast2015920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:17am AEST

Diversity is a big issue in hospitality, and we employ a United Nations of workers. But when you look at management, it seems to be overwhelmingly ‘white guys’. We can’t keep complaining about lack of skilled staff, when we tolerate the many ways other good talent is excluded from higher-paid positions.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks to Deborah Harris, Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas State University in Austin. She and her colleague Patti Giuffre recently published Taking the Heat – Women Chefs & Gender Inequality in the Professional Kitchen. It’s a detailed and fascinating study of why this trade remains so male dominated, and how to make changes. This is a topic I’ve long wanted to discuss on the podcast, and I was delighted to find this new book and connect with the authors. There’s no shortage of short articles about diversity in foodservice, but it’s rare to have people research the issue so thoroughly and present their findings in such an approachable way.

I highly recommend you buy the book, and the authors have also put together an excellent Teaching Guide to help instructors use it in their courses. It will also be useful for managers and chefs who want to raise the issue in their workplace and work on making changes

Direct download: Podcast2015820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:34am AEST

There’s always pressure to keep costs down, and we often look first to the vendors who supply us. Big ticket items like meat and seafood attract plenty of attention, and we should also be watching frozen and dry goods, paper and plastic, fruit and vegetables. Some prices are seasonal and others just seem to creep up over time.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Joe Dunbar, the Food Cost Wizard. We discussed negotiation tactics and what makes a ‘good deal’, including price, price stability, availability and delivery. The value of locking in a single supplier for long-term deals, the importance of product specifications, and using online ordering systems and portals. There’s not much Joe hasn’t seen in his many years working with restaurants, foodservice and vendors of all sizes – it was great to tap into his experience!

Direct download: Podcast2015720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:22pm AEST

Is there a bad habit you want to kick, or a healthy habit you want to start and stick to? Maybe it’s smoking, overeating, too much alcohol or the way you react to friends and family. Perhaps you want to start walking and exercise regularly, and not quit like the last time. Sometimes there are bad business habits: disorganised, avoiding issues or reacting impulsively. It can be hard to maintain good habits and stop the bad ones.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with counsellor and therapist Jacqueline Stone of Wise Stress Mastery. She’s put together 10 tried and tested ways to make the changes you want, to stick with them, and succeed! After good habits are repeated often enough, they soon become regular and almost automatic – and that’s a great feeling!

Direct download: Podcast2015620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:22pm AEST

‘Every work position, process, equipment piece and facility in a restaurant has a capacity that can be measured, and therefore, managed.’ This is the positive message from Brian Sill, of restaurant consulting group Deterministics. Since 1985 Brian has been evangelising the merits of an engineering perspective to restaurant executives.

In this interview. Ken Burgin talks with Brian Sill about the five key areas to improve operational excellence: reduce variability in work processes, improve the output of work positions, identify and fix bottlenecks, throughput modelling of menus and recipes, and finally developing ‘labor recipes’ for each food and beverage item to understand the true cost of production.

No matter what size restaurant, cafe, hotel or bar you operate, the insights and suggestions shared in this interview will help to boost your efficiency, cut costs and increase sales.

Direct download: Podcast2015520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:30pm AEST

Why do some employees want to take it out on their boss, a co-worker or a business? Maybe they quit, or were dismissed: maybe the anger is justified, maybe not. It might be an allegation of unfair dismissal, of bullying or sexual harassment. Maybe they know something about the business that they’re threatening to reveal to a government department. And then there’s all the mischief that can be created with social media comments and review sites, watched by thousands of people.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Richard Edwards of Whites Legal, a Melbourne firm specialising in hospitality businesses. He has helped many owners and managers with employment issues, including a wide variety of staff who want to ‘get even’. We discussed how to make your business more ‘bullet proof’, the skills managers need to intervene and fix problems early, better record keeping, and how to negotiate with government authorities if they start to make inquiries.

Direct download: Podcast2015420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:44pm AEST

We all love customers who appreciate our offer, and aren’t afraid to spend. People who want good food, the best wine and great service – bring it on! These people are often ‘tourists with money’ – they like to travel in comfort and experience the best that’s available in your city, town or countryside.

But how do smaller operators attract these visitors – isn’t this all tied up by the big hotels? And what if you’re a cafe, boutique patisserie or quirky bar? In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Jeff Ward, the Savvy Navigator. With many years experience in airlines and travel, he knows all about the expectations of well-heeled travellers from the USA and Europe; he organises tours for these people all the time. We talked about the food & beverage experience they’re after, the value of authenticity, the role of online review sites, and dealing with hotel concierges. You don’t need to be a big, high-priced establishment to access these travellers, but they won’t find you by accident.

Direct download: Podcast2015320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:06am AEST

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a podcast listener who was keen to share his story.

Dane Adkins wrote: ‘I'm opening a community café/bar in the beautiful, seaside suburb of Semaphore, South Australia in the not too distant future. Sweet Amber Brew Café will be home to South Australia's tastiest craft beers - and home to those who enjoy drinking them. Our food will be largely inspired by the craft beer revolution with many of the meals using beer as an ingredient, and then paired with particular beers to enhance the tasting experience. All of which will take place in a relaxed, eclectic café-style environment.

Whilst listening to your podcast on my morning walk an idea came to mind; many of your interview subjects are already successful hospitality professionals (who offer knowledge through recounting their experiences). However, it would be great to hear the 'real time' experiences of a novice opening and establishing a café. It could be produced and published as an ongoing case study, identifying the significant challenges that others are likely to encounter on their journey. As an example, topics of discussion may include; liquor licensing legislation & council approvals, finding and developing relationships with key suppliers, marketing a business from scratch, website creation and many more topics. This sort of information will be incredibly useful to anyone intending to open their own establishment. Thanks again Ken for sharing your valuable knowledge with the hospitality community, I hope to be able to do the same!’

We agree Dane, this information could be very useful for people in the planning or ‘considering’ stage, and even for experienced operators. Enjoy the first interview just before the opening of the Sweet Amber Brew Cafe!

Direct download: Podcast2015220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:45pm AEST

Video is the hot format for all types of online marketing – on Facebook and YouTube, or playing on your website. Keep it short, sharp and interesting, and use it to promote a conference or wedding venue, show your dining facilities or bar, the entertainment, behind the scenes in the kitchen, happy staff and happy customers.

In this video Ken Burgin talks with video maker and TV presenter Duane Strauss. We discussed the types of video storytelling that work for a venue, how to get the best from a video maker, how to plan content to tell a good story, and how to hold people’s attention. Duane’s craft is making short videos for TV, so he knows how to tell a story that keeps people watching right to the end. You can find him online here. 

Direct download: Podcast2015120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:14pm AEST

Is the work ethic of your young employees frustrating you, or maybe it’s just hard to understand? Your feelings are shared by many hospitality business owners and managers, even of the same age! Maybe we’re trying to fit ‘square pegs into a round holes’... ignoring the terrific skills and aptitude of staff in this younger generation.  These are our future leaders, and in some countries there are now more Millennials working than Baby Boomers - it’s time to be more understanding.

  • GenY or Millennials were born 1980 - 2000
  • Generation X – between about 1960 - 1980
  • Baby Boomers – post WW2 to 1964

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with HR strategist Avril Henry. She is passionate about transforming leadership models, building diversity and reforming out-dated workplace practices. She has worked with organisations of all sizes, from small companies to the Australian Defence Force. We talked about different motivators across generations, how to make feedback relevant, status symbols, training styles, mentoring, better recruitment and job security. If you want to really engage and use the talents of your Gen Y workforce, listen to this great interview and check Avril’s books, available from her website


Direct download: Podcast2015020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:35am AEST

There’s a lot involved to make your job application concise, interesting, and relevant to the organisation you’re applying to. And in the digital age, many applications are received and sorted electronically, before they are reviewed by a human – so many factors to consider! 

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Catriona Watt, the CV Saviour. We discussed the essential elements of a good CV, how long it should be, and what to leave out. We also discussed the importance of Linkedin, the right and wrong way to talk about your achievements (with her format of Challenge, Action, Result), and what should be included in the Cover Letter. There’s so much great information in this conversation – make sure you also download Catriona’s 20-Point CV Health Check to put you on the front foot and get that interview!


Direct download: Podcast2014920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:46pm AEST

It's easy for rural towns to feel left behind – a small population, it’s hard to find good staff, and just too far from the action. But there are many rural communities that are thriving – from natural resource booms, agricultural expansion and a growing number of residents from internal migration. At the centre of successful small towns are good cafes, restaurants and bars where people can relax, enjoy a meal and meet with friends – your business can be the heart of the community, if you want it.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Becky McCray, business owner, resident of Alva, Oklahoma (pop. 5000) and an advocate for the natural strengths of rural towns and small business. She says people from rural areas ‘have characteristics, part of the culture you grew up with, that makes you a stronger and better business person’. Her website Small Biz Survival, her enthusiasm and the hundreds of businesses she connects with give us a big, rich serving of ideas to help make your business dynamic, competitive and popular. It’s time to get busy!


Direct download: Podcast2014820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:37pm AEST

Lots of people dream about having their own business, but get stopped by a lack of funds. It takes money to buy equipment, renovate premises, legal fees, builders, electricians, marketing and the stock to get started. Maybe the bank will help, or a rich admirer – we wish!

Another option is Crowdfunding – where you put an investment proposition together and raise money from a lot of small investors. In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with icecream entrepreneur Scott Kilmartin of He’s currently funding the renovation of his vintage icecream truck Grace.

Crowdfunding is a great idea and it can be successful IF you prepare properly and understand how the process works. That’s what Scott explains to us in detail – how he’s going through the funding process and how it could work for your new restaurant, cafe or bar. Just recently a country town in Australia raised $600,000 through this process to rebuild their beloved pub that burnt down – anything is possible!


Direct download: Podcast2014720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:24pm AEST

We usually go all out to ‘win’ – nail down tough conditions and low prices from a supplier, and not give an inch to customers who ask for a better deal. And as for more pay, forget it! Sometimes we win, but sometimes our negotiation ‘foe’ takes their business elsewhere. Then it becomes Win-Lose, not the Win-Win that will put both sides ahead.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with business development consultant Diana Tapp of Real Changes. She has helped hundreds of business owners and managers to develop their negotiation skills and become much more effective with business communication. We discussed negotiation tactics with staff asking for a pay rise, and with organisers who want your ‘very best’ price for an event package (when you’ve already at rock-bottom). We also talked about how to set up an agreement with a new supplier so both parties can move ahead with confidence.

It’s easy to just focus on price, price, price – and that usually shows lack of experience. Diana Tapp gives us four winning ways to make negotiations more effective, and ultimately more profitable for all concerned. This interview has great content for managers, chefs and business owners – it’s a skill everyone needs to improve!


Direct download: Podcast2014620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:31pm AEST

The words we’re often so nervous about saying, or hearing: We Need To Talk. It may be an honest conversation with an employee whose performance has slumped, with a business partner about sharing the workload, a supplier about prices, or even with someone in your family. Most people aren’t good at these conversations, and we don’t learn it at home or at school. 

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Andrea J Lee, a business coach and writer who’s helped hundreds of people to handle interpersonal communication much more effectively. Her new book We Need to Talk sets out a simple and powerful model to help ‘untangle the stuckness’ with the conversations we fear. It can help with money conversations, employee interviews, time-wasting meetings, handling apologies to customers and even just saying No to requests you’re not excited about. We all need to be more assertive and ask better questions – I'm sure you’ll find this interview extremely helpful in all areas of your business and personal life.


Direct download: Podcast2014520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:32am AEST

Partnerships sound like a great idea – share the resources, the work and the brain-power. More inputs mean more profit, so 1 + 1 = 3, right? But most partnerships don’t work out as hoped – the expectations were unrealistic, the profits weren’t there, or the division of time and responsibilities led to disagreement.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with lawyer Richard Edwards of Whites Legal. He’s helped many business partners set up a cafe or restaurant, helped others to fine-tune their agreement, and assisted others to end their partnership. Hopefully the termination will be amicable, sometimes it’s not. We discussed essential elements of a partnership agreement, the division of work and profits, buy-sell agreements, and how family members can come into the equation. If you’re planning a partnership for a cafe, restaurant or bar, or you’re in one and have questions, this is an excellent source of information.


Richard was also interviewed in Podcast 93 on Legal Essentials for a New Cafe, Restaurant or Bar


Direct download: Podcast2014420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:44am AEST

Effective teams need good leaders, and that's the topic of a new book by Gihan Perera – ‘There’s an I in Team’. It upends the cliché that 'there's no I in team', and examines the leadership needed for a modern organisation – effective teams need good leaders, they don’t just wait for the right course of action to emerge.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Gihan about the three essentials for an effective leader in the digital age: Be a Leader People Want to Follow, Build a Team They Want to Be a Part Of, and Reach Out to a World that Wants to Help. Gihan Perera has a unique ability to make management concepts clear and achievable – you will enjoy the many insights he has for all of us in hospitality. You can buy the book in paper or digital format at There’s an I in Team, and follow Gihan on Twitter and LinkedIn.  


Direct download: Podcast2014320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:00pm AEST

So much social media activity done by business is random and inconsistent, with little thought as to how it will lead to sales. Hospitality venues miss so many photo opportunities, and use the same sales pitches that they use everywhere else. But social media is about connections and conversation, not just being talked at!

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Holly Galbraith of Go Future Media. Holly is an experienced tourism marketer with great hospitality experience, and a strong desire for businesses to put a social media strategy together before they go firing off Facebook updates and tweeting in all directions! Amongst the many topics covered, we discussed the content ‘pillars’ that can support your social media, how to choose the right platforms, how to maintain consistency and how to measure results. You can also hear Holly on her own Tourism Tweetup podcast and find her on Twitter.


Direct download: Podcast2014220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:09pm AEST

Let’s face it – a lot of wine dinners, tastings and events are dull and a bit disappointing. Too much talk, too many frowns, and not enough of the enjoyment and pleasure that wine is all about. They don’t help to grow the audience for wine, or they're not events that people rush back to.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks to Dan Sims – he’s committed to ‘producing large scale events for wine drinkers that are informative, interactive and not in the slightest bit scary.’ His company Bottleshop Concepts produces the wildly popular wine events Pinot Palooza, the new Game of Rhones and many more. They’re full of fun, passion and attract a younger (and more female) demographic – wine with enthusism, not snoozing. If you want to bring your restaurant wine list, staff training and wine events to life, you’ll find this podcast full of inspiration.


Direct download: Podcast_141_Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:21am AEST

The high turnover and shortage of kitchen staff is a worldwide problem – it’s not a career that attracts or holds enough good people. The work is physically hard, the hours can be long and unsociable, and the career opportunities limited. Many chefs leave hospitality completely, instead of finding other ways to use their experience within the industry.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Geremy Glew of Placed Recruitment. a specialty recruitment company focusing on chefs and hospitality staff. Geremy is a chef and knows how kitchens work in large and small venues – he has many insights into this situation, and shares practical advice for chefs and the business operators who employ them.

You can also  listen to the previous interview with Geremy in Podcast 128 on Successful Kitchen Recruitment, and watch a video recording of the webinar we did on Kitchen Recruitment.


Direct download: Podcast2014020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:29am AEST

It’s a big problem in hospitality – and it’s probably happening at your business. Independent restaurants and cafes are especially vulnerable, as they often lack rigorous systems for hiring, training and supervising employees. Once a thief starts working for you and finds your weaknesses, they’ll just keep going.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with the ‘Crime Doctor’ Chris McGoey about the wide range of employee fraud and theft in restaurants. With food, liquor and cash in daily use, and often with inadequate security and controls, it’s easy for things to go wrong. Chris shares some excellent suggestions on how to tighten up your systems and keep profits in the business instead of in the pockets of dishonest staff. You can find him at and also listen to his podcast Crime School.


Direct download: Podcast2013920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:02am AEST

When you travel, there’s a lot you can learn about your own industry – customers, service, menus and marketing. Make sure to keep your camera busy! Even if it’s just to another city, but in this case I went to Italy for a month – travelling in the area around Rome and to the south in the 'boot', then another week in the north visiting the big cities of Genoa and Milano. 

I’ve recorded my observations here, particularly food, service and restaurant operations – I was also interested to see how well I could operate my own business, Profitable Hospitality, from on the road. It’s fairly different to your venue, in that I’m not serving guests with food and drinks. But operating remotely with the aid of modern digital tools went very well, and I’ve explained how in the last section of the podcast. I’d love to hear your observations about travelling in Italy – the food, the service and ‘the business’. Click on the Comments link and add your thoughts... 

I’ve put a wide selection of photos from the trip into several albums on Flickr – you can see them here 


Direct download: Podcast2013820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:09am AEST

Great customer service needs more than just a friendly smile and product knowledge. There’s a bunch of other skills that service and front-line staff need if your business is going to be ahead of the competitors. 

In this podcast Ken Burgin outlines 10 skills that go beyond ‘the usual’ – some will be familiar and others maybe less so. As staff and managers improve their ability in these areas, there will be a significant improvement in service quality, positive feedback and sales. 

Many more articles and resources for restaurant, hotel and bar customer service on the Profitable Hospitality website... 

Direct download: Podcast2013720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:15am AEST

Guest, visitors, customers, pax – what do you call them? There are many benefits when you decide to go further, and work to make the people who enjoy your food and drink into a community - increased loyalty, increased spend, return visits and recommendations. PLus you're likely to get more pleasure from the work you do in the business.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Suzi Dafnis, CEO of the Australian Businesswomen’s Network, about how they’ve built a community from a diverse range of members, and how that experience can be applied to a cafe, restaurant, club or bar. First there needs to be a willingness to be ‘community minded’, ready to engage with visitors as real people. You’ll also be actively listening and responding to what they want, and taking a leadership role to build the community through better communication, events, and product improvement. There’s a very optimistic feel to this interview – so much is possible with small steps. I hope you enjoy it!


Direct download: Podcast2013620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:23am AEST

How do calm people achieve that state, and maintain it? They seem to be confident, relaxed and in control – frustrations and roadblocks are handled, and don’t cause upsets and drama. And why does the hospitality industry seem to be so addicted to stress?!

In this interview, Ken Burgin interviews Jacqueline Stone, a counsellor and therapist. Her business Wise Stress Mastery is committed to helping people find relief from stress and lead happier, more productive lives. We look at the 10 everyday habits she suggests to help you be calmer and more effective, even when staff don’t turn up, the fridge breaks down or a large booking cancels! 

Jacqueline was also interviewed in Podcast 49: How to Help Your Staff Give Up Smoking.


Direct download: Podcast2013520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:00am AEST

In business, your ability to influence the actions and beliefs of customers and staff is crucial. It’s also important not to be constantly influenced by others. So when we discuss the idea of influence, the most useful question is, "How, when, where, and why do we influence people?"

In his famous book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini addresses the 'how' by providing the Six Principles underlying the process of influence and why they work. It’s what Ken Burgin discusses in this podcast, looking at how you can ethically influence customers to spend, recommend and return. Plus how to influence staff to be reliable, productive and engaged in their work. Cialdini’s ideas are easy to understand and very powerful.


Direct download: Podcast2013020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:35am AEST

Everyone loves to hear a story, and traditionally they have a beginning, middle and end. They may tell us about success, adventure, lessons learned, happy times, difficulties faced, challenges overcome, and moving onto the next stage. There are many stories you can tell about your business, and some of them will be a powerful part of your marketing and influence. 

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Valerie Khoo of the Australian Writers Centre, about the 8 ‘Power Stories’ that she believes every business can and should tell. You don’t have to be a professional writer to tell stories, just draw on your experience and share the details. Stories are useful for a variety of audiences – your customers, the media, your staff, your bank and even to convince yourself of the value of what you do. Make sure to also check Valerie’s book Power Stories: The 8 Stories You Must Tell to Build an Epic Business


Direct download: Podcast2013320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:40am AEST

Tourists are hungry and thirsty, just like our other visitors, and they also have extra needs and desires. By adding to their experience they will spend more time and money, come back for a second visit, and tell their friends using photos and social media.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks to Robyn Lewis of – a leading directory of food, wine, wineries and vineyards. As well as hosting a huge list of destinations and experiences, she shares about industry marketing trends and runs industry surveys to find out what customers and operators are really doing. This interview will be a rich source of information for restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars, wineries and tourism operators. 


Direct download: Podcast2013120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:08am AEST

Food trucks are at the cutting edge of food innovation and social media marketing. Competition is fierce and there are low barriers to entry; consumers expect fast service and great flavours. The US leads the way with mobile food development, and there’s always value in a trip to the east or west coast to check developments.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks to Scott Kilmartin of Short Batch Icecream Company and the Online Store Guys. He’s just back from a trip to the annual Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, and he also visited San Francisco and Los Angeles to see icecream shops and food trucks – he has a lot to tell us!


Direct download: Podcast201302028new2920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:57pm AEST

Coping with the flood of industry information is a constant challenge – food & beverage trends, government regulations, staff requirements – it never stops!

In this podcast Ken Burgin talks about the tools and techniques he uses to stay up to date, save important information and share it with his team and Profitable Hospitality members.

Direct download: Podcast2013220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:39am AEST

Social media gives feedback in a random way, but how much better if you could find out in detail what customers experience – the food and beverage, the welcome, the service and departure. Even the toilets! Customers compare your place with others they visit – an objective view is so valuable.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Jen Walls of Above Benchmark. Her company runs mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys in all areas of hospitality. You may have tried your own feedback forms – what’s clear from this interview is how much is involved in getting useful, measurable information, that can be compared from one month to the next. Information that gives constructive feedback to managers and staff, leading to improvements that bring customers back more often and telling their friends. Listen in and learn how professionals design surveys and gather the most useful feedback.


Direct download: Podcast2012920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:15am AEST

The #1 issue for most hospitality operators is finding and keeping good kitchen staff – it’s a big challenge. There’s worldwide competition for good cooks, and a declining number of people who want to work the long and unsociable hours. But many operators could do a much better job of promoting the jobs available and choosing the right candidate, not the wrong one!

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Geremy Glew of Placed Recruitment, a specialty recruitment company focusing on chefs. Geremy is a chef and knows how kitchens work in large and small venues – he’s the ideal person to give us advice. We discussed job advertisements, responding to inquiries, personalities, matching staff with a position, reference checking, the conditions staff want and the role of recruiters. If you want to find better kitchen staff, with more hits and fewer ‘misses’, make sure you listen to this podcast – it’s packed with useful information. You will also find the job descriptions, job advertisement formats and management documents you need for chefs at Profitable Hospitality.


Direct download: Podcast2012820Edited_2.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:12am AEST

It’s very satisfying to organise inhouse training for a restaurant, hotel or club – we can dig deep into the particular needs of an organisation and work on their issues. In this podcast I pull back the curtain on some of the Profitable Hospitality workshops I have run in the last two years – topics and techniques.

Whatever the training agenda, there is usually a common core of issues to be covered – financial management, efficient training of staff, staff supervision and ‘leadership’. It’s easy for sessions to focus on cost-control, and forget that increasing the number of visitors and sales per customer will also make a big difference to the bottom line. Using social media to drive sales has become another popular subject, and guidance on managing online feedback and reputation issues.


Direct download: Podcast2012720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:25pm AEST

People work very hard in this industry, and the risks are high. The economy is a challenge, trends change, and new competitors arrive all the time. Developing an income that doesn’t just depend on customers ‘turning up’ makes a lot of sense.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Diane Kennedy, a CPA based in Reno Nevada. Her business USTaxAid is in the business of helping people to ‘Make More and Keep More’, through expanded income opportunities and the wise use of tax minimisation. I’ve known Diane for quite a few years, and always been impressed by the enthusiasm she brings to helping people get better fianncial results from their hard work.

We discuss five types of income and how to develop them:

- Active income
- Leveraged active income
- Recurring income
- Residual income
- Passive income


Direct download: Podcast2012620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:56pm AEST

Retail products can be a new income stream for your restaurant, add some marketing flair, or create an independent business that doesn’t depend on lots of staff and expensive premises. Jams, pickles, sauces, dry products, pre-cooked meals, baked goods, savoury and sweet items – there are many options.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Jane del Rosso of My Other Kitchen – her business is focused on helping people to research and develop new food products and get them to market. Whether it’s in her large commercial kitchen, through classes or consultation, Jane has helped hundreds of people bring new products to market. Production methods, packaging, labelling, health regulations, marketing, profit margins, pricing, online sales and retail options – there’s a lot to consider! 


Direct download: Podcast2012520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:30pm AEST

It’s the job that most managers dislike, and one of the most important: the staff roster and schedule. Putting strong staff on the busy shifts, having just enough people to match customer numbers,  juggling time off, and controlling wage costs. There’s got to be an easier way!

In this interview Ken Burgin interviews Kristin Harris from – one of the leading online rostering and staff management systems. We look at the advantages of online vs traditional systems, how labour and administrative costs can be saved, and the ‘convenience factor’ for management and staff. Plus a range of tasks that can now be done more efficiently – alignment of sales to roster hours, reporting, journal entries and task assignment. It’s time to take this tedious job online and enjoy the advantages!


Direct download: Podcast2012420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:58am AEST

Good brands are memorable – and stand out from the crowd. The same applies for professional people working in hospitality: it’s important to present yourself online with clarity and focus. You already have a brand, whether it is associated with your personal name or your business name - just try Googling your name and see what comes up!

In this discussion, Ken Burgin talks with marketing consultant James Burgin about the opportunities to build your online presence, reputation and network. It’s not just about social media channels, although they are important, but also about creating an online profile, sharing written and photographic content, protecting your reputation and using the right online tools and resources.  

As the saying goes, you can ‘not, not create an impression’ - let’s make sure it’s the one you want!

Direct download: Podcast2012220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:48pm AEST

We all need a website, but what does that mean this year compared to 12 months ago, and when will it need to be upgraded again? The website also needs to be mobile friendly, because Google now actively penalises websites that don’t work well on mobile phones – so many things to consider! 

In this interview Ken Burgin talks to Ben Jones of Growth Studios. Ben is an experienced web designer with a background in graphic design, direct marketing and web design – it’s a strong combination. We discussed the best way add menus, photo albums, an About Us page, an Employment section, Location details, a booking link, and an inquiries page. Plus ecommerce, strong visual design elements and the importance of good SEO to attract Google searches.

Direct download: Podcast2012320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:17pm AEST

We’re not just talking about the frail and very old, but everyone 55 and over. Many have another 40-50 years of life ahead of them - that’s a lot of eating out, coffee, snacks and beverages! Understanding the segments within the broad group of ‘senior diners’ was one of the first distinctions raised by today’s guest Aaron Fish, a foodservice executive working in the retirement living sector in Texas. He has extensive experience in restaurants, and brings that understanding to this conversation with Ken Burgin.

Topics discussed include menu options, handling dietary needs, choosing the right staff, service expectations and the role of food in the lives of people who don’t go to work every day. Lunch and dinner can be important for entertainment as well as nourishment, and that gives more possibilities for creating a popular and profitable business. Baby-boomers and seniors are a massive proportion of the population - often overlooked and under-serviced, and that means opportunity!

You can connect with Aaron on Linkedin and also on Twitter @ahfish


Direct download: Podcast2012120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:59pm AEST

Vision, Mission, Values, Culture, Empowerment and Engagement... So many big words used so carelessly by people who think repeating them will magically improve productivity, reduce staff turnover and boost profits. It takes much more than fancy signs on the wall to do that!

In this week’s interview, Ken Burgin talks with Kevin Dwyer of Change Factory. He’s worked for many years with companies large and small that want to make real improvements in their workplace culture and management effectiveness. That’s why he gets impatient with people using these terms without genuine commitment. He gives us real, understandable definitions that everyone can grasp, and we also discuss the important issue of having the company’s vision match with the personal vision and ambitions of the staff. You’ll enjoy this interview and have lots to think about for your own business, no matter what the size or style.


Direct download: Podcast2012020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:44am AEST

Staff shortages, costs and challenges are often on the mind of hospitality people, and they love to complain. So it was great to talk with a business operator who employs more than 100 people and finds his employees a source of strength and opportunity, rather than a drama.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Miccal Cummins, director of award-winning catering group Gastronomy. They’ve established a great reputation in Sydney for corporate catering, creative events, venue management and the quality of their food. They’ve also developed a ‘second line’ called Packed Lunch, for online ordering of food for conferences and meetings. We discussed the growth of the business, management of recruitment and induction, the type of staff they look for and how they maintain a strong, positive culture. This was an interview that left me inspired and positive about the future of the industry!


Direct download: Podcast2011920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:42am AEST

A new website or an upgrade? It always feels like hard work and uncertainty when restaurants, bars and clubs decide to make a change. There are so many things to consider: all the technical details (usually confusing and unknown), briefing a designer, the budget, design and branding, plus adding new features like social media integration, photo galleries, a booking service, email subscription and a ‘shop’.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks to Ben Jones of Growth Studios, an experienced web designer with a background in graphic design, direct marketing and web design – it’s a strong combination. As well as the topics above, we discussed choosing the right platform (is Wordpress the right one?), what restaurants and bars usually have on their ‘shopping list’, how to add e-commerce facilities, the importance of making the site Google-friendly, and keeping the project on track. If you’ve got plans for a new website or an upgrade, this podcast contains important information!


Direct download: Podcast2011820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:19pm AEST

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Grahame Murray of the Organic Market & Cafe - they've been open for 26 years! It’s in the beautiful hills above Adelaide, Australia. The business has expanded and modernised in that time, taking over more space and adding an online shop. They’re also using modern technology to manage staff, bookkeeping and even tablet ordering for ‘queue-busting’ when it's busy – another way to keep customers happy and willing to spend.

We also discussed design and retail display, menu development, working with local fruit and vegetable suppliers and how much true organic produce can be included on an affordable menu. Plus building a stable team of staff and the value of an active presence on social media – make sure to check them on Instagram and Facebook.


Direct download: Podcast2011720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:39am AEST

It’s January 2015, and while you've still got the 'new year feeling', it's time to check on a few business and personal issues that might be holding back you and the team.

Buckle up and let's give our attention to people, money, tech and equipment. Build up the things that work and reduce those that hold you back. The appearance of the business and how well it responds to customers. Let’s look at your website from all angles, your local profile, and how much feedback staff are receiving on their good and not-so-good performance. And a quick check on your own efficiency and business skills for the demanding, competitive year ahead. You'll find lots of resources and how-to articles to help at Profitable Hospitality.

Direct download: Podcast2011620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:50pm AEST

Here’s my annual list – about half are new this year, and the rest are well-tested and help make my business efficient, responsive and available wherever I am. I have chosen tools that will also be useful in your cafe, restaurant, hotel, club or bar – whatever size of operation you have. Let me know in the comments which services and apps you use, or if you have another favourite we should know about.

Apps and online services mentioned:

* ToDoIst – to-do list that syncs across devices
* Teamwork and Trello – project management
* Evernote – note-taking, web bookmarks and documents – syncs across devices
* NutshellMail – daily notification of social media mentions
* Dropbox and Google Drive – store documents in the cloud and access anywhere
* Jotform and Wufoo – create forms online, to use with customers and staff
* Jing – take screenshots and screen-recordings to share explanations
* Hootsuite – post to Twitter, Linkedin and Google+, plus advanced scheduling
* Canva – become your own designer with this online service


Direct download: Podcast2011520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:51am AEST

It’s a constant frustration for restaurant and bar operators – plenty of people looking for work, but most who apply don’t have the skills, attitude or knowledge that’s needed. Customers are sick of it too – slow service, staff who don’t notice and a shortage of smiles. But there are good people looking for service positions. If the recruitment you’re doing now is not working, it’s time to take a fresh look at your advertising and selection process.

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 how to identify staff with potential, developing an ideal ‘person description’ for the staff you want, and his 6 Essential Steps for Recruiting the Right People.

It’s a great interview, and you may also want to listen to his previous one on Effective Training for Service Staff & Managers. You can find Roger at The Retail Solution – he’s an excellent resource!


Direct download: Podcast2011420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:36am AEST

Ending the employment of a staff member is never easy, especially if they’ve worked at the business for a while and formed relationships with other staff. Many managers find it hard to give ‘bad news’, even when they recognise that the person is not capable of doing the work required. The law varies in different countries, but there are over-riding principles of fairness and ‘due process’ that need to be followed in almost all jurisdictions.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Dru Gillan, a lawyer specialising in employment law. We discussed the principle reasons for dismissal: poor performance, misconduct, dangerous behaviour, refusing to follow instructions and retrenchment. We also discussed how to hold a proper performance interview and whether ‘3 warnings’ are always necessary. If an employee comes back with a claim of ‘unfair dismissal’, when are they justified? As always, good Job Descriptions and proper Work Contracts make the whole process much fairer and straightforward.

Find Dru Gillan at Service Industry Legal Services – the man to talk to in Australia for industrial relations and employment law assistance.

Download 24 Job Descriptions for key hospitality positions from Profitable Hospitality, and back it up with a properly-written Staff Manual. This gives everyone a fair go.


Direct download: Podcast2011320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:18pm AEST