Profitable Hospitality Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A fast-growing business is exciting – more sales, more venues, more employees and more fame! Expansion also brings new challenges – not just finding talent, but also developing managers and scaling up the systems for recruitment, induction, training and clear communication.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Bree Vatner, HR Manager at the Mr Burger group in Melbourne. They are growing rapidly, and the group also includes food trucks and their own food truck park Welcome to Thornbury. We talked about the central importance of a strong and positive culture, and how that is articulated and put into practice with all their 150+ staff and leaders. We also discussed recruitment methods, in-store and online training, how the HR Manager’s role is changing and much more.

Direct download: PH20Episode2019920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:27pm AEST

So what makes a business healthy? Ken Burgin talked about this with broker Dan Levitus of Linked Business Brokers – he specialises in the sale of cafes, restaurants and foodservice operations, and there’s not much he hasn’t seen!

Financial health is a key element, not only the income and expenses, but how well information is recorded and the likelihood of good sales continuing. We also talked about the owner’s role in the operation, and how well systems are recorded and ready for use by others. Plus the vital importance of the lease and having premises that are ‘fit for purpose’. If you’re thinking about selling your business, or how to increase it’s value, this is information you can take to the bank!

Direct download: PH2019820Edited20v2.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:07pm AEST

On your website, how much is ‘just enough’ information to make customers and search engines happy? Or is a good Facebook page sufficient? More than 60% of your restaurant or café website visitors will use their phone, so ‘mobile friendly’ is essential.

Ken Burgin talks with digital strategist and website builder Tim Hilton about what needs to be in an effective website, and what can be left out. You want to be found locally, compete with the big listing services (like TripAdviser, Yelp and Zomato) and give customers enough information so they divert their car or make a booking. Ultimately it’s all about sales! We also discussed the best way to work with a web designer and how to brief them, so the result is everything you expected and more. You can find Tim at and on Twitter.

Direct download: PH20Episode2019720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:56pm AEST

There is definitely life after coffee, no matter how cool your local barista. Tea has infinite variety, full flavour and centuries of stories. Visiting your cafe or restaurant are hundreds of customers who either don’t drink coffee at all, or limit themselves to one cup a day. That means lots more sales between lunchtime and late night, if you add a variety of teas.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Corinne Smith of The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar. Over the last 6 years they’ve developed a thriving tea wholesale tea business, and now have their own beautiful tea bar, featuring quality brews and the food to go with it. These are robust flavours for all ages, and a valuable part of the profit mix. We talked about tea menus for summer and winter, brewing methods for a busy venue, staff training and appealing to a wide demographic. They are also part of the annual Sydney and Melbourne Tea Festivals – if you’re nearby, don’t miss them!

Direct download: PH2019620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:14pm AEST

It was great to interview marketing expert Michelle Falzon of and the Content Sells podcast (one of my favourites). She talked to us wearing her marketing hat, and also as a resident in a rural area who enjoys the local cafes and restaurants.

We looked at the ‘buyer’s journey’, marketing mountains, becoming known for something distinctive and all the ways a business of any size can build a tribe of loyal fans. We also discussed the importance of regular conversations via social media or email, and how ‘content’ can be used to attract, delight and convert. I know you will enjoy this podcast!

Direct download: PH20Episode2019520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:46pm AEST

We like to keep the tone positive on this podcast, but it’s important to be realistic – where there is food, alcohol and cash, there are sure to be thieves. My guest in this interview is Nigel Pickhardt, one of the authors of the book How to Burn Down the House: The Infamous Waiter & Bartender's Scam Bible by Two Bourbon Street Waiters. Nigel now runs a popular seminar focused on strategies to reduce fraud and theft in hospitality.

We discussed the basic methods of employee theft and how to find your vulnerabilities before dishonest employees strike. Plus specific defences and management responses for a range of scams, and how to develop a natural instinct for detecting the tell-tale signs of theft. There aren’t many scams that Nigel hasn’t seen over the years, and he shares with us fully and frankly. Find out more about his seminars and the book at

Direct download: PH20Episode2019420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:18am AEST

Conflict: between kitchen and front of house, chefs in a rage, managers with short fuses and owners yelling. When not handled carefully, it creates stress and negativity, leading to high staff turnover and low productivity. It’s not about being soft and gentle all the time, but the way most workplaces deal with disagreement seems to have negative results, not positive.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks to business coach and communications specialist Berry Kruijning of Crowning Communication. Berry has worked across cultures and industries, and has a great deal of experience with hospitality employees. We discussed different types of conflict, generational and cultural issues, how coaching can make managers more resourceful, and whether it’s possible to have a life free of conflict. In our industry we have a potent combination of deadlines, pressure and diversity, creating many times where conflict flares. Contact Berry directly to discuss her coaching and consulting work.

Direct download: PH20Episode2019320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:56am AEST

It was great to talk with restaurant marketing expert Charlie Hopper about what’s working for smart operators, and how we all need to double down to stay ahead of the competition. He recently published his second book Nuggets, Nibbles, Morsels, Crumbs with articles on topics as diverse as menu vocabulary, discounting, food photos, branding, social media and the sophistication of children.

He’s keen to eliminate the hype that’s so common in most restaurant communication – let’s be more direct, authentic and ultimately more persuasive.

Find Charlie Hopper at his website, and his books on Amazon or your bookseller - Nuggets, Nibbles, Morsels, Crumbs and the previous book Selling Eating.

Direct download: PH20192.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:25pm AEST

It’s inspiring to talk with restaurant managers who are looking at new strategies to overcome the age-old problem of staff shortages and high turnover. In most areas there are more vacancies than available staff for kitchen positions – the problem is widespread. But that doesn’t mean your business can’t work to minimise the problem and be the preferred employer in your town or street.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Lisa Hobbs and Breanna Lawler from the Dedes Restaurant Group in Sydney (with 8 separate brands). They’re working hard to improve the employee culture at their restaurant workplaces – developing the leadership skills of managers and head chefs. Part of this uses the techniques of Emotional Intelligence to improve staff happiness, develop team performance and reduce burnout. It’s had a significant effect on staff turnover and helping to reduce labour costs - we can all learn from this.

Direct download: PH2019120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:38pm AEST

Ever feel like work is just chasing your tail? Managing all the hats you wear in a restaurant or hospitality business: marketing, recruitment, operations and even bookkeeping. And then there are family responsibilities - people at home need attention too! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to move forward - you’re busy, but things don’t seem to be improving.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with business coach Maureen Pound, about how she helps managers and business owners to be more effective and bring back satisfaction in their work. We talked about different types of coaching and the big issue of time management. We also discussed to-do lists, accountability and how coaching could work for your managers and chefs. Maureen operates with clients across states and internationally - talk to her about how coaching can improve performance and reduce stress.

Direct download: PH2019020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:50pm AEST

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Tony Percuoco, one of Australia’s leading Italian restaurateurs. He and his brothers have opened a number of highly-regarded restaurants in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Australia. His current restaurant is Tartufo in Fortitude Valley.

Tony and I sat outside the restaurant (hence the atmospheric sounds) and talked about menu and marketing developments, his profit secrets, managing staff and finance, the changing restaurant scene and how to keep customers happy. Here’s a chance to listen and learn from a master!

Direct download: PH2018920Edited2028229.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:44pm AEST

There are many types of management skills – in this interview Ken Burgin discusses them with communications and leadership coach Carmel Murphy, the Communications Queen. She’s also a senior manager in a restaurant chain, so she knows what’s needed in real life.

We went through her list of essential ‘people management’ skills and how these can be developed in young managers and staff who want to take more responsibility. We also talked about personality types, working with cultural differences and overcoming fear – topics of relevance for all of us.

You can also hear Carmel in one of our most popular podcasts (#30) on Understanding and Managing Employee Personality Types.

Direct download: PH2018820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:18pm AEST

It’s time to turn the ‘problem’ of customer allergies into a positive opportunity for promotion. Let’s stop the eye-rolling and groaning every time a gluten-free or nut-free request comes in, and see that there are thousands of potential customers who will flock to your business if they know their food sensitivies and allergies will be understood and respected.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with restaurant coach and consultant Joshua Clifton. We discussed the common allergies to be aware of, the dangers of an anaphylactic reaction by someone who encounters food they should not eat (potentially fatal) and Joshua’s personal challenges with this issue. We also talked about the correct wording for menus, the awareness training staff need, and how to manage a busy service while still taking this all into account.

He recommends we check the Anaphylaxis Network of Australia, the Primal Pantry in Brisbane and see how Disney foodservice handles the issue at their theme parks.

Direct download: PH2018720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:31pm AEST

It’s great to interview Brooke Adey, the manager of Yellow restaurant in Sydney and 2015 Winner of the Appetite for Excellence Young Waiter Award. This is Australia’s premier national award for chefs, waiters and restaurateurs.

She happily admits to being a ‘lifer’ in hospitality, and is sharpening her skills in management after a wide range of experience in Adelaide and Sydney restaurants.

Brooke says “I have always loved great food and wine, performing and learning, being a waiter allows me to do all of these things and more. As for my service philosophy, I believe you should treat the restaurant like your home, your colleagues like your family and your guests like your friends. Take pride in your venue, from the way it is presented to the energy that it gives; like members of your family, you might not get to pick your team but they can be some of the greatest relationships you will ever have.

Direct download: Podcast2018620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:24am AEST

It's not hard to write a good advertisement for staff. And most of your competitors' ads are so poorly written that, with a little care, yours will stand out like a beacon. The secret is to offer benefits that match the desires of the people you want to hire. Don’t just talk about what you want, but list in detail the benefits you offer that will appeal to applicants. These are much more than just ‘good pay’. although that’s important.

In this podcast Ken Burgin tells you how to get into the mind of an applicant, and put together ads that will get the phone ringing. This works for chef employment, front of house staff and managers - each of these groups have their own requirements and expectations you need to meet. Make use of the Profitable Hospitality Staff Management department and the Staff Management Downloads - we've got your employee management needs covered!

Direct download: Podcast2018520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:02pm AEST

More than 106 million people from China will vacation overseas in 2016 – the numbers are staggering! Just to Australia alone, there will be more than one million visitors, creating massive pressure on travel infrastructure and the staff resources needed to meet demand. The opportunities are fantastic, especially as more than 30% will be independent travellers, looking for good cuisine and great experiences, ready to enjoy the great food, drink and coffee at your restaurant or cafe.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with John Hart, CEO of Restaurant & Catering Australia. John recently travelled to China and has been working closely with Tourism Australia on their extensive China Ready program for restaurants. Welcoming the new wave of Chinese tourists is a very exciting development for foodservice operators everywhere – be prepared!

Direct download: Episode2018420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:12pm AEST

Ken Burgin talks with Adam Reiner, who says the mission of his website Restaurant Manifesto is about ‘helping people dine more successfully by decoding the secret language of restaurants from an insider’s perspective. Certainly, I have a lot of life lessons from my work in restaurants that I’m happy to discuss with the listeners, but I’d prefer the conversation center more around the themes of how people can become better diners. So many blogs today spend so much energy ranting and raving about how awful restaurant guests are, but precious few come from a place of love or, God forbid, offer the guest any advice on how to use this information more constructively.’

Adam has worked in New York restaurants for almost 20 years. He was a member of the team at Mario Batali’s iconic Italian restaurant, Babbo, for nearly ten years and he currently works for Major Food Group as a captain at Carbone in Greenwich Village. He spent the majority of 2015 living in Hong Kong, where he was hired to be the New York Liaison and Brand Ambassador to the Carbone restaurant there. ‘It was an amazing experience to witness service dynamics in a foreign country, to interact with guests overseas and to train people on how to understand our New York swagger and style of service.’

Adam launched The Restaurant Manifesto in early 2014 (under the pen name Peter Camarero, to avoid conflict of interest) and since then has tried hard to be a more compassionate voice for helping people’s dining experiences. ‘Restaurants are complex organisms and too many restaurant patrons, even ones who fashion themselves experts, have overly simplistic ideas about how the organism functions. Gaining more literacy about the ecosystem, in his opinion, helps people cultivate better relationships with staff and, ultimately, results in better service.’ Follow Adam on his website and his pithy Twitter feed.

Direct download: Episode2018320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:37pm AEST

A smart online marketing strategy is essential for modern events – whether they’re conferences, meetings, entertainment, dinners or festivals. Your restaurant, club or bar can have the same promotional success as a big venue if you use imagination and the wide variety of social media and online channels available.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Sheila Scarborough of Tourism Currents, a high-powered trio of smart marketers who share a wealth of information about social media and online marketing for destinations, events and small business success. Sheila has a wealth of ideas on how to make your special occasion a big success, and shows us the importance of having separate strategies for before, during and after the event. 

Direct download: Episode2018220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:50pm AEST

Why automate? Not because we want to be robots, but it can make replies and communication faster and more reliable. And it also keeps labour costs down. It won’t replace warm smiles and a human voice, but how many calls have you forgotten to return?

It’s also about setting up systems that other people can do for you. Some automation involves information coming IN to you eg reports and price information, and other automation sends decisions and information OUT eg email auto-responses, roster updates for staff etc. And some automation replaces time-consuming work with the labour of others eg an online assistant who types up lists or recipes.

Start with areas where the most human errors are occurring – slow replies, inaccurate reports, tasks forgotten etc. This is expensive. Use this podcast list to start automating your processes, and send us suggestions if you have other areas that work for you. 

Lots more information about developing an efficient and profitable business at Profitable Hospitality.

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

Let’s challenge the wide-spread perception that Millennial or Generation-Y employees are a problem: self-centred, too casual, a short attention span and living on their phones. Every generation says the ‘young ones’ are a disappointment - conflict between young and old is nothing new!

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Dr Chip Espinoza, author of the new book Millennials Who ManageHow to Overcome Workplace Perceptions and Become a Great Leader.

The Millennial generation is now the largest of the working age groups (USA) – more than Gen X (born 1960-1979) and the Baby Boomers (1945-1959). We need to build their skills and prize their ability. They expect more frequent training, and don’t need a manager to give them information – they can find it themselves. Let’s use their more casual approach to improve our hospitality, and their ease with technology is exactly what we need more of. This interview (and book) is full of practical ways to turn your young workforce into a competitive asset for the future.

Direct download: Episode2018020Edited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39am AEST

I’ve followed Bob Phibbs the Retail Doctor for quite a few years – he writes terrific articles about all aspects of retail: trends, sales improvement, customer service and employee training. He’s also a motivational speaker and consultant, working directly with retailers to improve their sales and reputation.

Many of the issues faced by retailers apply to hospitality – we have employees who need training and motivating, a highly competitive landscape and customers who are always ready to leave us for a better offer! In this interview, we started talking about the retail opportunities for restaurants and cafes, and quickly moved onto the topic he’s most passionate about – creating great sales through great service.

This was a brilliant conversation – I know managers, restaurant and cafe owners will get great insights into training, customer and employee personalities, and so many extra ways to make sales and build customer loyalty. Make sure all your people listen to this!

Direct download: Episode2017920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:44am AEST

In most places, there are all the customers you ever need within 10 kilometres (5 miles) of your business. But we’re often so busy promoting far and wide, that we forget the simple and effective neighbourhood activities that work so well for restaurants, cafes and bars. Many of them you can do for free.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin goes through dozens of ways you can connect with local customers, employees and suppliers, and build strong relationships. Plus the many ways you can reinforce these connections through social media and your website. Lots more Sales & Marketing resources and ideas at Profitable Hospitality...

Direct download: Podcast20178.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:24pm AEST

There are many small moments of service after the first welcome - together, they add up to a powerful positive (or negative) experience. It could be on the phone, at the front door, tasting the food or all the way through the cycle of service from arrival to departure.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with restaurant consultant Kate Edwards about her many years in the hospitality as a manager, adviser and trainer. She has just published her first book Hello! And Every Little Thing That Matters – it’s a powerful and easy-to-use manual on how to create a quality relationship with customers by paying attention to detail and making the little things count.

Based in New York, Kate has worked with some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry, from Le Cirque in New York to The Viceroy in Anguilla, as well as restaurants at The Essex House and The Plaza Hotel. Her company creates service and training programs for hospitality businesses and provides coaching to owners, general managers, lawyers, and entrepreneurs on how to express and implement their service vision and lead their teams. You can contact her at Kate Edwards Consulting.

Direct download: Episode2017720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:59pm AEST

There’s an army of bad people who want to hack into your personal privacy, bank account and digital devices. They’re also keen to get into your business equipment and access the transaction details, payments and customer information held there. Many hospitality operators leave their systems wide open to attack.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Bob Frazier of He’s spent many years selling, installing and now advising on the best POS systems, plus the wide range of integrated services that make a POS the digital heart of your restaurant. We talk about defining your needs, comparing the competing offers, and what it takes to create real security. When you have a new system, set up strong protection for your money, your data and your customer information.

Direct download: Episode2017620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:59pm AEST

It’s exciting to talk to a business owner about how catering and events have changed over their 20 years of operation. The hospitality industry does not stand still, and only the smart have survived – new food and event trends, government regulations, glamorous venues, and customers who want more and more for the very best price!

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Ross Mitchell, one of the owners of Forte Catering & Events, and the Nosh Staff Agency in Sydney. We discussed how Forte have diversified their business to strengthen cash flow, the importance of watching financial reports, and the constant cycle of new competitors and venues. Plus new developments in marketing, and the challenge of customers who are so well informed from their online research.

Direct download: Episode2017520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:23pm AEST

Why are some people so successful with business, and others struggle? We see it time again – entrepreneurs who create a great restaurant, cafe or bar that is immediately loved by customers, with good staff, a popular product and excellent profits. And then they do it again and again.

In this podcast Ken Burgin looks at what makes these people tick – how they think and develop a vision, how they relate to other people, and how they follow through with their ideas. Plus their readiness to take risks, make sacrifices and accept responsibility. There’s not one just standard for success, but there are definitely a set of thinking patterns and attitudes that can be copied if you want to achieve great results in business. 

Find out more about Ken's attitude to business success in the Profitable Hospitality newsletter and blog, plus these podcasts - hundreds of articles and insights about better results for restaurant, cafe and bar.

Direct download: Episode2017420Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:22am AEST

You want your marketing to make a big impact, but the budget is tight! And maybe you’re just being cautious as you learn the ropes and sort through the social media hype. You need to choose the right social media channels, and show how the money you spend will lead to an increase in customer visits and sales. Measuring the Return on Investment takes a different type of thinking.

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with social media marketing expert Leslie McLellan. Her business Just a Small Town Girl works with small cities, rural towns and the small businesses within them. As she says, ‘when done correctly, social media marketing is equivalent to winning the lottery. Lake Arrowhead, CA., the small town resort community I marketed for two decades, was saved by social media’. She shares dozens of great tips and suggestions for stretching your marketing dollars – you’ll love Leslie’s enthusiasm and generosity. It’s time to take action, and pick up the pace!

Direct download: Episode2017320Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 3:18pm AEST

Seafood sales are up, and consumers are convinced about the health-benefits of fish, but they’re often wary about taste, texture and bones! There are also big changes in the supply chain – fishing, farming, processing, labelling and regulation. It’s a lot for restaurant operators and chefs to handle!

In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Roy Palmer, Australia’s Mr Seafood. He’s had a long career in the industry – commercial fishing, aquaculture, fisheries, food safety and even running his own fish shop. He is committed to raising the profile and consumption of seafood, and sharing information with business owners, politicians, consumers and the media. You can contact Roy through Linkedin

Direct download: Episode2017220Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:51pm AEST

Last month, Australian mainstream and social media lit up with reactions to suggestive comments made to a TV journalist by a well-known cricketer. What he thought was just ‘having some fun’ was interpreted by many as a blatant case of harassment, and and example of the pressure many women feel to stay quiet and ‘just ignore it’. A lot like the daily banter and harassment experienced by some female (and male) staff in hospitality workplaces.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with lawyer Richard Edwards of Whites Legal, and HR specialist Natasha Hawker of Employee Matters. We talked about definitions of harassment, how to implement a Sexual Harassment Policy, managing staff with ‘big personalities’ and rules about language, behaviour and protecting vulnerable employees.

Make use of the HR resources available in the Profitable Hospitality Download Center.

Direct download: Episode2017120Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 7:20pm AEST

Social media is a hungry beast – to make a real impact on your fans and followers, you need to be posting a photo or news update at least once a day. Or more! That’s a lot of pictures and information, especially if your main job is organising service, food and lots of employees – who has the time?

Part of the panic comes from ‘what will I photograph or write about??’, so in this podcast Ken Burgin goes through 10 different content areas, most of which will be very familiar to you. From special deals and announcements, to community activities, anniversaries and a look behind the scene. Once you have the inspiration and content, pushing out something new each day will be a piece of cake!

Find dozens of ideas and inspiration for content at the Profitable Hospitality Online Marketing Dept, and boost your skills and confidence with the online Social Media Marketing Workshop. 

Direct download: Episode2017020Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:27am AEST

One thing’s for sure: Facebook marketing options keep changing, and it’s a challenge to keep up! There’s more focus on photos and video, easier ways to run competitions and the need for better quality posts. And paid advertising is essential to get any sort of reach. In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Facebook marketing expert Luke Moulton from Plankton Digital.

He’s been working with online marketing and social media channels for many years, and focuses on getting the best value from advertising dollars. Facebook ads should now be a part of your weekly promotional budget – there are so many ways it can reach your exact target audience with the right message. Luke shares some great examples and shortcuts on how to make your Facebook marketing much more effective.

Make sure to follow Profitable Hospitality on Facebook and use our Online Marketing resources.

Direct download: Episode2016920Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 8:04am AEST

Wishing and hoping - for more profitable restaurants, cafes, hotels, clubs and bars. More efficient, less stress on the managers, better profit margins, more enjoyable to visit and more attractive to the quality staff we want to find. I’ve based this podcast on discussions with many business operators and podcast guests over the last 12 months – I’m getting it off my chest!

Looking at better ways to manage figures, bookkeeping and profit margins, management skills, employees and marketing. With great uncertainty in the world economy and widespread conflict, now’s the time to strengthen our foundations and increase the quality of what we serve. A strong business can offer high-quality hospitality. Use the comments and me know what’s on your wishlist for 2016. 

Direct download: Episode2016820Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:41pm AEST

It’s no surprise that podcasts and articles about employee management are the most popular content on Profitable Hospitality. Finding the right people and creating a strong team are a constant challenge for restaurants and cafes of all sizes. Recruiting a new chef, training a manager, or showing a team how to be more efficient – the work never stops.

In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Natasha Hawker of EmployeeMatters. In her work with clients (and in her book From Hire to Fire), she uses a 9-step Employee Life Cycle to explain the recruitment, management and exit stages in every employee’s time with a business. She also emphasises the importance of strong legal foundations – the right policies and compliance measures to reduce risk and protect management. This is a great conversation for business owners, managers and chefs who want to build a strong and productive team.


Direct download: Episode2016720Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:43am AEST

The‘trends treadmill’ can be a challenge – at the end of each year, a wide variety of chefs, food writers and pundits come out with their predictions for the following 12 months. What will be hot and what will not – ingredients, flavours, concepts, cooking and service styles. Plus the brands they see growing and declining – it can be overwhelming! It’s also interesting to look back at predictions made in the last few year – some of them keep recurring.

In this episode Ken Burgin has surveyed 16 different food trend articles for 2016 and pulled together the key themes. It is important to be aware of changing trends – customer taste is changing, and new competitors suddenly appear and capture people’s imagination. TV is a constant influence. You can’t afford to ignore what’s going on around you.

Direct download: Podcast2016620Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:23am AEST

Busy days, busy lunch or a crazy coffee rush – if you don’t have everything well-organised you will be missing out on some great profit opportunities and making everyone’s work more difficult. In today’s impatient world, everyone wants service, food and drinks right now!

In this podcast Ken Burgin looks at two key factors and a host of different ways to improve speed with less stress and more efficiency: good preparation, good equipment and great systems. Sometimes you need to change the layout or upgrade machinery, and sometimes it’s about being more organised and having the right staff. When it all comes together, you’ll have a business that serves everyone in the crowd, makes them happy and fills your bank account!

Direct download: Episode2016520Edited.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:16pm AEST