Profitable Hospitality Podcast (general)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact John Isbell through Linkedin or Twitter

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turning social media activity into sales is different to direct selling over the phone or at the table. First you need to Connect with people (Facebook fans, email addresses, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections), then Engage them with interesting and useful content, then Convert them into customers who visit or buy from you online.

In this podcast Ken Burgin outlines dozens of social media tactics you can use to turn online social activity into sales – they’re taken from the detailed Christmas Social Media Marketing Plan on Like all good plans, you need clear goals and an overall strategy to create measurable results.

Direct download: Social_Media_Xmas_2013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:41am AEST

In this podcast, Ken Burgin interviews Jonn Close, principal consultant at CETN - business consultants and brokers based in Sydney. Their services includes Feasibility Studies, Business & Operational Reviews, Formulation of Tender Documents, and the Evaluation of Tender Submissions.

That makes Jonn well placed to help you check the numbers, be sure that you’ve found a real opportunity, and prepare a tender document that will beat the competition.

Direct download: JonnCloseTenders.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:40pm AEST

The wedding business is intensely competitive, with a host of services chasing the budget of the bride and groom. Perhaps their largest expense will be the reception (even if the dress is more important!). In this podcast we talk with JF (Jean-François) Célèrier of Nathania Springs Receptions in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges. The information he shares will be of value for wedding venues, restaurant, hotels and clubs.

The Nathania Springs website is one of the best in the business, and their Facebook Page is a great testimonial for the many delighted clients they’ve had – including more than 10,000 photos! JF walks us through the success factors for their online presence, and how this integrates with their sales process – this is a podcast not to be missed! 

Direct download: Podcast_26_Nathania.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm AEST

Word-of-mouth has always been important for building a business and a following. But before online technology and social media, it occurred on a more intimate, face-to-face level - talking to neighbours or people at work, on the phone or in social situations. If you had a great experience at a restaurant or bar, it’s human nature to want to talk about it with others… and that business will benefit. 

Now social media platforms have given word-of-mouth marketing a scale and reach it’s never had before. But you still need to know what’s most likely to generate word-of-mouth enthusiasm, why some people respond more than others, and the best channels to promote it with. Then you can actively generate the positive WOM that every business operator wants.

In this podcast interview, Ken Burgin is talking with James Burgin of the BrandWithin marketing group.

Direct download: Word_of_MouthJB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm AEST

Let's make our work life and computers faster, easier and more effective - digital tools are meant to be the servant, not the master! 

In this recording, Ken Burgin combines 10 of the best Tech Tips from recent podcasts into a quick tour of some great online services and software, designed to help you work smarter, not harder. 

The links below are where you will find the tools and services mentioned in the podcast.

Direct download: 21_10_Tech_TipsFinal2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53pm AEST

Stress and anxiety have a massive negative impact on many workplaces, despite our increasing prosperity. 

In this podcast interview, Ken Burgin talks with Jason Jelicich, a business speaker and coach with long-time hospitality experience. They discuss how managers, owners and staff can reduce their mental clutter and become more peaceful, 'present'…and effective. As Jason says, 'when we are present, those around us are influenced and they are attracted by our positive state'. We are also more productive and less fearful. 

Direct download: Jason_Jelicich1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm AEST

With special guest Clinton Power, a relationship counsellor and therapist. In this podcast discussion, we talk about typical conflict situations in restaurants, hotels and bars - why they happen, and how they can be handled more effectively.


In many workplaces, there's an urgent need for managers to have 'courageous conversations' with staff in conflict. Without action, it won't take long before good staff leave and productivity falls. 

Direct download: Clinton_Power.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30pm AEST

Meet Ben Higgs, chef/owner of Wild Oak Restaurant  in Olinda, Victoria, a picturesque small town near Melbourne in Australia. Ben has been running the restaurant for more than 10 years and has built a great reputation for the food, hospitality and his cooking school.

In this Success Interview, Ben tells us about starting the business, recruiting and managing staff, marketing, cooking classes and building customer loyalty. 

Direct download: Ben_Higgs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:16am AEST

Pinterest is an online pinboard – a hugely popular social bookmarking service that lets you highlight photos on your own website or blog, or on other sites that you like. A hospitality business can share photos of their food, cocktails, parties, facilities and events, chefs at work and the produce you buy. Smart tactics will also have you sharing images from your local area and all the other reasons why people should visit your neighbourhood or town. And for some people there’s an extra bonus – you hardly have to write anything, just click the photo and share!

In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Cynthia Sanchez from the Oh So Pinteresting! website and blog. She has been following Pinterest from the beginning and knows everything there is to know about marketing tactics, setting up Pinterest for business and how to keep fans and customers coming back for more.

Don't forget there is also the Member Question of the Week (this time on recruitment) and a Tech Tip straight after the interview – more useful content not to be missed!

Direct download: Pinterest_Cynthia2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:12pm AEST

Some restaurants, cafes and bars assume staff will hear about everything, and others think that notices and emails are enough. But so many hospitality managers and owners complain that staff don’t listen, don’t care or don’t notice – communication with employees needs a shake up!

There are many ways to improve: with print, email, online, social media, meetings, noticeboards, financial reports and well-written memos. Written, spoken, signs and discussion. In this podcast,  Ken Burgin shows you dozens of ways to improve internal communication at your business – so staff switch from ‘I don’t know’ to ‘I got it!’. 

Direct download: PHPodcast18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:10pm AEST

Leanne Kitchen is a professional chef, food stylist, food editor, recipe developer, cooking demonstrator, travel and food photographer. She is a also a cookbook author with numerous volumes under her belt. 

In this interview with Ken Burgin, she talks about her career, changing trends in the publishing industry, and her recommendations for chefs and restaurants that want to publish their own cookbook. The industry is changing rapidly, but cookbooks are still very popular with food lovers, cooks and for gifts. Publishers and the public are always hungry for something fresh and original.

Leanne’s latest cookbook is ‘Turkey – Recipes and Tales from the Road’, and she is currently working on a new book about Chinese food. You can find her at

Direct download: PH_Podcast_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:07am AEST

Tired of the eternal drama of friction between floor staff and kitchen? It's boring, unproductive and expensive.

If you need to make changes, here's your action agenda: Ken Burgin discusses key areas such as improving the flow of information, revising Job Descriptions, better meetings, more training for floor staff, removing kitchen frustrations and creating a shared understanding of 'teamwork'. 

Direct download: Podcast16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am AEST

Ken Burgin talks with hospitality marketing expert Heather Turner about the latest developments with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Plus updates on newer social media services Google+, Pinterest and Instagram, and the many ways to share photos and images online.

We also talk about how successful operators are integrating social media communication into their busy lives, whilst still running a business – there’s always a juggle!

Direct download: Podcast_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am AEST

Ken Burgin talks with productivity expert Helen Crozier about how to handle business communication and online activity more efficiently.

The interview focuses on four key areas: bringing email under control, managing your calendar for events and meetings, keeping track of contacts, and finally passwords - important in so many areas of modern life, and so easy to forget or handle insecurely.

Direct download: Podcast14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:54pm AEST

Email newsletters have many advantages for communicating with customers - they're personal and private, and can be full of details. You can target particular groups, and measure the effectiveness of different messages and topics. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may get the glamour vote, but email does the heavy lifting for regular communication about events, menu changes, special offers and community news.

In this podcast, Ken Burgin looks at a number of successful newsletters and describes what makes them so effective - features that are easy to incorporate in your newsletter.

Direct download: Podcast13Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm AEST

Ken Burgin looks at how to prepare your business for sale including quick profit improvements, plus how to put the best face on your business so it's immediately appealing to a buyer.

Areas covered include recording recipes, menu simplification, review of staff productivity and reducing utility and service costs. Plus short-term marketing improvements, and how to make your business 'easy to love' for a first-time buyer - a significant proportion of the market. They're looking for turn-key systems, manuals and documentation so they can hit the ground running and be confident of success. 

Direct download: Podcast_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26am AEST

In the first of two podcasts, lawyer Peter Panagiotopoulos of PNA Legal (the 'cafe lawyer') talks with Ken Burgin about the important players in the sale process: landlords, lawyers, brokers, buyer and seller. He also explains what should be in the key documents: lease of the premises, and the contract for sale of the business. 

Other topics covered include legal terminology, how to work out the value of your business, the best time to sell, the best way to use a broker and lawyer, lease problems that prevent an easy sale and negotiation tactics with a potential buyer.

In the second podcast in this series (#12), Ken Burgin looks in detail at how to prepare your business for sale including quick profit improvements and how to put the best face on your business so it's immediately appealing to a buyer.

Peter has been specialising in the buying and selling of foodservice businesses for more than 10 years. 

IMPORTANT: this podcast contains information of a general nagture on point of interest to cafe, restaurant and foodservice operators. It is intended as a general overview only, and may not be appropriate to your particular circumstances. The content should not be relied upon as comprehensive and does not constitute legal or business advice. 

Direct download: Podcast11_Final2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am AEST

Meet Paul Smith, successful chef/owner of Green Zebra Cafe in Albury, NSW. Albury is a large inland town in Australia. Paul and his partner have had the cafe for more than 10 years and have built a great reputation for their food, coffee and the fresh pasta they make on the premises (also sold retail).

In this Success Interview, we cover setting up a business, managing staff, marketing, technology, business growth and the kitchen garden that supplies an increasing proportion of the cafe's produce. You'll also hear some of Paul's music - he says he's actually a musician disguised as a cafe owner!

Direct download: PaulSmithGreenZebra.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:03am AEST

January is a great time to look with new eyes at marketing, cost control, staff skills, bottlenecks and your own personal efficiency and satisfaction. Here are dozens of tips and resources to get the new year off to a great start - share these with your team! 

Direct download: 09NewYearBoosterREVISED.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40am AEST

In the first of the Outsourcing podcasts, we looked at how to prepare a brief, find a contactor and manage the project. In this podcast, we look at 10 different restaurant, hotel, bar or cafe projects that you've probably had on the 'to do' (or 'too expensive') list that are perfect for outsourcing. They range from managing recipes, menu design, brochures, posters, market research and website updates to newsletters and video.

Now it's time to put ideas into action: start with a small project to build your confidence and very soon you'll have outsourcing as an important tool for efficient business operations and marketing.

Direct download: 08_Outsourcing2NR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am AEST

Outsourcing services are great for getting design and admin. jobs done quickly and at low cost - people from around the world can bid on your job and usually have it done within a few days. Projects could involve writing, design, photo editing, data entry, website updates or other work that is tedious or needs skills you don't have. There are excellent online services that will post your job, rate the skills of applicants, monitor the job's progress and organise secure payment.

In this first of two podcasts, we will go through how outsourcing works, how to prepare a brief for a job, and how to find and hire a contract worker. The job could be as small as fixing the design of your menu, updating spreadsheets, or getting someone to write articles for your website. Or a regular project like an email newsletter. In the second podcast, we will go through 10 projects you could outsource for all areas of restaurant, cafe and hotel marketing and management - for both front and back of house. 

Direct download: 07Outsourcing1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:54pm AEST

Do your staff understand what's involved in delivering high quality customer service? Here are two very effective ways to demonstrate the issues and train for better delivery.

Direct download: CustomerServiceFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09pm AEST

Professional images of your food, beverages & venue are essential for modern hospitality marketing. Here's how to get great photos to show the quality of your products, service, staff & atmosphere - ready to use for digital, online & print. We live in a very visual world!

Direct download: 05_PhotographyPodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:56pm AEST

Sometimes poor performance is quite logical! Many of these 16 reasons are obvious, and so are the solutions once the cause is identified.

Direct download: Staff_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:48pm AEST

How to create more profitable business in November and December, and boost customer numbers in the new year. Plus a question on recipe costing and the Tech Tip of the week.

Direct download: Christmas_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am AEST

Promotional ideas for the weeks before and after the actual day.

Direct download: Events_MelbourneCup_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm AEST

How to ensure staff manners and presentation enhance your brand.

Direct download: Etiquette_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26pm AEST