Profitable Hospitality Podcast
Information and Interviews by Ken Burgin of ProfitableHospitality.com.au Focused on Restaurant & Hotel Management, Marketing & Cost Control. Tune in if you're the owner, manager or chef of a restaurant, cafe, hotel, club, bar or catering business.
info_outline 288: Managing Food Costing, Yields and Standard Recipes 01/07/2019
288: Managing Food Costing, Yields and Standard Recipes Ken Burgin continues the conversation with chef and kitchen management expert Andrew Briese of Cooking the Books. In the second of two podcast interviews, they talked about theoretical and ideal food costs, improving yields and the importance of standard recipes. Check the first conversation in Podcast #286: Managing Food Purchasing, Storage and Stock Control. Topics covered in this interview include: What sort of food cost percentages should chefs and business owners aim for? What is the costing best-practice you see across different types of food businesses? Best ways to do accurate recipe costing Doing the maths – formulas and rules of thumb 'Make or Buy' decisions
info_outline 287: Growing Melbourne's Best Coffee, Breakfast & Lunch Business 12/17/2018
287: Growing Melbourne's Best Coffee, Breakfast & Lunch Business Meet Simon O'Regan from the EARL Canteen group in Melbourne's CBD - 7 stores and growing! They specialise in breakfast, lunch, coffee and catering. Since opening their first store in 2010, owners Simon and his partner Jackie Middleton have maintained a steady pace of expansion in this very demanding precinct, recently adding a central commissary and catering kitchen. Their inspiration came from being 'two hungry waiters who, at the end of service every night, watched big chefs do simple things with fancy ingredients. It gave them an idea. Simple, honest, everyday eats made from the finest, locally sourced produce. Good-morning breakfasts, wake-me-up coffee, wholesome salads and fancy sandwiches made fresh every day.' They've also seen the benefit of technology innovation and smart marketing - there's a lot to discuss in this conversation with Ken Burgin.
info_outline 286: Managing Food Purchasing, Storage & Stock Control 12/06/2018
286: Managing Food Purchasing, Storage & Stock Control Ken Burgin talks with chef and kitchen management expert Andrew Briese of Cooking the Books. In the first of two podcast interviews, they had a lively discussion on the initial stages of the food management sequence: ordering, storage and stock control. Topics covered include: Common mistakes people make when they choose suppliers Best practice for ordering methods and deciding on quantities Best practice with storage or dry and cold goods. Managing the ever-present problem of theft Stocktake methods for small operators – who usually never do stocktakes! Managing and measuring food wastage
info_outline 285: How to Build the Love for Your Business 11/22/2018
285: How to Build the Love for Your Business Customers want fresh, not stale; inspiration, not gloom – it’s time to turn off the news! One way to lift everyone’s spirits is to share the things that we love, that our staff love, and our customers love. Put a smile on their faces and share the love of food and entertainment, music, customer stories and business success. Now you’re creating great word-of-mouth marketing and conversation starters – and lots to share on social media! Talking about what we love creates a strong personal connection between staff, managers and customers. In this podcast, Ken Burgin shares themes and ideas to get you sharing the love and reaping the benefits. And like the love between two people, sharing this affection a little and often is more important than an occasional big event and then nothing for months. People love to be inspired by hard work and commitment rewarded – from you, the community and your employees. They can also love the business owners, so it’s good to share a family photo or some stories from the past. People love their town or local area, so your support for sporting teams, schools and charities keeps customers inspired and connected. People love photos and videos, the modern means of communication, so record and share food, parties, special customers and behind-the-scene activities. Many people also love animals, and you can include them in social media sharing without bringing them into the shop – Facebook and Instagram are great mediums for this. And people love events and celebrations – ideally once a month, not just Valentines and Mother’s Day.
info_outline 284: How ‘Modern Slavery’ Impacts the Hospitality Industry 10/31/2018
284: How ‘Modern Slavery’ Impacts the Hospitality Industry This is a change of pace for the podcast – Ken Burgin talks with Sally Irwin, director of The Freedom Hub, an organisation that helps people trapped by human trafficking and slavery. This is not the chains and slave markets we envision from the 19th century, but the degradation and restriction of people’s freedom is no less real - Sally shares some graphic examples. And it’s happening in western countries like Australia – this is not just a ‘third world’ problem. We also discussed the organisation’s Survivor School to help rehabilitate victims and give them work opportunities, and how restaurants and cafes can avoid purchasing food products made by slave labour. There’s a lot to think about…
info_outline 283: From Master Chef to Italian Restaurant Success 10/22/2018
283: From Master Chef to Italian Restaurant Success Ken Burgin talks with Andre Ursini, owner and founder of Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar. Nine years ago he was also a contestant on the first series of Master Chef in Australia, and then used his love of hospitality to open and develop a highly successful Italian restaurant. He’s about to open a second and much larger business, and also has plans for a wedding venue. You’ll enjoy Andre’s honest and open approach to business – we discussed his methods for finding and keeping good staff, managing equipment, using reputation as the main marketing channel, and how he finances daily operations and expansion. We also talked about menu styles and content, and how staff have the opportunity to work at the restaurant’s vegetable garden – it’s an inspiring story!
info_outline 282: Talking About the Economics of Restaurant Operations 10/09/2018
282: Talking About the Economics of Restaurant Operations Ken Burgin talks with Veronica Fils of Restaurant Lume, a venue that describes itself as “a restaurant reimagined for people who are bored with traditional fine dining. Those fed up with formality and stuffy service, but who want an experience”. We agreed that for high-priced and high-quality dining to survive, there needs to be a very different approach to managing customers, service and reservations, plus the cost of labour, food and beverages. Restaurant Lume has embraced these challenges, and uses the latest technology to support growth and efficiency – it’s great to hear their optimism.
info_outline 281: Talking About Cafe & Restaurant Design 09/03/2018
281: Talking About Cafe & Restaurant Design Ken Burgin talks with Vanessa Cullen, whose business Forward Thinking Design works with cafes, restaurants, fast food operators and retailers. She has a wide range of experience and the discussion covered design for new businesses, shopping centres, main street businesses and renovating a tired or outdated space. We also covered the latest food and design trends, food courts, landlords, branding, concept development and customer expectations. This business has B Corp accreditation, and their tagline is ‘the socially responsible design studio’ – it all works hand in hand.
info_outline 280: What Happens When an Accountant Buys a Cafe? 08/06/2018
280: What Happens When an Accountant Buys a Cafe? Nadi Elias is an accountant who has bought into a cafe! He has many clients in the cafe and coffee roasting business, and has probably advised many more people to walk away from these opportunities. If he’s gone ahead and taken the plunge, we need to know why! Ken Burgin talked with Nadi about due diligence and valuation for a business purchase, setting up good systems, building a team, partnership agreements, accounting systems and keeping track of the numbers. His book Count More Beans is an excellent guide to building a successful cafe.
info_outline 279: Getting Better Results from Your Restaurant Bookkeeping 07/23/2018
279: Getting Better Results from Your Restaurant Bookkeeping Many hospitality operators are not, but nature, ‘numbers people’ and it’s easy for this important area of management to be neglected. In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Christine Green from Restaurant Bookkeeping Australia about how to get the best results from your account-keeping system. They discussed cash flow management, the importance of separating personal and business expenses, integration with Point of Sale systems, claiming GST credits and the correct coding of entries. They also talked about preparing a business for sale, how to reassure buyers and the role of accountants.
info_outline 278: Using LinkedIn for Restaurant Marketing & Personal Branding 06/11/2018
278: Using LinkedIn for Restaurant Marketing & Personal Branding Should we regard LinkedIn as the serious, professional side of social media? With more than 500 users worldwide, it can be tremendously powerful as a marketing tool to build your business and your personal reputation. In this episode, Ken Burgin discusses the three steps for LinkedIn effectiveness – building a complete, professional profile, growing your circle of connections, and expanding your influence by sharing quality content. Small steps day by day will soon lead to very satisfying results.
info_outline 277: How Chefs Can Build a Positive Public Profile 05/30/2018
277: How Chefs Can Build a Positive Public Profile Ken Burgin talks with celebrity chef manager Karen Lateo of Entrée Management, about the many ways chefs can build a local and national reputation. With the rise of TV cooking shows and the public fascination with chefs and food, there are now many more options for a chef who wants to make a name for them self. We discussed the value of having your own YouTube, being able to talk and cook at the same time, and developing presentation skills. Plus, the difference between publicity and talent management, how to be paid, negotiation with clients, the right way to use social media, and the work needed to get yourself noticed.
info_outline 276: How to Take Your Bar from Good to Great 05/18/2018
276: How to Take Your Bar from Good to Great Ken Burgin talks with bar manager and entrepreneur Daniel Knight about the many factors involved in creating and running a great bar. The small bar sector is one of the most dynamic parts of the hospitality industry, where successful bar operators combine technical skills, leadership and entrepreneurial flare to help them thrive amidst so much competition. We discussed Dan’s 3 P’s for bar success – People, Product and Passion. We always hear about People in hospitality discussions, and Product is the many things that create the physical experience. Passion can be harder to define, and needs strong and creative leadership – you’ll understand this important element much more from this conversation. You can find Dan at his blog My Bar Secrets.
info_outline 275: Finding, Motivating and Looking after Good Chefs 05/02/2018
275: Finding, Motivating and Looking after Good Chefs Christine Mathison-Green is a chef, a former restaurateur and passionate about hospitality. She’s employed hundreds of people over the years at her ten restaurants, and worked with many different cooks and chefs. She writes about food and travel, and shares dozens of interviews with chefs on her website Just the Sizzle. She’s also set up Off the Hotplate, a support site for chefs who want to avoid burnout and learn better ways to handle the emotional demands of a cooking career. In this discussion, Ken Burgin talks with Christine about the background to the command-style management of kitchens - where the classic ‘Yes Chef!’ response started. We also discussed the needs of young chefs, the value of mentoring, the increasing number of women in cooking, and the importance of realistic hours. We all know chefs are in short supply, and I believe we have some answers to the problem in this discussion.
info_outline 274: How to Build a Culture of Greatness 04/18/2018
274: How to Build a Culture of Greatness Corporate Culture Specialist Greg Hawks talks to a lot of employees and business leaders, and they all believe in the importance of a strong, positive workplace culture. But what does that really mean, and how can it be developed? In this lively interview, Greg talks with Ken Burgin about the four pillars he sees supporting a great culture – honour, excellence, identity and significance. Words that by themselves may not mean so much, but his explanation and examples brings them together into a clear and achievable roadmap for every restaurant, cafe or foodservice business.
info_outline 273: Talking to a Chef Who’s Opened & Run 42 Restaurants 04/04/2018
273: Talking to a Chef Who’s Opened & Run 42 Restaurants Craig Macindoe looks surprisingly calm for someone who has opened so many restaurants, and right now he has 10 under his control at the Kensington Street restaurant precinct. Maybe it’s because he can now work on strategy and marketing, instead of being caught up in the kitchen. As a chef, he brings valuable insights to management – cost control, menu development, purchasing and product quality. Craig talked with Ken Burgin about modern restaurant trends, equipment, partnerships, customer expectations, recruiting staff, social media marketing and the many management skills he has learned over the last 20 years. It was a fascinating interview.
info_outline 272: How to Simplify Your Business for More Profitable Results 03/22/2018
272: How to Simplify Your Business for More Profitable Results Simpler is usually better in business – restaurant processes can be done more quickly, there are fewer costs, less need for highly-skilled staff, and fewer mistakes. This is not about ‘dumbing down’, but removing the complexity that can often develop in menus, customer service, management and financial reporting. Ken Burgin gives you a quick hit list of more than a dozen ways to bring back flexibility and speed to your operation, in the front of house, kitchen, marketing and administration. Your staff, customers and accountant will thank you!
info_outline 271: Using WeChat & Chinese Social Media for Restaurant Marketing 03/04/2018
271: Using WeChat & Chinese Social Media for Restaurant Marketing It was fascinating to talk with WeChat marketing expert Matthew Brennan about online marketing and e-commerce in China. In many ways the country is leading the world with innovations in social media and cashless payments, particularly through the communication and payment channels of Tencent (owner of WeChat) and Alipay. We also discussed the integration of menus into apps, ordering and food delivery systems, and how tourists from China will be researching and preparing for their trip to another country. This is the future!
info_outline 270: Smarter Phone Management in Restaurants and Bars 02/04/2018
270: Smarter Phone Management in Restaurants and Bars With the growth of mobile phones, calls to your restaurant are more important than ever – a quick Google search finds your number, and if a call is made, it’s likely to be about an important issue or sales opportunity, rather than just a booking request. In this lively interview, Ken Burgin talks with Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor about phone answering, sharing information, and handling complaints. We also discussed how to handle staff training, impatient customers, and combining sales with good customer service. And don’t miss her great advice on eliminating 5 Frustrating Voicemail Phrases – we’ve all used them!
info_outline 269: How to Drive Word of Mouth Marketing 01/21/2018
269: How to Drive Word of Mouth Marketing Word of mouth marketing doesn’t work automatically, and it’s not always positive. It can develop slowly and accidentally, or you can take the lead and give people lots of positive experiences to share with their friends, week after week. In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks about the many different ways customers experience your business, and the five key areas that drive word of mouth – design, speed, generosity, flavour and inside information. You may be surprised that there are so many positive things happening – let’s get the good news out there!
info_outline 268: Menu Simplification, Flavours and Profitability 01/07/2018
268: Menu Simplification, Flavours and Profitability Join us to learn how an experienced chef plans a menu makeover, taking a good product and making it even better. Ken Burgin talks with Executive Chef John McFadden and hears about the process of menu simplification and cost control he is using for the new menu at Abode Bistro, the restaurant at Sydney’s ParkRoyal Hotel. We also discussed flavour improvement, food trends, staff training and the changing popularity of lunch and dinner menu items in a busy city location.
info_outline 267: Understanding Food Flavours 12/18/2017
267: Understanding Food Flavours What makes food taste wonderful, or bland, or maybe it’s sour, hot or bitter? There are so many things to understand with food flavours, so we asked Adam Yee, a food scientist for assistance. He talks with Ken Burgin about the chemistry of flavours, how we experience them, and how a chef can use this knowledge to create memorable tastes and popular recipes. We also discussed potato chips, smoky flavours, , snacks, desserts and what makes ethnic food so popular. The food scientist sees the essential elements of taste coming from flavour, texture, depth, time, heat and moisture – everyone in the kitchen is a scientist in one way or another!
info_outline 266: Menu Development for a Family Restaurant 12/10/2017
266: Menu Development for a Family Restaurant Ken Burgin interviews Steve Sidd, a chef and experienced restaurateur. He now runs Indulge Brasserie at Moorebank Sports Club, recently named Best Family Restaurant in the Restaurant & Catering Assoc. National Awards for Excellence. Serving 5,500 customers per week, this is a high-volume operation in an area of young families and a large army base. We talked about how he develops a menu, meat, seafood and vegetable options, purchasing and negotiation with suppliers. We also discussed healthy food options, kids’ menus and popular desserts – Steve has developed a winning formula that we can all learn from!
info_outline 265: Talking about Women in Hospitality 12/04/2017
265: Talking about Women in Hospitality Ken Burgin caught up with Julia Campbell, founder of the recently-formed Women in Hospitality group, and Clare van Vuuren, a board member and owner of Sydney’s popular Bloodwood restaurant. The mission of the organisation is to “inspire, recruit and retain more females in the hospitality industry and to give them the confidence to back themselves in their professional development.” There has been an enthusiastic response to their events and mentoring program. We discussed male and female leadership, the value of networking events, sharing business information, and building the confidence of women to take on management roles. We also talked about the industry competitions that end up with all-male winners, and handling sexual harassment in the workplace.
info_outline 264: How to Become an Executive Chef 11/26/2017
264: How to Become an Executive Chef It was great to meet up again with Executive Chef John McFadden to learn about his culinary career, and what it takes to become a kitchen leader. We discussed his early learning, the leadership qualities of chefs who’ve inspired him, and how he has developed skills in planning, menu development, people management and finance. We also talked about the importance of bringing on the next generation of cooks and the value of having clear standards and accountability. We need more chefs with his passion and commitment!
info_outline 263: Using Popular and Profitable Vegetables 11/19/2017
263: Using Popular and Profitable Vegetables For this podcast, Ken Burgin headed out early to Sydney Markets to talk all about vegetables with Chef Julio Azzarello from Gourmand Providore. Julio is surrounded by fresh ingredients at the largest markets in the southern hemisphere, so there was plenty of inspiration for our conversation. We discussed the most economical vegetables for daily use, cooking methods, how the seasons work, using Grade 2 or ‘ugly’ vegetables to save costs, and building a positive relationship with your supplier. It was great to get back to the source!
info_outline 262: How to Organise a Great Photo Shoot at your Restaurant 11/12/2017
262: How to Organise a Great Photo Shoot at your Restaurant Ken Burgin talks restaurant and food photography with professional photographer Brandee Meier. These days, everyone eats with their eyes, so great images are more important than ever… and there’s a big difference between what’s done with a phone and the work of a real professional. We discussed how to choose a good photographer, preparing for a photo shoot, and organising lifestyle, food and bar photos. Plus the technicalities of copyright, file formats and the many ways that photos can be used.
info_outline 261: How to Use Your Credit Card for More Points and Travel 11/05/2017
261: How to Use Your Credit Card for More Points and Travel Steve Hui is the points whisperer – his business I Fly Flat works with business owners to get the best travel deals from credit card points, and increase the number of points you earn. Everyone in business uses a credit card, but most people don’t know hot to maximise their points, or choose a card that gives the most flexibility for points redemption. Steve’s conversation with Ken Burgin will definitely have you thinking differently about how you pay bills, and taking a fresh look at the cards you accept from customers.
info_outline 260: Talking About Low-Budget Food Start-Ups 10/29/2017
260: Talking About Low-Budget Food Start-Ups Becky McCray is bubbling with enthusiasm about the possibilities for food startups and pop-ups in small towns and rural areas. She regularly tours through the US and Canada, energising and inspiring communities to activate their main streets and empty buildings. Food is an essential part of that strategy. Ken Burgin talked with Becky about locating businesses within museums and public spaces, using empty restaurants, sampling events, food trucks, cutting through regulations and low-cost ways to promote a new business. This is an interview that will definitely inspire you – make sure to download the 101 Tiny Business Ideas from her website.
info_outline 259: How Taco Bill Run Their Profitable and Popular Restaurants 10/22/2017
259: How Taco Bill Run Their Profitable and Popular Restaurants Taco Bill restaurants have been a success in Australia for more than 50 years - they are still fresh, modern and popular. In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Stan Teschke, one of the business partners, about how they manage the food, the staff, the parties and the extravagant drinks. They now have 33 stores, with 27 of them franchised, so there’s also the need to watch standards and ensure franchisees remain profitable and true to the brand. We also discussed how Stan learned his trade as a restaurateur, what hasn’t changed with customer expectations, and the role of email, social media and traditional mail in their marketing mix. Please enjoy this wonderful interview with a master of the industry!