Profitable Hospitality Podcast

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Dave Nitzel has a background in the corporate world, and in joining Barmetrix he was able to bring his knowledge of logistics, stock control and management to the busy and often crazy world of bar and restaurant operations. It’s always good to have an experienced outsider bring some perspective to this industry! We had a wide-ranging discussion about time management, improving personal and employee productivity, the real work of business owners, and overcoming the ‘badge of honour’ thinking about long hours of work equalling dedication and achievement. Dave’s 3 P’s framework for improving time management and reducing stress make sense for people at all levels of your business. It’s well worth acquiring his excellent book Bar Shift for your own education and for training staff. I learned a lot from this conversation.
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.
Ken Burgin has another conversation with Paul Leach, a business broker and the director of GSE Business Consultants. He’s sold nine of his own food businesses over the last 24 years, and has learnt a thing or two about how the sale process works, and the value of having your business ‘ready to sell’ at any time. We discussed the importance of having well-documented systems and processes, and the value of cloud-based systems that make it easy for a purchaser to verify figures (eg Point of Sale, accounting, rostering and bookings). We also talked about the importance of a good long lease, and the many small things that make a business attractive to a potential buyer. Paul had buyers making unsolicited offers for some of his businesses – maybe that could happen for you too!
Ken Burgin had a lively conversation with Brisbane accountant Jason Andrew, who is keen to challenge the financial habits of hospitality entrepreneurs. Their decisions are too often based on ‘gut feeling’ and emotions, rather than the truth that accurate figures can reveal. Jason has just published a book Stark Naked Numbers, and gives a great blueprint for ‘High Touch’ businesses like cafes and restaurants, and how they can focus on the daily and weekly numbers that show what’s really happening. We also discussed his 5 Principles for running a successful business, starting with a commitment to make yourself redundant, and then working to maximise margins, optimise cashflow, leverage your assets and continually ‘sharpen the saw’ with learning, innovation and better business habits. Whether you’re a ‘numbers person’ or not, you will learn a lot from Jason’s approach to making a business successful.
Ken Burgin talks with Paul Leach, a business broker and the director of GSE Business Consultants. He’s sold nine of his own food businesses over the last 24 years, and has learnt a thing or two about how the sale process works! We discussed the different professionals involved in the sales process, and went step-by-step through the decision to sell, preparing it for sale, listing the business, establishing a selling price, looking for buyers, negotiation and closing the transaction. We also talked about negotiation with landlords, satisfying suspicious buyers, the value of ‘growth potential’ and keeping momentum through the sales process. Paul has handled many cafe and restaurant sales, and it was great to draw on his extensive experience.
Ken Burgin talks with Andre Ursini about the opening of his new Italian restaurant Orso, in Adelaide. We previously interviewed Andre in Podcast #283 From Master Chef to Italian Restaurant Success, and it was great to catch up with him again to talk about his second restaurant. We discussed the challenges of renovating and opening in a historic building, building and strengthening a team of employees, expanding the management systems and creating a competitive edge against other restaurants in the city. We also raised a question often asked in interviews with restaurateurs: ‘how do you have a business and also have a life with your family?’.
Ken Burgin talks with Ilija and Nicole Sumracki, the owners of Nutrition Republic in Adelaide. Their business has grown from one retail shop, to four very popular food outlets, catering to people who want to ‘consume real, whole, unprocessed food, and have an awakening to the unnecessary and not so healthy ingredients used in many commonly bought foods’. We discussed how they share responsibilities, managing cashflow and administration, developing business systems, creating a positive culture and working with a growing team of staff. Neither of them have a hospitality background, and they’ve learned and grown at a fast pace – there’s a lot they share that you will relate to!
Ken Burgin talks with foodservice equipment expert Cathy Goodwin about the selection, maintenance and repair of all that expensive equipment you have in your kitchen. In the constant rush of foodservice production, it’s easy for this to be neglected. We toured around a typical kitchen, discussing dishwashers, stoves, refrigeration and freezers, deep fryers, exhaust systems, drainage and plumbing – when it’s working well, it can produce some great profits. And when it breaks down, the repair bills can be a shock! You’ll enjoy tapping into Cathy’s wide-ranging knowledge and experience.  
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.
Your menu can be a powerful sales tool, or a hit-and-miss catalogue of the food and drinks you sell. By taking a careful, even scientific approach to layout, contents and design, it’s possible to increase sales of your most profitable items, and influence people to order more than they originally planned. In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with behavioural specialist and consumer expert Bri Williams about the many elements that can be brought together for effective menu design. It starts with an understanding of the basic ‘irrationality’ of customers, and builds with the form, menu choices and descriptions used, plus pricing, highlights, typeface, paper and colours. It’s a fascinating subject, and one that can give foodservice operators some quick wins if you take care with menu design and production.
The food products you see on supermarket shelves don’t just happen by accident – the recipes were carefully crafted by chefs, food technicians and marketers to meet the flavour, presentation and price expectations of the retailer and the consumer. On a smaller scale, the same process is undertaken by a chef developing a new recipe for a restaurant. In this podcast, Ken Burgin talks with Corporate Chef Adam Moore about how new recipes and food products are developed. We discussed his 6 Step Development Process, and how it’s been applied to successful food products. We also talked about food trends, product life-cycles, and why some recipes are more popular than others.
Ken Burgin is talking with restaurant profitability expert Ivan Brewer, and they’re attempting to work out what will drive restaurant success in the future: 2019 is very different to 2009 or even 1999! They discussed Ivan’s background in restaurants and fast-paced hospitality, and where he learned his greatest lessons. Plus the modern skills that smart operators need to manage tough conditions and ever-growing competition. They also talked about skill shortages and labour productivity, and the simpler levels of service that customers will accept, if wage costs are to be reduced.
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
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.
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
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Ken Burgin
Podcast Status
Hiatus/Finished
Started
Oct 23rd, 2012
Latest Episode
Jun 18th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
300
Avg. Episode Length
42 minutes
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic

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