Podcast 90: Helping Staff Manage their Money and their Future

Ever worry about how your staff manage their finances? Rent, credit cards, mobile phone plans and another round of vodkas – it’s not just the young ones who get behind in their payments. We don’t pay high wages in hospitality, and many staff live from week to week with little left over.

speakers_green80_2In this interview Ken Burgin talks with financial planner Craig Bigelow of Rising Tide. We discussed how to start positive conversations about money, improving people’s ‘financial intelligence’, using peer influence for positive results, the difference between good debt and bad debt, plus saving, insurance and wills. Craig worked in a bar for five years, so he knows how the industry works. This is a very positive discussion with value for staff (and owners) of all ages.

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Crazy: keeping customers warm in the most expensive, wasteful way possible

We want our guests to be warm and comfortable; so they relax, enjoy themselves, and spend. But using these popular bottled gas heaters defies all logic, especially when utility prices are rising so quickly. At a recent GreenChef Workshop in Sydney, the presenters calculated these things cost $3.50 per hour to run…each!

Img 1045-3At this restaurant row, I counted 102 of them in a line outside 6 businesses. If each is used for say 5 hours per day x 7 days, that’s $12,495 per week on heating that most people don’t even feel! A basic rule of physics says that heat rises – surely there are better ways to warm us than these anti-environment dinosaurs. Invest in a better system and save a fortune…

Podcast 89: 10 Ways to Make Your Cafe Stand Out from the Crowd

There’s a lot more to cafe success than good coffee. You need the right location, equipment, product knowledge and menu. Plus staff who can deliver great service and create a consistent product day after day. Then add smart marketing and a friendly helping of social media.

podcast80In this interview, Ken Burgin talks about cafe success with Levi Andersen of Boyrista.com. He first decided to pull shots for career day at age 6, complete with a Starbucks t-shirt. He resumed his connection with serious coffee during high school, and was soon running a family coffee stand, then his own cafe. Fast forward several years and he’s now working with Coffee Fest and helping new and existing cafe operators to raise their barista skills, popularity and profits. You can also follow him on Twitter and his excellent podcast.

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The 4 Essential Words for Leaders, and the 18 second problem

What are the 4 essential words?

Watch this short video from management thinker Tom Peters, and ponder on the ’18 second problem’ he outlines. Sure sounds familiar to me – I’ve done it and experienced it. And it may be an extra challenge for males who like to be the people with the answers!

Share this one with your team…

Podcast 88: How to Run Successful Meetings

So many meetings don’t work – too long or too short, some people talk too much, others say nothing. Important decisions may be forgotten or ignored, and accountability is avoided. Typical meetings in a restaurant, bar or hotel could be the ten minute pre-shift, half an hour each week for the management team, or a monthly meeting for all staff, designed for education and updates – they can all be useful.

podcastlogoblue80In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Cindy Tonkin, the consultant’s consultant. She’s worked in many business settings – established corporates, growth companies and informal small operations. She brings great energy and creativity to this discussion, and will help you make meetings a productive and appreciated part of your management. She has also gathered for us a number of recommended articles on meetings – check them out and all the resources on her website.

You can also hear Cindy in Podcast #72 on How to Be a Successful Restaurant and Bar Consultant, and check her website The Consultant’s Consultant.

LISTEN to more free podcasts from Profitable Hospitality at the iTunes Store.

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So what’s the ROI of being active on social media?

As with so many of these annoying questions (this is 2014, people), the answer is… it depends! Here is Gary V’s take on it – comparing his social media activity in various channels with that of others who really make it sing.

Mediocre participation and just doing the minimum usually means mediocre results – like most business and marketing activity…

Podcast 87: How can Restaurants & Bars get more from their Bank?

Banks can be a source of endless frustration. You want to borrow money for a startup, extend credit during a quiet period, or arrange finance for expansion…and the answer always seems to be ‘No!’. Most of the time, we just don’t know how banks work and how they make decisions.

podcast80In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Neil Slonim, The Bank Doctor. For 30 years he held senior leadership positions in Business Banking, Corporate Banking and in the ‘bad banks’ of both NAB and its subsidiary Bank of New Zealand. ‘Bad banks’ are the divisions where problem loans and borrowers are managed. Neil now works with small and medium size businesses to help them survive and thrive – he’s ‘the banker in your corner’.

We discussed finance for startups, how successful operators can raise money for expansion, how bank decisions are made and how to get the answer you do want to hear. As a part of his consulting service, he offers a very useful Bank Risk Report, giving you detailed information on where you stand with your bank, plus 40 suggestions on how you can improve your standing. More information at The Bank Doctor website, and use the discount coupon ABIS15. You can also follow Neil on Twitter and subscribe to his monthly newsletter. Also very relevant is his downloadable article – Borrowing from a friend or family member for your business.

LISTEN to more free podcasts from Profitable Hospitality at the iTunes Store.

Android and Windows phone users, add our RSS Link to your podcast app of choice or find us on the Stitcher app or on SoundCloud.


Cut or Save? Which term gets the best response from staff?

We’ve all heard the politicians blaming each other, and most people are tired of empty promises and attacks ads. It’s like Japanese kabuki theatre – elaborate, stylised action on stage, unrelated to the reality or activity behind the scenes.

In the last Australian election, there was an interesting distinction between how the two parties talk about reducing spending. The government (behind in the polls) warned about the savage CUTS the opposition would make if they get into power. The other side never used the word ‘cut’, but constantly talks about the need for SAVINGS. There’s emotion in both words:

Cuts: sharp, sudden, loss, ending something, bloody, scary, painful…largely negative.  
Savings: virtuous, less pain, less waste, worthy, no sense of loss…much more positive.

How can this work when your team needs to reduce food or labour costs? ‘Hey manager, you need to urgently cut wages back to 32% of sales’…or, ‘I need you to find $500 of savings in your roster so we can keep to budget’.

Or ‘chef, you need to cut your food costs back to below 28%’…or ‘chef, find out how you can save $600 a week on your costs’.

Both amount to the same, but which one will be more effective? Sometimes we need to yell CUT, but the danger is that it’s muscle, not fat that is sliced from budgets. Savings…sounds much more positive, but will it be as quick, and taken seriously? Your thoughts welcome…


Podcast 86: Yes, There is a Great Life After Restaurants – Interview with Alex Herbert

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 Eveleigh Markets, and regular appearances at festivals and food events.

speakers_green80_2If 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 lights at a restaurant doesn’t mean you drop out of site.

LISTEN to more free podcasts from Profitable Hospitality at the iTunes Store.

Android and Windows phone users, add our RSS Link to your podcast app of choice or find us on the Stitcher app or on SoundCloud.


Is it realistic for restaurants to join the push for less sugar?

It’s complicated… on the one hand we want to sell more desserts and sweet treats, but the evidence is plain about the harm that excess sugar does to us. There are equal to 12 sugar packets in a typical 600ml (20 oz) bottle of Coke (not much less in juice) – how many of those have your staff and customers consumed today? It’s in everything – savoury sauces, packaged meals, the Thai stirfry I love…everything.

Dieticians and nutritionists are deeply concerned – the discussion is informed and thoughtful. How does the restaurateur and chef join this debate? It needs to be less perverse and grumpy, as it was in the arguments against gluten-free options, and in favour of smoking (remember?!). It’s hard work trying to sell ‘healthy’, low-sugar desserts, and the final cake or icecream can be an important addition to daily sales. How much can we be responsible for the health of our customers when they want more of something ‘bad’? Tobacco, alcohol, gambling, late nights, sugar… we sell it all!

For me, understanding the physiology of these things helps to shift my own behaviour – this short video is a very good explanation of what goes on inside our brain and body.