Podcast 96: 20 Lessons from Smart Cafe & Restaurant Operators

A change of pace in this interview – Ken Burgin is talking to another industry podcaster, Eric Cacciatore from Restaurant Unstoppable. He’s a young industry gun who’s hungry to find out how new and seasoned operators are handling social media and marketing, staff management, cost control, technology, innovation and competition. It’s no surprise that cacciatore means ‘hunter’ in Italian!

headphonesRed80We covered these topics and more, with Eric sharing from the experience of his interview guests and the ‘knowledge bombs’ they throw his way! I was interviewed by Eric a few months back for his Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast, and now he’s returning the favour for Profitable Hospitality – I hope you enjoy the show!

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Podcast 95: How to Negotiate With Landlords and Business Owners

Negotiation is part of everyday life – we’re always having to work out deals with family members, staff and suppliers. Occasionally there are BIG deals that need to be agreed upon – the sale or purchase price of a business, details of a bank loan, or the lease terms with a landlord. Many of the same negotation skills apply, but the risks are much higher.

podcastlogoblue80In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Peter Panagiotopoulos, the Cafe Lawyer. Peter works primarily with foodservice businesses, helping them to buy, sell and work out leases. He’s seen plenty of successful negotiations, and some that haven’t worked out so well. Offers, counter-offers, concessions, brokers, lawyers, timing, respect, cultural issues and the right way to communicate – there’s a lot we cover in this *conversation. Peter was also interviewed in Podcast 11 on How to Maximise the Resale Value of a Cafe or Restaurant – you can find him at his website and on Twitter.

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*Note: The information in this podcast is not intended to be and must not be relied upon as legal advice.

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Humans need not apply, even for basic restaurant work?

This video has a challenging message, but what it highlights is already well underway. It’s saying to us humans ‘you are not that special… and you’ve become too expensive!’.

In every way they can, large operators are replacing local staff with an offshore worker or a machine. Small operators follow a few years later, relieved to get rid of staff problems and the misery of unfillable job vacancies.

What does this mean for daily operations?

  • The iPad kiosk is ‘good enough’  (and faster) for ordering in a quick service restaurant or fast food
  • Bookings are often more reliable when done via a web service
  • Coffee from automated machines that grind to exact specifications is ‘good enough’ for most people
  • The person who takes a phone inquiry or drive-through order doesn’t have to be on the premises
  • Automatic re-ordering based on par levels and sales means less late-night stress, and more accuracy
  • Queue management and table allocation can be more efficient when handled by computerised systems
  • Many restaurants are already just heating up food from factories where automation is the norm
  • Many of the first stages of recruitment can be done by applicants using their mobile phone – filling out forms, eligibility checks, interview timing etc. So much time can be saved here!
  • Staff find online rostering and shift requests much quicker and easier than the old ways
  • Online training can be more interesting and available than what’s delivered by an overworked manager
  • People have happily embraced self-checkout at supermarkets – why not at a restaurant or take-away?
  • What other examples have you seen, or would you like?!

Automation doesn’t have to be perfect, just better than what’s being done now. Often that’s not hard! And what does this mean for the education your kids are undertaking, and their future career?

Podcast 94: Preparing and Promoting a Food & Wine Dinner

Food & Wine Events are a great way to showcase your food, wine list and the skill of chefs and sommelier. Customers book and pay in advance – they’re keen, the numbers are known and the cash is already in the bank. What’s not to love?

podcast80In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Rafael Delgado, an experienced sommelier based in Orlando, Florida. He has prepared a 7-course Menu*, pairing American cuisine with Napa Valley Wines. In the first part of the interview, he describes how he has matched the wines with the food, focusing on regionality, balance of flavours, matching body, contrasting flavours and encouraging the use of all the senses. This is not just ‘swallow and talk’, but building on volume, aromas, weight and texture.

In the second part of the interview, they talk about the many ways an event like this can be promoted to existing and new customers – through ‘four wall’ methods within the venue, the website, social media, email and online event listing services. There’s a lot of marketing detail covered, with methods that can be used for any type of event.

You can find Rafael on his blog, and he was also a guest in Podcast 77 on Wine Trends, Wine Descriptions and Educating Customers.

READ a detailed summary of the Interview on Profitable Hospitality [for Members]

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*THE MENU and WINES

Crab Cake with a smoked carrot and citrus sauce, petite cilantro garnish – with 2011 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, North Coast

Vidalia Onion Velouté – with 2012 Selene Hyde Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Carneros

Scallops with White Hominy Grits and English Peas – with 2011 Stags Leap Viognier Stags Leap District

Arugula and Zinfandel Poached Pear Salad with Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Pomegranate Vinaigrette – with 2011 Storybook Mountain Zinfandel Mayacamas Mountain Range

Dry-aged NY Strip Loin with a cauliflower and Yukon Gold Potatoes Purée and mushroom essence – with 2011 Red Mare Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – decanted

Cheese Platter – Humboldt Fog, Purple Haze goat cheese, Wisconsin 4yr Aged Cheddar

Chocolate Truffles – with 2006 Dolce Far Niente Late Harvest

What Can Jamie Oliver Teach Chefs Who Want to Build a Reputation?

A recent marketing article looked at how people are becoming brands, and brands try to become ‘people’. It got me thinking about a recent industry event, with a number of high-profile chefs in various stages of their careers. All happy to take the stage and build their profile.

The article outlined four pillars for a ‘brand’ like Jamie Oliver to be successful:

jamiecircle1. They are different. That means maintaining a point of difference as others copy what you do – Jamie is on to the next thing just as others are imitating his latest venture. He keeps the ‘cheeky chap’ image, even if he’s now a father of four and has put on a few pounds (haven’t we all). Your ‘point of difference’ needs to be more than a loud mouth and opinions – people want freshness, relevance and someone they could say hello to. Different, but not scary or extreme.

2. Relevant – he’s not just about flavour but also about ethical food, a healthier lifestyle and causes we can all support. He campaigns on many different fronts – for better food in schools, ethical animal raising, affordable meals, people learning to cook, and career opportunities for young people. Behind the scenes he must have a formidable machine to support his enthusiasm, and an extra-special way of juggling family and all that travel!

3. Well regarded for their quality and popularity – he takes a stand on good causes, and actively pursues popularity via regular TV shows and a wide range of social media and online activities. The breadth of his online presence is quite amazing, and he’s consistent – there are no dry patches on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. He avoids giving offence, but he’s not bland. Most restaurant people support good causes, but it’s often stop and start, or focused on one or two annual events.

4. People understand them – he’s ‘one of us’, just like the apprentice you once employed and hoped they would do well. He speaks clearly, steers clear of scandal and swearing, and the causes he supports are ones that we all agree with. No financial shadows (we hope) to smudge the reputation – a tough one for some chefs who overreach.

I’m going to add one more:

5. What they do is profitable - that means the success can be sustained, with room for innovation and space for the occasional mistake. Having people to support and promote you does not come cheap – it’s obvious that at an early stage Jamie recognised the need for a good support team and has continued to invest in it. Many chefs don’t or can’t do this, and it affects their longer-term success.

Cheers Jamie – love your work!

ONE MORE THING – the recent podcast on How Chefs & Restaurateurs Can Build a Local Profile is also worth listening to on this topic…

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Also Flickr.com: Scandic Hotels

Podcast 93: Legal Essentials for a New Cafe, Restaurant or Bar

There are plenty of legal issues to be handled before you begin a new restaurant or bar: the lease, a contract if you take over an existing business, planning permission and all the details around finance and equipment. But there’s still more to come once you open the doors.

podcast80In this interview, Ken Burgin talks to Richard Edwards, a lawyer with Whites Legal, a Melbourne firm that specialises in hospitality businesses. He compares this early stage of business to ‘the awkward teenage years’, when you’re growing up fast, making a few mistakes and having to learn quickly about what responsible adults do. We discussed essential employment law, staff policies that should be in place, online rostering systems like Deputy, insurance, Workcover and workers compensation, paying taxes, paying license fees for music, and the obligations and milestones in your lease. This interview has important information for all new restaurant, cafe and bar operators.

More resources at Profitable Hospitality in the Starting a Cafe or Restaurant Dept, and in Sydney, Ken runs the popular Starting a Cafe or Restaurant Workshop.

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15 (fairly dangerous) Ways to Open a Wine Bottle

Definitely not for use in the restauarant, but maybe in the garage at home. Some light-hearted content to share with customers on your Facebook Page* or business blog.

*Just add the YouTube link and some introductory words to a post on Facebook – a video thumbnail will automatically show within the post. A great way to add previews of entertainers or musicians who may be coming to your venue – the savvy ones usually have plenty of content on YouTube.

Podcast 92: How to Make Short, Interesting Videos to Share with Customers

Marketing and social media keep changing, and video is more popular than ever – with customers, and with potential guests. Google also wants to show moving images, not just text and photos. We all have a smartphone in our pocket – it’s time to take it out and film what’s happening all around. Customer comments, community events, interviews, staff, new supplies and ‘behind the scenes’ – hospitality is full of stories. Short is better – think of how much information can be squeezed into a 30-second TV commercial!

speakers_green80_2In this interview, Ken Burgin talks with Max Hitchins, the Hospitality Doctor. Over the last few years, Max has recorded hundreds of videos and posted them to his YouTube channel. He uses a regular camera, and sometimes just his phone, then adds titles and descriptions in the YouTube notes. He explains his video process, and how easily you can do it too. Everyone’s now talking about ‘content marketing’, and what could be easier than asking customers for an interview so they create it for you!

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

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Here’s one of Max’s videos, where he’s interviewing a pub owner:

Online bullying and dumb photos – lessons for young staff

There’s some good material being produced by ACMA* for teaching young people how to be smarter with online activity. This one shows how crazy photos shared randomly online can come back to bite – a good video to post on your Staff Facebook Group?

The next one is longer, and set in a school – called TAGGED, it’s a dramatic look at how sharing photos spirals into bullying and harassment. The situation could equally apply in a bar or large operation with lots of staff and not enough ‘parental controls’. This has been widely shown in schools, and is also suitable for private staff viewing.

Have you got this covered? Don’t forget to update (or introduce) your own Cyberbullying Prevention Policy & Guidelines.

*Australian Communications & Media Authority