Podcast 64: How to Cut Beverage Costs with Better Stock Control

Alcohol is valuable, so ordering, delivery, storage and service must all be handled with extra care. Errors can occur in valuation of the stock used, Point of Sale readings, and reconciling the two. And if they don’t balance, what’s the reason?

headphonesRed80In this interview Ken Burgin talks with Troy Kelly from Barmetrix. Troy runs a full-time stocktaking business for bars, pubs and restaurants, and there’s not much he hasn’t fixed: over-ordering, sloppy stock counts, storage problems, POS errors, below-average Gross Profit margins and good old fashioned stealing. When Troy puts quantities and figures under the microspope, the truth is there for all to see. Listen to this interview and you’ll have new ways to improve your profit margins – this week!

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Crazy: Examples of Restaurant Public Holiday Wage Rates in Australia

Australia has just finished the Easter holiday weekend – four days including Friday and Monday. For restaurants and cafes (or any hospitality businesses), the penalty wage rates on Public Holidays are brutal, and the reason many choose to close on those days. Hourly rates are basically double-time and a half – if a server was receiving $18 per hour normally, that would take it up to $45 per hour. Crazy!

Update: a bit of pushback on this via Twitter – ‘Why highlight the compensation of the worst paid workers. Why not point out crazy bonuses of the already rich?’. Fair point, but the result of these crazy wage levels is that many operators make ‘other arrangements’ under the table, or they’re just ignored. Or the business closes and those on casual rates get nothing at all. FairWork Australia does periodic wage audits, but I’ve never heard of one that focused just on public holiday rates.

Here’s how it works in practice – your comments are very welcome:

Podcast 63: How a Smart Bar Operator uses Social Media to Drive Sales

Steve Vallas is the proprietor of Honey Bar in South Melbourne. Offering ‘a drink for every mood and a toast for every occasion’, he’s created a popular venue with a friendly, casual atmosphere, good food and a great space for functions.

podcastlogoblue80In this interview with Ken Burgin, Steve describes how he uses Twitter and Facebook to make personal connections with current and future customers – to have conversations, answer questions, and to let them know about future events. He prefers to invest time into social media ahead of traditional advertising and the discounts most competitors rely on – the results have been excellent.

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These restaurant videos will make you hungry

If you like carefully-prepared food, the videos on Vimeo will have you drooling. Vimeo prides itself as the showcase for quality film, so it’s the obvious place for good restaurants to put on a show. Lots of great food-movies on show if you search for ‘restaurant‘, and the range under ‘coffee‘ or ‘barista‘ is not bad either…

This restaurant in Toulouse in southern France looks like a great place…

Podcast 62: 10 More Great Tech Tools to Make Your Work Easier

Here’s another list of free or low-cost software and online services that I use and recommend. Everything from word-processing to video production, photo fixing and faxes. Suggestions welcome – what are your favourite productivity or creativity tools? Leave a comment in the link above. This list follows the first set on Podcast 23: 10 Great Tech Tools to Make Your Work Easier


  • LibreOffice – a free alternative to Microsoft Office, doing most of the same functions.
  • Teamviewer – access your mother’s computer screen when she calls for help and you’re in a different city :)
  • Asana – online project management for teams, eliminating the confusion of email and keeping everyone on the same page.
  • Slideshare – put Powerpoint presentations online so people can watch them on the web.
  • FaxMate – customers still want to send faxes occasionally, so here’s a simple service that handles your fax number and emails you what’s sent.
  • Animoto – turn photos into short compilation videos with a music track. Great souvenirs for a special event.
  • Fotoflexer – edit photos online for free. Brighten, crop, resize, add text captions or combine into a collage.
  • Chrome Apps – if you use the Chrome browser (Mac and PC), there are lots of useful apps and extensions to add functionality. Ones I use are for Evernote (save a web page to an Evernote file), Pinterest (add a photo on a web page to a Pinterest board), a URL shortener to generate a compact URL out of a long one, and even a quick Currency converter.
  • Camera+ – an excellent iPhone app to brighten and adjust photos. Useful to add shine and light to a photo before you put it onto Instagram or Facebook.
  • Jing – I use Jing to do a quick screen recording and explain what needs to be changed in a design, article or spreadsheet. Or use it for quick explanations for staff about how to fill out forms and use computer functions.
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Podcast 61: Managing Anger in the Workplace

Resentment, aggression, angry words and bullying – strong emotions show up in many ways at work, and the effects are felt by everyone – even customers. In this interview Ken Burgin talks about anger with Duncan Morris, an experienced counsellor and social worker who’s also been a manager in large organisations.

headphonesRed80Duncan explains the nature of anger, what causes it, and how managers and supervisors can handle angry situations when they flare up. Our job as managers and business owners is to create a safe and respectful workplace, and when there are angry outbursts and negativity, the situation needs to be handled quickly. This is a challenge for many supervisors, especially if they are young or inexperienced. You can contact Duncan at Watersedge Counselling.

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Memo from the Boss to Employees, and from Employees Back to the Boss

Memo from the Boss:
I am sometimes under enormous pressure from upper management; pressure that you seldom see. Anything that you can do to make my job easier will be greatly appreciated.

Your interests are important, but please remember that I also have to juggle the concerns and feelings of a bunch of other people, including individuals outside of the department.

I may not have been given a huge amount of training before being named to a supervisory position. As a result, I’ve had to learn through trial and error. That’s not always bad. Many of my responsibilities can only be learned through practice.

If you are a former co-worker of mine, please recognize that supervising former peers is one of the toughest jobs any supervisor faces. The support that you give me is crucial.

I will make mistakes. Please give me the same understanding that you’d like me to give you when you blunder. If I do something dumb or am on the verge of doing so, please tell me. Don’t hint. Tell me.

I don’t like unpleasant surprises. Let me in on bad news as soon as possible. (Things that you believe are obvious may not be that clear to me. On the other hand, you’d be surprised at how quickly the latest gossip reaches my ears.)

I expect you to take initiative. If you keep bouncing things to me, I’m going to wonder why I have you around. You should ask questions if you don’t know what to do. On the other hand, you should not have to be taught the same thing over and over again.

Let’s respect each other’s time. We each have a job to do and the more we can reduce unnecessary interruptions, the happier we’ll each be.

Don’t let all of my talk about meeting goals and producing results lead you into unethical behavior. You always have my permission to be ethical.

If either of us has a problem with the other’s performance, let’s talk about it.

And in return, a Memo from the Employees:
Please remember that you are the leader of our group. We expect you to lead, to communicate that leadership, and to take responsibility.

As you ask me to respect your position and skill, please respect mine. Leadership does not equate to absolute control. If I am to exercise initiative, you must to relinquish a certain amount of control. If you want me to do great things, you have to take the risk that I might screw up, too.

Welcome to the organization. Please take the time to learn what we do, and why we do it, before you decide to change it. Just because it worked at your previous organization does not mean there is a 1:1 correlation at this organization.

Communicate. Consistently and frequently. I don’t like surprises, either. If you’re aware of a change of strategic vision that will affect my projects, please tell me. Any news affecting my job should come from you first – not from an all-company bulletin or the rumor mill.

“I was wrong.” “I’m sorry.” If you can say these two things when necessary, and mean them, you’ll gain more respect than you can imagine.

We, your employees, have the power to make you look very good. You have the power to enable us to do so, and to shield us from bureaucracy and management power struggles. Quid pro quo.

>>> Thanks to Execupundit via Seth Godin.


Podcast 60: How to Help Staff Improve their Performance

Most staff want to do the right thing, but sometimes they don’t know how – they may need more information and training. And sometimes they don’t want to work correctly – that will need a different type of strategy. Changing staff behaviour is usually at the centre of business transformation, and that’s the focus of Ken Burgin’s guest today, Kevin Dwyer of Change Factory. Kevin has worked with hundreds of teams and thousands of team members, including many in the field of service and hospitality.

podcastlogoblue80In the interview we discussed how this change should be handled by supervisors and managers – the people responsible for ensuring staff perform at their best. We discussed the three pre-conditions for making change happen, and how ‘Skill, Will and Hill’ can get in the way. It’s a great discussion and of value for everyone in your leadership team.

It also connects with the previous interview Ken did with Kevin Dwyer on How to Be a Better Leader – well worth checking. You can also find a wide range of articles and resources in the Profitable Hospitality Staff Manegement Dept.

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Creating More Openness to Improve Productivity [video]

How can we get people more engaged, more productive, and happier at work? Compare the openness and frankness of social media communication, with the stitched-up and closed ways restaurant owners, managers and staff share ideas about business development, problem-solving and change – what a contrast!

In this short, interesting video, Dave Coplin thinks about what could be possible if teams started to really communicate differently. It could be in a private Facebook Group, or on a private project management website like Asana or TeamworkPM – wherever ideas can be shared openly for all the team to see. Exciting, and very different…