Restaurant Catering APRIL 2018 $6.95 GST incl.
Business of breakfast
Diners expect more than bacon-and-egg rolls these days page 12
Take a seat
How to combat the food delivery boom Go to page 34
Discover the sweetest product guide ever page 27
WO H O ! Women in Hospitality board member Anna Pavoni and founder Julia Campbell— with 400 other members—are supporting females in a male-dominated industry
Official Journal of Restaurant & Catering
CONTENTS APRIL 2018 $ 6. 95 GST INCL
FROM T H E ASSOCIAT ION
NEWS & EVENTS
Words from the CEO and President of Restaurant & Catering.
New fund to help cafes and restaurants; H&L improves integration; Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship, and much more.
MOR NING GLORY
SPR EADING T H E WOR D
R ECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Managing the business of breakfast can reap great reviews—and great revenues—if it’s done right. Is PR and social media something that’s self-manageable, or is expert guidance required?
For nearly 30 years,Vicki Woods has been at the helm of Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie in Maitland, NSW. It’s no secret that hospitality can be a challenging industry for women, but a new, female-led not-for-profit is committed to helping change things.
T ECH NOLOGY
Find out how to appeal to customers’ sweet-tooths. COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: RICHARD MORTIMER
With more people opting to eat takeaways at home, many are wondering if home delivery will kill the restaurant trade. Ben Canaider explains why sparkling shiraz is an Aussie original. Once a cold, concrete shell, Hurricane’s Grill in Narellan, NSW, is now a big, brash, friendly eating destination.
Follow us on
RESTAURANT & CATERING 3
Restaurant Catering RESTAURANT & CATERING’S MISSION: TO LEAD AND REPRESENT THE AUSTRALIAN RESTAURANT AND CATERING INDUSTRY.
CONTACT DETAILS Restaurant & Catering Australia Address: Level 3, 154 Pacific Highway, St Leonards NSW 2064 Tel: 1300 722 878 Fax: 1300 722 396 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: rca.asn.au/rca President: Mark Scanlan (NSW) Vice President: Brian Leyden (WA) Treasurer: Mike Palmer (NSW) Chief Executive Ofﬁcer: Juliana Payne
Restaurant & Catering magazine is published under licence on behalf of Restaurant & Catering by Engage Custom Media, Suite 3.06, 55 Miller Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009 www.engagemedia.com.au Editor: Kerryn Ramsey Art Director: John Yates Associate Editor: Kathy Graham Contributors: John Burfitt, Ben Canaider, Meg Crawford, Frank Leggett, Rachel Smith, Sarah Thomas Sales Director: Adam Cosgrove Direct: (02) 9660 6995 ext 505 Fax: (02) 9518 5600 Mobile: 0457 387 187 Email: email@example.com Editorial Director: Rob Johnson Commercial Director: Mark Brown For all editorial, subscription and advertising enquiries, ph: 1300 722 878 Print Post approved PP: 2255003/06505, ISSN 1442-9942 ©2017 Engage Custom Media. Views expressed in Restaurant & Catering magazine are not necessarily those of Restaurant & Catering or that of the publisher, editor or Engage Custom Media. Printed by Webstar
EDUCATION & PROJECT PARTNERS
9,478 — CAB Audited as at September, 2017
4 RESTAURANT & CATERING
11/4/18 4:16 pm
ASSOCIATION SCAMS ARE AN unfortunate risk of running a business, whether it be small or large. According to the ACCC, businesses lost $3.8 million to scams in 2016, with over $2 million lost by small or micro-sized businesses. As the nature of scams becomes more sophisticated, it is crucial for operators to be vigilant and aware of the possible types of scams affecting their business, both online and on the floor. Although the internet is now an indispensable part of life, scams are not just limited to the online realm. For instance, a few weeks ago in Brisbane, a small group of scammers targeted local cafe and restaurant businesses telling owners that they had found glass in their meals. Following these claims, the scammers demanded THERE ARE NOW over 45,000 cafes, restaurants and catering businesses operating throughout Australia. Since there were only 36,500 of these businesses in 2013, it shows that the sector has grown by almost 25 per cent over the past five years. If you look closer at this data, you’ll see that the growth in the number of cafes and restaurants is pretty evenly dispersed across the country, with all states and territories recording growth over the past financial year. While cafes and restaurants have increased their national footprint, the number of caterers hasn’t moved all that much from 2016. Interestingly enough, some
Keep up to date with Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) news, events, products and programs, and ‘like’ and ‘follow’ the association on social media with #restcatering/ restaurantandcatering @restcatering restaurant-&-cateringindustry-association
to receive the meals for free. It’s believed that at least six businesses were targeted by the scammers over the course of a week. R&CA advises all businesses to look out for the most common signs of scams and attempt to verify any claims made before responding. Whether it’s fake invoices, malicious emails or customers making fraudulent claims about the contents of their food, it’s imperative to remain hyper-aware of the potential threats and deal with them safely and appropriately. If you ever experience a scam, call the Association on 1300 722 878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Juliana Payne, CEO Restaurant & Catering Australia
states and territories actually went backwards in their overall number of catering companies. While having more businesses on the market is an indication of higher consumer demand, it means there’s a smaller slice of the profits to go around. As we all know, opening a new cafe or restaurant can be risky if you don’t get the fundamental aspects of running a business right. There’s fierce competition for customer dollars at every corner and cafes and restaurants need to stay at the top of their game if they’re to survive for the long haul. Mark Scanlan, President Restaurant & Catering Australia
Join the conversation on the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence with #savourawards /savouraustralia @savouraus /savour-australia
Discover Hospitality is here to help your career take off—and stay on track. Discover the career possibilities or find suitable staff with #discoverhospitality #discoverhospitality /discover-hospitality
RESTAURANT & CATERING 5
11/4/18 4:16 pm
Small in size -
Big in stature
In the modern catering and food service sector, there is a capital element to be taken into account: space organisation. Space has been getting smaller and smaller in order to reduce operational costs. To address this requires a new way of thinking about a product: multi-function, efficient & space saving.
In one word: Kompatto
R&C ENTREE NEWS
CO O K I N G O N A L L B U R N E RS
OzHarvest CEO CookOff goes off Leadership, passion and amazing teamwork helped break all records last month as top chefs and industry leaders joined forces to raise $2,021,555 at OzHarvest’s biggest CEO CookOff.
Two hundred CEOs and corporate teams cooked alongside 50 of Australia’s well-known chefs to feed 1400 special guests from charity agencies across Sydney a five-star feast at the city’s largest pop-up
restaurant—all at the Royal Hall of Industries. The competitive nature of the industry bosses saw charity fundraising taken to a new level as Merchant Group’s managing director,
New fund to boost spend in cafes and restaurants
Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) welcomes the Commonwealth Government’s announcement of a $12-million investment over three years to establish the Boosting Business Events Bid Fund program. The establishment of a multimillion dollar national business events fund was one of R&CA’s key policy priorities arising out of its 2018-19 PreBudget Submission and was also strongly recommended by other industry stakeholders. R&CA CEO Juliana Payne said that labour-intensive service sectors such as cafes and restaurants would experience considerable economic flowon effects from a rise in international business delegates, given that these travellers spend significantly more money during
their stay compared to others. “The economic flow-on effects from an influx of international business delegates is particularly valuable for cafe and restaurant businesses, given that the average spend among these travellers is 21 per cent higher than other international visitors according to a Deloitte Access Economics report published in 2014,” Payne said. “The spend from international tourists on food and drink items over the 2017 calendar year was approximately $6 billion, according to [recently released] International Visitor Survey results and we’d expect this figure to be even higher once the full benefits of the Government’s new Boosting Events Bid Fund program are realised.”
Andrew Chapman, topped the bill with a whopping $302,500. Corporate teams also battled for top spot on the leader board. In the end, PwC pipped BP Australia to the post by raising $106,040. Ronni Kahn, OzHarvest founder and CEO, was left speechless by the staggering amount of money raised. “I’m blown away by the unbelievable efforts of the CEOs and teams, who threw themselves into this event with fundraising gusto. Thanks to the generosity of their supporters, OzHarvest can now deliver another four million meals to help people in need.”
INTEGRATION IS KEY
The cost associated with additional hardware and software, together with counter space limitations and extra processing at the POS usually limits what you can offer as a service to your customers. The answer is integration of any or all of these mobile apps into a management middleware linking directly to the POS. This both streamlines the entire process and eliminates the need for multiple hardware devices on the service counter. H&L provides this middleware via a gateway portal which caters for multiple application integration, be that book and order ahead, order at table, payment, and more. With DOSHII and H&L hardware and software, venues can now make the decisions as to what apps and solutions suit their venue type to boost profitability, without the limitations of adding yet another system or terminal to the mix. RESTAURANT & CATERING 7
R&C ENTREE NEWS SPONSOR NEWS
Work around the world
Applications for the nationwide Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship supported by the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival are now open. The prestigious Scholarship offers the next generation of Australian hospitality workers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work across three different countries in internationally acclaimed hospitality businesses. The Scholarship winner will be partnered with a local industry leader for a year-long mentorship to expand their industry experience and connections in their chosen field. This year, three shortlisted finalists will also be invited to participate in an exclusive development day with Hostplus ambassador and acclaimed Melbourne chef, Shane Delia. All Australian residents aged 22 to 35 currently working in any area of expertise within the hospitality industry are able to apply. Applications are open until 5pm, EST on Friday, 4 May. Visit melbournefoodandwine.com. au/scholarship
Is this you? Chefs around the country have until 1 May to enter the renowned Chef of the Year competition, to be held at Foodservice Australia on 27-29 May at ICC Sydney. Chef Rosie Griffiths competed last year Open to any professional chef working in Australia, Chef of the Year has grown over the past decade to become a sought-after title with $10,000 up for grabs, plus a wealth of exciting prizes. “The competition is evolving, and this year the emphasis will be on showcasing the individual skills of each finalist,” says competition director Gary Farrell. “Chefs will be able to nominate some ingredients for their pantry and will know feature ingredients in advance, enabling them to practise their dish.” Farrell says the feature protein this year will be pork. “This is going to be very exciting for the finalists. Pork is such a versatile meat and takes on flavours beautifully. It will also showcase the skills of the chef to bring out the best texture and taste.” John McFadden will return as head judge of the competition, and Peter Howard AM will be MC. During May, the judging team will select 32 finalists to compete live over three days, culminating in the grand final on Tuesday 29 May. Farrell notes that more and more women are entering the competition, a trend he would like to continue. To enter go to chefcompetition.com.au.
Spicy coffee banoffee pavlova
Tabasco Sauce is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. In Australia alone, over two million bottles of Tabasco sauce were sold last year, proving that we’re a nation of hot sauce lovers. As the family-owned company reaches this milestone year, the global demand for pepper sauce continues to grow, as customers—and chefs—the world over find imaginative ways to incorporate Tabasco sauce into their dishes—everything from a good old-fashioned bloody mary, to scrambled eggs and avo for breakfast and even in desserts. 8 RESTAURANT & CATERING
WHAT'S ON... APRIL
It’s shaken, stirred and sipped—winners of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition are announced tonight. sfspiritscomp.com
R&CA’s Doing Business Better Panel: Managing Your People takes place in NSW (Pacific Diner at St Leonards), VIC (Pomodoro Sardo in Melbourne), and WA (University of WA, Crawley). rca.asn.au
Amsterdam on 16-18 April. foodinnovateworld.com
Employment lawyer Cecilia White is key speaker at R&CA’s SA Doing Business Better Panel: Managing Your People at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. rca.asn.au
‘Creating a Healthier and Positive Food Experience’ is one of the talks at the Food Innovate Summit in
Chefs join forces at Tasting Australia’s Glasshouse Kitchen
Award-winning international and local chefs join forces at the Glasshouse Kitchen in Adelaide, part of Tasting Australia on 13-22 April. tastingaustralia.com.au
Discover the best of French cuisine in the heart of Victoria at Pyrenees Unearthed
Wine + Food Festival on 21 April. pyrenees unearthedfestival.com.au
Be up to date with performance management, policies and procedures and more at R&CA’s Workplace Relations Session webinar. rca.asn.au Learn how to look after staff and increase productivity at R&CA’s Doing Business Better Panel: Managing Your People in Kingston, ACT. rca.asn.au
France comes to Victoria on 21 April
10 RESTAURANT & CATERING
See the latest refrigeration systems at Food & Hotel Asia’s Bakery & Pastry zone in Singapore on 24-27 April. bakerynpastry.com
See the latest and greatest at the World Olive Oil
Competition in New York with more than 900 entries from 27 countries. nyoliveoil.com
More than 70 different types of wine can be sampled at the Strategem Bendigo Winemakers Festival, VIC, during the end of harvest. bendigowine.org.au
Get first-hand grilling tips from homegrown chefs at Austin food+wine Festival’s humongous fire pit on 2729 April. austinfoodand winefestival.com
Dan Jones of Teamfinder shows how to get the best out of your staff at R&CA’s Doing Business Better Panel on Managing Your People in Brisbane. rca.asn.au
at the World Beer Cup awards in Nashville. worldbeercup.org
Four days to go: Remind customers to vote for their favourite restaurants, cafes and caterers and they go into the draw to win lunch or dinner vouchers to one of this year’s R&C Awards for Excellence winners. Closes on 4 May.
‘Giving Back: Redefining Hospitality Through the Social Good’ is the opening talk at HD Expo in Las Vegas on 2-4 May. hhdexpo.com.au
From Australian-style pale ale to German-Style Maerzen, winners from 101 categories are announced
Drink up at the Grampians on 5 May
Tonight’s five-course candlelit dinner launches the High Country Harvest in Milawa, VIC. On 4-20 May. highcountryharvest. com.au
Meet dedicated exhibitors of wine, craft beer and cider at the Grampians Grape Escape in Victoria all weekend. grampiansgrapeescape. com.au
Pop in at the Kellybrook Cider Festival in Victoria’s Yarra Valley to celebrate its 30th anniversary all weekend. kellybrookwinery.com.au/ festival
Savour a sirloin and relish a rump at Beef Australia’s Celebrity Chef Restaurant
in Central QLD’s city of Rockhampton on 6-12 May. beefaustralia.com.au
Ready to install a refrigeration system or looking for an upgrade? See the latest at the ARBS exhibition in Sydney on 8-10 May. arbs.com.au
Cheer for John Rivera of Restaurant Amaru in Armdale, VIC, as he competes with 20 other finalists at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Grand Finale in Italy’s city of Milan, . sanpellegrino.com/au/en
Prove your culinary skills by taking on the Blokes on the BBQ contest, all part of Moree on a Plate in NSW. moreeonaplate.com.au
PHOTOGRAPHY: BREWERS ASSOCIATION
Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year so make sure your staff are well prepared and your menu appeals to Mum and her family.
Mon 14 Beer for every nationality
Experience the Whistle Stop Tour of Street Food run by the A Tavola Cooking School at Pizzini Wines in Whitfield in VIC’s King Valley. pizzini.com.au RESTAURANT & CATERING 11
When it comes to breakfast service, speed and volume are key. Apart from the customers’ initial caffeine fix, what else are they looking for? By Sarah Thomas HAPPY CUSTOMERS mean happy proprietors, and managing the business of breakfast can reap great reviews—and great revenues— if it’s done right. On the Facebook page of Beau’s, a beachside cafe in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast town of Caloundra, a customer recently gushed about “the love” that was put into the presentation of their breakfast. Angie Everingham took over Beau’s with partner Mark Smitheram in March last year. Despite both being novices in hospitality (Everingham had a background in HR and operations; Smitheram in construction), they had a clear idea from the start about their approach with Beau’s. “We’ve always tried to have a focus on doing things that are fresh and new, and doing them well and really making them look amazing,” Everingham says. “Our chefs have come from a fine-dining background, so it gives them a little bit more of a care-factor and love for how the food looks when it goes out.” Head chef Adam Gaudion and commis chef Cameron Walter have overseen a transformation of Beau’s menu, such as bringing in its bestselling interpretation of eggs benedict, tagged Benny and the Eggs. Customers can choose the mushroom, salmon fillet or triple12 RESTAURANT & CATERING
smoked maple pork belly options and all come stacked with kale, avocado, poached eggs and housemade hollandaise sauce. It has that ‘wow’ factor and the all-important photogenic Insta-appeal that’s a win-win. And at $18.50 to $19.50, Everingham says, “It’s really quite a fairly big portion and people are often surprised about how much food they get for the cost of it.” The desire for delivering quality without blowing out costs is a fine balance. Everingham says a lot of time and thought has gone into the cafe’s all-day breakfast menu (it also does limited lunch options and a Friday and Saturday night dinner service), to ensure cost and time efficiency. “The menu that Adam created has quite a bit of skill in terms of maximising the amount of dishes but minimising the amount of ingredients,” she says. “So there are numerous things used across dishes, which means it cuts down on prep and gives you the ability to buy more of a certain item, which might make it a little cheaper.” Beau’s aims to use locally sourced goods and has changed its suppliers in coffee, chai tea and meat for closer options. Everingham says she has been surprised at the high level of interest customers have in where their breakfast comes from.
Similarly, award-winning restaurant Fred Eatery, in Aldgate Village in the Adelaide Hills, strives to go local, such as with its coffee, bread, meat and eggs. It can be more expensive an outlay, says coowner Aaron Bond, but it’s worth it. “Quality generally costs a bit more and we’re prepared to wear that but we also build it into our pricing,” he says. “We’re not the cheapest in town but we offer great value and once people have the meal, they understand the value.” Bond and co-owner Todd Langley took over the business in November 2015. Again, they had a firm vision from day one about what they wanted to achieve. “We were aiming to create a fairly informal space and
“Both of our chefs have come from a fine-dining background, so it gives them a little bit more of a care-factor and love for how the food looks when it goes out. Angie Everingham, co-owner, Beau’s
RESTAURANT & CATERING 13
offer quality-driven comfort food,” says Bond. “We didn’t want a finedining type restaurant; we wanted something in between a cafe and restaurant, which we feel we’ve successfully achieved.” Across its impressively inventive menu are dishes such as its Indian Eggs—spiced scrambled eggs with roti and roasted cumin ($23). “We wanted a menu that we would like to enjoy ourselves and it to be a bit left-of-centre but still approachable,” he says. “So it was really just tweaking dishes to make them a bit more interesting.” Darren O’Brien, the national account manager for Tip Top Foodservice, which works with 15,000 businesses, says in recent years he’s seen an increase in consumer breakfast spending. He suggests it’s because people are making breakfast more of an occasion than they used to, swapping it for dinner as a special event. “The reason that’s happening is because there’s all this adventurous food finding its way onto breakfast menus in cafes and restaurants, so it’s a more exciting occasion to go out,” says O’Brien. When Bond and Langley took over, Fred offered all-day breakfast only, but they aimed to grow business by expanding out to lunch. To manage this, the breakfast menu is split across two sections: an early breakfast which runs 7.30am to 11.45am, and then an all-day breakfast which runs 7.30am to 3pm and includes several favourites but avoids elements such as poached or scrambled eggs to help the kitchen manage the workload when lunch kicks in. The creativity of Fred’s dishes has garnered much buzz, but there is a careful weighing up of ambition against implementation. “It’s walking that fine line of being adventurous but doing what you can within resources,” says Bond. “We trial dishes on specials and 14 RESTAURANT & CATERING
some things are too tricky to perhaps maintain on the regular menu, but can be offered on a weekday when it’s not as busy. “We try and make the menu as inventive as we can [but] still work, because we are a very busy environment, particularly on the weekends. We aim to have it from order to arriving at the table at a 20-minute maximum, so to do
“Quality generally costs a bit more and we’re prepared to wear that but we also build it into our pricing.” Aaron Bond, co-owner, Fred Eatery
that the dishes need to be put together reasonably seamlessly.” Breakfast service, missing the vital bill-boosting alcohol element, needs to concentrate on speed and volume, not least to get customers their initial caffeine fix. “They’re really keen to get that first coffee of the day, often before they can make a decision,” says Bond, who adds it might be prudent to put an extra barista on during busy periods. Bond’s advice is “keep things simple but do it well. Make sure you’re surrounded by good staff and suppliers. If you look after them, they’re going to look after you.” Everingham says it’s important to be open to suggestions but follow what suits you best. “Listen to lots of people’s opinions and be open to lots of new ideas, and make an active decision about what works best for you,” she says. “You’ve got to be passionate about something first before you can expect other people to be passionate about it.”
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That moment when you realise demand for bookings has gone viral It’s a Tuesday night unlike any other Tuesday night. Because you’ve realised that blog you maintained as part of your website is pulling in customers from all over town.You’ve built an audience of loyal customers keen to try your food. And you haven’t even served them a bite yet. This is the power of Content Marketing. Want to know how to do it yourself? Go to bitl.y/rc-marketing and read all about it. In fact, if you want to learn all about how blogging can help your business grow and thrive, why not sign up for our monthly newsletter while you’re there? Or if you don’t have time to do this yourself —why not call us on (02) 9660 6995 and ask about our 12-month blogging service?
YourBlogPosts.com Helping you tell your own success story
Spreading the word
While some publicity and online marketing can be performed by your staff, experts show that quality PR grows the bottom line. By Meg Crawford
IT’S BROADLY acknowledged that a social media presence these days is mandatory for most businesses, including cafes and restaurants. That’s fine for the tech-savvy and millennials, but what about the balance of owners and operators, and what about all the other public relations functions? Is PR and social media something that’s self-manageable, or is expert guidance required? Predictably, our experts say it’s a mix.
Good PR is an expert skill Ken Burgin, community manager of Silver Chef, comes from the angle that expert PR guidance is critical, and explains it by way of a pithy PT Barnum quote: “Without publicity a terrible thing happens: nothing”. “Hospitality is a people industry, dealing with a topic everyone loves—food, drinking and entertainment. There are so many good stories happening on a daily basis but we lack the time and skill to get them out there,” he says. “In my restaurant days, I used a PR person all the time, and kept them on a monthly retainer. It was someone who could keep the story moving. Their job was to hunt down stories, figure out who was interested in what, and write the story if need be.
“Realistically, restaurateurs just don’t have the time and don’t think like journalists. They’re doing great stuff, but don’t know the angle: a local paper wants a different angle to say The Age on Tuesday. It’s a craft,” says Burgin.
In-house decisions Multi-restaurant/hotel enterprises are likely to have a part-time or full-time employee in-house dealing with functions such as updating the content of the website, social media and newsletters, but for smaller enterprises it’s preferable to outsource. “I prefer outsourcing for a number of reasons,” Burgin says. “In-house, there are too many
distractions, priorities change and people leave. I prefer the objectivity of someone outside. Plus, I have more control—if it’s not working out, I can say goodbye.”
Using your own employees Both Burgin and Sally Urquhart, founder and director of littleBIG Marketing & PR, agree that existing employees can take on some PR activities, particularly in relation to social media. Burgin also suggests that at least some photography and videography can be done in-house. However, both list some important qualifications. Urquhart recommends first obtaining some expert guidance RESTAURANT & CATERING 17
to ensure consistency and quality in terms of brand and messaging. Outfits such as littleBIG routinely create style guides for their clients, helping them to develop a consistent brand story, while providing clients with content, image and videography guidelines to make sure all posts suit a restaurant or cafe’s food and attitude. Burgin also says it’s never a function that should be foisted on an employee—employee interest should always be established first. He also urges caution in relation to managing social media passwords, noting that it’s not unheard of for a disgruntled employee to engage in Facebook mischief at their employers’ expense. In addition, Burgin and Urquhart say that responding to negative reviews or social media comments is best handled by senior management or owners, and Urquhart urges companies never to ignore negative comment. “You have to put a response out there, but only once you’ve got some good advice and you know what you want to say,” she says. “Do be apologetic for the things about which you are apologetic—for instance, if you’ve offended people who you absolutely never intended to offend. “Be humble and apologetic, and if that’s appropriate, reinforce what you stand for, what your community loves you for, but then leave it there,” says Urquhart.
PR and the bottom line Burgin is adamant that good PR translates to profit, provided that it’s part of a bigger strategy and features carefully targeted campaigns—for instance, promoting early-week special to full quieter times, or working on securing Christmas bookings in November rather than December, or spruiking a series of special dinners or events. “It’s a critical part of smart sales activity,” he says. 18 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Burgin’s strong preference is that PR isn’t reactive either. “Don’t wait until sales are down,” he says. “It will work then, but to me, the most powerful PR comes when someone is on a retainer and you’re actively involved and helping them to shape the agenda.” In that regard, Burgin suggests a monthly catch-up to discuss what’s working and what’s coming
“You have to put a response out there, but only once you’ve got some good advice and you know what you want to say.” Sally Urquhart, founder and director, littleBIG Marketing & PR
up. Naturally though, it costs. Burgin says it’s realistic to expect a couple of thousand dollars per month for an external provider to do a good PR job. “I think it’s often cheaper than people thinking, ‘I’m not saying it’s cheap, but the value of it is extraordinary’,” he says.
PR before and during start-up Burgin says this is a given, and urges it sooner rather than later. “You want someone involved several months before opening, for example, because there are lead times for magazines, and the week before the opening is too late,” he says. Sally Urquhart agrees. “We’re currently working with an eatery that has just opened up but we felt it was important for them to start their socials first. They’re in a suburban location and it was a great opportunity for them to let the local community know they were coming, and what was going on with all the
construction. It builds buzz.” Plus, given that delays are common, it’s a way of keeping potential customers and the community abreast of practical developments, including the opening date.
Recovering from bad press Urquhart says that this is one of the occasions where professional advice is critical. Moreover, she recommends that business is already having a contact in their back pocket. “It’s important to have an already existing relationship with a social media expert or agency,” she says. “If things escalate and you get a real crisis on your hands, having someone to call upon and get expert advice in the moment is incredibly useful.” Burgin concurs: “In a time of crisis, it’s critical—for instance, if you’ve been busted for underpayment of wages or there’s been a food poisoning incident. You want your PR provider to take over the media contact and help shape the message.”
Picking the right PR person In terms of finding a good one, Burgin suggests a combination of a Google search and asking around. He is on a number of restaurateur Facebook groups and sees people asking among their colleagues who they’re using and for recommendations. “It won’t take you long to get a short list, but you have to find out what they can do, get quotes, see what they’ve done before, ask to speak with people they’ve worked with before and see if you can afford it.” He also suggests keeping an eye out for which establishments are in the media consistently and finding out who is responsible for their PR. “Whenever I see places that are appearing consistently in the news, and it’s not just a one-off, I know that a PR person is involved.”
Fo od preparation Fo od s t orage Fo od display Bar display General display Blas t chillers Co ol ro om s Ice makers
t o croemfmreirg ecriaalt i o n
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
For the past 29 years, Vicki Woods has been at the helm of Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie in Maitland, NSW—an award-winning dining destination.
INTERVIEW: FRANK LEGGETT PHOTOGRAPHY: EDWARD CROSS
Vicki Woods “MY PARENTS OWNED and operated a hotel from when I was 11 years old but I never thought I would subject my children to a hotel business. As it turned out, I was overseas with my mother when my husband and my father purchased the Largs Hotel. That was 29 years ago. My 28-year-old son was born and raised in the hotel. Ironically, he’s now a chef. “When we first opened, we didn’t have any staff and the four of us did everything. Initially, Largs Hotel just had a small bistro where the big seller was a 500-gram steak with chips and eggs. “We did a total renovation in 2000 closing the hotel and running a temporary set-up in the beer garden. We rechristened the business as Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie and now the restaurant comprises half the hotel. Bushrangers is located in the small village of Largs that is not on the way to anywhere. “We still marvel at how we get so many diners from everywhere— Singleton, Muswellbrook, Nelsons Bay, Sydney… “Bushrangers is a relaxed place and our restaurant is very much meet, greet and seat. We are in the Entertainment Book that offers discounts
for various restaurants and we are told that we track far better than other restaurants. Our customers are seated with full service of meals and drinks to the table and don’t move until they are walking out the door. Essentially we are a restaurant and it’s our point of difference to other hotels. “It’s been wonderful to receive so many awards over the years, including the five times we won the Restaurant & Catering Association (R&CA) Award for Excellence for Best Restaurant in a Pub, Newcastle, Hunter & Central Coast Region. I was honoured to be inducted into the R&CA NSW Hall of Fame in 2013. “To be successful in this business, you have to love it. You have to get out of bed and look forward to going to work. We have 27 staff now, and they are an engaged and integral part of Bushrangers. “We also like to change things regularly. We have a Chef’s Table every four to six weeks. Our chef and local winemakers present an eight-course degustation matched to wines from one of the many nearby Hunter wineries. Numbers are limited to 50 and usually 35 have been to one of
our previous lunches. Our Chef’s Table is used to update our wine list. Wine is not on our wine list without the winemaker doing a wine dinner, a wine tasting, or a chef’s table. “The two biggest sellers on the day will become our wine of the month and from there, they progress to our wine list. We have 56 wines on our list, 32 white and 24 red. Every two wines that are added sees the two slowest sellers come off. If you want your wine in our place, you have to work for it. “We get a lot of repeat customers at Bushrangers—some we see two or three times a week. When one particular chap walks in, we immediately place an order for a medium-rare
“To be successful in this business, you have to love it. You have to get out of bed and look forward to going to work. ”
For more Recipes for Success, visit our website at rca.asn.au/magazine
steak, a kitchen salad, and a bottle of Tyrrells shiraz. “My husband is an essential part of the business and we make a good team. My health has deteriorated in recent years and I wouldn’t be able to do what we do if I didn’t have him. “To anyone considering running a restaurant or cafe, I would advise them to work hard and constantly monitor where you’re at. Know your stock levels. Cross off when your deliveries come in. Be aware of everything that’s going on. In 29 years, I’ve had three shortages caused by staff shrinkage. The first one was manageable. The second one was a good hit. The third one was unbelievable. Those staff no longer work for us. “At present, we have a general manager who is honest as the day’s long. He’s amazing. I also have an office manager who is a godsend. Even though I refer to them as my team, in reality they’re my family. “For a business to succeed, you must also offer your staff a decent work-life balance. I want my people to come to work and be happy. When they’re at home with their family, I hope they forget about work and take the time to relax.” RESTAURANT & CATERING 21
Industry movers and shakers: Anna Pavoni (left) with WoHo founder Julia Campbell.
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PHOTOGRAPHY: RICHARD MORTIMER
It’s no secret that hospitality can be a challenging industry for women, but a new, female-led not-for-profit is committed to helping change things. By
W O H O
IT WAS IN THE 1940S that former US president Harry Truman first coined the phrase, ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’. Naturally, he applied it to politics— but the saying is equally apt when referring to the hospitality industry, especially in regards to women. Many report feeling vulnerable
when faced with the industry’s maledominated culture, lack of familyfriendly hours and ‘relentless and normalised’ workplace harassment. And that’s leading a lot of female workers to quit the industry for good rather than stay and carve out a proper career, say insiders. Women in Hospitality (WoHo),
a not-for-profit launched to redress the gender imbalance, foster women’s professional development and give them a robust and much-needed support network, is hoping to change all that. WoHo was founded in May 2017 by accountant Julia Campbell from Resy—and a board of industry movers and shakers including Jane Hyland, Anna Pavoni, Jane Strode, Lisa Margan, Lyndey Milan, Lisa Hobbs and Kerrie McCallum. There are already 400 members and WoHo’s impressive list of partners include Rockpool Dining Group, Solotel, Ormeggio Group and A Tavola. Campbell is enthusiastic about the initiative and its cause, which aims to help women thrive at all levels and areas of hospitality—from chefs and front-of-house employees, to bar staff, sommeliers and managers. She’s quick to acknowledge that the industry has a long way to go in fostering more equal conditions for women. “Women make up 50 per cent of the employees in hospitality, but only 10 per cent of women are represented in senior positions,” she explains. “People are dropping out of the industry and there’s a reason for it. A big part of our mission is to give young women confidence to back themselves—and to feel that they have people in their corner championing them and their careers.”
just from being in the same room together was pretty amazing.” Once back in Sydney, Campbell was surprised to find there wasn’t something similar in Australia. She came across smaller groups such as Females in Food, the Australian Women in Wine Awards and Coleman’s Academy for female bartenders but her dream was to create a large, formal not-forprofit with a board of passionate influencers who would bring a range of skill sets and industry experience. “I wanted to create something that would have the kind of legal and financial infrastructure and longevity to really serve the industry and in the long-term, change it for the better,” she explains.
Keeping mums in the workforce Naturally, one of the first questions to be asked following WoHo’s launch was: are men welcome? The response is a resounding yes from both Campbell and Pavoni. Since working with Matt Moran on a Q&A about how Moran’s businesses have supported women, Pavoni says it’s gratifying to see more men in the industry coming to the (WoHo) party. “The blokes have to be part of the conversation. The biggest elephant in the room is managing a family and staying within an
The inspiration for WoHo
Campbell, who lived in New York for four years, saw firsthand the value of community through her involvement in the not-for-profit group, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. “A big part of it was fostering the careers of women in the industry. They had chapters in every city and a national conference every year where they’d bring people from all over,” she recalls. “Hospitality can be a bit isolating, especially if you work in a rural area or you don’t have colleagues you feel comfortable talking to— and seeing the education and the stimulation these people got 24 RESTAURANT & CATERING
“I’ve had awesome conversations with people I might not have before. Our events really give you the confidence to approach someone and say, ‘Hello! Just wanted to introduce myself’.” Anna Pavoni, board member, WoHo
industry which traditionally has very un-family-friendly hours,” she says. “And if you’re a young guy working in hospitality, you probably don’t know much about kids and day care and family life. I mean, I was guilty of not knowing until a couple of years ago. I now have a three-year-old and a one-year-old, but I didn’t really understand the issues of juggling work and home life until it was my issue.” Sadly, many women put a hospitality career in the too-hard basket and jump ship before considering their options, she adds. “One of WoHo’s main aims is keeping all these amazing women in an industry that’s desperately short-staffed.” But WoHo’s not just focused on the family juggle; as an organisation it’s big on giving women the resources and support to also make important career decisions, share ideas, ask burning questions and make friends, she says. “It’s about figuring out where to go when you grow up. Maybe your feet get tired or you get sick of watching people chew food! Maybe you don’t want to be on the floor because you’re not 22 anymore and you’re burned out. What sideways moves can you make? It’s about helping people see that hospitality is a career path. I mean, you can go and study marketing but you don’t have to go work for a bank. You can stay in hospitality and apply that knowledge. It’s an industry requiring everything from marketing to accounting to human resources to PR.”
Value of mentoring
WoHo’s support network also offers a mentoring program developed by chef Jane Strode—and mentors on board right now (they change every three months) include Christine Manfield, Nadine Ingram (Flour and Stone), Jemma Whiteman (Good Luck Pinbone), Danielle Alvarez (Fred’s) and Mike Bennie (The Wine Front). The three-month program
“A big part of our mission is to give young women confidence to back themselves—and to feel that they have people in their corner championing them and their careers.” Julia Campbell (right), founder, WoHo
matches mentors and mentees according to similar interests or career goals, and includes 18 mandatory hours of contact, both online and face to face. That could mean going to events together, working in the kitchen on new recipes or doing wine tastings. Caitlyn Rees, award-winning head sommelier at Fred’s in Sydney, was one of Bennie’s mentees. She says the experience was invaluable to her career development—and she and Mike have developed an ongoing friendship. “I call, text, email, Facebook and/ or Instagram Mike whenever I need career advice and he helps me from wherever he is in the world at the time, for nothing in return,” she says. “I call him when I’m considering leaving a job, whenever I’m considering which new job to take, when I need staff, when I’m organising an event, or going travelling and want tips on which winemakers I should visit. Or when I need to know who is the best person to go through for a certain product. The list goes on. “Not only are these relationships important for networking … but it’s about taking advantage of the fact
that they’ve been around the traps longer than you and have learnt a thing or two along the way.”
What’s in it for members?
Given its members range from those starting out in the industry to veterans with decades of experience, accessibility and affordability is key, says Campbell. “Membership costs $10 a month and it’s free for apprentices and trainees.” Anyone can join—male or female— and paid members get advance notice of events and member pricing, plus access to the site’s forums. These are split into ‘communities’ for sommeliers, chefs, front-of-house, or job-hunting so members can connect, plan meet-ups and ask questions on anything work-related. “We’ve definitely built a culture of ‘no question is a stupid question’!” she says, laughing. The events also create a welcoming environment for more established women in the industry to connect, too, whether they want to ask advice on restaurant policies or collaborate on everything from choosing wines to sausage making. “I’ve had awesome conversations with people I might not have before,” says Anna
Pavoni, who co-owns The Ormeggio Group of restaurants. “Our events really give you the confidence to approach someone and say, ‘Hello! Just wanted to introduce myself, or ‘Actually, you talked about your reservations system and I had question about that’. It’s about providing the opportunity for people to reach out and not be embarrassed about it.” Events have ranged from panel Q&As to cocktail parties, celebrations of women butchers to female brewers. There are also intimate dinners for industry types to hobnob and talk shop, says Pavoni, who held a dinner for 20 at Ormeggio recently. “We had a catering person, a PR person, a media person, a restaurant person, a chef, a waiter—literally 20 people doing 20 different jobs within hospitality. It was great in terms of broadening your network and getting ideas for your business.” What’s next for WoHo? Going national, for starters, says Campbell. “We’ve had so much positive feedback and know for a lot of women involved it’s been careerchanging. We’ve seen a lot of those supportive friendships grow, which makes us feel that we’re doing something right.” RESTAURANT & CATERING 25
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Restaurant Catering PRODUCT GUIDE
DESSERTS Restaurant & Catering magazine releases the latest products and recipes that will appeal to customers’ sweet-tooths
RESTAURANT & CATERING 27
ADVERTO RIA L D ES SERTS
The return of the pancake
Australia’s cravings for sweet pancake offerings extends beyond breakfast Caramelised maple banana pancakes with strawberries and walnuts 6 Golden Pancakes 2 large bananas, cut lengthways and halved 1 cup maple syrup 30g butter ½ punnet strawberries, hulled and quartered ½ cup walnuts ½ cup double cream
Pancakes are back in a big way. No longer just the Sunday morning tradition with the family, pancakes are popping up on menus across the country—but not just for breakfast. With their versatility, pancakes represent an opportunity for chefs to get creative with desserts. Pancakes are the perfect way to deliver a range of dessert flavours while keeping costs low. Particularly when using pre-made pancakes, restaurants are able to save time and money while keeping customers happy and coming back for more. Golden Pancakes are the perfect start to decadent desserts that are sweet and satisfying yet convenient for busy kitchens to prepare. Golden Pancakes are part of the Tip Top Foodservice’s Frozen Bakery range, which foodservice outlets 28 RESTAURANT & CATERING
can order through local distributors. Delivered frozen, Golden Pancakes have four months’ frozen shelf-life and come in individual packs of six pancakes, with five packs per carton— easy for smaller foodservice outlets to store and manage. Some of Golden Pancakes’ most creative dessert offerings: l The pancake cake: Several pancakes stacked with fondant in-between and frosted like a real cake. l The death by chocolate: Pancakes topped with chocolate icecream, fudge brownie and drizzled with chocolate fudge sauce l The pancake lasagne: A sweet version of the savoury favourite with poached fruit between layers of pancakes and white chocolate.
Method l Over a medium heat in a heavy-based frying pan, toast the walnuts for 3-5 minutes, remove and set aside. l Melt butter in the pan until lightly foaming. Fry the bananas flat-side down for 2-3 minutes until they begin to brown. l Add half the maple syrup and reduce until bubbles start to form. l Heat each pancake in a microwave, sandwich press or oven until warm. l Stack pancakes in the centre of each plate, top with caramelised bananas, drizzle with reduced maple syrup, scatter with fresh strawberries and toasted walnuts. l Drizzle with the remaining maple syrup and serve with double cream.
pancakes CODE 9066
Weight 60g per pancake Average Size 130 x 9 mm Carton Quantity 5 x 6 packs (30 pancakes)
4 months shelf life
always ON hand
small cartons - ideal for freezers
Contact your local foodservice distributor
www.TIPTOP-FOODSERVICE.COM.AU / 1800 086 926 © Registered trade marks of George Weston Foods Limited. All rights reserved.
ADVERTO RIA L D ES SERTS
Have you tried the NUTELLA® 1kg Piping Bag? Efficiency is the most important element in Australian and New Zealand kitchens NUTELLA®’s 1kg Piping Bag has been designed specifically for the foodservice market, which allows bakers and chefs to pipe NUTELLA® easily and quickly without having to first spoon it into a piping bag. The product launched last year in response to new research revealing efficiency in the kitchen is the most important consideration for bakers and chefs. Commissioned by Ferrero Foodservice, a survey of over 500 Australian chefs, cooks and bakers found that 73 per cent of responses indicated that getting good-quality meals and products out on time to keep customers happy was front of mind in the foodservice industry. “Overwhelming customer feedback told us that piping NUTELLA®
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allows real creativity and innovation in the kitchen but often our busy chefs and bakers don’t have the resources to waste time spooning NUTELLA® out of a tub into a piping bag,” said Jodie Tripodi, National Sales Manager Foodservice, Ferrero
Australia & New Zealand. “With this in mind, we developed a piping bag that allows chefs and bakers to just snip off the end and start piping without any mess or fuss.” The piping bag is the second foodservice innovation from NUTELLA® and Ferrero Foodservice after the NUTELLA® 25g Mini Jar which has proven very popular with cafes. Over 40 per cent of respondents also said having something new to experiment with in the kitchen to create original dishes was valuable. “We know chefs and bakers love to experiment in the kitchen with new dishes and products. Time-poor chefs and
bakers will be pleased to know the piping bag allows them to get creative easily as the the NUTELLA® Piping Bag innovation is delivered ready to go,” said Tripodi. The foodservice specific piping bags are available from foodservice wholesalers and still contain the recipe that cafes, bakeries, patisseries and restaurants around the country know and love. To order the NUTELLA® 1kg Piping Bag, please contact your local foodservice distributor. For more information on NUTELLA® foodservice, please visit www.ferrerofoodservice. com or facebook.com/ nutellafoodservice
From cheesecakes to lemon tarts, tiramisu to clafoutis, or as frosting atop eye-catching red velvet cake – cream cheese is a terrifically versatile ingredient and a key component of many popular dessert recipes. In addition to its use in traditional favourites, you can also use cream cheese to add a contemporary twist to muffins, cookies, scones or banana bread – it truly is one of those ingredients whose only limit is that of the chef’s imagination. And to ensure that the quality of your desserts meets the demanding expectations of your
Anchor cream cheese is the ideal ingredient in dessert recipes customers, be sure to choose a quality cream cheese – such as Anchor Cream Cheese from Fonterra Foodservice, which has been specially developed to meet the stringent requirements of the foodservice market. Anchor Cream Cheese boasts a mild flavour, making it ideal for a range of both sweet and savoury applications. While it has a smooth, creamy texture, it also delivers the firmness you need to ensure that dishes which utilise it as an ingredient present as well as they taste. Anchor Cream Cheese’s firmness provides it with
excellent ‘holding power’ which means that when you’re using it to make a cheesecake it consistently delivers the required level of performance. While Anchor Cream Cheese’s smoothness and ability to blend beautifully with other ingredients makes it the natural choice for numerous dessert recipes, its versatility means it is equally suitable for savoury as well as sweet dishes.
For more information, call 1300 738 484 or visit the Fonterra Foodservice website at www. fonterrafoodservices.com.au
FOODSERVICE Dairy for Today’s Professionals
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MEALS ON WHEELS
With more people opting to eat takeaways at home instead of going out, many are wondering if home delivery will kill the restaurant trade. John Burfitt reports IF YOU USE THE TERM ‘food delivery craze’ when discussing the likes of Uber Eats and Menulog with respected hospitality industry consultant Ken Burgin, be prepared to be corrected. “This is not a craze; it’s a permanent shift in people’s eating habits that we all need to come to terms with,” says Burgin of Profitable Hospitality. “There has been a change in people’s desire for convenience, and this is another factor restaurateurs have to deal with.” The facts and figures from various reports about delivery services like Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Menulog and foodora, all operating in Australia, certainly flag the seismic shift that has been taking place.
Growing popularity The 2017 NPD Group/Crest data Delivery, Pick Up and Global Trends report states the demand for delivery transactions is growing at eight times the rate of the total foodservice industry. A finder.com.au survey found online food delivery services now account for 12 per cent of the sales of the $44.1 billion cafe, restaurant and takeaway food services industry, with a yearly average food delivery spend of $1590. 34 RESTAURANT & CATERING
The most striking finding in research from IBISWorld is the Australian restaurant industry benefit from delivery platforms has contributed to a revenue increase of two per cent in 2017-18, to reach $21 billion. IBISWorld senior industry analyst Bao Vuong said the delivery platforms were changing the way restaurants in Australia operate, with some restaurants considering opening solely to provide delivered foods. “By opening a popup store with just a commercial kitchen and no seating, operators can maximise floor space, save money on rent and fit-out expenses, and improve profit margins,” commented Vuong in an interview with Australian Food News.
“The way moving forward is for more customised business for the delivery platforms, rather than throwing away a valuable existing part of your business.” Shane Delia, chef, Maha restaurant
What to do? This raises the question: in this fast-evolving era, does it make more sense just to shut down the dining room and become a full-time commercial kitchen with a line-up of delivery drivers? Not quite, says chef Shane Delia of Melbourne’s Maha restaurant and fastfood favourite, Biggie Smalls. “It’s just not that easy to shut down one part of the business and expand the other. If it was, everyone would have done it,” Delia says. “There remains existing operational expenses in a restaurant that you can’t just turn off. So, if your operating expenses are $5k a week, you rely on a certain amount of foot traffic as well as delivery business to cover that. So, to shut down the foot traffic of people coming in to dine, that may not leave enough cash flow to sustain the rest of the business.” Delia says this is not the time for kneejerk reactions. Rather, he advocates a more accommodating approach. “The way moving forward is for more customised business for the delivery platforms, rather than throwing away a valuable existing part of
your business,” Delia says. “All of us need to find a better way to manage the way we are operating, but closing a dining room that is still doing good business is not the solution.”
Dining in to stay The online takeaway market grew by 30 per cent in 2017 and is forecast to rise from about $1.5 billion in 2017 to $4.2 billion by 2025, according to a report by Morgan Stanley Australia. While those figures are impressive, Ken Burgin says he knows not one restaurant considering shutting down their dining room to instead become an all-delivery operation. “That’s because while the delivery services are making big inroads into the industry, they are not taking away the demand for customers to still dine in at restaurants,” Burgin says. “If you are going to shut down in-house dining and just go for delivery, then you will need to have a formidable marketing machine that is powering your brand, far more than when you have a space that people can experience and is always there creating a visual impact about what your business is about.”
Burgin also explains that the figures simply don’t add up on the balance sheet, when delivery service charges are factored into the equation. “What you need to do is work this out on the spreadsheets, where you have around 35 per cent on total wages and around 25 per cent on food costs. Now add in anywhere from 14 to 30 per cent on delivery charges, and just see what that leaves over for operating costs of rent, power and the rest of it,” Burgin says. “It simply does not make sense with those figures to shut down a good dining room.” The Loose Moose Tap & Grill House is one of the most popular restaurants on the Gold Coast strip
and has used Uber Eats over the past 12 months. While delivery has proven successful, marketing manager Karley Beadman says it does not come close to the profits made through in-house dining and at the bar. “Our restaurant is very much about the experience,” she says. “They are also ordering alcohol with our cocktails and 25 beers, so it’s clear our profits are coming from people being in here, not from customers ordering us up from home. “Restaurants run at a very small net profit at the best of times, and with the delivery services taking around 27 per cent on those orders, that’s significant.”
Combining the two Alistair Venn is the managing director of Menulog Australia, which places a flat 14 per cent commission on each order. Venn says while customers are showing that they want food delivered on certain occasions, he does not believe they want it all the time. “I don’t believe any particular restaurant needs to make that black or white decision of, ‘I am only a dine-in venue or only a takeaway venue’,” Venn says, adding that taking a broader view of where the new trends are taking the business and accommodating them might be the better approach. “If you’re going through a refit on an existing
restaurant, maybe you do build a bigger kitchen and a dedicated space for delivery drivers, as well as a dining room for the consumer to still have that personal experience. “Customers can feel a little nervous about buying from a place they’ve never been into before, where they’ve built a relationship with the owner and staff and experienced the ambience of that dining room. So even having a smaller location for a few tables, that still adds value to the business.” Venn mentions Pizza Hut’s announcement to expand its range of dine-in restaurants, after years of focusing on delivery and pick-up services. “It’s so interesting just how cyclical all that is, and to also remember that customers still choose, based on their requirements at that time, to have a nice sit-down dinner at a restaurant.” Shane Delia has also begun operating two socalled dark kitchens (ghost restaurants) as part of his overall business, but insists his businesses will always include a place for inhouse diners, like at Maha. “There are still restaurants doing amazing stuff that have diners lining up, and I don’t believe Uber Eats or the others are about to change that,” he says. “This is the time, however, to adapt and change, as what is going on now is going to only keep changing.” RESTAURANT & CATERING 35
SPARKLING RED SHOULD WE BOTHER?
Sparkling shiraz is an Aussie wine you won’t find anywhere else in the world so it’s great for curious wine drinkers. But on-premise, is there any point to this niche sparkler? By Ben Canaider SPURGLER. Spurgling. That was the portmanteau colloquialism for Australian sparkling red when I first started typing about wine towards the end of the 20th century. For about 100 years before that, our domestic or local sparkling red had been mostly made from shiraz (a bit like our port) but up until the late 1980s, it had always been known as sparkling burgundy. Hence spurgling. (Why it was called sparkling burgundy was probably similar to Hunter Valley shiraz, which had been called Hunter River burgundy for decades. Back then, we understood wines by way of homage to French wine regions and their wine styles.)
Barossa brilliance But back to sparkling red wine. It was in the early 1980s that Spurgling had an NDE—a neardeath experience. People weren’t drinking it so much anymore, as every real estate agent and life insurance saleswoman had discovered chardonnay and cabernet—partly because 36 RESTAURANT & CATERING
those wines were the so-European cafe-lifestyle trends of the day, and partly because they were two French words that any real estate agent or life insurance saleswoman could actually pronounce. However, two Barossan winemakers had other ideas. Rockford’s founder Robert O’Callaghan and his equally distinguished winemaking neighbour Charlie Melton both knew of the unique and special qualities of Australian sparkling red, that stretched back to the days of Seppelt Great Western in the 1890s, and then the winemaking genius of Colin Preece in the 1950s, also at Seppelt. They knew how these wines could age, how they could transform, how they stood out both in the cellar—and in the glass. O’Callaghan made Rockford Black Sparkling Shiraz; Melton a sparkling red—the latter’s first vintage in 1984. The quality and the character of the wines, combined with the wine style’s history, inspired a new generation of admirers, curators, collectors and
drinkers. These wines were a million miles away from the sorts of sparkling reds that had dominated a not-insignificant part of the domestic wine market in the 1970s.
Saucy sparkler Orlando’s Cold Duck was such a wine—and a wine that needed neither a sommelier nor a wine typist to tell you what to drink with it. My favourite though was probably the mythical but at the same time all too real sparkler from Yalumba: Rene Pogel. It was produced in the early 1980s, but had to be withdrawn from sale following a scandal about its name. I can’t
The quality and the character of the wines, combined with the wine style’s history, inspired a new generation of admirers, curators, collectors and drinkers.
say anymore but if you spell the wine’s name backwards, you might see where the problem lay, as it were… Sparkling red wine continues to bubble away in an increasing number of Australian wineries to this day. Rockford’s Black Sparkling Shiraz is now the undoubted Spurgfather of the category. Unsurprisingly, Charlie Melton still makes a sparkling red “whenever I can get around to it”, as he comments. Melton was in his fabulously unchanged, bucolic and happy manner when R&C talked to him about sparkling Australian red wine, and what was up…
Melton’s secrets Firstly, he identified the two styles of the wine that matter. One is really old base wine material dosaged with even older and more epic liqueur. He points to Primo Estate’s Joseph Sparkling Red NV as a prime example of this. Jo Grilli makes this in a very complex, layered, secondary fruit
manner, with the old base wine material speaking volumes. For an Australian sparkling red, it borders on the savoury rather than the fruit-sweet. The other way to do it—as Melton does—is to use really good young material left on lees for years. His other secret is to add some cabernet to the shiraz blend, which gives the wine a tighter, firmer structure. Melton is the first to concede that such wines really are a niche category. He puts them in the same category as vintage port—important, superb and a necessary wine style but with a small, no-matter-howloyal band of devotees.
Nevertheless, since 1984 he’s made sparkling reds and sold them and continues to do so.
Who’s showcasing it? Through cellar door, through exclusive customer mailings and winery clubs, through a few restaurants that can afford to carry the inventory and want to showcase a unique Australian wine, sparkling Australian wines work. Having said that, prices for these niche, high-end, high-quality sparkling reds demand—indeed, require—a certain sort of customer... The Primo Estate example is $90 RRP. While Australian wine drinkers are still so
infatuated with spending anything labelled ‘champagne’, I certainly wonder how Australian sparkling red wine can garner a more profitable on-premise presence. Using it for Spring Racing Carnival high days, serving it with cold chicken (or roast duck) might be one way; featuring it on your Christmas and Yuletide menus as a wine-bythe-glass degustation option, to add colour and movement might work. It also works during the depths of winter—sparkling red and duck curry get along rather well. Oh and now I’m at the end of this and I must say
I’m a little disappointed because I do admire and like the wines above-mentioned so much. I only wish I could prosecute a more compelling onpremise argument for their purchase and spruiking and sales.
New generation Wine lists and liquor licence inventories are ever more pragmatic in their attitudes, however, and I can’t let sentimentalism mislead our readers. Yet perhaps the trend will return; perhaps the next generation of wine discoverees will come across sparkling Australian red wine and help it along once more. RESTAURANT & CATERING 37
HURRICANE’S GRILL, NARELLAN, NSW “WE FIRST became involved with Hurricane’s Management when we designed one of the group’s restaurants on the Gold Coast,” says Rachel Luchetti, co-founder of architecture and interior design firm Luchetti Krelle. “We had a good working partnership with owners Tony and Pauline Teixeira and this led to their second project in Narellan.” While Hurricane’s Grill is a chain, it’s open to different looks. Its logo remains the same but the design is tailored for the demographic. “The Narellan site was an empty shell in a new development,” says Luchetti. “It had a very industrial look, which the client liked. In fact, that was just about the only prerequisite in the brief. “The cavernous space had six metre high ceilings so an industrial look was an honest interpretation. We wanted the look to
38 RESTAURANT & CATERING
be raw and stripped back but very welcoming.” Against the bare walls of unfinished concrete, they added plush banquettes and smooth, white tiling to refine the look. The bar was a major focus. The ‘Strike’ stools for Arrmet (left) have proved to be so popular, their image is often shared by customers on Pinterest. The kitchen is open and all the activity and fire in there makes it mesmerising to watch. Over the dining area, the ‘Mesh’ lighting for Luceplan from JSB Lighting are large and dramatic. They fill the volume and hang elegantly in the double-height space. “Hurricane’s Grill caters for a lot of big groups and they needed flexibility in their floorplan,” says
Luchetti. “We added booths—just because everyone loves booths— and there was still plenty of space on the main restaurant floor for tables and chairs.” As it can be quite daunting to be the first person to arrive in a big empty space, Luchetti used screening to make the scale more manageable. It also creates a nice sense of discovery when diners walk through the venue. “One of my pet hates is reverberation in restaurants and bars,” says Luchetti. “Without realising it, you become annoyed and frustrated because you’re not keeping up with conversation. There are so many bare concrete walls in Hurricane’s Grill that noise could have been
a real issue. We solved the problem by covering the entire ceiling with an amazing spray insulation called Envirospray. It changed the acoustics of the space for the better.” Upon entering, the first thing that greets guests is a suspended concrete maître d’ desk. It lets them know this place is a little different. Hurricane’s Grill is a meatfocused restaurant with ribs as its signature dish, so it also smells fantastic when guests first enter. “It’s a welcoming, happy place to eat and drink,” says Luchetti. “They get a lot of return customers.” Luchetti Krelle 56 Cooper Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 Tel: 02 9699 3425 luchettikrelle.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: SEAN FENNESSY
A cold, concrete shell was transformed into a big, brash, friendly eating destination.This is the industrial look done right. By Frank Leggett
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