PRINT POST APPROVED PP: 255003/07314 ISSN 1442-9942
Restaurant Catering february 2012 $6.95 GST incl.
Fresh is best Peter McCloskey and Marco Adler of Fresh Catering explain how they make a winning partnership work Wisdom from WA's Russell Blaikie: â€œNever lose sight of what you originally went into business to do.â€?
<Why you need to know the ATO's benchmarks for your business, page19 <Alternatives to coupons, page 25 <Why organic wine will make you rich <Special report: Pizza Product Guide <The greatest new products, page 28 Official Journal of Restaurant & Catering
February 2012 $6.95 GST incl.
In this issue ...
14 Cover story
From the Association John Hart on the Awards for Excellence ramping up again, and Brien Trippas on fighting the war over penalty rates with Fair Work Australia
The Fresh connection Peter McCloskey and Marco Adler of Fresh Catering explain how they make their winning partnership work
News and events The stresses and strains of 457 visa rules; Cook for your career; and more...
What I’ve learnt
The madness of crowds
The Australian Tax Office has developed a set of industry benchmarks that they’ll use to determine how your business is managed The owner of Must Winebar and Must Margaret River on following your vision, dealing with adversity, and impossible surcharges
As restaurateurs reluctantly jump on the coupon bandwagon, many are questioning the true value of these sites in generating repeat customers for their business
Pizza Product Guide
The latest and greatest stuff
You make the great pizzas, so let R&C magazine guide you to the best equipment needed to sell it Organic wine gives your customers a ‘feel-good’ factor which encourages purchases, and the quality of it is improving all the time, says Ben Canaider Designing a cool beach house feel for a restaurant and bar situated right on Sydney’s Manly Wharf made perfect sense for architect Vince Squillace
38 RESTAURANT & CATERING 5
from the Association
Vote early, vote often Restaurant & Catering is once again ramping up the first phase of the Awards for Excellence
onsumer voting has opened and the Association’s consumer channels are being used to get consumers to vote for their favourite restaurant or catering business. The voting is used to determine the consumer choice awards winners but also to determine finalists in the awards categories. Please encourage your customers to vote for you. The Restaurant & Catering web site has some tools to help you promote the voting process to your customers. Consumers can vote at www. savouraustralia.com.au Consumers are an integral part of the Awards process at many levels. In addition to the consumer voting every year, the criteria and weighting on the criteria are created (and reviewed) by a survey of consumers. This way we know that the determination of the winners will be based on what makes a business attractive to consumers. Increasingly Restaurant & Catering is working with consumers to further develop the market for dining. This important role involves working with food media, social media and communicating direct with consumers to drive them to ‘eat out more often and spend more when they do’. John Hart CEO, Restaurant & Catering
Restaurant & Catering’s mission: To lead and represent the Australian restaurant and catering industry. Restaurant & Catering Australia Suite 17, 401 Pacific Highway, Artarmon NSW 2064 1300 RCAUST (722 878) Ph: (02) 9966 0055. Fax: 1300 722 396, Web: www.restaurantcater.asn.au Restaurant Guide: www.restaurant.org.au Caterers Guide: www.caterer.org.au Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Brien Trippas (NSW) Senior Vice President: Kevin Gulliver (QLD) Junior Vice President: Terry Soukoulis (SA) Treasurer: Richard Harper (VIC) Chief Executive Officer: John Hart R&C is a federation of the following associations, working together on national issues on behalf of their members. Restaurant & Catering NSW Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (02) 1300 722 396 Email: email@example.com President: Ian Martin Restaurant & Catering QLD Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (07) 3252 7554 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Peter Summers
Restaurant & Catering ACT Ph: 1300 722 878. . Fax: (02) 9211 3800 Email: email@example.com President: Fiona Wright Restaurant & Catering SA Ph: 8351 7837. Fax: (08) 8351 7839 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Cath Kerry Chief Executive Officer: Sally Neville Restaurant & Catering Tas Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (03) 6224 7988 Email: email@example.com President: Phil Capon General Manager: Steve Old Restaurant & Catering Vic Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (03) 9654 5286 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Matteo Pignatelli Restaurant & Catering WA Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (08) 9328 7366 Email: email@example.com President: Warwick Lavis
Restaurant & Catering magazine is published under licence on behalf of Restaurant & Catering by Engage Custom Media, Suite 4.08, The Cooperage, 56 Bowman Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009 www.engagemedia.com.au Editorial Director: Rob Johnson Creative Director: Tim Donnellan Sub-editor: Kerryn Ramsay Contributors: Sharon Aris, Nicole Azzopardi, John Burfitt, Ben Canaider, Kellie Morle, Kerryn Ramsey, Danielle Veldre Commercial Director: Mark Brown Sales Director: Cameron Boon Direct: (02) 9660 6995 ext 502 Fax: (02) 9518 5600 Mobile: 0416 205 965 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For all editorial, subscription and advertising enquiries, ph: 1300 722 878 Print Post approved PP: 2255003/06505, ISSN 1442-9942 ©2012 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 Bright Print Group
7,661 - CAB Audited as at September, 2011 6 RESTAURANT & CATERING
photography: north sullivan
Restaurant & Catering
Fighting for fairness Here’s hoping the media coverage of penalty rates gets the attention of the government
hat a start to the year. It’s a while since we have had a New Year kick off with restaurant issues running on the front page of the major daily newspapers. George Calombaris did a great job of getting the issue of penalty rates out into the public domain. Now we need to put to the government the solution to this problem. The IR Minister, the Hon Bill Shorten, defended the system based on the standard industrial ethos that was designed for industries that operate on a 9-to-5, Monday to Friday platform. It is clear from his response, however, that he does not appreciate the system of penalty on penalty that now exists under the Fair Work Act. There are many challenges with the way in which the Act has been implemented. These penalty structures, the agreement making arrangements and the enforcement regime are all creating havoc in our workplaces. Restaurant & Catering will raise these in the review that is currently taking place and in the review of the Modern Award that will follow. The Association understands the terrible impact that the Act is having (with a 34 per cent increase in business-related bankruptcy since its introduction). The trick is finding and posing solutions that will have some hope of acceptance by the powers that be! Trade well through 2012. Brien Trippas President, Restaurant & Catering
American Express International • Bidvest • Westpac Banking Corporation
Australian Mangoes • Coca-Cola Amatil • Goodman Fielder Food Services • Lion • Meat & Livestock Australia • Treasury Wine Estates
ALSCO • AON • APRA • Bartercard • H&L Australia • OAMPS • Vittoria Coffee
RESTAURANT & CATERING 7
News &events Industry calls for 457 visa changes A slowdown in student arrivals and skilled migration has deepened the skills shortage—but the government has a solution available estaurant & Catering chief executive officer John Hart has called for a loosening of short-term 457 visa rules, saying current requirements for bringing in skilled workers are too onerous and time-consuming for small businesses. The current requirements include having 20 per cent of staff undertaking training before a business is allowed to bring in a foreign worker, and being able to demonstrate financial viability. Hart has told a Melbourne-based website the tests are “fundamentally irrelevant” for small businesses. For example, “The English language requirements make it very difficult for anyone other than native-speakers,” he told the website. “That’s an issue because most of us as consumers don’t like English food; we like Chinese, Thai, Italian, Greek—and these people aren’t native English speakers.” The Association has called for exemptions to the 457 visa program similar to those granted to the mining industry, which faces no quota limit on how many workers it brings in. Bringing a worker to Australia on a two-to-three year 457 visa takes close to a year for tourism and hospitality operators. “The activities that a business would undertake is applying for sponsorship, then finding a person, then matching their qualifications,” Hart says. “That whole process could take around 12 months, because for a small business none of them are going to be on the priority processing list.” The comments come as the Federal Government canvasses the views of the industry on how to best meet its labour shortage. Immigration Minister Martin Ferguson says there are already 36,000 vacancies in this industry. “By 2015, another 56,000 workers will be required, particularly in regional areas,” he said.
Peter Doyle from Peter Doyle @ The Quay
Rules for 457 visas are too onerous for small business.
A discussion paper released by the government asks the industry for ideas on how they would fix the situation and follows a roundtable on tourism employment hosted by Mr Ferguson last August. The discussion paper is open for comment until March 16. It seeks views from stakeholders on what occupations should be eligible, appropriate minimum salaries, skill levels and English language requirements. The government has taken steps to simplify the process. In November 2011, it released a targeted guide to the 457 program for the tourism and hospitality industries.
Hostplus re-launches Cook For Your Career HOSTPLUS, the national super fund for the hospitality, tourism, recreation and sports industries, has joined forces with some of Australia’s top chefs to launch its second annual ‘Cook For Your Career’ (C4YC) campaign, to help raise the profile of the hospitality industry, combat low chef apprenticeship figures and support HOSTPLUS’ members. C4YC is a national cooking competition giving people the chance to win an apprenticeship in one of Australia’s leading restaurants. Restaurant & Catering Australia is supporting the competition. HOSTPLUS has partnered with some of the country’s top chefs—including Ben Russell (ARIA), Adam D’Sylva (Coda), Peter Doyle (Peter Doyle @ The Quay)—to launch the competition. It will be run in three stages from January 16 March 16, 2012. To find out more visit www.cookforyourcareer.com.au.
8 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Cookers refuses to use palm oil... Your choice.
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The Cookers System respects the environment and you in many ways. Not only does the unsustainable production of palm oil threaten orang-utan habitat, the oil is high in saturated fat and increases the risk of heart disease. Cookers supply only high quality healthy cooking oils, plus no tin waste goes to land fill. You pay only for the oil you use and your waste oil is used as bio diesel.
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News &events First restaurants announced for Taste of Sydney 2012
Old favourites return and exciting newcomers join the fold as one of the premium food and wine events of the year, Taste of Sydney, announces the initial line up of leading restaurants on board for 2012. Now in its fourth year, Taste invites Sydney’s top chefs to set up temporary kitchens in Centennial Park on March 8-11. Last year chefs served signature dishes to more than 25,000 food-lovers over the four day feast for the senses. New to the 2012 line-up are Shaun Presland with Saké, Somer Sivrioglu with his modern Turkish twist at Efendy and James Privett with contemporary steakhouse The Cut Bar & Grill. Returning favourites include Peter Kuruvita’s Flying Fish, Richard Ptacnik’s Otto Ristorante, Eugenio Maiale’s A Tavola and Alessandro Pavoni’s Ormeggio at the Spit, with Spiedo also on board for the first time. Four in Hand returns under chef Colin Fassnidge, and Matthew Kemp introduces his recently rebranded The Montpellier Public House. For more, go to www.tasteofsydney.com.au.
Taste of Sydney is going to turn Centennial Park into a feasting ground for the senses.
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10 RESTAURANT & CATERING
4 REDCAT or visit www.redcat.com.au
Noosa International Food & Wine Festival announces full program The Noosa International Food and Wine Festival has announced its 2012 program, which will run this year from May 17 – 20. Some of the world’s best chefs, Australia’s celebrity chefs, and Australia’s best winemakers will descend upon Noosa, bringing their star power from the S. Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant Awards and Good Food Guide Hats to South East Queensland. New highlights for the 2012 festival include Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant combining forces with the Queensland Arts Orchestra along with Jane Rutter and Guy Noble, in The Cook, The Chef and The Orchestra for the gala concert and dinner. Festival goers will have direct access to internationally renowned chefs Mark Best, Fergus Henderson, Alvin Leung, Davide Scabin, Ben Shewry, David Thompson and Seiji Yamamoto with live cooking. The full program is available and tickets are now on sale via the website: www.noosafoodandwine.com.au.
Unilever executive chef Mark Baylis and food solutions managing director Yezdi Daruwalla.
Unilever Food Solutions calls on foodservice operators to Wise Up On Waste Following the growing concerns of consumers about food waste in commercial kitchens, Unilever Food Solutions has launched a global toolkit on food industry waste management to assist restaurants develop their own sustainable waste management practices. The Unilever Food Solutions’ Wise up on Waste global toolkit, which will be available to Australian foodservice operators, comes in light of growing concerns about food disposal when eating out and aims to provide commercial kitchens practical processes and methods to reduce food waste. A global report commissioned by Unilever Food Solutions revealed that one in two Australians are prepared to pay more for meals in establishments which implement disposal schemes and are committed to minimising food waste. Yezdi Daruwalla, Unilever Food Solutions managing director, believes the emerging ‘ethical eating’ trend reflects a growing global environmental conscience in every aspect of daily life. “In such a high pressure industry, waste can be difficult to manage, but even small incremental changes can have a significant impact over time,” said Mr Daruwalla. Foodservice operators need to develop new and improved ways of doing business that will drive sustainable growth while positively impacting communities and reducing their overall environmental impact. With consumer sentiment urging the food industry to take responsibility in reducing the environmental impact of its practices, the Unilever Food Solutions Wise Up On Waste toolkit is an indispensible guide for commercial kitchens and foodservice operators as it features practical steps on how to reduce waste and save costs. For more information about Unilever Food Solutions, visit www.unileverfoodsolutions.com.au
Simon Byrant and Maggie Beer are going orchestral at this year’s Noose Food and Wine Festival.
Anti-social media Kelly Flahavin from Restaurant & Catering Australia’s workplace relations team says an employer may have reasonable grounds for disciplinary action if an employee posts comments on social media that may, for example, harm the company’s reputation, harass or bully colleagues, or breach confidentiality policies. In one recent case before the Fair Work Australia Tribunal, an employee made comments on his Facebook page about not being paid correctly. He did not mention where he was employed, but he did make a comment about how another employee will be “going down tomorrow”. He had several colleagues on his Facebook page which interpreted this as a threat and advised the employer. The employee was dismissed on grounds of serious misconduct. He applied for Unfair Dismissal. The court found the employee’s behaviour was taken to constitute serious misconduct and the application was dismissed. To contact a Workplace Relations Advisor at Restaurant & Catering Australia, call 1300 722878 or visit www.restaurantcater.asn.au.
RESTAURANT & CATERING 11
Voting is open for LifeStyle FOOD Channel’s I Love FOOD Awards until March 18. Visit lifestylefood. com.au to vote, or go to lifestyle. com.au/trade for the trade mailing list.
Winners of the Sydney Royal Fine Wine Show and Food Show are announced throughout February, with the bread, cake and pie competition announced today.
It’s a gay old time in Sydney with the Mardi Gras Parade—an economic boom for restaurants, cafes and bars in Darlinghurst and surrounds. mardigras.org.au
12 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Regional produce and fine shiraz are key to the Heathcote World’s Longest Lunch at The Redesdale, just a 75-minute drive from Melbourne. heathcotewines.org
Noma’s René Redzepi and Momofuku’s David Chang are some of the global gurus at the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, on March 2-21. melbournefoodandwine.com.au
Monterey Jack and marbled curd cheese are dissected and tasted at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin, USA. On Mar 5-7; worldchampioncheese.org
The Import Assistance Service makes it easy to sell products to the Japanese—a free service at Foodex Japan on March 6-9. www3.jma.or.jp/foodex/en
Sean Connolly’s My Family Feast beat Nigella Lawson’s tome in last year’s Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, so see the 2012 winners on March 7-11 in Paris. cookbookfair.com
Adelaide is action-packed with Womadelaide on March 9-12 (womadelaide.com.au) and Adelaide Festival of Arts on March 2-18 (adelaidefestival.com.au).
Queensland chef teams prepare and serve a meal for 80 patrons during the Restaurant of Champions at Fine Food Queensland on March 11-13. finefoodqueensland.com.au
Gourmet fare at both WA’s Chef’s Long Table Lunch on the Bunbury foreshore (chefslongtable.com.au) and the Harvest Picnic at Hanging Rock in Victoria (harvestpicnic.com.au).
‘Understanding The New Consumers’ is one of the topics at the World Food Technology & Innovation Forum in Dublin on Feb 29-Mar 1. foodinnovate.com
Perth International Arts Festival has Entrees & Encores tickets, where selected bars and restaurants offer special deals for hungry arts-loving patrons. perthfestival.com.au
The annual Sydney Cellar Door event takes place all weekend—all part of the NSW Wine Festival on Feb 25-Mar 31. nswwinefestival.com.au
Taste of Sydney encourages punters to try unique minimains of the city’s high-end establishments. Runs on March 8-11; tasteofsydney.com.au
WA has the spice of life all weekend with Araluen’s Fremantle Chilli Festival (araluenbotanicpark.com. au) and the Mandurah Crab Fest (mymandurah.com/crabfest.html).
A two-for-one deal for Aussie exporters with Gourmet Abu Dhabi on Feb 8-23 (gourmetabudhabi.ae ), followed by Dubai’s Gulfood on Feb 19-22 (gulfood.com).
State-by-state showdown with Royal Canberra Show on Feb 24-26 (rncas.org.au) and Adelaide Fringe on Feb 24-Mar 18 (adelaidefringe.com.au).
More than 100 exhibitors are on display at Canberra’s Food & Wine Expo on Feb 17-19. Visit foodandwineexpo.com.au
Corporate sponsors share the love with Tropfest as it celebrates its 20-year anniversary at various outdoor locations around Australia. tropfest.com/au
Hotelympia in London on Feb 26-Mar 1 covers every industry issue from food and equipment to tabletops and bathrooms. hotelympia.com
Nominations are open for the Delicious Produce Awards until March 30. Go to taste.com.au/ competitions
Sounds are unlimited at wineries today with Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows at Hollick Barrel Shed, Coonawarra (hollick.com) and Il Divo at Hope Estate, Hunter Valley (hopeestate.com.au).
Fresh produce and quality wines at Tastes of Rutherglen Festival in Victoria all weekend (rutherglenvic.com), then Taste Of The Huon near Hobart on March 11-12 (tasteofthehuon.com).
Restaurant & Catering’s Lifetime Achievers Dinner is on tonight at Parliament House, ACT. Ph: 1300 722 878.
Winners of the cheese and dairy product categories of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards are announced at Melbourne’s Mural Hall. dairyaustralia.com.au
Chef-and-author talks, special dinners and a twilight hawkers’ market are highlights at the month-long Eat Drink Perth. eatdrinkperth.com.au
The fresh c Peter McCloskey My family were bakers,
so working with food just came naturally to me. Because my family was in the business, they loved food and had a really high standard of what they ate and what they produced. I was brought up with that. By the age of 14, I was working at Qantas as an apprentice chef—in those days, you started young. I think one of the best things I did was volunteering to do evening work in First Class for nothing, but I got to work with all the best chefs. That was something that really set me up for my career. I came up the ranks and worked as an executive chef in fivestar hotels, like the Boulevard hotel [in Sydney], then became food and beverage manager. The Hilton then offered me a role in Brisbane, and later I moved back to Sydney. I never had a desire to go into business but a friend asked me to start a catering company with him, and I said, ‘Absolutely not’. This friend asked me again, so I said I’d do it for six months. And then the Mode Group took off. I could see the potential and it was exciting. Being in business was so rewarding, so that if you worked hard to create a good meal and the client booked you again, it was like ‘wow’. Building the business became a passion and I wanted to build the biggest and most successful catering company in Sydney. And it was that. The one thing I learned from Mode was to really focus on the accounts, understand cashflow, how to set yourself up and not to be stretched or strapped for a dollar. We sold it just before the Olympics. Emotionally it was very difficult. The Mode Group was so successful and then to lose everything and have to start everything from scratch with nothing wasn’t easy. 14 RESTAURANT & CATERING
“I think we’re good at reading the market and we’re good at looking at what the market requires and where the gaps are. We don’t have the attitude that this is what we do and if you don’t like it, don’t use it.” Peter McCloskey, Fresh Catering, Sydney
Starting Fresh Catering was about fresh beginnings; it wasn’t just about fresh food. There were a few people who knew me who put together funding and asked if I would go into business, and that got me back. So I went back into exactly the same kitchen and started all over again. I think we’re good at reading the market and we’re good at looking at what the market requires and where the gaps are. We don’t have the attitude that this is what we do and if you don’t like it, don’t use it. A lot of caterers do and it works, but that’s not who we are. I met Marco about five years ago, in London. He is a friend of my daughter Annie and I went to E&O where he was working as the head chef. I was very impressed that night. He did these shortcut ribs and put them in a Chinese paper cup and folded it in such a way that when it came out it looked so smart—and I thought ‘that’s a great idea for the catering company’. So I took the piece of paper, folded
photography: richard birch
Peter McCloskey, 55, is the director of Sydney’s Fresh Catering, and Marco Adler, 33, is the executive chef. It was a folded piece of paper on a dinner plate in a London restaurant that created a connection between the seasoned pair five years ago. By John Burfitt
Marco Adler (left) and Peter McCloskey: McCloskey says, â€œI have the vision for the future of the company, and Marco has the skills and talent to make it work.â€?
it up, brought it back and copied the idea. But there were a few things that I also saw that made me think he had a great talent. When he came back to Australia a couple of years ago, I was looking for some casual chefs. He hadn’t worked in catering and was really just looking for something to fill the gap between restaurants. He came to work with me and really enjoyed the catering experience and we connected. He just kept on working and didn’t leave. He made a career choice to stay and he is now our executive chef. What he brings to the company is creativity with food. I love the changes with food, I love keeping up with what’s happening with food and I love setting trends. But with the actual research and technical side of the food, I have probably lost my passion and that’s where Marco is a typical chef, driven to cook incredibly well. It’s great working together for the company because I have the vision for the future of the business, but he’s got the expertise and the skill to be able to make that work. Marco has had great experience and he’s so passionate about cooking, and now we have a new contract at the Wharf Restaurant, at the end of Pier 4 with the 16 RESTAURANT & CATERING
“I think Fresh works because we don’t say no to anyone. We have a real ‘can do’ attitude with everyone, from the kitchen to the sales team. Whatever we are asked to do we just do it. I think that’s one of the reasons why we are still standing. And we are always adapting to what people want as well.” Marco Adler, Fresh Catering, Sydney
Sydney Theatre Company, that’s given him a project to work on. We also are thrilled to be working with the likes of the AJC, Powerhouse and the MCA. Marco went from casual chef, to sous chef and then head chef before becoming executive chef, so as we’ve gone from one role to another we’ve just re-written the job descriptions. I’ve had to give him a bit of training when he’s needed it but now he’s just running with it. I can rely on everyone who works here, and Marco is someone I can always rely on.
Marco Adler I started in the restaurant game when I was 16, with an apprenticeship at Armstrongs Brasserie in North Sydney. Then I moved to Lindeman Island for a short time and came back once I was qualified and worked for Neil Perry at Rockpool in Potts Point and then to Bayswater Brasserie. I was then onto the Grand National and from there to London. All of that exposes you straight away to working with quality chefs and working with good produce as well, and getting an understanding of how the industry works. They filled you up and you came back for more and more, and you
Above: A Fresh function at the Fleet Steps in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Some samples of Adler’s creativity: pomello salad (opposite page) and barramundi and sweet pea (left).
learnt quite quickly with these guys. After London, I went to the Caribbean where I worked for Neil Perry. Then I kind of moved around a bit, went to Singapore and then went back to London and that’s when I worked at E&O. I was working there with Peter’s daughter Annie, who was maitre ’d. I left London in 2006, and worked in Malaysia for a while, and then I came back to Sydney, where I worked at Longrain for about a year and a half. One day Annie suggested I should work for Fresh because her dad was looking for casual chefs. I’d never done catering before and I wasn’t looking for anything serious so it was all new to me, but it was very interesting. I was going out on different jobs every day, nothing was ever the same and it was very hard to grasp when you have a restaurant background. You have to adapt because anything can go wrong in terms of the venue—that always keeps you on your toes. I became the head chef here in 2009. Peter comes from a hotel background. I have worked in hotels too but not to the extent of the systems that Peter has, and I’ve learnt that from him. And that’s improved me as a chef as well with organisation. He helps me along whenever we construct a menu for a client—I can come up with 1000 ideas but he can ground it and say, ‘we can do this, this and this’. I guess I bring creativity to the table with Fresh whereas Peter complements me with the organisation of it all, so there is an overall package. So RESTAURANT & CATERING 17
“Whatever we are asked to do, we do it,” says Adler.
we’re constantly bouncing off each other new ideas and how we can improve ourselves. The end result is, however, we can actually achieve what we set out to. The best lesson I have learnt from Peter is his positivity. There have been times when I’ve said, “I can’t do this”, and Peter’s pulled me aside and said, “we need to do this”, and at the end of the day we do get it done. The main thing I’ve learnt from him
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is that we don’t confine ourselves to one particular thing and we open ourselves up to whatever we can do. I think Fresh works because we don’t say no to anyone. We have a real ‘can do’ attitude with everyone, from the kitchen to the sales team. Whatever we are asked to do we just do it. I think that’s one of the reasons why we are still standing. And we are always adapting to what people want as well. We don’t get stuck in a rut. We cater for everything from sandwiches, to a function for 1000 people. With The Wharf Restaurant (part of the Sydney Theatre Company complex) now happening and other people also wanting to work with us, it just keeps evolving for us. And winning the Restaurant & Catering awards just means that other people recognise us now as a force that they want to work with. Going to the national awards, we didn’t know who all the other caterers were and then when we won, I was like, “we’re the national Best Event Caterer of the year!” Fresh is just something you want to be a part of. As for that night in London five years ago at E&O, I seem to remember Peter was with Annie. I am glad he liked my work, but if you don’t have pride in your work then there’s no point in being here. If you can’t come to work and enjoy what you’re doing then you shouldn’t be doing it at all and that’s been my philosophy throughout my whole career. Everything happens for a reason, as I am today sitting here at Fresh and Peter is in the next office. And the thing is, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
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18 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Your Purchasing Partner
Measuring up The Australian Tax Office has developed a set of industry benchmarks that they’ll use to determine how your business is managed enchmarks aren’t only useful for telling you how your business is travelling in comparison to your peers. The ATO has released some small business benchmarks for restaurants, cafes and caterers which are key financial ratios developed to provide guidance on what figures they expect a business in a particular industry to report. The graphs below illustrate them. This kind of data is invaluable, says restaurant broker and consultant and former restaurateur Michael Fischer. Not because the benchmarks are very accurate—in fact, he says, he believes they’re very lenient—but it helps you see if the ATO would see your books as a problem. Fischer has distributed the ATO data to clients and contacts to help raise awareness of this issue. “When I go into a business to prepare it for sale,” he explains, “one of the things I do is a full analysis of the business, and I look at how it is travelling. You can pretty quickly see any irregulari-
ties in the financial structure. For example, if people are taking too much cash out and not reporting it, and the cost of goods will be high, wages percentage will be low, rents will look high and gross profits will look low. If you’re recording all your expenses, then there is a symmetry that makes a lot of sense to the average P&L. But if it’s out of whack you know there is unintelligent management going on. “And if I can see any irregularities in the financial structure, then the ATO would see them as well,” says Fischer. On its website the ATO is unequivocal about the use of the benchmarks: “We use benchmarks, amongst other indicators, to identify businesses that may be avoiding their tax obligations by not reporting some or all of their income, making it fairer for all,” the site says. “If your business is performing outside the benchmarks for your industry, this may indicate that you need to review your record-keeping and business management practices to ensure you have correctly reported all your sales; and
Cafes and coffee shops
7% 8% - 12%
8% - 13% 12% - 19%
7% - 9%
22% - 29%
25% - 30%
14% - 23%
33% - 39%
34% - 40%
31% - 37%
Up to $500,000
Up to $2,000,000
Percentage of costs Goods Staff Occupancy Profit Other
Percentage of costs Goods Staff Occupancy Profit Other
9% - 16%
8% - 13%
12% - 19%
12% - 22%
16% - 25%
38% - 47%
37% - 45%
Up to $250,000
Up to $600,000
22% - 29%
34% - 41%
RESTAURANT & CATERING 19
WIN A PRIVATE MOVIE SCREENING for up to 20
Caterers Percentage of costs Goods Staff Occupancy Profit Other
people valued at up to $1,500 or 1 of 50 DOUBLE MOVIE PASSES!
7% 4% - 7%
6% - 11% 24% - 32%
1. Purchase a minimum of one tray of Sara Lee Muffins from any Sara Lee distributor between 1st February to 28th March 2012, retaining your original tax invoice/s. 2. Enter all the requested details on the entry form below.
11% - 22%
3. Submit this entry form and a copy of your tax invoice/s showing number of trays purchased to us by 11.59PM AEDT 28th March 2012 by fax, email or mail. 4. You’ll receive one entry in the draw for every tray purchased.
The more trays you purchase, the more entries you have in the draw! 36% - 46%
Up to $200,000
34% - 43%
understand why your business benchmark may differ from others in “If you’re running the industry.” your business Fischer has had legitimately, the ATO some interesting benchmarks for the feedback since cost of goods is much spreading the too high, and wages word about the is much too low.” benchmarks. “After Micheal Fischer, consultant I sent them through, I’ve had a number of comments suggesting the benchmarks are wrong in relative terms to reality. If you’re running your business legitimately, the ATO benchmarks for the cost of goods is much too high, and wages is much too low. People working within those parameters wouldn’t be showing a profit.” Nonetheless, he says, it helps to know how the Tax Office thinks you should be travelling. For its part, the ATO also says, “If we contact you because the performance of your business is outside the benchmarks, we will always take into account the individual circumstances of your business, based on the records you keep. If there is a reason your business is performing outside the benchmarks and your business records confirm this, generally we will take no further action.” To find out more, go to www.ato.gov.au/businesses/ and search for ‘Small business benchmarks’. 20 RESTAURANT & CATERING
To find your nearest Sara Lee distributor visit www.foodservice.saralee.com.au All winners will be verified before issuance of prizes. Only 1 entry form needs to be provided with any number of tax invoice/s submitted. Conditions apply see http://foodservice.saralee.com.au/muffins-promotion Open to businesses that reside in Australia. Starts 9am AEDT 01.02.12. Ends 11.59pm AEDT 28.03.12. Retain original invoices. Draw at U1, 3 Green St, Brookvale 2100 on 02.04.12 at 10am. Major prize winner published in The Australian on 12.04.12. Major prize: Private Gold Class Screening for up to 20 people valued at up to $1,500. Minor prizes: 50 x Double Screen Saver Movie Vouchers valued at $36. Promoter: Sara Lee Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 82 051 278 409) of 37 Ryde Rd, Pymble 2073. NSW Permit No. LTPS/11/11848 ACT Permit No. TP11/5200.
‘MORE REAL’ MUFFINS MOVIE PROMOTION ENTRY FORM. Send this Entry Form & your Tax Invoice/s to us by: FAX – 1800 283 233 Attn: Sara Lee Muffins Promotion EMAIL – firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Sara Lee Muffins Promotion MAIL – Sara Lee Muffins Promotion. PO Box 290 Brookvale NSW 2100. To be received by last mail on 28.03.12.
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What I’ve learnt
The owner of Must Winebar and Must Margaret River on following your vision, dealing with adversity, and impossible surcharges I felt unusual among my peers. I knew throughout high school exactly what I was going to do. Be a chef.
how impressed the CEO was with how we dealt with the complaint. So not only did we turn a complaint around to win the loyalty of the person complaining, but he became our word of mouth. That was a high value win.
Never lose sight of what you originally went into business to do. In 2001 we wanted a bit of a Paris bistro and an amazing wine bar. We haven’t changed that concept.
Owning a business is a terrifying leap—financially terrifying, stressful and incredibly rewarding and life changing. It’s a combination of everything.
I use customer complaints as a measure of how well a business is functioning. A group of high net CEOs were dining in my restaurant and there was a complaint about a steak being not well cooked. The wait person immediately took it away and straight away got another meal in place, with the second steak cooked perfectly. That CEO knows a major writer and I got an email from this person telling me
When I sold out of 44 King Street there was a dispute. We went to court because of a delay and ended up with zero in the bank account. I was trying to resolve an issue I felt I had a right to resolve. Now in hindsight I say, move on. Business transactions should be business. You cut your losses quickly if that’s what you need to do and move on. You are in business to make money.
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interview: Sharon Aris. photography by mike duffy
When I was a young apprentice I heard about a chef in London—Anton Mosimann—running the kitchen of The Many times I’ve learnt ideas from other operations. Dorchester. He’d just written Cuisine Nouvelle. I decided When I had 44 King Street we had smoking and nonhe was the guy I wanted to work for. I went to London and smoking sections. People would complain about smoke he gave me a job. There were 90 chefs in the brigade. I wafting between tables. I read about a restaurant that was the only Australian. I set a goal—I’m going to impress decided to ban smoking at mealtimes in Sydney. We became people with the effort I put in. After seven months I said, the first business in WA to ban smoking at certain times of ‘Chef, I really want to work in The Terrace’, which was the day. We closely monitored our regulars who smoked Michelin starred. Two weeks later I was given a tap on the and discussed the changes with them. They changed their shoulder for sous chef. My philosophy is, you are noticed habits and came later when they could smoke. When we through your effort but that doesn’t mean you get what opened Must Winebar in 2001 there was no law banning you want. You need to state clearly where you want to go. smoking in bars. We opened with a policy of no I promote that through my business now. We set smoking inside. You could come in, enjoy a annual reviews for all staff. We sit down and fantastic glass of wine and not breathe in talk about it. I reserve the right to say no, “You’re more someone else’s smoke. It was a highly but people deserve the right to be heard. measured by how you successful business idea for us. Then I say, what will your development deal with adversity cost deliver to my business? If people than with the good can show they’re willing to deliver times. When the I’ve also made bad business a result to the business, they know economy is tight decisions. With labour costs and they’ll get a fair hearing. that’s when the weekend penalty rates rising, we true nature of the decided to put on a weekend surcharge. Must Wine Bar has been here 10 business is It was the worst thing I’ve ever done. Our years. We’ve been through a host of revealed.” regular customers felt they were getting a challenges. You’re more measured by how penalty for visiting the business. We withdrew it you deal with adversity than with the good in two weeks. It’s better to put minor incremental times. When the economy is tight that’s when charges across everything. the true nature of the business is revealed.
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The madness of As restaurateurs reluctantly jump on the coupon bandwagon, many are questioning the true value of these sites in generating repeat customers for their business. Amanda Lohan reports
n recent months, the negative press about group buying sites has skyrocketed. While there’s no question many new customers are coming through the door, it is the quality of those customers that has restaurateurs scrambling for alternatives. With over a hundred group buying or daily deal websites selling a million deals a month, it’s easy Are they booking their next meal with you, or just buying to see why the pressure is mounting to go online another coupon? to remain competitive, however there’s much more to online marketing than group buying sites alone. is through regular email updates with tips on topics from buildJason Bulger, group manager of marketing and commercial ing your own database to writing better subject lines for email partnerships at Bookarestaurant.com says, “It’s not the same marketing (and with a 65 per cent open rate on their last email as it was 10 or 20 years ago; putting up a sandwich board or campaign, Bookarestaurant.com may just have a few pearls of handing out flyers and waiting for walk-ins. Those things are all wisdom to share). still really relevant but more and more people are going online “There aren’t a lot of restaurants in Australia with and to mobile.” their own marketing team,” says Bulger. “A lot Bookarestaurant.com is an online booking site are family-run and don’t have the marketing focusing on mid- to high-end venues. The “We know the lunch knowledge and experience. We encourage site allows its partner restaurants to display specials are very restaurants to embrace technology and, bit ‘special offers’ including coupons, giving popular. A lot of by bit, incorporate new strategies like email each restaurant the power to manage patrons don’t even marketing or Google Analytics, or using their own inventory just in time. “There know that the best products like ourselves or any marketing is no set offer,” says Bulger. “Restaurants restaurants in town partner online to get their name out there”. can put up any offer they want.” In terms Ben Johnson, managing director of the of what offers are most appealing, Bulger run a two course Entertainment Book and vice president says, “Anecdotally we know the lunch spemenu for $35 for – associates of Restaurant & Catering, says cials are very popular. A lot of patrons don’t lunch every day.” that the reason the Entertainment Book has even know that the best restaurants in town Jason Bulger, Bookarestaurant.com enjoyed continuing success in the face of fierce run a two-course menu for $35 for lunch every online competition is because there are no costs or day of the year. It’s about awareness.” commissions involved. “To be honest with you, when I Importantly, Bookarestaurant.com also helps their first heard about (group buying sites) in America... I didn’t think partner restaurants to capture guest details to build up an email restaurants and other businesses would go for it. With a 50 per marketing database. Partner restaurants are encouraged to set cent or greater discount and up to 50 per cent commission up their own Google Analytics account, a free service that helps there is very little left for the business. It’s unsustainable.” restaurants take ownership of their website traffic data. “We see The Entertainment Book makes two standard offers: 25 per it as our job to encourage and educate restaurant owners on cent off up to a certain value, and a complimentary main course how easy it is to do these things,” says Bulger. One of the ways when a second main course is purchased. In both cases the in which Bookarestaurant.com educates its partner restaurants RESTAURANT & CATERING 25
deals are capped, usually at around $50. “We don’t inflate the offers. We don’t offer 60-70 per cent off the price to make it look really attractive. We work off the regular menu and the offers are all the same,” says Johnson. The theory is that customers will be more likely to try a restaurant that fits the profile of a restaurant they would normally go to, based on information such as menus and reviews. This, he says, is where the group buying sites fall down, “If you try to lure people with the deal rather than the restaurant, you end up with people who really are there just for the deal.” Johnson says the Entertainment Book is a consistent source of new customers, even for restaurants that have been with the program for more than 10 years, “Most restaurants are finding on average that 70 per cent of the people coming through the Entertainment Book are new customers. When Cafe Sydney first started it was 70-75 per cent new customers (as a result of the Entertainment Book program), now it’s probably at around 45-50 per cent, so it’s still quite significant in terms of getting new customers in.” The beauty of the surge in online marketing for restaurants is that it has forced restaurants to think critically about their marketing strategy in the face of more active competition. And, if there is one thing the experts can agree on, it is that each restaurant is unique and requires its own specific marketing strategy.
26 RESTAURANT & CATERING
DIY Marketing Ben Johnson, managing director of the Entertainment Book, has some tips if you favour the DIY approach to marketing: Get educated. Attend relevant workshops and seminars, and read up on successful marketing strategies. Make sure your staff understand and are involved in whatever program you are running so customers are given a favourable reception. Think critically about your options to make sure you are targeting the right market (customers who are more likely to come back). Think about your plan for each customer in the longer term. Try to capture information about the customer so you can market to them again in the future. Avoid strategies that foster a discount mentality with existing customers and if you offer discounts, do so sparingly. Will “offer fatigue” spell the end of the group buying site bubble? “Our business is constantly evolving, and that means we have to be open and willing to change as needed... Internally, Groupon operates a market intelligence department which specialises in identifying latest trends and all the best things to do in a particular city to ensure that the deals consistently on offer continue to provide our customers with a fantastic variety of experiences. As long as we continue to focus on our customers’ interests and only work with the highest quality merchants, we’ll continue to thrive.”—Tobias Teuber Co-CEO of Groupon
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New drain insert is a certified alternative to p-trap priming systems Odour from floor drains is a common problem. The sources are sewer gases and bacterial colonisation. Vermin such as cockroaches also thrive in drains. The traditional p-trap can block the odours as long as it remains charged with water; should it dry out the odours will infiltrate the room together with the risk of disease. In commercial premises, especially sensitive ones such as hospitals and nursing homes, an option is to install an automatic priming system to periodically fill the p-trap with water. These systems cost up to $400 per drain when designed in to a new building and are virtually impossible to retrofit to an existing building. Now, however, a new product called DrainGuardian, designed and marketed by Melbourne-based Eco Guardians Pty Ltd, offers a triple solution to the problem of odours and vermin in floor wastes. DrainGuardian™, unlike other systems: Uses no chemicals Is anchored to the drain grate so that it cannot be dislodged Uses a unique, patented combination of a water reservoir and an elastomeric element Is impregnated with ionized silver, a highly effective bactericide. Hydraulic Consultants who have examined DrainGuardian believe that it is a superior product which they would specify instead of the p-trap priming system. This is borne out by an extensive series of tests which have led to DrainGuardian being certified for this purpose. The common floor drain diameters in Australia are 100mm and 80mm; different sized DrainGuardians are therefore available with fittings for tiled floors and vinyl floors. Eco Guardians’ Doug Wilson says “DrainGuardian is an exciting product, developed and manufactured in Australia. We are delighted with the high level of enquiries from professional specifiers as well as from individual households. We have some key reference installations which include the change rooms at MCG and it is specified into a number of sites where hygiene is particularly important such as schools for children with special needs. Clients and specifiers finally have a cost-effective solution to a chronic problem.” DrainGuardian prices start at between $80 and $90 each plus GST. Find out more details at www.ecoguardians.com.au.
28 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Tip Top Foodservice launches first nutritionally complete white bread: ‘The One’ Tip Top Foodservice has launched a new bread called The One™ – the first nutritionally complete, soft, white bread. Tip Top’s new white bread has a unique combination of nutritional benefits meaning foodservice professionals no longer have to choose between different breads. Tip Top® The One™ is packed full of extra fibre for digestive balance, added vitamins and minerals for daily nutrients, and a lower GI than regular white bread providing longer lasting energy and a fuller feeling for longer. Now available to foodservice professionals, The One comes in both Sandwich and Toast variants (both 700g). Wade Ashley, executive baker at Tip Top® said, “Tip Top has spent over 50 years perfecting daily fresh bread for the Australian foodservice industry. “Most recently, we spent over 12 months researching and developing a white bread that will deliver foodservice professionals across the country a highly nutritional and sought after product. “Tip Top The One is made from the best quality ingredients available, and follows strict baking processes to produce our softest white bread yet. “The One is designed to stay softer for longer, and has been proven to be significantly better in softness and taste comparisons with its competitors. From a nutritional standpoint, Tip Top The One offers an ideal solution with a fibre content higher than the national average for regular white, wholemeal and grain breads.” Tip Top® The One™ meets the Department of Health and Ageing’s voluntary salt targets for bread, as well as both government and nongovernment based ‘Green Food’ canteen guidelines, encouraged as the best choice for menus in the foodservice sector.
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Moffat turns up the heat
From left to right: CONVOTHERM easyTOUCH, the FRIGINOX, the Turbofan oven, and part of the WALDORF 800 SERIES range.
MOFFAT has all the major equipment a busy kitchen needs, including a range of combination oven steamers, FRIGINOX blast chillers / freezers, TURBOFAN convection ovens, the WALDORF 800 SERIES of cooking equipment and more. CONVOTHERM Who doesn’t have a need for an easy to use operation system for their kitchen units? CONVOTHERM, the experts in combi steamer technology have met customer demands by launching the new easyToUCH panel for their product series. The CONVOTHERM easyToUCH is a robust touch display which alleviates the tough daily kitchen business in the operation and adjustment of your combi steamer. Many traditional controllers still use switches, rocker switches or buttons. With easyToUCH you can simply navigate through the plain menu navigation by pressing a finger onto the easyToUCH panel. Large self-explanatory symbols allow unskilled users to learn the operating handle quickly. THE NEW ERA OF BLAST CHILLING The FRIGINOX i-CHILLING system is cutting edge technology unrivalled by its competitors. FRIGINOX blast chillers / freezers are the only ones in the world to use a cooling air temperature automatically adapted to the product to be cooled. The temperature varies from product to product and ranges from 0° to - 40°C. While other blast chillers / freezers on the market operate at a single “factory set” temperature, whatever the product, the FRIGINOX blast chillers / freezers automatically select the temperature most appropriate for the product characteristics out of more than 40 different temperatures. THE FUTURE IS HERE. MOFFAT’S series of TURBOFAN convection ovens bring powerful performance and smart new features, designed with a clear understanding of customers needs. TURBOFAN convec-
tion ovens suit any application where performance, use of space and functional, no-nonsense features are valued. Digital time and temperature controls are now standard on the E31D, E32D and G32D models. The new digital models provide knob driven time and temperature setting with large displays providing exceptional ease of use. The complete Turbofan line of equipment has a brand new design style to meet the increasing market need for incorporating equipment into design concepts in food outlets, convenience stores, quick service restaurants and general applications. WALDORF 800 SERIES TURNS UP THE HEAT The WALDORF 800 SERIES range has been expanded and redesigned to provide more configuration options and greatly enhanced performance. Including more cooktop options, heavy duty, thermostatically controlled griddles, a 1200mm chargrill and refrigerated base options. Central to the cooking operation, gas cooktops feature a non-clogging burner design, while burner performance has been boosted to an impressive 28MJ/hr. Style, functionality and user-friendliness are high on the agenda for the WALDORF design team. The industry preferred 800mm depth measurement ensures efficient use of space, while the clean, consistent lines of the 800 Series provide a flatter, uninterrupted workspace when installed as a complete cooking line. Rounded internal and external edges and corners make for easier wipe-down and hygiene control, while streamlined surfaces make cleaning the entire cooking line a whole lot simpler. For more information visit www.moffat.com.au.
RESTAURANT & CATERING 31
Pizza product guide
Letizza Pizza Bakery
Letizza pizza bases are made to an authentic Italian recipe, and are perfect for a busy, short-staffed kitchen.
he busy Letizza bakery is located in Sydney. It is operated by Mr Joseph Gilvarry, and his energetic team which distribute nationally. Letizza pizza bases are ideal for clubs, hotels, and cafes. Just top, heat, and eat So how is Letizza different from other pizza bases? Our handmade bases are made to an authentic Italian recipe. The unique texture and flavour of a Letizza comes from a special blend of premium ingredients. Every Letizza base is hand stretched giving each one an unusual and real homemade appearance. Our bases are pre-baked with a golden brown finish, a bread crumb base (to avoid non-sticking). Available in both Classic & Thin. We also produce a comprehensive size range that spans 16 different sizes varying from slabs, ovals, or individual serves to name a few. Gluten free also available. Bases have a 12 month shelf life in the freezer.
At Letizza we like to think outside the square. Pizza isn’t just for your basic toppings. The options are endless. Here are a few suggestions Starters: *Bruscetta, * pesto, * herb, * garlic Gourmet: *Roast lamb, pumpkin, caramelised onion with mint yoghurt *Chorizo, Roma tomato & basil *Persian feta, fig & prosciutto Dessert: * Philadelphia cream, sliced pear, gorgonzola cheese & walnuts * Nutuella or chocolate base with mascarpone & strawberries *Apple crumble *Banana, walnuts with caramel sauce There is nothing easier than a pre baked pizza base. Letizza is a first quality premium product every time. Pizza is quick, busy kitchens are often time poor and short staffed. Anyone can prepare a pizza. So remember LETIZZA and LET’S EAT PIZZA …
32 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Pizza product guide
Fresh seafood range
Premium Snack range
First Pack: a one-stop packaging shop
irst Pack’s philosophy has always been to create a one-stop shop for its customers in the pizza world, and to provide all the packaging and accessory products required to run a successful pizza business. It has achieved its goal hands down and is the clear leader in this segment Australia wide. The question is “Where to from here?” The answer was obvious…Snack Packaging! Why not give the same quality, service, innovation and competitive prices provided with pizza packaging and create a fantastic range of takeaway snack packaging products… and this is exactly what First Pack did! It features three main ranges which include: Premium snack range with its funky retro USA style print
34 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Enviro range made from heavy duty recycled corrugated board featuring a contemporary hip recycled print Fresh seafood range with its clean and fresh ocean catch print. Each range offers many different carton, clam or tray designs in varying sizes to suit almost every application. Also don’t forget to check out First Pack’s brand new easy-to-navigate website to review all the new snack and pizza packaging products in detail. Just go online to www. firstpack.com.au, or just call Toll Free – 1300 665 554. First Pack also supplies a great range of coffee cups and lids along with providing an easy custom print service for all its packaging lines. Contact First Pack now for all your packaging solutions. You’ll be glad you did!
Organic growth an you sell more wine if it’s labelled organic? Unreservedly yes. Because ‘organic’ is easier to understand than ‘pinot grigio’. Allow me to expand. Once upon a time in a far away galaxy called the 1960s, patrons in Australian clubs, pubs and restaurants ordered beer, spirits The word ‘organic’ and/or port. This was the time suddenly provides when seatbelt laws were yet to be compulsory and all wine with an few of us had gone to Europe. Indeed, some of us over-arching and had just come from there. inarguable rightOver the next decade, the 1970s, dining and to-purchase. dietary habits began to change, however. And by the 1980s Australians had started drinking wine. Very quickly we started to drill-down, as it were. We discovered that ‘wine’ was not only white or red, but that each colour had various varietal names: shiraz, chardonnay, and so on. Then wine regions became important. One would drink chardonnay from Margaret River, but not from the Barossa. You went to the Barossa for shiraz. Coonawarra meant cabernet. These specifics became snobbery, and snobbery became knowledge. Before you knew it your oldest son Justin, who you’d 36 RESTAURANT & CATERING
hoped might become an accountant, was a sommelier in a restaurant you couldn’t afford to go to. Indeed, wine had become so absorbed by its own minutiae that only Justin could explain it to anyone— even you. Thank goodness, then, for ‘organics’. And I say that without any interest whatsoever in human or planetary health and wellbeing. And this is why. The word ‘organic’ suddenly provides all wine with an overarching and inarguable right-topurchase. “Would madam like the Eden Valley south-facing slope clone M2E7Y riesling made with partial barrel fermentation?” Well, no; madam just wants a drink. And thus the organic pinot grigio is purchased, and happily so.
photography: tourism nsw
Organic wine gives your customers a ‘feel-good’ factor which encourages purchases, and the quality of it is improving all the time, says Ben Canaider
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Happily? Yes. Acquired and spurious wine knowledge is defeated by a broader social moral right and imagined duty of care—organics. Organic wine will always win because it doesn’t matter what it tastes like or how it’s made. What matters is that it is organic. If you don’t believe in this dictum then go have a look at the semi-rotting fruit and veg in every organic fruit and vegetable store in every postcode. Organic foods have even become a not insignificant part of the supermarkets’ inventory—despite such item’s higher price tags. The only real difference in the appeal of organic wine compared to organic food relates to personal health issues. Organic foods are perceived to be better for both you and the planet (thanks to the notion that organic farming respects Mother Earth); whereas organic wine might be doing the right thing by Gaia, but, well, yes, there’s alcohol in it. Admittedly it is organic alcohol, but it’s alcohol nevertheless. Eschewing personal health concerns, organic wine not only seems better for you (via its gentler effect on the Earth), but it can be ordered irrefutably. The single word ‘organic’ replaces everything else you might need to know about wine. Your customers, once perhaps frightened of ordering wine because of wine’s myriad laws, now simply remember one thing: ‘organic’. The reverse of the medal? I can’t see too many downsides to organic wine. Indeed, of the 40 plus examples that I’ve tasted over the past six months the tendency towards quality wine labeled ‘organic’ has been high—as if to suggest that organic wine producers are currently over-delivering in an effort to publicise and to convince. In both organic whites and reds—and, increasingly of late, organic rose—there’s also a tendency towards a more beverage style of wine. Indeed, there seems to be a parallel between this more intelligent drinkability and organics in general. I take my hat off to such producers as Battle of Bosworth (Russell Gehling Wines; email@example.com ), Temple Bruer (Angoves; firstname.lastname@example.org), and Krinklewood (carla@ krinklewood.com). It should be added, not only are many of these producers organic, but they are also biodynamic, and also produce some preservative-free wines. Such a stratification of the feel-good factor can only impress your customers. And that’s important. As more aspects of your menu and wine list—not to mention your beer list—come under the scrutiny of those customers assuaging their night out with a sense of environmental responsibility—the ‘leave no footprint’ ideal— the more you need to participate in the conversation. Be a step ahead. Offer customers choice, but don’t necessarily be defined by it. Some licensed premises don’t serve Bundy; some will never serve organic wine. But wouldn’t it be nice to be beyond both of those stereotypical extremes? That’s fanciful. More fanciful still is how you pitch organic wine. Do you claim the moral high ground? “And to complement our organically reared Waygu Beef Cheek is, of course, our organically grown pinot noir from New Zealand’s Upper Lower”. Or, should your floor staff simply fill a void with another void: “Oh, the organic pinot. Yes. It’s got the there there…” Both approaches are sales techniques, and both approaches keep you match fit, and ready for the next food or drink trend to stride through the door… Organic today, God-knows-what tomorrow. But you need to milk organics while you can, regardless of any ethical stance.
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RESTAURANT & CATERING 37
Hugos Manly Designing a cool beach house feel for a restaurant and bar situated right on Sydney’s Manly Wharf made perfect sense for architect Vince Squillace
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Squillace Nicholas Architects 2 Liverpool Lane East Sydney NSW 2010 T: (02) 8354 1300 W: www.squillacenicholas.com.au view. Even on an overcast day, it looks bright and iridescent with the beautiful blue water shining. “David was very involved with the design of the kitchen. He knew exactly what he wanted, so I just helped him with layouts and spatial planning. The furniture is all bespoke to create a continuity with the other Hugos venues. Contempo furniture (www.contempofurniture.com.au) and Royal upholstery assisted with detailing and construction. Once again, David was very hands on. “An AMX system runs the lighting and the heating. There are many downlights on a very dim setting so as to give a nice even glow. “I truly believe Hugos was responsible for the revival of Manly’s dining and beverage scene. Since it’s set the mark, a lot of other places have stepped up their design and service.”
words: kerryn RamsEy
hen David Evans, one of the partners of the Hugos Group, engaged my company to design Hugos Manly, the existing site was an ’80s extension sitting on the heritage wharf. It had been vacant for a number of years and was very disorderly. There were structural columns in bizarre places and it was in need of a major overhaul. “Ultimately, the only things we could save were the roofing and some of the external walls. We even installed new beams to re-position the steel columns in more suitable locations. “David is a creative client and he had a clear vision. We wanted to create the feel of an Australian beach house with a large verandah. Hugos was to be a place where people feel relaxed and come in wearing their shorts during the day. The site works really well because it faces west so there’s great access to sun which is perfect for the venue. “We removed the ugly curved sail membrane at the entrance and built the verandah where there was just a couple of sad umbrellas. The verandah has transformed the whole western facade of the wharf. A membrane roof allows daylight inside and two layers of vertical blinds—one clear and one that acts as a sunscreen––were installed on the vertical face of the verandah to create year-round comfort. When they’re retracted, they disappear. “The interior of the restaurant can be enclosed with white timber framed doors. When not in use, they stack into a hidden cupboard. However, due to the verandah blinds, I don’t think I’ve ever, in any weather conditions, seen them closed when the venue is operating. “There was an emphasis on the design to give Hugos the flexibility to adjust to its environment and to allow patrons to be comfortable. It also gives the business operators the security to book tables on the verandah. “The floor in the restaurant is polished concrete and recycled Australian hardwood on the verandah. The white timber panelling was profiled to match the heritage cladding that features at Manly Wharf. It helps break down the barriers between in and out. “The dark timber ceiling, darkish concrete floor and dark furniture really exaggerate the
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