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Restaurant Catering SEPTEMBER 2016 $6.95 GST incl.

Clear thinking

Stumped? A business consultant can help. Just don’t leave it too late page 12

Lessons learnt

How to bounce back from bankruptcy page 24

Lease to buy

It can make sense to lease your kitchen gear (just read the fine print first) page 31

BOSS Johannesburg native Duncan Welgemoed means business with his Adelaide shebeen-style eating house, Africola

Official Journal of Restaurant & Catering


Try our new range of delicious dippers Conveniently sized, our NEW 50g premium sauces are a handy addition to any kitchen. Gourmet Tomato Sauce | Texan Smokey BBQ Sauce Tartare Sauce | Seafood Cocktail Sauce | Aioli Garlic Mayonnaise

Call us on 02 8668 8000 to arrange a free tasting. www.birchandwaiteprofessional.com.au Conditions apply, see website for details. *Data on file 2 RESTAURANT & CATERING


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CONTENTS SEPTEMBER 2016 $6. 95 GST INCL .

UP-FRONT

5

FROM T H E ASSOCIAT ION

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NEWS & EVENTS

Words from the CEO and President of Restaurant & Catering. Sydney's newest convention centre gets ready for business; training platform Typsy talks innovation in the hospitality game; Dimmi releases data; and new restaurant gear from 3M and Kounta. 12

16

INSIGHTS

12

BUSINESS CONSULTANTS

Restaurants often wait until until it is too late before asking for help. Far better to call in the experts before disaster strikes and avoid the need for rescue altogether.

16

R ECIPE FOR SUCCESS

18

A TAST E OF AFR ICA IN ADEL AIDE

24

L ESSONS L EAR NT

For Dioni Flanagan, head chef at The Currant Shed in SA’s McLaren Vale, sharing good food is “one of life’s greatest pleasures”. 24

31

What do a tequila cocktail, a skateboard, the world’s most celebrated boxer and a nanny have to do with contemporary South Australian restaurant and bar Africola? How do you get back on your feet after going into administration?

STUFF 36

38

31

L EASE IS T H E WOR D

If you're opening a restaurant and are short of cash, you should consider leasing your kitchen equipment, with the option of buying it later. Just read the fine print first.

36

DR INKS

38

DETAIL S

A new study examines what effect the size of wine glasses has on wine sales. The Woodhouse in Bendigo uses timber as both a design element and a cooking method.

Follow us on

RESTAURANT & CATERING 3


Restaurant Catering DIAMOND

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: restncat@restaurantcater.asn.au Web: rca.asn.au/rca President: Matteo Pignatelli (VIC) Senior Vice President: Mark Scanlan (NSW) Junior Vice President: Michael Sfera (SA) Treasurer: Richard Harper (VIC) Chief Executive Officer: John Hart

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GOLD

Restaurant & Catering magazine is published under licence on behalf of Restaurant & Catering by Engage Custom Media, Suite 4.06 55 Miller Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009 www.engagemedia.com.au Editor: Alex Gilly Art Director: John Yates Associate Editor: Kathy Graham Contributors: John Burfitt, Ben Canaider, Frank Leggett, Tracey Porter, Kerryn Ramsey, Chris Sheedy, Merran White Sales Director: Adam Cosgrove Direct: (02) 9660 6995 ext 505 Fax: (02) 9518 5600 Mob: 0404 351 543 Email: adam@engagemedia.com.au Editorial Director: Rob Johnson Commercial Director: Mark Brown For all editorial, subscription and advertising enquiries, ph: 1300 722 878

EDUCATION & PROJECT PARTNERS

Print Post approved PP: 2255003/06505, ISSN 1442-9942 ©2016 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 AUSTRALIA

NATIONAL ASSOCIATE MEMBERS 9,570 - CAB Audited as at March, 2016

4 RESTAURANT & CATERING

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FROM THE

ASSOCIATION THE NEW FEDERAL Government is getting on with the business of governing. The most important ministries for R&CA are skills with Karen Andrews, tourism with Steve Ciobo, employment with Michaelia Cash and small business with Michael McCormack. Parliament has only just begun but the pace has been fast and furious. I participated in roundtable policy discussions with the skills and tourism ministers, both still in their first month of office. This shows the Turnbull Government's commitment to engaging with industry players. Minister Ciobo has publicly expressed his commitment to the tourism part of his trade, tourism and investment portfolio. It is a great ac-

knowledgement that tourism is now part of the portfolio—grouping these areas together just makes good sense. Ciobo has had a deep involvement with the industry, not just because his electorate is the heart of the Gold Coast. Even as shadow minister, he took a real interest in our issues. Minister Andrews, also from the Gold Coast, has hit the ground running, with a roundtable on apprenticeship, a review of data, the launch of skills week and a mandate for industry to drive the redevelopment of standards—all in the first month. This start bodes well for the proactive Turnbull Government. Despite the almost hung parliament and the hostile Senate, a few in-touch min-

THIS MONTH, the Association has been involved in a stoush between the State Government and minor opposition parties in Victoria over smoking in outdoor areas. The issue

is pretty simple: is an extended ban on eating within 4m of a smoking area right or wrong? It's the politics of the situation that are quite distressing. The process shows the worst side of the politicisation of policy, and how it affects business. The Association had been working with the Victorian Government on the inevitable ban on smoking in outdoor areas to get something that is workable for restaurants. At the last minute, the Greens added amendments that are totally unworkable and, because the numbers in the Upper House don't favour the Government, the fight was on. This is not just about the smoking issue in Victoria; it is symptomatic of the public policy process

that our industries (and associations representing them) now have to deal with. In an environment now more like the US system (and we don't have the space here to unpack that), we are called upon to have a relationship with—and communicate policy outcomes—to all of the minor parties scattered through the political landscape. In this instance and others, we find allies in our Association with similar views. Let's hope we get a sensible outcome on this, and that we can withstand the knifeedge politics of most of our state and federal parliaments this term.

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

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-&-catering-industryassociation

isters, like Ciobo and Andrews, will make a real difference. John Hart CEO, Restaurant & Catering

Matteo Pignatelli President, Restaurant & Catering

#discoverhospitality /discover-hospitality

RESTAURANT & CATERING 5


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Taste the No.1 choice of Australian Chefs* at Fine Food Australia 2016 We’ll be at stand P48 but if you can’t make it, simply call us on (02) 8668 8000 to arrange your very own personal tasting.

6 RESTAURANT & CATERING

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R&C ENTREE DIMMI DATA STAFF TRAINING

ICC Sydney invests in world-class staff development program International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) is investing $250,000 into professional development for its workforce. ICC Sydney is partnering with TAFE NSW—Sydney Institute to deliver nationally recognised qualifications to staff. The innovative approach will shine a spotlight on part-time and casual workers, and facilitate career opportunities for both staff and selected TAFE students, who will now be trained to ICC Sydney’s world-class standards. Over the next 24 months, up to 2,000 ICC Sydney team members will receive training through this initiative. Geoff Donaghy, CEO of ICC Sydney, said the partnership with TAFE NSW —Sydney Institute reflects ICC Sydney’s belief that its people are the venue’s number one asset. “ICC Sydney will be Australia’s premier integrated convention, exhibition and

entertainment precinct and we want to ensure our team is ready to be part of something extraordinary," he said. "Our work with TAFE NSW—Sydney Institute will see tailored education programs developed for students across hospitality, commercial cookery, audio visual, business administration and security.” Anne Cazar, assistant faculty director of Tourism, Hospitality and Service Industries at TAFE NSW— Sydney Institute, said ICC Sydney is a true business role model. “By investing in all workers, including casual staff, ICC Sydney is demonstrating a strong commitment to its workforce and we are very proud to be associated with them,” she said. As part of the partnership, a TAFE NSW—Sydney Institute representative will be assigned to ICC Sydney to ensure all courses are aligned with its standard

industry benchmarks. Mathew Paine, director of Human Resources at ICC Sydney, said the venue is currently undertaking a comprehensive recruitment drive to fill 1,500 casual and 300 full-time roles ahead of the December opening. “ICC Sydney is committed to strong on-the-job training," said Paine. For more information on ICC Sydney, visit www.iccsydney.com

Anne Cazar of TAFE NSW and Mathew Paine of ICC

Dimmi has released its industry data for 2015/16. The top 10 trends were: 1. Overall, the market rose by 4.4 per cent. 2. While the average spend remained steady, spend in the premium market saw a five per cent rise. 3. 65 per cent of online bookings are made on mobiles, and 34 per cent of bookings were within 24 hours of dining time. 4. More restaurants are now taking credit card details at the time of booking and the noshow rate has dropped eight per cent YoY. 5. 35 per cent of Aussies say they depend on verified diner reviews to make a decision about where to dine. 6. The top four booking channels were: Dimmi, Zomato, Trip Advisor, Qantas. 7. There has been a 46 per cent increase in solo bookings from FY2015 to FY2016. 8. 42 per cent of all restaurant reservations are now made online. 9. There was a rise in Sunday covers. 10. There’s been a lot of acquisition, consolidation and expansion in the market this year, with many venues trying to tap into cost efficiencies. To view the full Infographic, visit www.dimmi.com.au/infographics/ dining-index-2016

RESTAURANT & CATERING 7


R&C ENTREE

K ITCHEN

3M Safety-Walk Whether you need floor protection in kitchens, entranceways, bathrooms, factories or more, 3M has you covered. The industry leader in developing safe, ergonomic floor solutions, 3M offers a range of 3M SafetyWalk Economy Matting with options for different needs. Made from tough and durable natural

rubber, 3M Safety-Walk Economy Matting options provide both comfort and anti-slip resistance. The mats are available in multiple different textures, from bubble-like dome shapes, to open hole construction and even an economy ute liner. Additionally, the mats are designed to be light-weight and easy to

clean for optimal ease of use. With 3M Safety-Walk Economy Matting, you can make any job safe and worry-free. “Providing a safe workplace environment is the responsibility and focus for many of our customers,” said a 3M representative. “Floor safety is a considerable component of a workplace safety program. The 3M Safety-Walk Economy Matting range provides our customers with multiple options for increasing the slip resistance of an existing floor by providing better traction or by aiding with the removal of water from the floor surface. In addition to the safety benefits many of the products provide cushion comfort for workers on their feet for long hours which assists with fatigue reduction.” For more information about 3M Matting products or the extensive range of other 3M cleaning and workplace safety solutions, visit www.3M.com/au.

TYPSY TO STAGE INNOVATION TALK FOR R&C PROFESSIONALS Hospitality is a fast-paced industry. New trends and technologies are constantly transforming the way we do things. It’s the innovators who stay ahead. To help hospitality businesses learn how to become better innovators, training company Typsy is holding a live event in Sydney. On 5 October, hospitality professionals can gather at the Roslyn Packer Theatre in Walsh Bay to watch some of the 8 RESTAURANT & CATERING

industry's most admired minds speak live on stage about innovation. Guests at this TED-style event include Adam Ferrier, one of Australia's best-known consumer psychologists; Yossi Ghinsberg, who survived the Amazon on his own for three weeks only to open an eco-lodge there 10 years later; and Fady Hachem, the award-winning designer of Melbourne’s Adelphi Hotel and dessert bar Om Nom.

Special Guest MC Kirrily Waldhorn, otherwise known as the Beer Diva, will bring the night together with her warm and welcoming sense of humour. Head along for an evening full of fun and inspiration— and an opportunity to network with like-minded people. For a limited time, early bird tickets are only $39. Visit www.typsy.com/ events/typsy-live-sydney to get yours.

IN N OVATION

Kounta app on Albert With almost one in two Australians saying that the latest technology improves their retail experience, there’s a rising expectation that hospitality businesses will keep pace to deliver a best-in-class service. In a world first, the recently launched Kounta app on Albert, CommBank’s clever EFTPOS tablet, allows businesses to run their operations and securely process payments on one device. The solution brings together an online cash register, inventory management system and payments solution that also seamlessly connects with accounting software. The Internet enabled mobile POS solution comes into its own in a busy hospitality environment, allowing managers to sort through orders, assign tables and monitor stock levels. Once it’s time to settle up, the Albert EFTPOS tablet leads the way in secure payments, with the ability to split the bill amongst patrons. In a digitally-led business environment, with rapidly changing customer expectations, Kounta on Albert helps to level the technology playing field, and usher all businesses into the future.


RESTAURANT & CATERING 9


WHAT'S ON... SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER

Congress & Expo in Thessaloniki, Greece on 24-27 Sept. worldchefs2016.org

Sun 25

SEPTEMBER

Support National Organic Week on 17–25 September by highlighting the dishes on your menu that are local and organic. organicweek.net.au

Thu 15

Mon 26

Have a natter with industry pros at the 'Ask the Experts' Advisory Centre during Fine Food Australia in Melbourne on 12-15 Sept. finefoodaustralia. com.au

Winners of Queensland’s Restaurant & Catering Wine List Awards for Excellence are announced at The Landing at Dockside. rca.asn.au

Fri 16

Join R&CA for a networking event and drinks, listening to guest speakers discussing industry topics. TAS and Newcastle on 26 September; NSW and ACT on 10 October. rca.asn.au

Get some eco tips at Milkwood’s ‘Intro to Organic Market Gardening’ in Sydney on 16-18 Sept. milkwood.net/courses/

Sun 18

Grab the opportunity to try small, artisan and craft spirits at today’s Indie Tasting, all part of Sydney Bar Week on 17-20 Sept. barweek.com.au

WINE TASTING

Sat 17 NSW vs QLD with Mudgee Wine & Food Festival on 9 Sept-3 Oct (mudgeewine. com.au) and Capricorn Food & Wine Festival in Rockhampton (capricornfoodandwine. com.au) on 16-18 Sept.

10 RESTAURANT & CATERING

Tue 27

Taste crushed grapes at Mudgee or Rockhampton this September

Mon 19

ACT announces its winners of the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence. savouraustralia.com.au

Tue 20

The OzAsia Festival runs the Adelaide Night Noodle Markets on 17 Sept-2 Oct. adelaidefestivalcentre.com. au

Wed 21

Discover new, innovative food ranges at Food Ingredients Asia’s Discovery Tours on 21-23 Sept in Jakarta, Indonesia. figlobal.

com/asia-indonesia/visit

Thu 22

Find out how to revitalise your menus while expanding your profits at 'Lunch!', the UK’s only dedicated trade show for the foodto-go sector on 21-22 Sept. lunchshow.co.uk

Fri 23

The World Beer Awards winners are announced in London. Good luck Aussie brewers! worldbeerawards.com

Sat 24

George Calombaris is speaking at the Worldchefs

Discover traditional pasta and join a butchery class during Giovanni Pilu and Alessandro Pavone’s Tuscany tour on 24 September–1 October. accoutrement.com.au

Thu 29

Sydney's revamped Bennelong is one of the Aussie venues shortlisted for Restaurant & Bar Design Awards—winners announced in London tonight. Congratulations to all winners! restaurantandbardesignawards.com

Fri 30

The Consumer Award for the South Australian Food Industry Awards closes today, with the gala dinner on 25 November. safoodawards.com.au


OCTOBER

ness boom for restaurants and cafes who take part in this event—part of The Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Month. sydney.goodfoodmonth.com

Wed 5 Sat 1

Make sure your menu provides plenty of meat-free dishes to support World Vegetarian Day. worldvegetarianday.org

Sun 2

Turn your clocks forward one hour—daylight saving kicks off in ACT, NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania at 2am.

Mon 3

Try a few drops from larger producers and smaller boutique wineries during Griffith’s unWINEd event on 30 Sept-2 Oct. unwined-riverina.com

Tue 4

'Let’s Do Lunch' is a busi-

Annette Fear of QLD’s Spirit House runs cooking classes during the monthlong Taste Riverina Food Festival in NSW. tasteriverina.com.au

Thu 6

Enjoy prawns, pineapples and pina coladas during Palm Cove Reef Feast in far north QLD on 6-9 Oct. reeffeast.com.au

Fri 7

There’s more than German sausages at Oktoberfest Brisbane on 7-9 and 1416 Oct—try baked pork knuckle and spit-roasted chicken. oktoberfestbrisbane.com.au

Sun 9

Enjoy a meal while talking books and literature at today’s Library Lunch at

H OS P ITA L ITY S H OW

Sat 8 Victoria has festival fever with Shedfest today at Yarra Valley (yarravalleysmallerwineries.com. au) and Heathcote Wine & Food Festival all weekend (heathcotewinegrowers. com.au).

the Crush Festival Bundaberg on 7-16 Oct in QLD. This year’s guest speaker TBA. crushfestivalqld. com.au

Mon 10

The three-day R&CA Licensee Course NSW on 10-12 Oct is essential for licenced restaurants, caterers, nightclubs, motels, function centres, vessels and motel operators wish-

ing to obtain a Restaurant or Caterers Liquor License. rca.asn.au

Tue 11

Need equipment updates? New furniture? Improved technology? See the latest and greatest at SA Hospitality Show in Adelaide. ahasa.com.au

Wed 12

The Best Riesling in the World is named at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge on 1015 October. rieslingchallenge.com

Thu 13

Twenty finalists wait with bated breath for the grand final of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 competition in Milan. sanpellegrino.com

Fri 14 Love cheese? Head to Perth on1416 October

A Cheese Lovers’ Appreciation Class is a tasty event at the Food & Wine Expo in Perth on 14-16 October. foodandwineexpo.com.au RESTAURANT & CATERING 11


MANAGEMENT

Restaurants often wait until until it is too late before asking for help. Far better to call in the experts before disaster strikes and avoid the need for rescue altogether. Chris Sheedy reports.

Don’t wait until it's too late

THERE IS PLENTY of research “It all has to begin with a vision,” showing how successful a restaurant says Michael Fischer, business broker can be in the few months after it and restaurant consultant with Michael opens. Fresh staff, excited owners, a Fischer & Associates. “If the vision is newly decorated interior and customnot clear and if it is not based on a ers eager to try the newest offerings market need, or if the vision is to copy all make for a glowing honeymoon somebody else who is doing well, then phase. Then comes the there is likely trouble 100-day slump when ahead. On the other those very same cushand, if somebody tomers find the next “If the vision is not does have a vision and big thing, the media is exactly what clear and if it is not knows no longer interested in they want to do and based on a market why they want to do your start-up story, and need, or if the vision it, it makes creating a the real world kicks in. is to copy somebody successful business a That is often when else who is doing a restaurateur’s lack lot easier.” of preparedness and Fischer, who in well, then there is planning is rudely the past has held the likely trouble ahead.” revealed. After that positions of NSW Michael Fischer, business broker and president and nahoneymoon period, restaurant consultant restaurant consultants tional president of the say reality begins to Restaurant & Catering bite and if you are not Industry Association, 100 per cent prepared says he is sometimes to run a lean and motivated called in as a consultant when it is business team aligned with a bulletsimply too late. When this occurs, he proof strategy, your business could is expected to work miracles. very easily fail. “When you’re a new business, 12 RESTAURANT & CATERING


RESTAURANT & CATERING 13


MANAGEMENT

you start off with a lot of money and you employ a good designer, a good architect, a great chef and a publicist,” he says. “For the first 100 days you succeed based on that. If you've been able to create a niche, something different or something perceived to be good value, then you could succeed. If not, then you could fall by the wayside and become a historical statistic.” So how does a restaurant owner best utilise the services, experience and clarity of vision of an external consultant in order to avoid becoming a statistic?

Seek advice early

says. “We can set you up with the right suppliers, shape the right menus and organise staff training. “One of the mistakes I often see is that a particular chef will write a menu and—as we know— chefs can be quite transient. When they leave three months later, the customers become annoyed because they liked the food before and now it's not the same, so they'll never return. I try to set up a business that has a set menu then we leave the chef to be creative with the specials, so at least most of the menu is consistent.”

The most successful business people often employ external advisors—or at the very least, they bring a mentor on board to ensure they are constantly improving and are not allowing any bad habits to develop. For the very same reasons, a restaurateur should bring a consultant in to their business as early as possible. “I'm a consultant, so of course I'd say businesses should bring a Don’t rush in consultant in from The main message the very beginning,” from our experts is chuckles Tim Muxlow, that planning, and an restaurant consultant intimate knowledge from Food Business “One of the big of every inch of your Consultancy. “But it problems is that business, is everything. really does help. One everyone thinks A consultant can help of the big problems is they're an expert make this a reality. A that everyone thinks when they first go restaurateur should they're an expert when never rush in or asthey first go into busiinto business.” sume the management ness. Then they only Tim Muxlow, Food Business of the business is going realise they need help Consultancy to be easy, they say. when they get into “Do the planning serious trouble.” in the beginning and Muxlo says that make sure everything many people who about the business, contact him don’t even including the restaurant’s appearance, have enough money left to pay him fits what you are offering,” Muxlow for his services. Their dream has truly advises. “Do your research and debecome a nightmare. velop your business plan. Make sure “Bring a consultant in early and your finances are in place and do a we can offer help and guidance with budget analysis to ensure you can business planning, financial forecastsurvive the long term.” ing, budget analysis and more,” he 14 RESTAURANT & CATERING

The reason an intimate knowledge of all of your business’s processes, costs, people and operations is vital, Michael Fischer says, is because absolutely everything about your business is interconnected—if you are looking to make a change in one area of your business, it is going to require adjustments in other areas. Fischer explains, “If I say to somebody that in the industry sector they are in, their cost of goods should be no more than 28 per cent of their turnover, but in actual fact they’re spending 37 per cent of their turnover, what are they going to do about it? “How do they look at their menu and how do they analyse the menu composition? How do they look at, and adjust, their buying? How do they make adjustments to the relationships they have with their suppliers? Do they know the value of the items that are being stolen from them, or that are being wasted?” “All of these things can make an enormous difference. It is possible that you need somebody from outside the business to help you develop the skills to know your business in as much detail as you need to in order to run it successfully.” Finally, Fischer says, once you employ a consultant, make the changes they recommend. Don’t just consider the changes then continue doing what you’ve always done. Often the single most difficult option is change, but if the business is dying then it is also the only option.


Keep tabs with Albert, the clever EFTPOS tablet. If you own a cafe, bar or even a pet grooming van, you can let your customers start a tab. Maybe they want to grab a few piccolos or pay for a month’s worth of washes all at once. With some help from Albert and his Open Tab app, you can quickly start and manage customer accounts. magine what Albert can do for your business. Imagine

Call 1800 730 554 or visit commbank.com.au/albert


RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

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For Dioni Flanagan, head chef at The Currant Shed in SA’s bucolic McLaren Vale, sharing good food is “one of life’s greatest pleasures”. Flanagan brings more than a quarter century of experience to the kitchen, transforming the fresh produce of the Fleurieu Peninsula into fresh, flavoursome mod Oz-meets-Asian food, meticulously matched with the wines of the region. By Merran White.

PHOTO: JACQUI WAY

Dioni Flanagan “As a child, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen and really liked baking. We had a beach shack on the coast and we’d go fishing, then cook the fish, pickle the crabs and sit around eating and playing cards. Food was a big part of my childhood. “By year 12, I was hugely interested in cooking. After high school, I got a job in a French/German patisserie, then did a pastry chef apprenticeship, ending up on that side of the industry for 13 years. “In 1997, I started working as a pastry chef with Cibo, an Italian restaurant with pastry shop attached. “As a pastry chef, you’re ‘a creature of the night’; it’s very demanding on your lifestyle without much recognition for what you do—although that’s changing with chefs like Adriano Zumbo. When I started in restaurants I saw the other side of cheffing: all those highly driven, creative people—how much fun they had; the energy of having a good team around you. It made me want more interaction—so I enrolled in more courses and went to the ‘hot side’. “I’ve had some great mentors. One was Thai/ Malaysian chef John Tan; I’d eat at his restaurant and his flavours were amazing. I said, ‘If I show you some pastry stuff, will you show me your cuisine?’ Soon I

was working there a day a week, helping him open a pastry shop while he taught me Asian cooking. “Then I started running my own kitchens, first at function centre Carrick Hill, then Wine Underground, Panacea, and Mantra on King William, a wine-based establishment. I got to know lots of sommeliers and learnt from them about balancing food and wine. “I needed work-life balance, though, and when a job at Penny’s Hill winery’s The Kitchen Door in McLaren Vale came up for someone strong on pastry, I took it. I was sous chef there for five years, ran the kitchen for six months, then went to D’Arenburg winery. I’ve been at The Currant Shed 15 months, with sous chef Joey Taylor. We do lunches and, through summer, small weddings. “Creating a team is a huge part of the job. You’re working with people who need to be constantly stimulated and challenged, so part of the head chef’s role is encouraging your kitchen staff’s talent and creativity, getting them to come up with new things and not be stagnant. I keep my own ideas fresh by eating out and interacting with customers. “My partner is also a pastry chef so we do lots of cooking together. We also do lots of gardening. I like getting back to the roots of it—learning about where

“I think it's important young chefs realise the job involves sacrifices: you may not get to every party.”

For more Recipes for Success, visit our website at rca.asn.au/magazine

food actually comes from. “As a chef, I’m into fresh ingredients and here on the Fleurieu Peninsula, we’re in touch with terrific farmers and growers, and source locally whenever we can. Most of our customers are tourists and they like that. “I think it’s important young chefs realise the job involves sacrifices: you may not get to go to every party. That said, you have to find a way to fit life around that commitment and not get too tied up in the work lifestyle, so you can really enjoy it. “It’s an intense environment if you let it get to you. Some chefs are like nutty professors—out of what seems like chaos they produce the most amazing stuff. I’m a Virgo; I like to have systems so everyone knows where they’re at. “For me the most challenging thing is criticism. I rarely get a complaint. If I do, I deal with it before the customer leaves the restaurant. “The most rewarding part of the job is people, and the creativity and joy involved in cooking for them. Having friends never say ‘no’ to a dinner invitation at our place is a plus! “After all this time, I still love cooking. It’s one of the great pleasures in life. And some of the simplest foods are the best. If I had one meal left, it’d be comfort food—not Michelinstarred cuisine.” RESTAURANT & CATERING 17


A 18 RESTAURANT & CATERING


What do a tequila cocktail, a skateboard, the world’s most celebrated boxer and a nanny have to do with contemporary South Australian restaurant and bar Africola? Tracey Porter investigates.

AFR ICA COVER STORY

A TASTE OF

PHOTO:GRAPHY: RANDY LARCOMBE

IN ADELAIDE

DUNCAN WELGEMOED has little time for ‘cock craniums’. Just like the foul-mouthed restaurateur-turned reality star under which he fine-tuned his skills early on in his career, Welgemoed believes the key to running a successful food service business comes down to four essential elements. “Be better than the other guy, respect the reviewers who actually get paid to review, be a part of the hospo community and above all else,

don't be a dickhead because wordof-mouth is still a thing.” It is a mantra that has served the South African-born chef well in the years since he left his native Johannesburg to seek fame and fortune cooking on the world stage. It was as a child that Welgemoed’s education in food first began. Yet it was through a trusted caregiver that he learned to appreciate the value of his ingredients. “It was my nanny, Julia, who taught

Duncan Welgemoed. It's a long way from South Africa to South Australia

me about traditional African dishes,” he says. She was the one who taught me how to slaughter animals, make chakalaka, find the best produce at a market, and respect seasonality.” It’s a long way from South Africa to South Australia but somehow that’s where Welgemoed found himself following a decade working for Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay across the UK and Europe. Forging his reputation at Adelaide’s renowned fine-dining space Bistro

RESTAURANT & CATERING 19


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COVER STORY

Dom, it was a chance booking at a pop-up space that introduced him to current business partner James Brown. Brown, an illustrator/artist/designer who also owned a pop-up restaurant company called The Happy Motel, had had a foothold in the hospitality industry for some time, after a period designing wine labels early in his career led him to collaborating on a number of high-profile restaurant fitouts. Brown booked Welgemoed to cook for him at a space he had at the Adelaide Festival of Arts and instantly recognised someone he could go into business with. “Duncan came and cooked for us at one of the events; he spit roasted a kangaroo and served items from a smoking barrel (the dinner theme was roadkill). From there, we asked him to join The Happy Motel and acknowledging at the time that a chef we started doing more weird shit and an illustrator going into the restautogether,” recalls Brown. rant game wasn’t an everyday occur“In late 2014, a two-level space rence, he says he was also confident below Brown’s heritage-listed studio the pairing would be successful. across the road from Adelaide’s Bo“Opening a restaurant isn’t just about tanical Gardens became available and food—the whole concept as a package the pair seized upon the idea of turnhas to work. Having someone to help ing their long-held vision of opening lay the conceptual foundations to take their own restaurant your restaurant from a into a reality. They place to eat to a prodcalled it Africola. uct is important. James “It sort of started via is someone I trusted Mexicola, a name based to help build Africola on a drink [made up as a brand as well as a “Opening a from] tequila, coke, restaurant isn't just restaurant.” lime, salt and Tabasco,” Seeking to meld about food—the says Brown. the concept of the whole concept as a “After creating Johannesburg shebeen package has Mexicola in Bali, I had (unlicensed bar) and to work.” a skateboard accident braai (BBQ joint), the and landed in hospital. pair spent just three Duncan Welgemoed While in hospital I was weeks on construction watching the movie before throwing open Facing Ali and saw the the doors to Africola in man formerly known November 2014. as Cassius Clay skipThe restaurant ocping in Zaire ahead of [his bout] with cupies around 110sqm of inside space George Foreman. In the background and 80sqm of useable outside area were the words of the event sponsor with the site’s basement spread over a Afri-Cola. At that point I knew Dunfurther 250sqm. can and I had to create something With Welgemoed taking care of the African to follow his roots.” menu concepts, it fell to Brown to help Welgemoed felt similarly. While put the pair’s ideas into practice and

design the look and feel of the space. He says he drew heavily from southern African influences including political propaganda posters and Somalian ‘funk deluxe’. Accommodating a central hearth into the front-of-house layout over which much of the food is prepared, the interior is centred around the concept of hand-stitched Ghanaian 'Asafo Asante' (traditional warrior) flags that have accompanying 'Posuban' constructions (fortified posts made from cement and brick). These posts are decorated with artwork representing the values of the traditional warrior groups incorporating animals, mythological figures and cannons. Brown says, “These places are normally made by the owners and painted in two-tone, so we did that. They often use leftover paper from tinned food print runs as wallpaper. We wanted folks to have fun with a little bit of magic included. I started to hear Duncan’s crazy Jo’berg upbringing: the sacrificing of animals to the braai and learning how to attend to the coals since a kid. Hearing stories of his family’s peri peri chilli sauce business and the guarding of the secret recipe—it was all super inspiring. “I wanted Africola to be like a RESTAURANT & CATERING 21


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COVER STORY

virtual holiday but you toe a fine line of making something original and not tokenising a culture—all in the name of Duncan needing a space to sacrifice vegetables and well-grown juicy meats” Restaurant price points range from $10 to $35 with the kitchen producing around 75 covers per sitting. With both the wine list and menu changing weekly, the demands of the job require Welgemoed to be in the kitchen five days a week from midday to midnight. He says he escapes by spending time with his family, relaxing with friends and—when no one is looking—playing Xbox. The restaurant employs six kitchen and eight front-of-house staff, each of whom undergoes regular training to ensure a close relationship with external suppliers. Everything is done in-house including butchery and baking, and staff work directly with farmers, wine makers, brewers and distillers, Welgemoed says. “We then have the knowledge to talk about the processes as we have the broad understanding of the products we are selling. “We also collaborate a lot with other chefs and winemakers so having our team work with these individuals gives them brilliant exposure to different styles and excellent networking opportunities.” Welgemoed says that despite its popularity, the restaurant has no marketing budget and has not built its solid reputation on the back of discounting or third-party promotions. While Africola does have a small social-media presence, Welgemoed says he and Brown prefer to rely on old school word-of-mouth to generate new business. “We do what we do and people generally want to talk about it and that’s awesome. More operators

should be confident enough with their Nikki Friedli and a more vegetableproduct or business to have an online heavy menu that Welgemoed believes voice and personality which generwill “change people’s previous expecates interest rather than waste their tations of us committing ritual animal money on marketers, discount books, sacrifice with fire”. paid ads in local travel Yet despite the booklets or free meals aesthetic and menu to bloggers and amachanges undertaken at teur photographers.” the restaurant and the Welgemoed con“I wanted Africola glowing reviews, it is cedes the biggest to be like a virtual what lies at its core that challenge he faces is believes holiday but you toe Welgemoed controlling costs in the contributes most to its a fine line of making ongoing success. face of a fluctuating something original market, staff turnover, “Our demographic and not tokenising a is very broad, which is finding a rhythm and perfecting a product. great. I think anyone culture.” “That shit takes that digs delicious James Brown time,” he says. food and booze in a Determined to fun environment gets ensure Africola stays what we do. ahead of the game, the “But the thing I'm restaurant has recently most proud of is my undergone a small renovation that staff. Some of them have grown so sees a more contemporary offering much and in turn won acclaim themon show. This has resulted in the selves. My senior staff, in particular construction of a new, much larger, Nikki, have really made a mark in wine cellar complete with a living wine the industry and that makes me so program led by restaurant manager fucking proud.”

At home in in Africola, where everything is done in-house, including butchery and baking RESTAURANT & CATERING 23


MANAGEMENT

How do you get back on your feet after going into administration? Frank Leggett investigates.

Lessons learnt HOSPITALITY is a volatile industry. hospitality businesses. “The creditor Restaurants and cafes work on wafercan normally go after the guarantor directly and immediately. I have seen thin margins and are at the mercy of a company set up with two sons and public whim. It doesn’t matter if it’s a start-up business or a well-established their mother as directors. The mum’s restaurant, when financial obligations house secured the business and if can’t be met, they are forced to shut they go bankrupt, the mum’s house their doors and go into administration. is on the line.” Having a business go into In addition to this, if a director of bankruptcy can take a huge toll— a company has been running the not just financially but personally, business with certain types of activity, emotionally and even physically. such as trading while insolvent, However, the lessons learnt from then the Australian Securities and seeing a restaurant go under can Investments Commission can ban be the backbone of a new and them from running a company for a financially viable business. period of time. No-one takes going into In some cases, a company bankruptcy lightly—nor should they. bankruptcy can lead to personal It will have a long-term effect on bankruptcy. “When you declare your ability to own a company and bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed,” to do business. When a business says David Bergman, national becomes insolvent, it enters into manager of Insolvency & Trustee either voluntary administration, Services Australia at the Australian liquidation or receivership. The Financial Security Authority (AFSA). directors of the company are not “All of your assets will vest in the responsible for the trustee and you day-to-day debts of can no longer deal the company. One with them. You’re a important exception is declared bankrupt “When a business when they have signed for a period of three fails, forget about personal guarantees. years and there are a making excuses and number of restrictions. These often include business finance owed instead analyse why If, during that threeto the bank, and the things went wrong. year period, you lease of premises Be open and honest continue to carry on and equipment. a business, you have with yourself and “A personal disclose to anyone take the advice that to guarantee makes the with whom you are you don't really want dealing that you're directors liable for to hear.” those debts,” says an undischarged Justin North, executive chef, Hotel Richard Edwards, bankrupt.” Centennial, Sydney founder and director If your business has of Whites Legal, a gone bankrupt, the three-year minimum firm specialising in legal advice for period before you can 24 RESTAURANT & CATERING

start again can seem like an eternity. However, this is an opportunity to gain those skills that may have been lacking the first time around. Ken Burgin, founder of Profitable Hospitality, says, “A lot of people who get into this industry are not numbers people. They’re food people or ‘people people’ or relationship people without the skills to prepare a cashflow forecast or work out a budget. While their passion can be applauded, they need to gain business acumen so they won’t make the same mistakes twice.” Richard Edwards suggests: “During the time when you’re bankrupt, work out every mistake you’ve made. Go into somebody else’s business as a restaurant manager or as an employee. Build your skills so once you’re a discharged bankrupt, you have a plan in place for your next business.” An enforced hiatus from business ownership gives time to reassess your priorities and get back to basics. Award-winning chef Justin North has experienced the highs and lows of the hospitality industry. Bécasse, his flagship restaurant in Sydney’s CBD, was awarded Best New Restaurant in 2002 and Best European Restaurant in Australia 2004 from the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence. Then in 2012, Bécasse went into voluntary administration along with a catering business and a bakery owned by North. “It felt like my whole world was collapsing,” says North. “When it all ended there was a sense of personal devastation. There was certainly no bad intention—it's just the nature of the business—but it was a very

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difficult time.” Since 2014, North has been executive chef at the Hotel Centennial in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra. The establishment had an extensive refurbishment in 2014 and has won over critics and public alike with its celebration of modern comfort food in a beautiful environment. While North has no plans at present to run another business, he does have some advice for those willing to try again. “When a business fails, forget about making excuses and instead analyse why things went wrong,” he says. “Be open and honest with yourself and take the advice that you don't really want to hear.”

While it’s possible for a chef to run the kitchen and be a company director, North believes that’s not the best business model for a successful restaurant. “It’s extremely difficult to run a kitchen and to run a business at the same time. They’re both full-time jobs with very different skill sets. You need to play to your strengths.”

Online reputation Successful businesses are built on good reputations and going bankrupt can have an impact in that regard. “Not only are you looking at a minimum of three years of being bankrupt but your name is permanently listed on the National Personal Insolvency Index,” says

Richard Edwards. “Then there are bad credit reports that hang around for four or more years. Your name is also going to pop up on Google whenever anyone does a search.” When setting up a new business after bankruptcy, it can be worthwhile engaging a content consultant to utilise some targeted search engine optimisation. An online search should bring up reviews and stories of your new venture rather than negative reports of the business that went under. At first glance, it may seem difficult to get credit with a supplier if you are associated with a bankrupt business. However, suppliers will generally only give terms of RESTAURANT & CATERING 25


MANAGEMENT

seven days or COD so there’s little difference between starting out or coming back after bankruptcy. “Just remember,” says Ken Burgin, “if you miss a payment, you’ll find it extremely difficult to get credit again. I know some very canny business owners who pay their suppliers in cash on the day. It’s a great way to stay on top of things and keep a good relationship with suppliers.” Coming back from bankruptcy means having a whole new respect for numbers. A business manager is an ideal solution or the owner must watch the bottom line like a hawk. BAS must be paid on time, suppliers kept happy and lease agreements thoroughly vetted prior to signing. Before starting any business, a complete and frank financial

assessment should be made by a disinterested party. The excitement of running and owning a new restaurant or cafe mustn’t overwhelm the hard figures and profitability forecasts.

As Richard Edwards says, “The most important thing to remember is that if it doesn't work on a spreadsheet, it doesn't work in real life.”


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TECHNOLOGY

LEASE IS THE WORD

If you're opening a restaurant and are short of cash, you should consider leasing your kitchen equipment, with the option of buying it down the track. Just read the fine print first, writes Kerryn Ramsey.

RESTAURANT & CATERING 31


TECHNOLOGY

32 RESTAURANT & CATERING

LIKE HOUSE PRICES, the cost of opening a new restaurant or cafe is constantly rising. “Twenty years ago, you could open a restaurant or cafe with $100,000,” says Tony Eldred, director of Eldred Hospitality. “People were able to finance that by taking out a second mortgage on their home. Today, you really need a minimum of $1 million to set up a restaurant or cafe of a viable size. This amount is way beyond a second mortgage so finance is required but, unfortunately, banks don’t regard hospitality as a good place to lend.” The large amount of money involved means that anyone brave enough to start a new establishment is generally undercapitalised. If the finance can’t be raised, the only option is to reduce

the cost of set-up. Kitchen equipment is one of the major set-up expenses and leasing offers a way to get into business with less capital. Often the decision to lease is a necessity rather than a choice. “It’s very common for people to jump into the restaurant business and severely overestimate how much money they're going to take,” says Eldred. “Often they make as little as 50 per cent of what they expect and all of their feasibility studies just fall apart.” Leasing kitchen equipment, particularly larger pieces such as commercial dishwashers, refrigerators, coffee machines and combosteam ovens can be an effective way to save start-up cash so it can be spent in other areas—on food orders, advertising,

furniture and so on—that help drive customers through your door. Leasing payments must dovetail into an overall business plan with a clear expression of the total outgoings. It’s a good idea to build the leasing costs into the rental expense as the business can’t operate without the equipment. Michael Fischer of Michael Fischer & Associates, a restaurant, cafe and hospitality brokerage and consultancy, has dealt with many businesses successfully leasing kitchen equipment. “The most important thing with any lease is to ascertain whether the monthly payment goes towards acquiring an asset or if you are just paying for the right to use a piece of equipment,” says Fischer. “Ensure the interest payment is competitive and you’re not paying above the odds. It’s always worthwhile to get comparative quotes because, to be blunt, there are a lot of rip-off merchants out there.” They are capitalising on the fear that a business loan may never eventuate which causes some people to sign leasing contracts without the proper care and negotiation. “It’s vitally important that new restaurant owners have an accountant or lawyer skilled in hospitality, looking over any leasing deal, particularly if there’s a substantial amount of equipment involved,” says Eldred. “Everything's negotiable and when you receive a quote, be prepared to haggle and discuss the terms. Never accept the first quote that is offered.” An accountant can look at the quote and create an accurate projection of the costs involved.


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While leasing equipment means it’s possible to go into business with less capital, it’s imperative that the business owner understands the financial consequences of the contract they are signing. It’s important to understand the obligations if the restaurant should fail. It’s possible to set up a contract where, if the business doesn’t perform as required, the owner can cease to trade, return the equipment and there's not a huge penalty. It should also be remembered that a lease is a contract, and that, no matter what happens, payments on the lease must be paid until the contract expires. However, it’s possible to negotiate more flexible arrangements with certain leasing companies. Equipment

can be leased with the option to purchase at the end of the agreed term. Some companies offer short- or long-term rental of equipment, where ownership of the equipment passes to the business owner at the end of the contract. Of course, interest rates on these contracts need to be carefully considered. Leasing equipment can be a good way for newcomers to break into the business. Unfortunately, many sign leases without thinking about the impact they have on cash flow. The hard truth is that when starting a brand-new establishment, there’s no guarantee that anyone is coming through the door. A better alternative might be to buy an existing business with existing cash flow. “If you are starting a

“Today, you really need a minimum of $1 million to set up a restaurant or cafe of a viable size.” Tony Eldred, director, Eldred Hospitality

new business, the only fixed cost is your rent,” says Fischer. “You’ve got to know your business, you've got to know your costs, and you've got to know whether you can afford to borrow. If money is short then you have to prime that pump yourself. Leasing kitchen equipment can give some respite from a cash-flow shortage.” There are many advantages to leasing equipment—it frees up cash for set-up, maintenance is often included, and equipment can be upgraded. However, the best thing you can do for your business is to purchase the equipment as soon as possible. “A lease, like any sort of borrowing, will impact on your profitability,” says Fischer. “The sooner you off-load that liability, the better.”

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DRINKS

DOES SIZE MATTER?

A new study examines what effect the size of wine glasses has on wine sales. Ben Canaider wonders whether that means the glass is better half full or half empty?

A STUDY FROM THE UK, published in the BMC Public Health Journal by scientists from Cambridge and Bristol Universities, suggests people drink a “significantly greater amount of wine when their beverage is served in a larger glass.” Over a five-month period in 2015, wine sales at a local Cambridge pub were analysed on a two-week cycle. For two weeks, wine by-the-glass sales were served in a 300ml capacity glass. For two weeks after that 370ml glasses were used, and for two weeks after that, 250ml glasses— for five months. No matter what capacity glass was being used, the standard wine pour was 150ml. When this standard pour was served in the larger 370ml capacity glasses,

36 RESTAURANT & CATERING

wine sales increased more than 11 per cent: up 14.4 per cent in the bar and 8.2 per cent in the restaurant. Lead author of the study, Dr Rachel Pechey, said it is not yet clear why this is the case. "One reason may be that larger glasses change our perceptions of the amount of wine, leading us to drink faster and order more," she theorised. Dr Pechey said that more research is needed to understand and confirm the link between larger glass size and increased wine sales and consumption. She also suggested that liquor licensing regulations might need to take this into account. She wondered, “Could it be an alcohol licensing requirement that all wine glasses have to be below a certain size?"

That may well be the case. I mentioned this study to a food and beverage manager I’m on friendly terms with, and he became concerned about responsible service of alcohol and how glass sizes might affect that. Then I had a quiet drink with a wine rep, who saw sales potential—doing a backof-the-envelope calculation about how much it would cost her to get a fleet of wine glasses as big as your head into her favourite onpremise account. Putting sales opportunities and service responsibility to one side for a moment, glasses—or stemware as they are known by wine cognoscenti—have had a major overhaul over the last 30 years. Remember the early 1980s? The 190ml Paris

Goblet was the wine glass du jour in most eateries. Also at this time, there was a lot of Waterford crystal— wonderful to see on a table setting and a delight to hold and admire —even if their shapes and thick lips do make all wine taste virtually the same. Which are qualities the game-changing glassmaker, Riedel, would have us believe are critical to

"Larger glasses change our perceptions of the amount of wine [we drink], leading us to drink faster and order more." Dr Rachel Pechey, University of Cambridge


wine-glass manufacture and wine appreciation. Besides the aesthetics of their wine glass, and the more tactile, cut-rim edge that Riedel crystal stemware offer, they have done much to promote the idea that different wine styles need a dedicated wine bowl atop the stem—with the shape and dimensions of the bowl designed to bring out the best in the wine. Capacity is also key to the design, and indeed Riedel make one Pinot Noir or red Burgundy glass that at full capacity holds 1095ml of wine. On top of aesthetic considerations and dedicated stemware for each style of wine you offer on your wine list, there is also a strong customer expectation for quality glasses. The logic goes that if the customer is paying top dollar for a bottle of wine, the customer wants a wine glass that is big and costly and flash and made by hand by an Austrian wineglass artisan. Whether the wine glass makes the wine any more enjoyable—on a strictly analytical level—is not important.

What is tricky about this wine glass research is the bit about a standard glass, or pour, or unit of alcohol when served onpremise. Not that I am for a microsecond suggesting the need for regulation in this area, but it does seem odd that a container of alcohol sold off-premise must display the number of standard drinks it holds, but a glass of wine sold in a bar or restaurant doesn't. The formula for calculating a standard drink is volume multiplied by alcohol multiplied by 0.789. For example, one stubbie of 375ml full-strength beer at 5 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) equates thusly: 0.375 X 5 X 0.789 = 1.5 standard drinks. The only rider in all of this is where you are in relation to sea level and and how hot or cold it is in the bar you are serving the standard drink. Yes, 0.789 is the specific gravity of alcohol at sea level, at an ambient [room]temperature of 20° Celsius. The higher you go both in terms of altitude and temperature, the lower the specific

Number of standard drinks Red wine

13 per cent alcohol volume 100ml standard serve = one standard drink 150ml average restaurant serving = 1.5 standard drinks 750ml bottle = 7.7 standard drinks Two-litre cask = 21 standard drinks Four-litre cask = 41 standard drinks White wine

11.5 per cent alcohol volume 100ml standard serve = 0.9 standard drink 150ml average restaurant serving = 1.4 standard drinks 750ml bottle = 6.8 standard drinks Two-litre cask = 18 standard drinks Four-litre cask = 36 standard drinks

gravity. For instance, if you’re in the tropics, at sea level, and it is 25° Celsius, then your aforementioned stubbie would be: 0.375 X 5 X 0.785 = 1.47 standard drinks. But there is no regulation yet, and the guidelines published by the Australian Government’s Department of Health (see box, left) are a little broad. There are two worthwhile observations in these guidelines: one is the ABV value given for red and white wine: 13 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively. The other observation is the ‘average restaurant serving’: 150ml. There are no stricter guidelines than this, and indeed wine pours can range from 120mls to 180mls. Mentioning the volumetric size of your by-the-glass pours is, however, something better wine lists do. It’s grown-up and treats your customers with attention and care. And pouring said volume of wine into a pretty big wine glass looks like a no-brainer to me.

RESTAURANT & CATERING 37


DETAILS

COOKING WITH REDGUM

From butcher shop to steakhouse, The Woodhouse uses timber as both a design element and a cooking method. By Kerryn Ramsey. LOCATED IN THE Victorian city of Bendigo, The Woodhouse is dedicated to cooking with wood— in particular, redgum. It sources fine local produce from central Victoria, and is renowned for its premium Wagyu and dry-aged steaks and wood-fired pizzas. When co-owner and chef Paul Pitcher and his wife Danielle took over in 2012, the building already had a long and colourful history. It started life as a butcher shop before becoming a succession of restaurants. When it came on the market, Pitcher was familiar with the venue, having done work experience in the building at the age of 15. “I’d always had a soft spot for this place and I loved its old-world charm,” he says. “However, it was very run-down and dirty. We removed the old carpet, repainted everything, pulled out the arched front window and replaced it with a modern square. We rendered the Chef Paul Pitcher

38 RESTAURANT & CATERING

The dry-ageing process greatly enhances the taste of beefsa

exterior and re-fitted the entire interior.” Being Bendigo’s only dedicated steakhouse is a strong point of difference and the redgum used for cooking was inspiration for the interior. “We have deliberately utilised beautifully crafted timber,” says Pitcher. “The high ceiling is filled with timber rafters painted charcoal-black as a link to our cooking methods.” A wood-fired pizza oven and custom-made woodgrill were added along with a large double-sided fireplace for ambience in the dining space. Local furniture designer Simon Wilson (simonwilsonfurniture.com.au) handcrafted wooden tabletops and the feature bar. Food is served on Glenn Tebble (glenntebblehomewares. com.au) designer plates, sourced locally from Bendigo Pottery, Australia’s old-

est working pottery and in keeping with Pitcher’s philosophy of embracing local product. Prior to commencing works, Pitcher spent time in the US researching steakhouse concepts and the venue style he wanted to create. After returning home, with the assistance of family and friends, the renovation was completed within two months. “We did most of it ourselves,” says Pitcher. “My dad, who’s 70, worked alongside us to complete the project in line with my original vision.” Further developments include the addition of a temperature-controlled alfresco eating area. This space can also be used as a separated area for seated or standing events, adjoining an indoor room to create a versatile indoor/outdoor function area complete with a private bar. The Wood-

house seats 130 people in total and can be easily reconfigured to accommodate larger groups or functions. The recent addition of a state-of-the-art Dry Ager unit imported from Germany gives The Woodhouse further control in their quest to champion prime, locally sourced beef. “We undertook a small renovation to the restaurant entrance to install the unit right at the front door and frame it in recycled redgum timber,” says Pitcher. “Our guests see the wonderful meat and smell the smoke and timber from the moment they enter. It really adds to the experience and ambience. “The dry-ageing process tenderises beef and develops a stronger flavour. By using the Dry-Ager, we’re able to increase our range of different cuts and enhance our unique beef experience.”


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• Filtration made easy, fast and safe - encouraging frequent filtering • Cook up to 36kg frozen chips per hour, per pot • Equipped with reliable centreline fast-action temperature probe for accurate temperature, efficient heat-up, cooking and recovery

Frymaster Footprint® Pro Filtr ation System

• Achieve consistent results every time with set computer controlled programs (optional)

“ “Unsurpassed in its versatility & low maintenance. Nothing is more efficient.”

“ For your nearest Dealer call 1800 035 327 or visit www.comcater.com.au


You’re with the Super Fund of the Year. That’s a plus. We’re proud to be recognised as Rainmaker SelectingSuper’s Super Fund of the Year for the second consecutive year. Our consistent investment performance*, low fees and competitive insurance ensures you retire with more. And that’s a plus.

hostplus.com.au

Issued by Host-Plus Pty. Limited ABN 79 008 634 704, RSEL No. L0000093 AFSL No. 244392 as trustee for the Hostplus Superannuation Fund ABN 68 657 495 890 RSE No. R1000054, MySuper No. 68657495890198, which includes the Hostplus Pension. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial product advice. You should determine the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs, and obtain and consider a copy of the Product Disclosure Statement before making an investment decision. Ratings are only one factor to be taken into account when deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of a financial product. *Rainmaker SelectingSuper June 2015 Survey. HOST8867_SS_R&C

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R&C September 2016  

R&C September 2016  

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