PRINT POST APPROVED PP: 255003/07314 ISSN 1442-9942
Restaurant Catering FEBRUARY 2011 $6.95 GST incl.
small picture Mark Dimmit from Beaumonde Catering on why a focus on details leads to success
æBeware the lure of daily deal coupons, page 16 æWhat’s on the cutting edge of knives, page 27 æWhat Jacques Reymond has learnt æMusic lessons: what’s the state of play with restaurant music? æThe ethical wine dilemma æBuying your loyalty Ofﬁcial Journal of Restaurant & Catering
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CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2011 $6.95 GST incl.
In this issue ...
From the Association: If we can overcome natural disasters and government misunderstandings, this year is looking good
News and events: Skills shortage looms again; sourcing the best in the west; and more...
The coupon coup
What I’ve learnt
12 COVER STORY Catering for success
Innovation and attention to detail are among the ingredients that lifted WA catering company Beaumonde Catering to the heights of success
Daily deal sites can seem appealing, but they can cost you a lot more than you ﬁrst realise
Jacques Reymond reveals a lifetime of lessons in hospitality
One year on from the PPCA’s fee increase, how has the business of playing music in a restaurant changed?
A cut above
Get with the program
The ethical dilemma
The latest and greatest stuff
How many knives does a chef need?
Loyalty programs have started to inﬁltrate foodservice. Are they worth paying attention to?
As consumers and restaurateurs become more concerned with the ethics of food production, will this impact your wine list?
Retaining the charm and character of the heritage-listed Port Ofﬁce building while creating a luxe venue for serious meat lovers
34 RESTAURANT & CATERING 3
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Like a lot of people, I absolutely cannot go past a good burger or a delicious sandwich that contains good quality ingredients. Being a burger lover, I have eaten plenty of them and I have seen and tasted some wild and unusual combinations. Creating the perfect burger or sandwich is not about throwing a whole bunch of ingredients together to create a monster tower of coronary death! It’s about marrying ingredients that complement each other to create something that has texture combined with a good balance of ﬂavours.
Of course you need good ingredients like premium meat, fresh salad and soft robust breads or buns to start your journey into creating your perfect burger or sandwich. Last but not least, you need a quality sauce and mayonnaise to bring it all together and to take it to the next level. As you explore the never ending possibilities for your burger and sandwich creations, why not include our KNORR Sauces? They have been developed to use as a pour over sauce or to cook in. Also, you can’t look past the endless ﬂavoured mayo combinations utilising HELLMANN’S Real Mayonnaise as the base mixed with fresh herbs or our KNORR Sauces. Creating different ﬂavours of Mayonnaise and unique burgers and sandwiches will help you develop a delicious and customised menu. See you in the next issue. Regards and Eat Well Mark Baylis UFS EXECUTIVE CHEF
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From the Association
Slings and arrows If it’s not nature hammering businesses, it’s the government.
here has been so much goodwill in the wake of the natural disasters of January and February 2011. The ﬂoods of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and Cyclone Yasi, have all seen a generous response from the Australian community. R&C has been doing all it can to channel the generosity of the industry and consumers to the restaurants that have been so badly effected. The Association has published fact sheets on the key issues for businesses in the aftermath. Not only have the industry copped it from nature, the Government too is doing it’s best to make life unbearable for our smallest businesses in NSW, Queensland, SA and Tasmania begging their transition to the Modern Award in the ﬁrst two months of 2011. The rates of pay have changed for most classiﬁcation levels for these small businesses. The Association has been sending out wage tables for businesses that are affected. Please contact the R&C information line on 1300 722 878 (extn 3) if you need assistance with wages or conditions under the Modern Award. There is also some uncertainty over weekend casual pay rates for casuals in South East Queensland. R&C is in the process of a full bench appeal in relation to this issue. In the ﬁrst week of March we hope to have some clarity over the casual rates that took effect last July! John Hart CEO, Restaurant & Catering
Restaurant & Catering’s mission: To lead and represent the Australian restaurant and catering industry. Restaurant & Catering 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: email@example.com 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: (02) 1300 722 878. Fax: (02) 1300 722 396 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Ian Martin Restaurant & Catering QLD Ph: (07) 3360 8888. Fax: (07) 3252 7554 Email: email@example.com President: Peter Summers
Restaurant & Catering ACT Ph: 1300 650 646. Fax: (02) 9211 3800 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Fiona Wright Restaurant & Catering SA Ph: (08) 8351 7837. Fax: (08) 8351 7839 Email: email@example.com President: Terry Soukoulis Chief Executive Ofﬁcer: Sally Neville Restaurant & Catering Tas Ph: (03) 6224 7033. Fax: (03) 6224 7988 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Phil Capon General Manager: Steve Old Restaurant & Catering Vic Ph: (03) 9654 5866. Fax: (03) 9654 5286 Email: email@example.com President: Matteo Pignatelli Restaurant & Catering WA Ph: (08) 9328 7266. Fax: (08) 9328 7366 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Paul Buckman
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 Subeditor: Michelle Starr Contributors: Sharon Aris, Nicole Azzopardi, John Burﬁtt, Ben Canaider, Kellie Morle, Kerryn Ramsey, Danielle Veldre Commercial Director: Mark Brown Sales Director: Steve Flatley Direct: (02) 8006 2705 Switch: (02) 9660 6995 Fax: (02) 9518 5600 Mobile: 0422 208 566 Email: email@example.com For all editorial, subscription and advertising enquiries, ph: 1300 722 878 Print Post approved PP: 2255003/06505, ISSN 1442-9942 ©2009 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.
PHOTOGRAPHY: NORTH SULLIVAN
Restaurant & Catering
7,732 - CAB Audited as at September 30, 2010
After the storm The events in Queensland this year show us all that we are all at the behest of mother nature
can’t remember a time when as a society we have felt more vulnerable to nature. Many of our members have been hard hit. Not only have many lost their businesses, but many have had their homes damaged. There is no doubt these disasters will take a great toll on our nation. Something that has not changed is the desire for Australians to eat out. To some extent this modest luxury is likely to be even more attractive as many Australian will want to spoil themselves in the face of adversity. The ﬁrst half of the year is most likely to be a sluggish return to regular trading. Static interest rates have meant that spending has continued (particularly in the south of the country) and some parts of the industry are experiencing good levels of turnover to start the year. However, already the pressure is starting to grow on wage and food costs which does not auger well for proﬁt levels, which are already running at two-tothree per cent of turnover. R&C has a good number of programs to assist in the recruitment process. In particular, Discover Jobs is a great resource for you to advertise for staff. This is a free service to members and links to Career One. I hope you have not been too badly affected by the terrible natural disasters of 2011. Please use the programs and services that the Association has to offer to rebuild as the year rolls on. Brien Trippas President, Restaurant & Catering
Diamond Associate Member: HOSTPLUS
Platinum Associate Members: American Express International • Fosters Group • Westpac Banking Corporation
Gold Associate Members: Diners Club International • Fine Wine Partners • Goodman Fielder Food Services • Lion Nathan • Meat & Livestock Australia
Foundation Associate Members, and Associate Members: ALSCO • AON • APRA • Bartercard • Crown Commercial • H&L Australia • Luigi Bormioli
News &events From feast to famine Just as the hospitality sector recovers from the economic crisis, it’s hit by the skills shortage again
hile they may still take the orders, a growing shortage of skilled staff has positioned waiters to make the demands as restaurateurs struggle to attract and retain good talent. According to the latest American Express Dining Insights Report, conducted by Galaxy Research, the pool of skilled staff required to keep restaurants and cafes running is dramatically shrinking. When asked to identify their biggest challenge they face in the next 12 months, 72 per cent of restaurateurs listed a shortage of skilled staff. Mr Geoff Begg, vice president merchant services Australia at American Express, said, “As the impact of the Global Financial Crisis recedes the hospitality industry is facing a distinct shortage of skilled staff.” The survey also revealed that, in response to the skills shortage, 74 per cent of restaurateurs are investing in more training for staff. John Hart, CEO of Restaurant & Catering, said, “Quality staff are in short supply and if coordinated action is not taken at an industry and governmental level the situation is only going to worsen. The ﬂipside of a skilled staff shortage is that potential employees are effectively interviewing the employer. Job opportunities are abundant in the industry and it is great news for those looking to start a career.” Mr Begg added, “The economic performance of many restaurants improved markedly in 2010 with 39 per cent of restaurateurs saying revenue is up, compared to only 21 per cent indicating this trend in September of 2009.” ô
Fine food in the west
Western Australia’s most prestigious biennial event for the foodservice industry, Fine Food Western Australia, is returning to the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre for the fourth time on 20-22 March 2011. This year some of the leaders in the food industry exhibiting include Nestlé Professional, Sealanes and Perth’s own Pronto Fine Foods. In the equipment zone, exhibitors to date include Lenny’s Commercial Kitchens, Australian Fine China and SKOPE. Returning in 2011 is a zone dedicated to bakery equipment and ingredients including products from Borgcraft, New Norcia Bakeries and Ready Bake. The highlight of the competition is undoubtedly the ‘Restaurant of Champions’, which will see local teams competing against the rest of Australia and Asia. Visitors to Fine Food WA can share in the experience by buying a reserved seat at the ‘Restaurant of Champions’ for lunch. For more information on visiting or exhibiting go online to the Fine Food website, at www.ﬁnefood.com.au. ô
8 RESTAURANT & CATERING
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News &events Good deeds
Pete Evans from Hugo’s and The Pantry, Luke Nguyen at Red Lantern, Adam D’Sylva at Coda and Andrew McConnell at Cutler & Co are among the ﬁrst to sign their restaurants up to join the inaugural From Cup to Crop Campaign (February 15 - March 15, 2011), which will raise money and awareness in the ﬁght against global hunger. “We couldn’t think of a better way to introduce the From Cup to Crop campaign than via the amazing talent that has joined Plan for this important challenge,” said chief executive of Plan in Australia, Ian Wishart. “For the duration of From Cup to Crop, these acclaimed chefs and restaurants will raise money that will go directly towards providing food in the developing world now, and also address longterm food security and nutrition needs in the years ahead.” Pete Evans, Managing Director of the Hugo’s group and host of Channel 7’s My Kitchen Rules, called on chefs and restaurateurs to join the campaign. “I have been following and supporting the work Plan does on an international basis and I am in awe of what they have been able to achieve in the past, their current activities and their plans for the future,” he said. For more information about the campaign and how to get involved, visit www.fromcuptocrop.com.au. ô
Restaurateurs are feeding the hungry everywhere.
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Turnover 2009-10 $1.4M and currently growing at 14% YTD in 2010-11 Available as a freehold or leasehold investment. Further Details: Peter_Geary@scanbusiness.com.au 0438 839 356 10 RESTAURANT & CATERING For Sale.indd 1
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‘How to talk to your customers about Champagne styles without being patronising’ is an essential talk at The Champagne Summit in London. Visit www.thechampagnesummit.co.uk
One of four elite special guests, Tetsuya Wakuda hosts a masterclass at Gourmet Abu Dhabi on February 2-17. Visit www. gourmetabudhabi.ae
Aesthetic beauty, colour infusion, speed, diﬃculty and creativity are the judging criteria at the Latte Art Championships during Chicago’s Coﬀee Fest on February 18-20. Visit www.coﬀeefest.com
At Queensland’s Chinchilla Melon Festival on February 17-20, there’s melon tossing, melon skiing, melon ironman, melon bungee and melon pip-spitting. Visit www.melonfest.com.au
Receive special deals by mentioning ‘Entrees & Encores’ at Perth’s participating bars and restaurants during the Perth Festival on February 11-March 7. Visit perthfestival.com.au
Head to the Hearty Choice Food Court where dishes from around the world are waiting to entice you at the Royal Canberra Show on February 25-27. Visit www.rncas.org.au
Today is The Age Harvest Picnic at Hanging Rock, Victoria. Just make sure you don’t wander too far away. For more info visit www.harvestpicnic.com.au
Gastronomic extravagance sums up the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival on March 4-14, with celebrity masterclasses, gala dinners, hands-on events. Visit www. melbournefoodandwine.com.au
Enjoy readings by famous authors during a three-course banquet at Feast Of Words under the stars at the University of WA. Visit www.perthfestival.com.au
Tasty sausages and boutique ales are on oﬀer at the Snag, Beer & Bubble Fest in Heathcote, Vic. Visit www.snagbeerandbubblefest. com.au
About 80 per cent of ham and bacon sold in Australia is made from imported pork. Bacon Week on March 7-13 celebrates 100 per cent Aussie pork. Visit www.pork.com.au
Victoria has the Tastes of Rutherglen (www.rutherglenvic. com) while Queensland celebrate South Burnett’s Wine & Food In The Park Festival (www.winefood. southburnett.com.au).
Applications are now open for chefs under 30 for the Josephine Pignolet Young Chef award. They close in late April. Details in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living.
It’s the size of four football ﬁelds and is the ﬁnal word on all matters pizza—the International Pizza Expo runs from March 1-3 in Las Vegas. Visit www.pizzaexpo.com
Fresh seafood to taste and culinary talks to experience are on oﬀer at WA’s Taste Great Southern on March 4-7, all part of the Perth Festival. Visit www.perthfestival. com.au
Entries are open for Appetite for Excellence’s Young Chef, Young Waiter and Young Restaurateur awards until May 1. Awards will be announced on August 8. Visit www.appetiteforexcellence.com
Regional produce is a signiﬁcant element at various NSW Wine Week events on February 26-March 5. Visit www.nswwine. com.au
Join Pete Evans’s Food and Fishing Safari in the Top End on February 15-19 and the barramundi you catch during the day will be on the menu that night. Visit www. accoutrement.com.au
After much sniﬃng, sipping and spitting, the winners from the Sydney International Wine Competition have their ﬁrst showing at the trophies presentation dinner. Visit www.top100wines.com
Under the Clean Up Australia Day umbrella, the Business Clean Up Day kicks oﬀ today. Find out how your business can clean up, repair and conserve the environment at www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au
Who will win the national Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services category at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards? All will be revealed tonight in Perth. Visit www.tourismalliance.org
Just a large popcorn and a small lemonade, thanks. Tropfest screenings take place at various venues nationwide, as well as being aired live on the Movie Extra channel. Visit www.tropfest.com
Dubai’s huge industry event Gulfood (www.gulfood.com) and Brussel’s Food Technology & Innovation Forum (www. foodinnovate.com) both run from February 27-March 2.
Like a foodie’s oasis in the middle of Centennial Park, Taste of Sydney on March 10-13 oﬀers the very best the Emerald City has to oﬀer. Visit www.tasteofsydney.com.au
Nip out to the Mandurah Crab Fest in WA (www.mandurah.wa.gov. au); and Tasmania enjoys a Taste Of The Huon (www.tasteofthehuon.com).
Basque stew is just one of the traditional dishes that will be created in the ‘home kitchen’ at Taste The World during WOMADelaide on March 11-14. Visit www. womadelaide.com.au
Nominations for the AIFST’s Keith Farrer Award of Merit, Food Industry Innovation Award and President’s Award close today. Visit www.aifst.asn.au
RESTAURANT & CATERING 11
Catering for excellence
Innovation and attention to detail are among the ingredients that lifted WA catering company Beaumonde Catering to the heights of success WORDS: JODIE THOMSON
PHOTOGRAPH: CRAIG KINDER
ylie Kwong and Maggie Beer have graced their kitchens, as have fellow high-proﬁle chefs Neil Perry and Ben O’Donohue. A guest chef program that attracts names as big as these is just one clue that Perth catering company, Beaumonde Catering, takes its food very, very seriously. Along with the big appeal to customers, having such skilled chefs take the pans provides a powerful motivation and innovation for all the Beaumonde staff. “We like to keep ahead of food trends, as the look and taste of food changes constantly,” says Mark Dimmitt, co-founder and director at Beaumonde. This ﬁnely tuned food sensibility ensures the fare it serves at the 1000 functions a year it handles is not what you’d expect from mass catering. Visually exciting, with a focus on fresh local produce, it’s closer to quality restaurant standard. “We deﬁnitely have a reputation for that,” Dimmit says. “We don’t see the restrictions in catering and believe you can achieve a very high standard.” Beaumonde Catering’s success has been well recognised, attracting numerous awards over the years, including ﬁve times National Caterer of the Year at the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence. They’ve also been inducted into the Restaurant & Catering Industry Association’s coveted Hall of Fame. Dimmit and executive chef Gary Payne started the company 20 years ago, spotting the need for a quality shift in catering in Perth. “In those days, after the America’s Cup brought a totally different level of catering to Perth, we came in wanting to compete with that,” Dimmit says. Before starting Beaumonde Catering, Dimmit had worked previously in psychology, sales and marketing. “I was at a time in my life when I was looking for a change, and we decided to give it a shot together,” Dimmit says. “It’s been quite successful!” Since then, Beaumonde Catering has swelled to its current size, with 132 staff and 12 RESTAURANT & CATERING
a turnover of $3million. Their corporate headquarters, on 750 square metres at Bassendean in Perth, houses the biggest commercial kitchen in WA. All their food is prepped at the main kitchen, then sent onsite to be cooked. The bulk of their work is corporate functions, but ranges from intimate boardroom lunches, to major events feeding up to 2,500 guests. They do everything from cocktail and barbecue events, to table service and sophisticated degustation menus with dishes carefully matched with wines. They specialise in catering for major, outdoor events too, like the open-air concerts put on by the WA Symphony Orchestra, all of which challenge their skills in delivering quality food under unique conditions. Market challenges From the time they started Beaumonde Catering, Dimmit and Payne aimed to punch above their weight and offer a standard of food and service beyond anything else being offered in Perth. One thing that sets them apart from their competitors is their focus on service and the way that focus is imbued in their staff and management culture. Executive chef Gary Payne (left) and director Mark Dimmit started Beaumonde Catering after spotting a niche for quality.
berries, ﬂowers and fruits,” Dimmit says. “Bush tucker food has become much more mainstream now. We produce pretty much all our own herbs and spices and some other foods, like citrus.” It’s possible, Dimmit says, to work around the limitations inherent in the catering business when it comes to the type of food served. “Even in restaurants, the standard of service “There’s a tendency in catering to go a bit to the middle and play it safe isn’t where it should be,” says Dimmit. “We with food, especially with the corporates,” he says. “But some are really interested in food and that’s why we developed our guest chef program, to do aim to be outside of that. Our industry is full of committed, young people who try to do the best interesting and different things.” Working with such high-calibre chefs plays a big role in keeping staff pasthey can, but the owners and managers don’t put enough value in them.” sionate and inspired about food, and in touch with the latest food trends. Keeping track of what other restaurants and “It’s extremely stimulating and really uplifting for staff,” caterers in the market are doing is an important Dimmit says. For example, chef Christine Manﬁeld, of part of the job. Sydney restaurant Universal, made a big impres“I regularly go to functions and restaurants sion on staff at all levels. in Perth and, for example, last week I went “She got really hands on in the kitchen “Our industry is full and cooked with us, and she even took the with a client to one of Perth’s top ﬁve resof committed young taurants and the waiter didn’t know any garbage out,” Dimmit says. “She made such people who try to do of the cheeses,” Dimmit says. “They’re an impression on our kitchen hands they the best they can, put her picture up in the kitchen.” not briefed on things like that and it’s but the owners and Dimmit, Payne and the management disappointing. Our aim has been to remanagers don’t put ally work hard on our management.” team also look to other restaurants for enough value In terms of food, Dimmit and Payne inspiration: “Our priority is keeping ahead in them.” of food trends, so we look regularly at what like to think more like restaurant chefs Mark Dimmit, Beaumonde Catering people are doing in Sydney and Melbourne, than caterers, with a passion for fresh, local produce and exciting ﬂavours. and we keep an eye on the trade magazines.” They also like to lure chefs who’ve worked in top“We have a great relationship with our suppliers and source really good, local product that’s level restaurants. “Every chef who comes from a ﬁne dining restaurant to catering has a bit sustainable and hasn’t travelled lots of miles,” Dimmit says. of culture shock, but once you get used to how to do things and how it all About ﬁve years ago, the company set up its works, it’s ﬁne,” Dimmit says. Creating and sustaining a vibrant, positive atmosphere among staff is also own farm at a property at Toodyay, north-east of crucial to the company’s success. Perth, growing a range of produce, including native herbs and spices. “We have a really good team, an excellent brigade,” Dimmit says. “We specialise in native products, like native Mark Dimmit brings his marketing and corporate skills, gained in his career Dimmit (centre, right) and staff accepting the R&CWA Savour Australia Award for Excellence last year: Dimmit believes management has to foster excellence amongst staff.
14 RESTAURANT & CATERING
prior to starting Beaumonde, to the running of the business. There’s a lot of energy put into building the company’s brand and proﬁle in the community. “We don’t advertise at all, we purely work on relationships and marketing, getting feedback about our work and assessing where we could have done better and what we have done well,” Dimmit says. “It’s like a marriage—you can’t rely on that success but have to keep working on it.” The company works on developing and retaining relationships with other Perth restaurant chefs and is very much part of the city’s burgeoning foodie network. Relationships with companies like WA Opera are also important to the way Beaumonde is perceived by customers.
e’ve signed up a sponsorship with the WA Symphony and invite about 150 clients to a WA Opera event each year, to entertain and feed them,” Dimmit says. “We also support a different charity each year and raise money for that.” Logistics and little details play a big role in the success of catering events, especially when running outdoor events and having to work with elements like the weather and outdoor kitchens. “There’s a hell of a lot of detail, so operations are important,” Dimmit says. “We have a fantastic operations manager, who can look at a function sheet and see straight away all the details she’ll need to cover, which is terribly important.” Keeping a business successful involves a constant process of ﬁne-tuning and re-evaluation, and at Beaumonde they’ve turned to industry experts to
provide that essential overview and advice. “It’s about trying to keep it fresh, and getting some outside eyes to take a look,” Dimmit says. “About 18 months ago we employed a management consultant and he’s helped us a great deal.” They’ve also just signed up with prominent Perth food critic, Robert Broadﬁeld, to be the company’s food consultant. “We’re really working on ramping up the quality of our food and presentation, and he’s extremely committed to raising the standard of restaurants in Perth,” Dimmit says. In terms of the future, Dimmit says they’re content to keep the company at its current size but do plan on reﬁning and improving the quality of what they do. “We’ve been pretty much that size for ﬁve or six years, and we seem to have levelled out,” Dimmit says. “We don’t want to be big, but always better. The Perth market and people’s expectations have changed enormously. Things like Masterchef have really made a difference to people’s knowledge about food. We’re going to continue and expand growing our own produce and really, just aim to be as good we possibly can.” ô
RESTAURANT & CATERING 15
coupon coupe WORDS ROB JOHNSON
Daily deal sites offer the appeal of customers paying cash up front for discount coupons, but it can cost you a lot more than you realise t’s not every year you can see a whole brand-new industry spring from said we wanted the coupon to be for lunch only.” nowhere to have a major economic impact. Sure, social media innovations seem to ﬂare up and sometimes disappear as quickly without At the eleventh hour, however, Luke and his partners were talked into exanyone quite ﬁguring out how to make a buck from them (anyone still on MySpace out there?), but the daily deal phenomenon—basically, webtended the coupon to dinners as well, powered group-buying—is the opposite of that. It’s an old bargaining on the logic that it would be a stronger, more popular offer. And it strategy that has become social media; a business that has been changed into something brand new by the web. was. “It went gangbusters,” Two years ago no-one had heard of daily deals sites. In September he says. “We sold 641 in a 24 hour period. So last year, PBL Media launched a daily deals website called Cudo, which it has heavily promoted on the Nine network. However, it was great in that it “For every thirty Cudo was the thirteenth such site in Australia—all of them are was cash up-front. coupons presented, modelled on the US group buying site Groupon.com, which In that sense it was there might be one offers discounts of up to 60 per cent on anything from massages a success.” positive experience— and meat trays to movie tickets and hotel rooms. Deals are But there were from what I’ve seen I activated once a minimum number of customers commit to the problems. There wouldn’t do it again.” offer. So the revenue from the discount coupon is split between was confusion Luke Stringer, Mezzo Bar & Grill, Melbourne about fees after the the retailer and the deal site. At the time of writing, fresh from raising US$130 million ($142 fact—with Stringer believing none had been million), Groupon was expected to arrive in Australia and the world’s No. 2 player, Living Social, had announced plans to set up in Sydney “in negotiated, and the daily deal company trying to charge him the future”. Ben Johnson, vice president, Associates, for R&C NSW, has been watching daily after the deal was done. But more importantly, the greatest problem was deals sites closely since they ﬁrst appeared. “This whole phenomenon came about because the recession-wracked USA,” he explains. “And in the US, restaurants are doing the clientele the deal attracted. “For every thirty coupons preit really tough—some of those that used to be full are now doing 50 per cent capacity or less, and all the businesses have really been hit hard. So the daily deals sites were a sented, there might be one positive natural outgrowth of the recession. In Australia, the recession has been much milder experience,” Stringer explains. “An example of a positive experience was, and, in general, restaurants are still performing relatively well.” we had ﬁve people come in and spent Luke Stringer of Mezzo Bar & Grill in Melbourne was an early adopter, and admits the way it was sold to him was very convincing. “There was a guy whose mother is a regular customer, and he worked for one of these sites,” he explains. “He pitched this idea, which was $100 value for a $40 People who buy coupons through voucher. I liked the idea that it would be only on sale for one day, and I liked the idea daily deal companies are buying of getting cash up-front. The company was brand-new at the time, so for us there was the deal, not your brand, says Ben Johnson of R&C NSW. no fee or payments required. And given that lunch has been pretty bad this year, we 16 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Luke Stringer (above, left) with partner Joseph Vargetto: since doing the daily deal, he’s been inundated by calls from other companies offering worse deals.
$600, and then presented two vouchers (for $200 value, and pay the balance), which was great. But a lot of people tailor their meal to get as close to the coupon price as possible. And with many of them, you know they won’t come back. We’ve seen some people come in who wouldn’t normally—for example, there was a group of boozy louts who drank their way through their coupons. From what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t do it again. There was 640 out there, and we had the majority of them present on a Friday or Saturday night. When we asked the daily deal site how we handle this, they suggested to us that when people ring for a booking we ask do you have a coupon. And control it that way. But I don’t want to do that with everyone who rings, and in any case, that gives a bad impression of my restaurant.”
t the time of writing, Stringer estimated that there were still about 320 coupons out there that hadn’t been presented yet. But he wasn’t holding out hopes that they’d appear with a better class of customer. “The problem is that people aren’t buying the business when they use these deals, they’re typically buying the deal,” Ben Johnson explains. “There is limited brand loyalty from the customers, and restaurateurs need to be aware of that.” The other challenge for restaurateurs is controlling their cashﬂow if they have a particularly successful campaign. One Sydney restaurant that Johnson had heard about sold over 2000 60 per cent-off vouchers through one of the daily deal sites. “They’ll get some cash up front for that, but its hard for any restaurateur to then think about apportioning that over the next several months. They’re going to have nights with very limited additional cashﬂow as those vouchers are presented. To be honest, running a restaurant is such a low-margin business, it can be quite difﬁcult to make these proﬁtable—especially when the restaurant has to pay a sizable commission on top of the discount.” Luke Stringer can see ways you can make daily deals work for you—even if, after his experience, he’s not planning on doing another. “To be honest, if the offer was food-only it would be appealing,” he says, “or if it was lunch-only. But again, the daily deal company talked me out of that idea. If you’re 60 per cent full all the time and you want to ﬁll the other seats, I think it’s probably ﬁne—and I think that post-GFC, the whole world is on sale. Everyone wants a discount if they can get it. I think these deals are appealing to the cus18 RESTAURANT & CATERING
tomer, but I cannot tell you the number of salespeople from other daily deal sites who have approached me since doing the original deal, and they’re all calling constantly.” The aspect of daily deals that gives them their strength is the rapid growth of social media; only in the world of Facebook, Twitter and the like, can you communicate so rapidly with potential customers with a strong propensity to buy. However, Ben Johnson suggests that there are other ways to create awareness on social media, and encourages restaurateurs to develop their own through Facebook, Twitter and other sites. “Not only can this be less costly, but it gives the restaurant owner much more control,” he says. “In today’s world, having your own social media pages should be part of every restaurant’s marketing plan.” (see box below for more). Despite an unpleasant experience, Luke Stringer says he can still see where the daily deal works: “From our point of view, we were relying on a lot more customers like the table of six to turn up. If they’re coming in at lunch, ﬁne. But the deal with the new coupon companies is even worse than the one I got—they want 11, 12, or 13 per cent of what you’re getting, so you’ve already offered the 60 per cent discount, plus they get a percentage of what’s left over.” It’s a big price to pay for custom. ô
Social media in a nutshell 1. You need to build a following or fan base. Building a page for your business is very simple, with tutorials on these sites that easily help you create the pages. Then to begin to build a following, encourage your staff and local customer to ‘befriend’ you. It won’t take long before their networks are made aware of you and what you’re doing. 2. Don’t be afraid of customer interaction on your pages, even if it is negative. When you look after someone who has had a bad experience, in this forum where everyone can see how well you look after people, it goes a long way. 3. Link yourself to other businesses who would have similar followers and your network of supporters will grow quickly. courtesy of Ben Johnson
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What I’ve learnt
Reymond INTERVIEW: SHARON ARIS
PHOTOGRAPHY: EAMON GALLAGHER
After a lifetime in the industry, the Victorian Restaurant of the Year winner talks about consistency, excellence and being true to yourself was born in the industry. My parents had a little café in a bar in a humble, very small village. But I had a pretty rough childhood. I left home when I was 11 years old. But all I could think was I wanted to help my father in the kitchen. When I was 18 I trained at a hotel in Nice. I became a professional at a young age. Here there can be a mentality, ‘open it, sell it’. My view is totally different. I met my wife when I was 18 years old and 40 years we are together. My wife works every day with me. We’ve worked together all around the world. We always wanted something together. We always wanted a ﬁne dining restaurant. Our four children work with me as well. That’s the secret of being united and successful. What really opened my eyes was when I was 19 years old. I went to ask for a position at L’Oustau de Baumaniere one of the top restaurants in France. I went straight to the kitchen to ask for work. They said ‘we get 50 letters of application a week’. I said ‘I’m not leaving until you give me a job’. He liked my guts. So it was conﬁrmation that if you want something, you get it. Of course being a chef is long hours and you’re not very social because you don’t have the time. But you will never be out of work. If you want to work in other countries you have this wonderful opportunity.
You have to be very consistent. You need to keep your staff. The kitchen takes six months to learn. If you can’t have people for three to four years your consistency suffers. I’ve got 45 staff. We work as a united team, very similar to a family—no shouting, no insults, no bad manners. We have fun. We go out together. We communicate. There is not one department that is more important. We get better every year, I believe that very strongly. We get better staff, we get more technique, more equipment that lets us be innovative, more creative, get more excited about our profession. There is nothing worse than monotony.
“You have to be very consistent. You need to keep your staff. The kitchen takes six months to learn. If you can’t have people for three to four years your consistency suffers.”
We stayed in France until I was 22 years old. Then we went to Brazil for three years. It was an absolutely fabulous experience. Then we went to Madrid, then back to Paris. After Paris, we took over my parents’ establishment for ﬁve years. But they had different ideas to me. They wanted to keep it how it had run for decades. In Australia we opened our ﬁrst restaurant in 1985. It was really exciting. It was very humble. We stayed for ﬁve years. Then we had the opportunity meet Bruce Matteo. We were in our own establishment three months later. I’m always very grateful to Mr and Mrs Matteo. We made a gentleman’s agreement. Just a handshake. 20 RESTAURANT & CATERING
To establish a restaurant in Australia, America, Fiji, it’s exactly the same rules. Don’t be stupid by investing too much. Be realistic. Be a very hard worker. And be smart with your ﬁgures—you have to have an understanding of this.
I don’t read books or go to other restaurants to get new ideas. That is a big mistake. Why copy? It’s not you. If you copy you will never be innovative and you won’t be successful. We do our own style of cuisine. Trends don’t last and we have a lasting restaurant.
Our inspiration comes from new products, new equipment, new techniques. Cooking is about taste and ﬂavour, the emotion people give us. There’s not one night when guests don’t come to the kitchen personally to thank us. Now my two sons want to go into business together. That’s fantastic. They have good ideas, we’re very happy for them to do that. They don’t need me to tell them anything beyond ‘be careful’. ‘Start small, humble’, ‘work the two of you’. ‘If you’re very successful after a couple of years, consider a bigger venue’. My peers, the ones who are still here today, work as hard as when they were starting out. There is no secret in the industry. Awards do mean a lot. It is what drives me. It is high recognition for what we do. We don’t take them for granted. ô
RESTAURANT & CATERING 21
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The alternative to the PPCA’s fees slug doesn’t have to be silence.
WORDS: ROB JOHNSON
Eighteen months on from the PPCA’s fee increase, how has the business of playing music in a restaurant changed? little over a year ago, restaurateurs around the country received a letter from the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) informing them of a change in the way license fees were to be calculated. From a ﬂat fee of about $70 a year, the PPCA was changing to a “value-based” model, where your license fees were based on how much you charged for a main meal and whether or not you were licensed. The bottom line was, if you wanted to play music, your license fees were going to increase inexorably and sharply over the next few years to more than 60 times their current rate. The industry, of course, was outraged. Some restaurateurs immediately went out to market to source music they could play that was free of the PPCA license. But according to Troy Cooper, CEO of Trusonic, a fair number of them resolved to either turn their music off, or just do nothing. And given the ﬁrst year’s rate hikes weren’t unsustainable, that was possible to do. “Now we’re seeing a new round of restaurateurs who understand how important music is to their business, and want the quality without the high fees,” he says. He believes that number will grow as the PPCA fees increase again: “Next July there’s going to be an annual fee for some of up to $3000. That’s double this year’s fee.” But in pursuing their value-based model, the PPCA ended up doing both restaura-
teurs and producers of background music (like Trusonic) a favour. For starters it revealed a genuine danger to a business that allows staff members to plug their iPods in to play their own favourite music all day—not only could they play inappropriate music, but if the music isn’t properly licenced for public performance, you risk legal action from copyright organisations. But it’s also forced restaurateurs to look at what part music plays in the overall ambience of their restaurant. “Last year we found there was initial large volume of enquiries just wanting to ditch the fees. Now the second round of fee increases has kicked in, customer enquiries are saying, ‘we’re interested in saving money on fees, but we don’t want to lose the current style of music we’re playing’,” says Cooper. RESTAURANT & CATERING 23
their music off or opting for rights-free music—neither of which is a sustainable supply model. But really, the licensing issue was a speed bump. In the end, it’s about understanding the audience.” An example of a new player amongst the proprietary suppliers is Kym Illman, whose Messages On Hold company is owner of The Groove Gallery, a web-based PPCAfree music provider based in WA. He got into the business, he says, because “late last year we got clients saying to us, ‘can we use your background music in our restaurant?’ I got enough enquiries that I did some research and found out these PPCA fees were going to kill small businesses. I thought, let’s employ two full-time composers/ writers—two boys who are brilliant musicians. So we started the boys off in January and they’ve been adding an hour of music a week, so when the fees really bite next year we’re ready to go.” More established is a group like Trusonic, which has about 300 musicians on its books who are not members of the PPCA. The music you play should depend on the kind of restaurant you have. And Troy Cooper says the great beneﬁt of According to Wayne Hall, CEO of SBA Music, “People spend a lot of effort on his system—unlike the old PPCA system the visual aspects of their restaurants, then blow it all away by putting the wrong of royalty collection—is his musicians get music on. The music should be reﬂecting other visual and layout strategies.” compensated directly based on how much of their music is played, because it is all SBA’s approach, says Hall, is they suggest to potential clients that they write a tracked through the MBox Media player brief of what they’re trying to achieve, then SBA will source appropriate music for that brief. “Music programming comes after the audience proﬁle is estabthat comes as part of the package. lished. Most of the restaurants we deal with are contemporary, and the But he says the great advantage of this change has been reﬁning the offering music reﬂects that. Having said that, I was in a café on the weekend and it was decked out with a particular, 1930s-style theme, and to both restaurants and artists. they were playing 1930s music, which was perfect.” “In many cases, the old (PPCA) system worked,” he explains. A lot of what people ask for is ‘we want comfortable mu“People spend a sic’, and part of that is familiarity,” he adds. “To get that we “As it predominantly lot of effort on the need to give some recognition to the record labels. They distributed royalties based visual aspects of on radio play reports. The have done a good job. But the PPCA forced us to alter the their restaurants, way we do our business.” music played in a clothing then blow it all away shop, say, is basically the by putting the wrong music heard on the radio, ne key change was suppliers started lookmusic on.” ing at ways of bypassing the PPCA—by so the appropriate artists Wayne Hall, CEO of SBA Music cutting deals directly with artists, or with were being compensated. In restaurants and cafes, howother rights holders. As a result, the industry ever, it’s a different matter—an Italhas split into two types of supplier—proprietary suppliers (who own all the rights to the music themselves), ian restaurant will want Italian music, and non-proprietary suppliers, like SBA Music, who offer a range of or a cocktail bar may want some funky, music, some licensed, some not, but all of it vetted, rated and sound-levelled. new-age jazz. Most of the artists that record Hall admits SBA was taken aback when PPCA raised their rates: “Our response that music never see a cent from the PPCA. was, the PPCA is an agent. They collect money for rights holders. If they can’t So our offering is different, because instead offer sustainable rates, we’ll go direct to the rights holders. The result is, the of the PPCA fee, the restaurants pay a small public performance component which is product we’re sourcing is still original artists’ music, and the different styles, and we’re building up that to service the restaurant industry. The music you’re used part of our monthly fee, and it goes directly to getting is what you’ll still get.” to the artists whose music is played at the venue.” And the lesson we’ve all learned SBA has managed that by cutting deals directly with record companies. “Why from this? “One size does not ﬁt all when would the record companies do a deal?” Hall says. “We convinced labels that it was a case of taking a lesser amount, or being faced with people either turning it comes to background music.” ô
24 RESTAURANT & CATERING
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Tiger Grip nonslip overshoes are an innovative and efﬁcient solution for businesses looking to quickly and simply improve their workplace safety. The ISO certiﬁed overshoes prevent employees from slipping and falling on wet, oily or greasy ﬂoors, while allowing them to remain in the comfort of their own footwear. Fitting neatly over employees’ personal footwear, the overshoes are simple to use and are machinewashable. The ergonomic and sleek design of the overshoes makes them easy to wear and offers employees maximum comfort and support when walking on a slippery surface. Tiger Grip overshoes’ unique sole design and rubber formula improves shoe grip on all ﬂoors types and greasy surfaces and minimises clogging. To ﬁnd out more, go online to www. tigergrip.com.au.ô
26 RESTAURANT & CATERING
The New Tornado Misting Fan is ﬁtted with a large, powerful, 26 inch fan which has three settings. It also has its own mist control to adjust the spray of the minute droplets, and can cool an area of up to ﬁfty square meters. The unit is green-friendly in that every drop of water that is not used in the evaporation and cooling process is returned to the tank. By inserting ice or ice packs, the unit will emit a chilled mist and can reduce outside temperatures by up to 15°C. It is built to commercial and industrial standards of efﬁciency, durability and operation, unlike domestic models on offer which might look similar. Summer Special $1495.00 inc GST and delivered in store to all major cities. www.climateaustralia.com. au ô
A recipe competition and events highlighting the health and environmental beneﬁts and involving some of Australia’s leading chefs has resulted in a new cookbook showcasing kangaroo meat. ‘Roocipes’ contains nearly 30 new and innovative kangaroo recipes. The publication was funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and Food Companion International and was part of a project designed to increase the domestic demand for kangaroo meat among restaurants, chefs and householders. The cookbook also contains tips on how to cook kangaroo meat to maximise its moisture and ﬂavour. Recipes in the book include medallion of kangaroo with eschallots (Tony Bilson), asian-style kangaroo ﬁllet (Lyndey Milan and Ian Hemphill) and kangaroo terrine (Daniel Ridgeway). ‘Roocipes’ is available for purchase or free download from the RIRDC website at www.rirdc.gov.au. Purchases can also be made by phoning 1300 634 313.ô
A cut above
Chefs will have a favourite knife with which they’ll do most of their work.
WORDS LUCY ROBERTSON
When it comes to a craftsman’s tools, few chefs could claim to live without their knives. But just how many do you really need? ike many modern pursuits, working as a chef or caterer invariably involves mustering the strength to punch through endless marketing messages. Whether it’s a call from a new crockery supplier wanting you to try their range, or a pamphlet about the need to switch to ecopackaging pushed under door, the pressure to constantly update, review and revise the wide-ranging tools of your trade is
knife choice often comes down to personal preference. “I’m a salesman who happens to sell knives,” he laughs. “Of course a chef needs a different knife for every job!” “But seriously, there are only a handful of knives that they really need,” Thorne says. always present. “Like a carpenter who “It all depends on So when it comes to arguably the most important tool in a does 80 per cent of what the chef is chef ’s bag of tricks—the knife—how many do you actuhis work with a drill, preparing, of course, ally need? And what new choices has science added to the hammer and saw, a but they’ll use a chef ’s basic kit should market since you settled on yours? basic 20cm cooks include a Most culinary artisans hold just one type of knife dear to knife for most tasks.” their heart, according to ex-chef Lance Thorne, now NSW good chef ’s knife with Tim Angus, brand manager at supplier manager for Oppenheimer. a 25- to 28Sheldon & Hammond centimetre blade, a small “No matter how many new and exciting whiz-bang knives appear on the market, the classic old chef ’s knife is the one paring knife, a bread knife, a 15-centimetre utility knife and a main tool chefs cannot do without,” he says simply. sharpening steel. And while Thorne admits he’s torn between knowing what a chef really needs and what he wants to sell them, he’s quick to point out that “There are other tools that a lot of RESTAURANT & CATERING 27
The most popular, and still amongst the best: the Victorinox knife.
preferred material for a good knife, although ceramic knives were brieﬂy popular a few years ago. “They are made from compressed zirconium oxide powder, which is compressed and sintered in a furnace at 1500 degrees so that it becomes extremely hard,” Thorne explains, pointing out that ceramic’s advantages were a resistance to corrosion and a lighter weight than steel. “But in some inferior brands, the zirconium oxide powder wasn’t as pure as it could have been, which meant the material chipped and lost its hard-wearing sharp edge. For this reason, ceramic knives became more of a trend in home kitchens over time, rather than for professional chefs.” But while little might have changed in knife manufacturing over the years, Angus claims there are areas in the toolbox that chefs should be paying attention to. “Sharpening has come a long way, with the introduction of many pull-through and three-stage sharpeners that give perfect results regardless of the skill,” he says. “The most popular is the Global MinoSharp with ceramic wheels.” horne says an individual’s assessment of the The emergence of more Asian styles of cooking, along weight, balance and feel of a knife in their with a greater interest in eastern-inﬂuenced hand is usually what drives the purchasing food preparation techniques, has also decision—whether it’s in a high-end, ﬁne spawned new directions and opdining restaurant, or a cheap and cheerful tions in the kinds of knives avail“Sharpening able for modern chefs, with takeaway store. has come a long “All chefs and cooks will most likely use a knife traditional Asian styles now in way, with the that they personally prefer. The standard of the much greater demand. introduction of “A little over ﬁve years ago, restaurant, food, or service makes no difference at many pull-through all to the type or quality of knife they use. we noticed a small trend and three-stage “And because chefs usually supply their own toward the ‘Santoku’ knife, or sharpeners that give the East-West knife,” Thorne knives, they will also choose a brand that reﬂects perfect results.” durability, comfort and value for money.” explains, while Angus credits Tim Angus, Sheldon & Hammond To that end, Thorne spruiks Oppenheimer’s bestpopular culture for the new direction: “Television series such as seller, and arguably one of the industry’s leading and best-known knife brands: Victorinox. MasterChef have increased consumer “For over 25 years, the Victorinox 25cm chef ’s knife with demand for more varied dishes, so we’ve seen an increase in the use of knives for Fibrox handle has been our top seller, and it’s hard to beat for consistency, quality and value. specialised cooking, such as the Chinese chopper, Nakiri and “It’s more recently begun to be chased by the similar VicSantoku.” But with this trend comes a word of warning from Thorne. torinox new Grand Maitre Forged 25cm chef ’s knife, which is a beautifully crafted knife, with perfect weight and balance.” “Nearly all chefs these days are trained with a classical style Angus prefers the Japanese brand Global, but the choice of cook’s knife, so the technique and motion they’ve learnt over the years is practiced and habitual. Quite often, when comes down to the same values of balance, weight and durability: “The brand produces stainless steel knives inspired by making the change to a different style of knife like the Asian blades, a chef needs to learn a different technique all over Samurai swords, with each knife carefully weighted to ensure again. This not only results in a slower preparation for the it is balanced in the hand.” Refreshingly, there are not many knife manufacturers trying chef and reduced productivity in the kitchen, but also a few to reinvent the wheel in terms of using new materials or apnasty cuts along the way,” Thorne says. plying different technology. Stainless steel has long been the And you surely can’t blame marketing for that. ô chefs will use regularly, like a ﬁlleting knife or garnishing tool, but when it all boils down, they’ll use a favourite chef ’s knife to do the majority of their work.” Tim Angus, brand manager at supplier Sheldon & Hammond, agrees that this staple forms the backbone of any chef ’s cutting instrument collection. “It all depends on what the chef is preparing, of course, but they’ll use a basic 20cm cooks knife for most tasks,” Angus says, before reeling off a similar list of blades for other requirements. “They’ll also need a selection of knives for ﬁner, precise cuts, or bulky items such as bones. The most common knives in any kitchen would be the cook’s or chef ’s knife, a bread, utility, vegetable and peeling knife.” And the theory applies regardless of the brand name on the handle, he says. “The most popular item within any range is the chef ’s knife, which can be used for a range of cutting purposes, from meat to vegetables.”
28 RESTAURANT & CATERING
the program WORDS AMANDA LOHAN
Loyalty programs have started to inﬁltrate foodservice. Are they worth paying attention to? And what’s the price you pay for them? ou know you’re loyal to a fault when your wallet is brimming with competing coffee club offers and more plastic cards than you can poke a ﬁve-percent discounted stick at. If you’re one of those people who’s a good two inches taller when you sit on your wallet, then you’ll know exactly what it feels like to be lured into the latest customer loyalty campaign. In recent times, these loyalty campaigns have begun to inﬁltrate the B2B world too. Last year saw the launch of a number of B2B loyalty programs in the foodservice space. So what’s on offer and is it worth signing up to yet another loyalty scheme? In 2009, the MINT Organisation launched a comprehensive loyalty program for customers of foodservice manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand. Partnering with founding members Nestlé and Goodman Fielder, the Mint Organisation sought to replicate its success in the US and UK markets, where it had been operating for eight and ﬁve years respectively. Nigel Gaunt, CEO of MINT, says that the Foodservice Rewards program was launched here in response to a perceived lack of visibility of end customers: “Manufactures weren’t able Loyalty to your suppliers will pay off with the various to foster what the end user required in terms of B2B loyalty programs now on offer to restaurants. product development”. For founding member Nestlé, the customers,” says Nicki Anderson, marketing director. objective of the Foodservice ReThe MINT Foodservice Rewards program services over “Our program really wards loyalty program was clear, 80,000 end users across Australia and New Zealand, levels the playing from very large caterers down to small, independent “We wanted to enable end-users ﬁeld for the smaller to be rewarded for their loyalty sandwich shops, milk bars, and takeaway restaurants, businesses like cafes. and to communicate varias well as hospital and nursing home kitchens, up It allows them to to ﬁve-star hotel restaurants. Gaunt says that the ous initiatives to these users. build up as many Overall, we wanted to stimuend user base of the program is “very reﬂective of a points as a large late support of more products cross-section of the foodservice industry in Australia restaurant or hotel within our range and grow the and New Zealand”. or caterer.” “Our program really levels the playing ﬁeld for the sales of our product,” says Cecil Michelle Kelso, marketing director, MINT. Louw, head of marketing. smaller businesses like cafes. It allows them to build up as many points as a large restaurant or hotel or caterer,” says McCAIN had a similar goal in mind Michelle Kelso, marketing director of MINT. when they launched the My McCAIN Fries Advantage program at around the same In terms of the effort involved to participate, the operators are quick to assure customers that the effort is minimal. “It’s time. “We wanted a program that would reinforce the value of about a ﬁve-minute job weekly or every second week. For McCAIN Foods as a preferred foodservice partner, and allow us to promote our range of fries to both existing and prospective those businesses that have a larger number of products, codes RESTAURANT & CATERING 29
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can be scanned through a laser scanner to cut the time down even further,” says Andrew Bull, general manager of MINT. So what is on offer for those who choose to participate? Anderson says the My McCAIN Fries Advantage program offers “a range of rewards, with a combination of popular personal consumer items as well as options that customers can use in their businesses. Some of the most popular redemptions include iPods, gaming consoles, and homewares”. The Foodservice Rewards program boasts over 8000 items on its online shopping portal, with all values expressed in points. While the rewards include commercial equipment and supplies, Kelso says that one of the most popular rewards on offer is the movie passes: “They are often used for reward and recognition programs that the end users are operating themselves, for example employee of the month or birthday gifts.” The Nintendo Wii has also been popular, but not in the way you might think. According to Kelso, “Nursing homes are redeeming their points for the Nintendo Wii—apparently they’re really good for boosting coordination, and it really gets the residents moving around.” Eighteen months after the initial launch of Foodservice Rewards in Australia, Gaunt says that the very high-value items are also gaining popularity as the program matures and people
earn more points, “The points don’t expire, so customers can save their points for those big ticket items”. Gaunt claims that based on benchmarking exercises, the Foodservice Rewards program falls into the “high end of generosity”, but he invites restaurateurs to “draw their own conclusion”. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. The inevitable catch of these B2B programs is that you will be supplying manufacturers with comprehensive data on your spending habits, as well as your full contact details. But the operators say that’s not such a bad thing. For those concerned about their privacy, Gaunt says the Foodservice Rewards database is “not for sale”. “The database is protected and only available to the manufacturers in the program for speciﬁc marketing they wish to do, and for us to conduct research and gain feedback”. Ultimately, what matters is obtaining the highest quality product at the lowest possible price. With B2B foodservice loyalty programs in their infancy here, early adopters may ﬁnd they have a limited selection. For now, with one million points activated per week in the Foodservice Rewards program alone, it looks like B2B loyalty programs are here to stay. With minimal effort and zero cost required to participate, and an extensive array of rewards on offer, it may just pay to sign up. ô
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21/5/08 1:34:19 PM RESTAURANT & CATERING 31
The organic ﬁelds of Cowra, soon to be brimming with organic grapes.
WORDS BEN CANAIDER
As consumers and restaurateurs become more concerned with the ethics of food production, will this impact your wine list?
usiness ethics, legal ethics, medical ethics... When life takes a serious turn we are often posed an ethical or moral question. We often have to decide what’s right and what is wrong. Were we transparent in a business dealing; did we disclose all we should have in a legal matter; is it OK to pay our doctor with someone else’s credit card? These are all ethical questions, but they also seem a little old-fashioned when compared to the new ethical pursuit. Environmental ethics. Food and wine production fall very much under this general heading, and the ethical nature of such products’ manufacture are increasingly the shiraz-fuelled dinner conversation of many of your customers. But does this signal a change in the way consumers are going to approach your wine list? Very definitely yes. Wine and food ethics relates to some of the trendy and faddish aspects of contemporary wine and food talk. Carbon footprints, air miles, recyclability, sustainability, landfill, water use, petro-chemical sprays and applicants... It is hard to have an inner-city chai-latte nowadays with friends and not manage to touch on a couple of these buzz-phrases. Wine’s pick-up on this marketing angle has been slower than food, however. Indeed, President of the Cowra Region Vineyards Association, Jason O’Dea, who also helps run the vineyards at his family’s winery, Windowrie, thinks that in the 1990s a few experimental organic or bio-dynamic wine drinkers might have been put off some of the very few offerings. Quality wasn’t always the best. Yet things have changed. “Younger (wine industry) people have become involved, though, and as organic brands have grown, quality has also gone up. In the Cowra wine region now, about 50 per cent of our brands will soon be certified organic. So if
32 RESTAURANT & CATERING
anyone doubts the future of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wine, it’s coming big time, let me tell you...” This more ‘ethical’ angle to agribusiness within the world of wine is certainly attracting more than consumers’ attention, however. Cowra wine makers have—together with other local administrative, municipal, and educative organisations— formed a Sustainable Wine Partnership. “Some of the seemingly little and unimportant things”, claims O’Dea, “can really help. From tree-planting to mulching to a big compost facility, Cowra winemakers have established a template for a lot of Australia’s wine regions regarding sustainable viticultural practices. Yet O’Dea claims this isn’t nec-
interest in the environmental ethics of food and wine is also essarily consumer driven. “As I said, the younger wine makers are keen on this sustainable angle, and given that two of the top four growing rapidly. The third annual Edelman goodpurpose™ Consumer Study, a survey of 6,000 people in 10 countries, wines at the last Cowra Wine Show were organically produced, maybe there’s something in it...” But there’s also a sensible released in October 2009, concluded that: “People all over the economic angle for wine makers. As O’Dea adds: “From an input world are now wearing, driving, eating, and living their new social purpose; (it is a) sustained engagepoint of view, if I can run some sheep through the vineyard in ment.” the winter to eat up some unwanted weeds I don’t have to make a couple of herbicide spray runs. I’m saving money.” The study found that 70 per cent of people would prefer to live in an So whilst this organic and biodynamic wine move“If anyone’s got any ment might have its ethical points, it also impresses eco-friendly house than merely a big doubt about the the accountants. house (30 per cent), 87 per cent of future of sustainable, Accountants to one side, Rod Windrim from the people feel they have an obligaorganic and bio-dyHunter Valley’s Krinklewood winery, a winery and tion to look after society and the namic wine, well, it’s vineyard thoroughly embracing organic and biodyenvironment, 83 per cent feel they coming big time, let namic principles, is drawn to the approach because of can personally make a difference, me tell you...” and 83 per cent are willing to change its “winning formula”. Jason O’Dea, President, Cowra Region Vineyards Association, Sydney “You are not conquering nature when you grow and consumption habits if it can help make make wine this way. You get an uplifting feeling from such the world a better place to live. In short, the old conspicuous consumption wine—growing it and making it—even drinking it too.” Yet Windrim’s number one aim is still wine quality. He thinks has become the new conscious consumerism. that if you’ve got that then people will form two bonds with your The beauty of wine in this complex equation is that whilst it can be a sustainable organic product doing good things for the wine. There’s the quality bond and then there’s the ethical bond. Windrim wants to keep it real. “Some people do get scared off environment, it can also be a luxury item. “Another bottle of the by the bio-dio hippy stuff, for sure; and I’m not really turned on $65 organic chardonnay, madam? Certainly madam, I’ll bring it straight away...” If this seems an unlikely development on your by that too much myself. The thing is, I never buy wine because it is biodynamic and organic, but if the wine’s good I do like to buy wine list then you’d be wise to remember that winemakers used it before other more conventionally grown wines.” to spray herbicides, farmers used to take water from our river systems, and that we all used to have an incinerator in the backyard. Industry stats suggest that more and more winemakers are moving to organic and sustainable wine growing practices, and And a plastic packaged chicken never had the word “Organic” on it is not a ‘build-it-and-they-will-come’ exercise. Consumer it. All that’s changed. Wine will too. ô
RESTAURANT & CATERING 33
The Wine Bar & Grill
Retaining the charm and character of the heritage-listed Port Ofﬁce building while creating a luxe venue for serious meat lovers was a challenge for interior designer Sophie Ellis of Design Clarity
34 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Design Clarity 204/61 Marlborough St Surry Hills, NSW Tel: (02) 9319 0933 W: www.designclarity.net Contact details: Sophie Ellis T: 02 9319 0933 E: email@example.com
spaces are linked by warm elements of dark ebony-stained timber and a bespoke printed carpet designed by Design Clarity. Because it is such a long thin restaurant, there were limitations when it came to designing for the ﬂow of patrons and staff. We drew on the expertise of Steven and Autumn, as well as Adam Hibberd from Global Shopﬁtters (www.globalshopﬁtters.com) who facilitated implementation of this extensive transformation and brought the whole space to life.”ô
WORDS BY KERRYN RAMSEY
he beautiful Port Ofﬁce building in the Stamford Plaza complex has a long, thin layout with extensive balconies, making it a perfect place to dine inside or out. It really exploits Brisbane’s beautiful weather. Owners Steven and Autumn Adams were already running the award-winning Moo Moo Broadbeach restaurant and had a clear idea of the look and feel they wanted to achieve in Brisbane. We brainstormed a lot of ideas, layout and ﬁnishes with them until deciding upon the ﬁnal design. Work started in November 2009 with everyone pulling out all stops to have the establishment up and running by June 2010. “Moobar features a long monolithic bar made of green marble that mirrors marble elements found in the original room. Heritage concerns meant we needed to work within the shell of the building, keeping all the original window frames and ﬁreplaces. The ﬁve dramatic pendant lights were custom-made for the space while the mix of furniture in the bar is quite eclectic. There are long, luxurious lounges and feature chairs upholstered in various textiles from Loop, Osborne & Little, Mokum and South Paciﬁc Fabrics’ Pollack. “The main dining room has a pared-back palette with ebony timber tables, bronze trimmed joinery, oversized custom pendant lights and a dramatic metal-backed full-height red-wine display. A decorative wallpapered ceiling inlay in ‘Du Barry’ from Osborne & Little runs down the length of the space. The Angus Room is dark and moody with a central cluster of tiered red glass ‘Stargazer’ pendant lights by Jeremy Pyles. To break the monotony of chairs around the large circular table, we included two high-backed, small, movable banquette seats. The Port Ofﬁce room is a reminder of the history of the building. It has a large picture of the old Port Ofﬁce in the 1800s and is a completely different experience. The walls are clad in white leather panels and the sparkle of the Tom Dixon ‘Copper Shade’ lights create a dramatic centrepiece. There is also a small in-between room which has booth seating and darker, more geometric Tom Dixon ‘Pipe’ lights. All these unique
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Restaurant & Catering Magazine is the official journal of the Restaurant & Catering Association of Australia. Published by Engage Custom Med...