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NO.763 MAY 2020

#HospitalityStrong

ARTHUR TO-GO • THE GROCERY PIVOT • MASTERING NEGOTIATION


CONTENTS // May

Contents MAY 2020

18

Regulars 6 // IN FOCUS How to implement social distancing in your venue. 10 // PRODUCE Cauliflower has made the ultimate comeback. 12 // BEST PRACTICE Negotiating in the midst of a pandemic. 14 // COLUMN Creating a memorable brand.

Interactivity key 2 | Hospitality

24

16 // DRINKS Selling wine has become a crucial income stream for venues. 18 // PROFILE Arthur has made the move from dining in to take-home meals: and it’s working. 22 // CHEF PROFILE Julian Cincotta from Butter and Thievery. 34 // BEHIND THE SCENES The Wolfe’s lobster roll. 36 // EQUIPMENT Pasta machines are making isolation slightly more bearable.

audio file

gallery

video

30

38 // 5 MINUTES WITH … Chef and restaurateur Jessi Singh.

Features 24 // CAFÉS The community hubs are struggling, but there are some small wins. 30 // THE GROCERY PIVOT Venues are transforming into mini grocery hubs to survive.

We are bringing you the latest in hospitality news in a new and exciting interactive platform, look out for these icons throughout the magazine.


YOUR

BAKERY PARTNER

Tip Top Foodservice is proud to be #hospitalitystrong We are committed to helping our customers, distributors and industry partners however we can as we all work to feed our communities. Join our community today on Facebook and Instagram.

TM

TIPTOP-FO O DSERVI C E.CO M . AU Š Registered trade marks of George Weston Foods Limited. All rights reserved.


EDITOR’S NOTE // Hello

Social

Keep up with the Hospitality team

ISO PERKS East 33 is now delivering some of the finest Sydney Rock oysters to your door. @hospitalitymagazine

Hello IT’S NOT BUSINESS as usual for the

‘Pivot’ might be one of the most-used

hospitality industry. We’re weeks into venue

words floating around right now, and it’s

lockdowns and it’s a constant battle for

certainly accurate. Restaurants are turning

operators to stay open or close the doors

into cellar doors, cafés are selling produce

and wait it out. With takeaway and delivery

and pubs are strictly bottle shops these days.

the only income streams for most venues, it’s

We look at the alternative avenues business

tough, but there are some success stories —

owners are taking to keep staff paid and

which are what we are focusing on this issue.

their brands going.

BERRY NICE Like many, I’ve turned to baking during isolation. But don’t worry, this isn’t banana bread – it’s pear and raspberry! @annabellecloros

Thankfully, we can still head to a café to grab a coffee, and now more than ever,

I hope you enjoy this issue.

people are realising just how crucial these businesses are to their daily lives. I talk

Until next time,

to Sam Terrey from Small Talk and

Annabelle Cloros

Anthony Karnasiotis from Goodfields about

Editor

LOCAL MATTERS Happy to be back in my hometown with Ten Acres pastries from the local cafe Humdrum. @madeline.woolway

how they’re diversifying their concepts to

Follow us

stay afloat.

@hospitalitymagazine #hospitalitymagazine PUBLISHER Paul Wootton pwootton@intermedia.com.au EDITOR Annabelle Cloros T: 02 8586 6226 acloros@intermedia.com.au JOURNALIST Madeline Woolway T: 02 8586 6194 mwoolway@intermedia.com.au

ADVERTISING NATIONAL Simon York T: 02 8586 6163 F: 02 9660 4419 syork@intermedia.com.au GROUP ART DIRECTOR – LIQUOR AND HOSPITALITY Kea Thorburn kthorburn@intermedia.com.au PRODUCTION MANAGER Jacqui Cooper jacqui@intermedia.com.au

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DISCLAIMER This publication is published by Food and Beverage Media, a division of The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd (the “Publisher”). Materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. All materials should be considered protected by Australian and international intellectual property laws. Unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. Any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. All express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any State of Australia or the provisions of Division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication. Copyright © 2020 – The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd

4 | Hospitality


Covid-19 may have changed the face of our industry. But some things haven’t changed - we’re still here for you. Saputo Foodservice remains committed to providing our customers and consumers with safe, high quality products. On the ground, we have implemented strict precautionary measures to help keep our people safe. We’ve activated global crisis management teams to establish safety priorities and ensure proper protocols are in place. We understand you’re all faced with making difficult decisions in your business every day. Like any family, we are in this together. We’re monitoring the situation to ensure we can continue to supply and support all our Foodservice Customers, and address any concerns you have. Together we can navigate the hospitality industry through this.

#hospitalitystrong


IN FOCUS // Social distancing

Social distancing in venues If your venue is still offering takeaway or delivery, social distancing measures must be adhered to.

HOSPITALITY VENUES ARE strictly limited

Police now have special powers to enforce

dedicated apps such as Bopple, Hungry

to selling takeaway food and beverages,

social distancing measures, and if your

but social distancing requirements are still

venue doesn’t comply, you and the people

in place.

inside your venue could be fined on the spot.

Deliveroo, Uber Eats, The Fork, DoorDash)

Individuals can be fined $1000 and companies

also allow customers to place orders for

fined $5000 at the time of publication.

pick-up.

restrictions of 4 square metres per person in

Display signs

Introduce ‘contactless’ pick-up zones

enclosed spaces.

Operators can print out signs requesting

Use a table or existing counter for

customers keep a 1.5-metre distance

contactless pick-ups. Customers are able to

individuals are not aware of the need to

between each other when lining up to order.

walk straight into a venue and pick up their

practice social distancing when they are

If your venue has street access, encourage

order without stopping and staff can add

ordering and picking up food. Here are

customers to wait outside.

them to the location as they come out of the

The Australian Government recommends people keep a 1.5-metre distance between

Hungry or Hey You. The major delivery platforms (Menulog,

each other at all times, and there are

But this can prove difficult to enforce if

some tips.

Alternatively, use tape or chalk to mark out

kitchen.

spots on the ground that are 1.5 metres apart.

Remove all tables and chairs

By doing this, there is no confusion as to where

Go cash-free

Stack chairs and tables and move them to

customers or delivery drivers need to stand.

Many venues have already eliminated cash

the back of your venue. If a customer spots

and gone card-only. A tap of the card is

a chair, they may be tempted to sit down. If

Promote pre-orders

much quicker than exchanging cash and

your furniture is too heavy to move or fixed to

Use social media accounts to encourage

doesn’t require any contact between staff

the ground, rope off the area.

customers to pre-order direct or through

and customers. ■

6 | Hospitality


IN FOCUS // Hand sanitiser

From booze to sanitiser Australian distillers are shifting their production focus from spirits to hand sanitiser. WORDS Annabelle Cloros HAND SANITISER, LIKE toilet paper, pasta

batch for the broader Prohibition Family?”

federal licences, dangerous goods approvals,

and many other household essentials, has

Prohibition produced 200 100ml bottles

access to raw materials and expertise –

been difficult to access over the past few

of juniper-scented hand sanitiser that were

so we’re now making hand sanitiser our

months due to near-constant demand.

given away with 500/700ml sales of gin.

production focus,” says founder Will Edwards.

Manly Spirits Co and Archie Rose in Sydney

For Manly Spirits Co, producing hand

“We will continue to produce sanitiser for

and Adelaide’s Prohibition Liquor Co are just

sanitiser came about after local community

as long as we can, or as long as is required

a handful of the distillers who have recently

groups and organisations reached out for

and this will also support the redeployment of

released hand sanitiser products into the

help. “We knew that making hand sanitiser

as many of our full-time bar staff as possible

market, which are now available to purchase.

available for these groups was simply our

to assist in filling, packaging and shipping

part to play in these crazy times,” the brand

the product.”

Prohibition Liquor Co never thought they would be making sanitiser, but quickly changed their tune when they weren’t able to

posted on Instagram. The distillery is churning out 5L containers

The distillery have used a product formulation based on the World Health

purchase the product for their venues to keep

for community groups and also created a

Organisation’s guidelines while utilising

staff and customers safe.

50ml sanitiser with gin aroma that customers

ingredients including grapefruit, cassia,

will receive for free with every purchase.

cardamom and thyme botanical distillates

“Being a distillery and having access to high-strength alcohol, we decided to make

Archie Rose first released 4,500 500ml

a small batch of our own,” reads a message

bottles of hand sanitiser, with the product

on the brand’s Instagram account. “We are

selling out almost immediately. There’s now a

potential revenue stream for distilleries

not in the hand sanitiser business and don’t

rolling wait list for each new batch.

who can no longer operate their bars while

intend to be, but we figured if we are going to make it for ourselves, why not make a small 8 | Hospitality

“We’re in a unique position to manufacture this essential product – with the required

from the brand’s gin production. The production of hand sanitiser is a

allowing them to provide an essential product to the communities they operate within. ■


STRAP NAME ////Second ADVERTORIAL Spacenow Strap

Ride the digital wave How the hospitality industry can cope with COVID-19. THE AUSTRALIAN HOSPITALITY industry

professionals are creative and resilient

“Restaurants can maximise their reach by

employs and serves makes it a crucial part

business models to current restrictions,” he

in additional locations and extending their

is huge. The sheer volume of people it

of the everyday life and source of income for many. The market has taken a big hit as a result of the global pandemic. As

COVID-19 continues to unleash more of its side effects, the foodservice industry must be agile and ready.

Times are changing, and so is the

hospitality industry. Now, with orders

from the Australian Government to close pubs, bars, cafés, restaurants and other

licensed venues in the hospitality industry to restrict social gatherings, things are no longer the same.

Moreover, the massive spending tourist

market has taken a hit as a result of travel bans. With many restaurants and cafés

reliant on the travel, accommodation and

event sector to survive, it’s time to evaluate other opportunities to generate revenue. Cafés and restaurants must adapt to the

new economic climate. First and foremost,

the online delivery sector is going to boom. In fact, off-premise dining increased in

Australia by 10 per cent in February alone. Daniel Gunning, CEO of Spacenow, has

noticed a range of trends currently impacting the hospitality industry. “Hospitality

people who have already pivoted their

says. “We’ve seen the switch of their food

menu and alcohol list, including cocktails, to home delivered meals.”

Gunning notes that this has even

extended to restaurants turning into

bakeries and selling greengrocer food

boxes with the supply of produce they

have. In such unstable times where many products are unavailable, it’s helped strengthen community spirit.

“I expect that many will continue this

after restrictions are lifted,” he says. “It’s

an opportunity to use their cooking skills

opening new branches of ghost kitchens

brand. After all, they’re cheaper to operate and will yield higher profits.”

At the same time, people who own kitchen space have a chance to generate a new source of income by renting them out.

That’s why Spacenow would like to be the

bridge between the two; partnering up with cooking professionals and property owners is the next move. With lower barriers of

entry, more food entrepreneurs can enter the market with less risk and less costs. “It can even encourage chefs to start

and access to products as a way to get

up their own social footprint online and

make more sales from existing customers,

like ghost bars,” says Gunning. Ultimately,

better utilisation out of the kitchen space, and open up to new customers in times

their businesses would usually be closed.” This will lead to a new wave of what’s

experiment with ideas they’ve always had, such collaborations will see the rise of a new

market, and that’s where Spacenow comes in. Spacenow aims to initiate collaboration

called ‘ghost kitchens’. Also known as

between property owners who have the

kitchen spaces for food and restaurant

kitchen space!

dark, smart or virtual kitchens, they are services without the storefront. Meals are

assets and chefs looking for much-needed If you’re interested in capitalising on the

sold exclusively through delivery channels,

new emerging market, Spacenow would

dine-in options.

and there is no better time than now to

eliminating overheads associated with

“They are definitely here to stay and

will be a growing market,” says Gunning.

love to hear from you. Society is adapting, join in on this digital domination. spacenow.com ■

May 2020 | 9


PRODUCE // Cauliflower

Flavour described as sweet, mild and nutty Heads can grow up to 20cm in diameter

Leaves can be tied together during growth to avoid discolouration of the head

White cauliflower is the most popular in Australia

Cauliflower

The humble cauliflower has made the ultimate comeback to become one of the darlings of restaurant menus.

Origins

are largely grown in Western

The cauliflower is a type of

Australia, but are also grown in

before the curd turns yellow,

The curd of the cauliflower is the

cabbage from the mustard

some parts of Victoria.

which can happen when they

most commonly consumed part

are exposed to the sun for

of the vegetable, but the leaves

family, otherwise known as

The plants are grown from

Plants should be harvested

Culinary applications

Brassicaceae. It’s believed

seedlings, ideally in loams,

too long. Some growers tie

and stalks can also be eaten.

to have originated in the

clay loams and alluvial soils.

the leaves together to avoid

Cauliflowers are high in fibre,

Mediterranean as early as

According to Agriculture

discolouration.

vitamin C and B vitamins, which

the 13th century, specifically

Victoria, soils should have a

in Cyprus, before seeds were

high organic matter content,

Flavour profile

foodstuff. There are myriad ways

traded in Western Europe in

good structure and be well

White cauliflower is the most

to prepare cauliflower from

the 16th century. The vegetable

drained as cauliflowers do not

common in Australia, with many

roasting to grilling, boiling, frying,

did not reach America until the

flourish under strongly acidic

describing its flavour profile as

pickling or even eating raw. A

1900s, but the exact date of its

conditions.

mild, sweet and nutty. It has a

common application is to cook a

crunchy texture and its flavour

head of cauliflower in a wood-

apart and plants can grow up

is at its best when roasted.

fired oven and serve with butter

Seasonality and harvest

to 0.5m tall. They are ready for

Orange, green and purple

and other accompaniments. â–

Cauliflowers are annual

harvest once the leaves covering

cauliflowers are all milder

plants and cool-weather

the curd (head) begin to

than white cauliflower,

crops, requiring consistent

separate. Depending on cultivar,

which has a slightly bitter

temperatures around 16 degrees

heads are usually between 15-

taste compared to the

Celsius. In Australia, the plants

20cm in diameter.

coloured varieties.

arrival in Australia is unknown.

10 | Hospitality

Seeds should be planted far

makes them a healthy and popular

gallery


ADVERTORIAL // Nestlé Professional

Save Our Locals Nestlé Professional is proud to partner with Save Our Locals to help the hospitality community through uncertain times and beyond.

IN RECENT WEEKS, most restaurants and

Save Our Locals’ meal kits make inspired

cafés have been forced to shut their doors,

results easy to recreate at home, with all

models, leaving many favourite local

ensure home cooks get results every time,

or significantly change their business

venues closed and thousands of talented

staff in the hospitality industry either stood

the hard work and prep done by chefs to in their own kitchen.

down or without a job.

Since lockdown began, Nielsen reports

a staggering 82 per cent of hospitality jobs

in time spent on cooking websites, with

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports

have been lost since lockdown.

To help local businesses doing it tough,

Nestlé Professional is lending support to a new industry initiative, Save Our Locals. Save Our Locals is an online market

there has been a 71 per cent increase

young people spending 144 per cent more time following online recipes. The surge

in interest represents a great opportunity for businesses to service the demand for

Professional is ‘find a way’ and we are living that through the much-needed

income that every Save Our Locals meal kit order will bring to local businesses,” says

Nestlé Professional CEO Scott Stuckmann. “There is a whole ecosystem attached to

the hospitality industry and it’s heartening to think that together we can step up and

make a difference for our valued partners. We’re proud to support Save Our Locals

as our way of saying, ‘We are here for you and we always will be’.”

quality food created at home.

Through the delivery of ready-to-cook

an alternative income stream to keep the

profit Save Our Locals campaign, which

meal and a difference to the hospitality

supports restaurants by delivering fresh

bars, cafés and pubs in business despite

supporting local cafés and restaurants with lights on and staff employed. The initiative meal kits to home cooks, giving them the

opportunity to recreate restaurant-quality dishes at home.

The insight is what inspired the not-for-

endeavours to keep restaurants, bistros, the wider challenge presented by social distancing restrictions.

“One of our core values at Nestlé

meal kits, home cooks can make a great industry and their local community. ■ To register your venue, visit

saveourlocals.com.au/register

To order as a customer, visit

saveourlocals.com.au

May 2020 | 11


BEST PRACTICE // Negotiation

The art of negotiation A useful skill to have in the current climate. WORDS Ken Burgin SUDDENLY, WE ALL have to do a lot more negotiation, and it’s not just the small stuff.

information gives you time to assess. • B ack up every phone call with an email

Three months ago, you were arguing over a

outlining what you understood was agreed.

20c increase in chicken prices or the chef

• Never give anything away without something

wanting a $30 wage rise. Now you’re dealing with a stubborn landlord, an unknown bank manager, impatient suppliers and an impatient partner.

in return such as an extension of the lease or help with refurbishment in exchange for paying more rent than you anticipated. • The first offer has more influence on the

Most of what you did before was haggling,

final deal than any other factor, so plan and

but now it’s time to up the ante.

make it carefully.

Negotiating with landlords is a good place

Mero on the first steps of rental negotiation • Preparation and planning are two of the most important components of a negotiation. Without them, you negotiate with force, threat or bluff, which is not desirable and can break down the communication. • Understand the other side — what do they need? What is the landlord’s financial position, or if it’s in a shopping centre, what are they allowed to offer? • At the beginning, create the right atmosphere. Communicate your position and learn theirs. Asking questions and gathering 12 | Hospitality

landlord immediately. • Crunch the numbers and make a plan. Be ready with up-to-date bookwork — your sales data, P&L statement, bank statements, etc. • B ack up your argument with honest, transparent information. • Do all that you can to meet your current rental obligations. landlord and look at it from both sides.

financial return if you get it right. Julian Mero and business broker Paul Leach.

• Act quickly and communicate with your

• Work out what help you need from the

to start, and is likely to give you the largest Here are some tips from leasing executive

Leach’s advice for negotiating

• Don’t take “no” as being final — it might be

“Preparation and planning are two of the most important components of a negotiation. Without them, you negotiate with force, threat or bluff, which is not desirable.” – Julian Mero

the start of some serious discussion.

Common mistakes to avoid • Rushing; the person with the most time pressure has the lower hand. • Letting price dominate all other interests — there are other concessions that may be worth more than just a rent reduction. • Neglecting the other side’s position or problems — the landlord is not a demon! • Searching too hard for common ground to make the deal happen. • Neglecting your ‘walk away position’ previously set — if it looks like you were bluffing, you immediately lose leverage. Buckle up — you’re about to save yourself quite a lot of money! ■


COLUMN // Building a brand

Magnetic attraction How to draw people into your venue with your brand. WORDS Matthew and Terry Squadrito

AUDACIOUS, DISRUPTIVE,

to pursue perfection? Whether

your concept. You should be

Content, content, content!

CHARISMATIC, clever, magnetic

it’s the best extracted espresso

able to spin off your concept as

The more photography, video and

— this is how we would describe

or perfectly balanced gin, the

an elevator pitch in 30 seconds

messaging you have, the more

a brand that people will travel

answer will always take the form

and it sticks. Own your position

conversations people are having

across town to get a piece of.

of a mission or a purpose.

and wear it proudly. You can’t be

with and about your business. It’s

everything for everyone, but you

that simple. The best way to make

So, what exactly is branding?

Once you have that, it’s about

It’s a little like speed dating.

bringing the purpose to life

can be something that everyone

sure you’re covering your bases

Successful branding is about

in all areas of your business.

will remember you for.

is to remember the three p’s:

creating a series of memorable

There lies the source of your

moments that intrigue, surprise,

authenticity, and authenticity is

charm and excite. It’s about sweeping people off their feet

people, product, place.

a big factor behind why people

Nail your personality and voice

business that make it all happen.

stay loyal to brands.

Choose five words that best

Product: take people on a journey

and leaving them hungry for more.

People: the faces behind your

represent your venue in a

of how it’s made, where it comes

Know who you’re talking to

human way. The balance is

from and most importantly, make

owners that are looking to

Know who you’re trying to win

incredibly important. Say

it so damn desirable they just

find their true identity. And it’s

over. Know them intimately. What

you own a café and you’re a

have to have it! Place: where

not uncommon for people to

will satisfy them, what will excite

fanatic about pulling the best

the action happens. It’s always

fall into the trap of creating a

them and what will piss them

espresso imaginable. That

thriving in your neck of the woods,

Frankenstein brand by piecing

off? (one that is often forgotten).

would translate into a word

and you can’t wait to share it

together parts of others they

If you can get that right, it

like ‘meticulous’. However, you

with everyone.

admire. There’s nothing wrong

doesn’t matter what age they

should balance this out with a

with being inspired by those

are because you’re satisfying

‘welcoming’ attitude.

doing it well, but you have to

a collective of people that

carve out your own personality

need, love and hate very

your single origin coffee with

products, venues and digital

and place in the market.

similar things. Then all you

notes about the farm your beans

experiences. ■

need to do is structure your

are sourced from, the process

Find your heart

business and brand around

used and its flavour notes —

If you want to win the hearts and

satisfying as many of these

which shows off your meticulous

minds of people, you need to

points as possible.

attention to detail. On the

We often come across venue

reveal yours first.

For example, you might label

adopt a relaxed tone and ‘come

What gets you out of bed in the morning? What drives you

Basically, be single-minded in

marketing and social media.

14 | Hospitality

works with brands to create

video

flip side, you probably should

Pick a position and stick to it

Ask yourself these questions:

Squad Ink is a Sydney-based lifestyle brand studio that

one, come all’ message in your

Click here for an example of Squad Ink's work


ADVERTORIAL // Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat

Standing by the chef community Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award reimagined. 2020 LOOKS VERY different for everyone

is broadening its horizons this year by

challenging times are being felt closely in

even more chefs and introduce an exciting

on many fronts and the impacts of these the hospitality industry. As a result, the

Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award has had to

launching into New Zealand to support trans-Tasman element.

“There are a vast amount of people

of their choice that best showcases their skills and personality as a chef.

• 12 regional winning chefs from across ANZ are selected, with additional category prizes awarded.

adapt to reflect these changing times.

hurting in our industry right now and

• The top 12 chefs then compete in the

the promise to support chefs; Nestlé

chefs need our support,” says Mark

• One chef is judged to be awarded Chef

One thing that remains true is

Professional is standing by young chef

talent to share in their culinary journey,

with a reimagined competition for 2020. “With a 55-year legacy in the Golden

Chef competition, now more than ever, we need to maintain that commitment and demonstrate our leadership to

now more than ever is the time young Clayton, executive chef. “We have a

unique opportunity to show them that

offer chefs the chance to keep elevating

the competition continuing this year.

industry. The reimagined format will still

their skills and be a part of the supportive community that is foodservice.”

While other culinary competitions are

activations to enable the program to

committed to the future of our industry

as a trusted and reliable partner in good times and bad,” says Scott Stuckmann, business executive officer.

Aside from the 2020 Golden Chef’s Hat

going forward, the reimagined award

cash prize to support their culinary career.

The Golden Chef award partners and

The 2020 reimagined competition

switching off and hitting pause, we’re

of the Year and awarded an AUD$10,000

we genuinely care about the future of our

support young chefs, to educate them

and improve their employment prospects.

grand finals.

sees Golden Chef innovate with virtual remotely reach and connect with chefs.

chef alumni are 100 per cent behind

The Australian Culinary Federation and NZChefs share in the collective goal to

ensure that the young chef community can still be part of the Golden Chef experience

and offer them something truly positive to focus on in these challenging times.

So, please get on board and support the

Here’s the key points of the

Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award in 2020

• Chefs enter as an individual, completing

colleagues and employees. Entries are

new competition:

an online application.

• Confirmed entrants are invited to submit a video entry, presenting a plated dish

by sharing the news with your networks, open from 4 May until 29 June 2020.

Stay up to date on Instagram @golden_

chefs and Facebook @goldenchefs ■

May 2020 | 15


Neptune Provisions and Liquor

DRINKS // Wine stores

Wine cellars Restaurateurs have become wine sellers, boosting cashflow without the burden of overheads. WORDS Madeline Woolway PHOTOGRAPHY Jana Langhorst for Neptune Provisions and Liquor

HOSPITALITY OPERATORS ARE

been weighted heavily towards liquor,”

holiday season followed by the COVID-19

of what we’re selling and how people

launching wine stores after a precarious pandemic.

It’s not an ideal business model, but

wine can provide much-need cashflow for venues with reserves of carefully selected

vintages. And for those who take the time

says Blacher. “That means it’s a core part

Restaurants are in the business of food

offer our whole wine and liquor selection

both. But the latter can prove to be the

bottled cocktails, Negronis, martinis and in a retail setting.”

Even obvious moves require considered

planning. As well as Neptune, the group

coronavirus crisis.

Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina and Beijing

For Melbourne's Commune Group,

the decision to start retailing the liquor selection through Windsor wine bar

Neptune was a no-brainer. “Basically, I’m

trying to use all the assets in the restaurant because I have to restructure our offering for the time being,” says group director Simon Blacher.

Liquor has always been a central part

of the brand. “Neptune operates as a bar

with food, so our revenue split has always 16 | Hospitality

go back to running restaurants.”

perceive us. We’ve been able to create pre-

to get it right, the move could continue to

complement their core offering beyond the

brand because, essentially, we all want to

is behind recognisable restaurant brands Betty. The team paused to take a deep

breath before diving into their new project, Neptune Provisions and Liquor. “We’ve

and drink. So it makes sense to maintain easier option, filling a revenue gap while

restaurateurs consider how to adapt their food. Running white tablecloth, dine-in operations in the Sydney CBD means

takeaway was never a realistic option for

Pendolino and La Rosa The Strand owner Nino Zoccali.

Takeaway wasn’t part of the ethos

taken a couple of weeks and tried to create

to begin with. Pick-up customers were

that will be around post-COVID-19,”

traffic (the restaurants are in an arcade),

a brand around the offering — something says Blacher. “We never signed on to be

retailers, but we’re going to play the game. However, I think we need to be conscious

not to muddy the waters between the two offerings. You need to protect your core

likely to be sparse with limited foot

while commissions took delivery off the

table. “For restaurants like us, takeaway just wasn’t on the cards,” says Zoccali.

“We don’t want to do anything we’ll go backwards with.”


choosing to bolster already existing offers before

side of Neptune Provisions and Liquor will aid

thinks it’s important to make the switch carefully, developing new products. “We’d never really

pushed those elements of our business, because we’re busy running our core business, which

on trying to predict how much the wine store

the group’s bottom line. “We are discounting it heavily because it’s a retail offering.”

At the moment, the split looks 50-

is restaurants,” says Zoccali. “We’ve always

50. “People come in for some pasta and they

company’s olive oil business], so what we’ve

says Blacher.

had retail exposure to a degree [through the

“If you can convert any stock holdings you’ve got into cash at the moment, that’s fantastic.” – Nino Zoccali

“Margins will always be better on booze, but it

will depend on the revenue split,” says Blacher,

done is refresh the wine offer. We’re going out regularly now with EDMs and social media to promote what we’re doing.”

Zoccali’s team canvased their database,

sending out a survey to determine what direction to take the food offering. The response was

unsurprising: dried pasta, pasta sauces followed by smallgoods and cheese. “We’ve always made dried pasta, but only for the restaurants; we’ve

walk out with a bottle of wine and vice versa,” In pre-shutdown form, Neptune was known

as a bar that plated up good food, but the

venue can’t rely on liquor sales alone to get

them through the next few months. “There are

obviously a lot of liquor retailers in the market;

there’s a lot of places you can get booze, whether it be larger retailers or online liquor stores,” explains Blacher.

The Pendolino Group is selling their list at

never had a retail offer,” says Zoccali. “We’re not

retail prices, too. “We feel the pricing is really

On the wine side, it was pretty easy for us; we

for those products,” says Zoccali. “It’s a retail

prepped for it, so on the food side, it was tricky. could just ramp it up. There’s a whole heap of wine we’ve never presented.”

Traditionally, booze brings in the best margins.

But just how much wine boosts cashflow during

the shutdown will depend on more than margins.

Pendolino

what you’d expect to pay in most bottle shops offer, really. In restaurants, it’s so much more

expensive if you’ve got waiters serving you and linen, etcetera.”

So how do hospitality businesses compete

with established retailers? By killing two birds with one stone. What separates hospitality

businesses from the larger, mainstream retailers is their relationship with boutique wineries.

“It’s a curated list, so you’ve got the benefit of a

sommelier choosing wines,” says Zoccali. “They are wines we have had in the restaurant for a

long time. We’ve got strong relationships with all of the producers.”

It helps if you’ve got exclusive wines on

hand, too. The Pendolino group has plans to

release Champagnes through their online store. Although, a line may be drawn on what bottles

are made available. “A lot of restaurants are just selling [their] whole [list] because they need to liquidate,” says Zoccali. “They’re trying to get cash into the restaurants.”

It’s not necessarily a bad move. “If you can

convert any stock holdings you’ve got into cash at the moment, that’s fantastic because you’re

getting really important cashflow,” says Zoccali.

“But in most cases where people are selling their

wine stocks, it’s a finite resource and I would say it’s not going to go that far.”

Converting your wine cellar to a wine store

could prove to be a fruitful stopgap in difficult times, but only if it’s done with care. ■

May 2020 | 17

DRINKS // Wine stores

While the Pendolino group is making the

transition to providore, like Blacher, Zoccali


PROFILE // Arthur

Arthur To-Go Chef Tristan Rosier had two options when the restaurant shutdowns were announced — stay at home and watch Netflix or come up with a new business idea — stat. He chose the latter. WORDS Annabelle Cloros

24 HOURS AFTER hospitality venues

in New South Wales were told to close

their doors, Tristan Rosier had to make a

opportunity to offset the loss of the venue’s

quite a while, but didn’t have the time to

ATG started with 70 meals for two for

running Arthur is quite high,” says Rosier.

usual eat-in trade.

decision. Arthur To-Go was in full swing

$30 a pop, which moved to 40 meals on

Sydneysiders four nights a week. Arthur

diners too much,” says Rosier. “We had a

three short days later and is now feeding had never offered takeaway before, but the future of the one-hat restaurant is now in the (recyclable) bag.

made meals for two that cover the protein,

game plan to run takeaway from a window

to tack on dessert. Customers can also

at the back of the restaurant, but then we couldn’t operate as a restaurant anyway.” So the team integrated e-commerce

platform Shopify with the restaurant’s

government press conferences. Chef and

Turns out you can offer a restaurant-ish

business owner Tristan Rosier knew closures were impending, and had two ideas to keep his one-year-old business afloat: Arthur ToGo (ATG) or selling burgers.

Arthur To-Go’s offering consists of ready-

the second day. “It impacted on normal

A total venue shutdown was imminent given the increased frequency of

implement them because the demand of

dotcom and sales have been booming.

experience at home and customers are

more than happy to pay — to the tune of selling out ATG’s offering every week.

carb, side and salad bases plus the option

order loaves of Arthur’s cult sourdough and cultured butter along with the same wines, beers and pre-batched cocktails they’d

usually enjoy in-venue. There’s also the dip, which is a bit of a trademark for the chef.

“We’ve always wanted to scale up and we’re building this with the intention of it being

long-term,” says Rosier. “I think this is going to be the way it is for quite a while.”

So far, meals have included everything

ATG won out, and the team decided to

While the introduction of Arthur’s new

from chicken cottage pie to braised lamb

up to the ban on dining in. The stream of

restaurant concept beyond the dine-in

lasagna — but don’t think the offering

introduce takeaway in the days leading

customers had already begun to dwindle, and Rosier saw pre-prepared meals as an 18 | Hospitality

business arm was fast, expanding the

experience was always on the cards. “We had been working on some ideas for

with Israeli cous cous and pumpkin and waivers from what you’d normally get.

“We really wanted to still reflect what we


PROFILE // Arthur

“I was going to do whatever I could to stay open because I don’t want to go down without a fight.” – Tristan Rosier

May 2020 | 19


PROFILE // Arthur do, so using native ingredients and Aussie

Australia — they can’t get money from

having a go at coming up with something

if they’re out of a job,” he says. “Even if I

local produce,” says Rosier. “Everyone is and we aren’t limiting ourselves to a particular cuisine.”

But launching ATG hasn’t been without

the government and will have to go home can give them three days a week, that’s a good starting point. I just want to make sure the staff are getting paid.”

its stressors. Rosier had to source

Many restaurants made the call to close

transport them back to the venue in his

crossed Rosier’s mind. The great thing

thousands of takeaway containers and

VW Golf (it took three trips) and slightly tweak the offering after receiving some customer feedback. “We definitely let down a couple of people in the first

days,” says Rosier. While “let down”

may be too strong of a descriptor for the

teething issues (dressing the salad, having customers walk through the restaurant), the team didn’t hesitate to make good.

“We tried to make it right with the people we let down and spoke to our regulars about what they thought. You want to

have good value for money and make sure there’s a decent amount of food.”

While portion size and sourcing

produce in a time where suppliers are

closing down are high on the stress list, it doesn’t compare to the pressure that

comes with keeping staff in a job. While ATG has returned positive numbers so

down completely, but the thought never about small business is its ability to pivot, which is why many of the ‘little guys’ are still in operation. “I would never open a restaurant bigger than Arthur, you can

change quickly and give people what they want — the gloves are off,” says Rosier. “I

have 20

pick up their meals

rotating dishes

between 4-7pm

open because I don’t want to go down without a fight.”

While tax deferments can help

businesses in the short-term, Rosier is

thinking big picture — it’s about months, not weeks. “There are many businesses

that profit in a recession and this takeaway thing could help Arthur stay open in the long run,” says the chef. “I don’t know

when Arthur in its original form will be

up and running again, but if the numbers stack up, we will rent a space for ATG.”

Arthur is Rosier’s first business, and ATG is

proof of his dedication to keeping the doors

his team. “A lot of my staff aren’t from

rules allow me to keep trading, I’ll do it.” ■

20 | Hospitality

Customers can

was going to do whatever I could to stay

far and has the scope to run beyond the shutdowns, Rosier’s ultimate focus is

ATG will

open. Rosier says it best: “As long as the

50% of diners

The team is

added a dessert or

aiming to do

alcoholic beverage

80-100 orders

on top

a day

of their order


Full page ad Spacenow


CHEF PROFILE // Julian Cincotta

Julian Cincotta Takeaway formed 20-30 per cent of Butter Sydney’s revenue pre-COVID-19 — now the cult fried chicken brand is 100 per cent reliant on food and drink to-go. WORDS Annabelle Cloros JULIAN CINCOTTA IS the co-owner and

the delivery platforms facilitate, however

along with Middle Eastern Eatery Thievery

any reduction in commission would be

chef of Butter Surry Hills and Parramatta in Glebe. All venues were largely dine-in operations, but with the government’s decision to pull the pin on customers

during this time of economic uncertainty,

appreciated so there is more money to pay staff and suppliers.”

spending any time in a venue, beyond

There’s no doubt times are tough, but

fast about how his restaurants are going to

hospitality community remains strong. The

picking up an order, Cincotta had to think pull through.

Like many, Cincotta has signed up to

delivery platforms to keep his businesses afloat, and has flagged the potential of

drive-thru in Parramatta and Surry Hills. While the commissions aren’t helping in

the current climate, Cincotta just wants to

Cincotta says the comradery between the

chef has introduced a pay-it-forward meal service where people can pre-purchase meals for those in need. “It really does

feel like everyone is there for everyone

right now, which is a silver lining in these horrible times,” he says.

keep as many staff working as possible.

Another silver lining for customers is

the storm? By combining forces. Everyone

which is now available for delivery

So how will Butter and Thievery weather

loves a collab, and Cincotta has decided to mash up Butter and Thievery dishes with new rotating menu items including fried

chicken and hummus bowls, kebabs, fried

the return of Butter’s seasonal ramen, and takeaway, with all the necessary cushioning to transport the dish in primo condition.

When asked if he’s anticipating any

chicken snack packs and charcoal birds —

packaging shortages given the huge

bring in profit.

are well stocked, but points to the big

despite the fact the dishes aren’t going to “The numbers look like they won’t

make us any profit considering the

percentage these platforms take,” says

the chef. “It’s just to try and give a couple of chefs a job and service the Inner West community. We appreciate the services 22 | Hospitality

takeaway surge, Cincotta says his suppliers picture. “Yes, our restaurant and staff are

affected, but our supply chain is, too,” he

says. “Everyone is in the same boat, so we all need to stick together, help each other as much as possible and know that the government will be there.” ■

“It really does feel like everyone is there for everyone right now, which is a silver lining in these horrible times.” – Julian Cincotta


FEATURE // Cafés

Community feels Consumers are leaning on their local cafés in the midst of a pandemic for more than just a cup of coffee. But what about the people behind them?

audio file

WORDS Annabelle Cloros CAFÉ OWNERS ACROSS Australia are

stuck between a rock and a hard place thanks to COVID-19 — keep trading

with plunging sales or close the doors and hope for the best. Sam Terrey

and Anthony Karnasiotis own cafés on either side of Sydney (Inner West and North Shore respectively), and both

are navigating the same dilemmas and uncertainties. But they’ve made the

decision to carry on, with community support one of the core drivers.

Terrey and Karnasiotis talk to Hospitality

about adapting to the new normal and

how they’re pivoting their businesses to ensure they have a future.

When the government began rolling out

restrictions, Small Talk owner Sam Terrey

was tweaking his operations on an almostdaily basis. First came the removal of a

few stools around the Dulwich Hill café’s communal table, then the elimination of reusable cups and cash and finally the move to ban dining in. “I just went by

what was being advised by medical boards and what other cafés had been doing,”

he says. “In coffee, everyone is teaming

together and helping each other as much as we can, even if it’s just moral support. The industry is deciding for itself what it wants to do.”

Goodfields in Lindfield also moved

quickly to adhere to social distancing requirements, but that didn’t stop a

neighbour from calling the authorities after they thought the venue wasn’t playing by 24 | Hospitality

“We’re definitely in a better position than a lot of the other businesses out there. But everyone is feeling it one way or another.” – Anthony Karnasiotis Anthony and George Karnasiotis


FEATURE // Cafés

the rules. A visit from the police ensued, but they found nothing out of order.

“Everything was compliant, tables were

spread out and there were no more than 50 people inside,” says Anthony Karnasiotis.

Soon enough, Goodfields was packing

up the chairs and tables anyway, and the impact was immediate. “80-90 per cent

of our turnover was from dining in, so we

are down, but in saying that, we’ve had to adjust other costs.”

By other costs, Karnasiotis is talking about rent, wholesale, inventory and wages.

Goodfields had a large wait staff team,

most of who were employed on a casual basis. “We unfortunately don’t have any

use for wait staff now,” he says. “Basically, it’s not letting go, but more of a pause. If we can find a job for them to do, we will definitely give it to them.”

Goodfields has kept on two chefs and

is rotating their barista team so a number

of staff are able to nab some hours during May 2020 | 25


the week. “It was hard to reduce hours and

had to close their doors, which means Small

says Karnasiotis. The café plans to bring

some extra workers to help out while things

will let you know when things change’,” back staff they’ve had to let go once

restrictions are relaxed and business picks Burgers

Small Talk

are

churns out

Goodfields’

up to

biggest

160 bagels

takeaway seller

a week

up again — there’s just no saying how long that will take. “We will support staff where we can, but there are only so many hours we can give,” says Karnasiotis.

Terrey has a small team of four to

take care of, two of which are new hires, and many of the early measures he

Hot sauce has been

started selling

Small Talk’s

take-home

most popular

Greek dinners

grocery items

are on the up. “The guys we have picked up are casuals from other businesses that have closed or are slow,” says Terrey.

“So they are helping me out while it’s

busy and I can give them extra hours. I

don’t expect this surge to be permanent, but

we’re just trying to take advantage of a large amount of new customers trying us out.”

Pivoting is something small business has

“I don’t want to leave any of these guys in

And in the case of cafés, shaking up the

the lurch,” he says. “I also work seven days a week, so any downtime is lost revenue, so that’s the main concern.”

Small Talk previously had a dine-in sales

percentage of 80 per cent on the weekends and 60 per cent during the week, but since

the ability to do when times get tough. food and drink offering can be a huge

drawcard to customers looking for a little

comfort. Whether it’s selling alcohol, hand

sanitiser or restaurant-quality produce, any point of difference can help.

Goodfields is now selling take-home

going takeaway only, business has actually

Greek meals, with dishes spanning from

have been positive,” says Terrey. “It’s a

to stuffed capsicums. Five Senses coffee,

doubled pre-COVID-19. “Generally, sales

combination of having an amazing base of regulars who rallied behind us and I think our product is good — that’s a big part of

it. Being a heavy residential area also helps as everyone is at home. Our model pivots to the current requirements quite easily.” 26 | Hospitality

Talk has attracted some new customers and

implemented were introduced to protect

them from loss of income and getting sick. Goodfields has

Sadly, other businesses in the area have

say, ‘Sorry guys, we have no shifts … we

moussaka and roasted chicken with veg

Brasserie Bread loaves and various milks are also available for sale. “We’ve added some Greek dinner-style meals to try to

offer something different and we can heat it

up for customers or they can do it at home,” says Karnasiotis. “We’ve had great uptake


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FEATURE // Cafés Sam Terrey

“You can’t just be idle — you need to evolve and do what you can.” – Sam Terrey so far. We see people coming out of the

supermarket with bags of food and they’re coming here for meals. We are definitely

grateful for the support and the foot traffic.” Small Talk has been churning out

the house-made baked goods, with an

emphasis on the venue’s signature — the bagel. When the restrictions first came into the equation, customers didn’t

hesitate to pre-order bagels alongside

slabs of focaccia, doughnuts, buns and of course, coffee.

Terrey also set up a grocery shelf in the

window with new additions including

jars of Olsson’s salt, StrangeLove sodas, hot sauce, sardines and highly coveted tins of tomatoes.

“I was just trying to think of a way to

keep sales going knowing people are stuck 28 | Hospitality

at home,” says Terrey. “You can’t just be

says Karnasiotis. He is also thinking beyond

you can.”

about keeping the economy circulating.”

idle — you need to evolve and do what

the four walls of his Lindfield café. “It’s

Financial assistance has of course been

There’s no doubt the industry is facing a

there are requirements that need to be met

has become more important than ever.

front of mind for business owners, however to qualify. For example, sales need to be down 30 per cent to pay staff under the

JobKeeper allowance and rental negotiation is largely dependent on the tenant speaking directly with the landlord. Small Talk

doesn’t qualify for rent negotiation or

JobKeeper as sales haven’t dropped by the requisite 30 per cent. “I would basically

have to close completely to qualify,” says

Terrey. “I am able to get the PAYG cashback scheme, so that will be helpful.”

At Goodfields, a number of staff don’t

qualify for JobSeeker or JobKeeper

payments as they are visa holders, and

the team are currently in discussions with

huge hurdle, but the notion of community It’s taken a pandemic for customers to

realise the role small business plays in

their community and their own personal lives. But it’s these customers who are

continuing to grab takeaway and a few

groceries to help out the people behind

the businesses. “There are always ups and downs in business, there's a rainy day

approach, so hopefully we will be okay

in the long run — it’s just day to day for

the time being,” says Karnasiotis. “We’re definitely in a better position than a lot of the other businesses out there. But

everyone is feeling it one way or another.” Terrey is grateful for Small Talk’s recent

accountants to determine the best way

boom, but isn’t holding his breath when

“We will try to minimise borrowing where

a quick, sharp economic recovery is off

forward with regards to other incentives. we will have to repay, but any kind of

assistance will require repayments in one

way or another, which is understandable,”

it comes to a swift bounce back. “I think the table; we could be in for a very tough three to five years,” he says. “But we’ve also been bloody lucky.” ■


FEATURE // The grocery pivot

Turning a corner

Hospitality operators are chasing cashflow by turning to the lucrative grocery market. WORDS Madeline Woolway HOSPITALITY PROFESSIONALS AND producers have always had a close

relationship. Usually, chefs are in the

celebrate owners Freja and Nathan Dunnell’s love for food, connection and family.

Under normal circumstances, Elska’s

as much because we wouldn’t need as

much produce,” says Dunnell. “It means we’re not just keeping our own staff in

business of transforming produce into the

brand isn’t suited to takeaway and that

could only dream of plating up. Now,

Dunnells thought about taking time off,

“Feeding the food chain” was behind

just opened our doors and started to get

D’Sylva’s decision to offer a range of

kind of dishes the average at-home cook the equation has changed, but the bond remains intact.

Hospitality talks to three operators

about pivoting to a corner store model

which revolves around selling produce boxes and grocery items to stay afloat during COVID-19.

Diversification was a buzzword in

hospitality industry long before COVID-19 shut down dine-in trade. More than ever,

hasn’t changed with the shutdown. The

but ultimately decided to push ahead. “We our name out there,” says Freja Dunnell. “It was a shock … we worked so hard

and were so excited, then to have that

jobs, but also our suppliers.”

Melbourne restaurateur and chef Adam options for diners including takeaway meals and produce boxes.

Long-term Tonka and Coda supplier

taken away so suddenly.” Keeping Elska’s

In2Food floated the idea of selling

motivator. “By closing everything down,

“We have the customer base and it’s not

four full-time staff employed was also a

we wouldn’t be able to support staff the same way,” says Dunnell.

After some thought, the team came up

‘wellness produce boxes’ to D’Sylva.

extra work for us at all,” says D’Sylva of

the arrangement. “We’re delivering food

anyway or you can come pick it up from

businesses are under pressure to find

with two avenues: family and date night

innovation in the face of adversity, turning

the concepts are keeping Elska afloat and

keeping people employed and offering a

kitchen isn’t doing the same numbers as it

people and keeping them in jobs go hand

revenue streams. They’re ramping up

to fresh produce and bespoke dry goods.

Brisbane venue Elska opened its doors just

four weeks before the government ordered

venues to close. An intimate space that seats 12 diners at a time, Elska was designed to 30 | Hospitality

meal boxes and produce boxes. Combined, passing the benefits down the line. The

was two months ago, but it’s something. “If we don’t do the produce boxes, we

wouldn’t be able to support our suppliers

the restaurants.”

It’s all driven by the same principle —

service to the community. “Providing for

in hand,” says D’Sylva. “It’s good because

sometimes people don’t want to go to the supermarket; it’s a one-stop shop where


they can get meals and a whole produce box delivered to their door.”

It also means some of the money

is around 10% of

eggs, butter,

Single O’s current

avocado) represent

revenue

approx. 50%

from restaurants; a lot of suppliers are

made goods in their home deliveries. It’s a

D’Sylva. “It’s helping out our producers.

The hospitality industry has a vital role to

Booze, including PS40’s bottled

represent 24%

cocktails, represent 12%

When it comes to deciding what gets

error,” he says, adding there’s a bit of

takes a flexible approach. “It’s trial and guesswork around determining what people are after.

Keeping it niche is a bonus — it comes

Sydney café and roastery Single O also leant

back to relationships with suppliers.

as well as a stockpile of harder-to-find

hands on can’t be found in mainstream

on pre-existing relationships with suppliers

ingredients such as native herbs and spices. The reserve helps head chef Ben Hopkins

can be purchased at the business’ Surry Hills

flagship café, which is now home to a corner store concept. The venue is also stocking

staples including avocados, eggs and bread and flour as well as ready-made meals that can be stored for three months.

Check out more from Angus Lindsay Retail Manager, Single O

keep the industry ticking.

The In2food boxes provide an alternate

becoming a very concentrated food system.

put a twist on pickles and preserves. They

video

style of collaboration Hopkins believes will

stocked on Single O’s shelves, Hopkins

keep cafés and restaurants afloat.”

meals

including their ready meals and house-

play in helping to alleviate what is quickly

way for Australians to shop that also helps

Ready

On that note, Single O’s dry goods

supplier is helping the team out by

owed money from their accounts,” says Staples (bread,

trying to work together as a team in a sense.”

flows back to suppliers. “All of a sudden

there’s no money coming in for suppliers

The corner store

sounds a bit corny, but it’s about everyone

“The corner store is very much about

supporting our suppliers,” says Hopkins. “It

Much of what venues can get their

supermarkets. Think Pepe Saya butter,

beef patties with anise myrtle and river

mint, pepperberry steaks and bread from artisanal baker Berkelo. The store even

stocks freshly milled flour from the latter,

which has been especially popular thanks

to the boom in home baking. “You need to find your niche so you’re not competing against supermarkets, that’s a dead-end

road,” says Hopkins. “I’m still looking for avenues to diversify.”

“The hospitality industry has a vital role to play in helping to alleviate what is quickly becoming a very concentrated food system.” – Adam D'Sylva May 2020 | 31

FEATURE // The grocery pivot

SINGLE O’S CORNER STORE


FEATURE // The grocery pivot

The Elska team constructs their produce boxes with the same value-adding

attitude. It’s about more than getting fresh produce to their customers. “The produce boxes have beautiful seasonal fruit and vegetables that change week to week,”

says Dunnell. “Then the chefs prepare a couple of different things each week to

give people a few ideas of what they can do with the box.”

The week we spoke, that meant rye

pancake mix with maple butter and noodles

with a vegetarian ramen broth and chilli oil,

alongside suggestions on what vegetables to pair with the dish and instructions on how to prepare everything. Some weeks there

will be breadcrumbs, other weeks there will

be flours. “It’s just a couple of staples people can play with at home,” explains Dunnell. “In a time like this, it’s a beautiful way to connect with local produce and have fun

with it. [It’s a way] to get in touch with the food we consume.”

Dunnell hasn’t gone to extremes to

promote the produce boxes; posting an

update or two on social media each week and word of mouth has done most of the

Elska’s produce boxes

work. “It’s starting to pick up really well,”

at Coda and Tonka is long term,” he says.

we’re having through the boxes to be able

businesses because I’m sure people are

she says. “We’re fortunate with the support to keep afloat and have the chance to reopen Elska.”

Hanging on is the name of the game.

“This is a new avenue or outlet in our

going to want to now have Coda or Tonka at home or grab a box.”

For Single O, the forced experiment

While adding groceries and produce isn’t

has raised some interesting questions.

almost nothing can — it’s an important

coffee shops are more than just your

making up completely for lost revenue — part of the mix and it's enough for now.

D’Sylva is still working out the costs for

initiatives in place at Tonka and Coda, but

he says they’re paying the bills and keeping the lights on.

Staying on top of bills is the goal for

Elska. Even though Dunnell says the boxes

make a lot less than having people come in to dine, they’re still helping to support the new business.

Quoting Matt Preston’s recent

“What we are learning out of this is that morning fix,” says Mike Brabant, Single

O's general manager. “They are also your local community hub, and there’s an

opportunity to showcase (often better)

local and ethically sourced produce from

suppliers. Maybe we are the Harris Farms of the future? It’s a little too early to tell, but certainly we’ve enjoyed being able

to connect our produce to our customers during this period.”

Even if the grocery pivot doesn’t have

appearance on ABC’s Q&A, the Single O

legs post-pandemic, the attitude it has

are no substitute for normal trade.

business piece is how a crisis forces you to

team agree take-home meals and groceries

Despite bringing in limited revenue, it’s

all worth it. For some, including D’Sylva, the new streams will stick around post-

pandemic. “Everything we’re doing now 32 | Hospitality

arisen from could. “The other interesting adapt and change,” says Brabant. “When the crisis is over, how do you carry over

that energy and approach to everyday life?

That’s probably a question everyone will be asking themselves over the coming year.” ■

“We’re not just keeping our own staff in jobs, but also our suppliers.” – Freja Dunnell


Learn. Grow. Shine.

Upskill in your downtime

If you’ve found yourself with downtime during coronavirus, now is the perfect time to upskill. You could be an employee and have found yourself on the market or you could be looking to advance your career during this slow economic climate. Learning new skills will give you the edge when work returns to normal. As an employer, you’ll need to be ready to relaunch with freshly-skilled staff when the coronavirus crisis is over.

While the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program will keep staff employed during this period, online training will help them stay engaged while assisting a business to emerge in a stronger position when doors open. Allara Learning’s nationally recognised qualifications are an ideal solution for employers who wish to train staff from home or for those individuals wanting to upskill in their downtime. To stay sharp while staying in, visit

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Students may be eligible for a government subsidy or concession. For employers, your investment in skilling your staff through training may also bring with it a number of State and Australian Government financial incentives. Eligibility criteria applies. Allara Learning delivers nationally recognised qualifications to businesses and individuals across Australia, via our Registered Training Organisations: Tactical Training Group (National Provider No. 91054) and WG Learning (National Provider No. 91178).


VIDEO // Behind the scenes

The Wolfe’s

lobster roll An in-depth look at Hospitality’s masterclass series. VIDEOGRAPHERY Jax Oliver Studio

THE WOLFE’S CHEF/OWNER Josh Lopez shares the story behind the restaurant’s lobster roll. The East Brisbane venue is known for showcasing Queensland produce, and that hasn’t changed with dine-in options off the table. The luxe takeaway option begins with sous vide-painted crayfish from tropical North Queensland, balanced with Hervey Bay scallops. The delicate seafood is mixed with a lobster bisque mayo before it’s packed gently into a toasted brioche bun and topped with Avruga caviar substitute and red vein sorrel. The result is an explosion of flavours and textures. In Lopez’s words, “It adds a little bit of fun and … that’s what we need in these uncertain times.” ■

34 | Hospitality


Say a quick hello, share a smile and pick up a free meal. You’ve supported the Australian pork industry and now we’re teaming up with chefs and restaurants to support you. Keep an eye on our for all the details.


EQUIPMENT // Pasta maker

Pasta Maker

The relatively inexpensive piece of equipment could be an isolated chef’s best friend.

Electric pasta makers are great for beginners because they can

Most brands come with

mix the dough and extrude it into

multiple thickness settings

shapes once formed.

as well as additional

If you opt for a manual model, choose one with a metal plate to help feed the dough through.

accessories for cutting different shapes.

Models that can be disassembled completely will be easier to clean properly.

Manual models can often be converted into machine-operated versions with a motor attachment.

36 | Hospitality

Look for high-quality steel material — it will last longer than aluminium.


Consistently crispy across Delivery and Takeaway.

SureCrisp™ Fries 10mm Product Code: 1000007419 Pack Size: 6x2kg *Based on a delivery time of 30 minutes from preparation, under simulated conditions. Subject to compliance with McCain’s cooking instructions. Product quality may be affected by different delivery conditions such as packaging, delivery protocol, travel times and climate. † Compared to McCain 10mm Fast Fry.

We’re in this together In these challenging times, our goal is to serve as a resource of information and reassurance to restaurant owners and operators making swift changes to their business. After all, the best way to get through any challenge is to get through it together. Visit www.mccainfoodservice.com.au for easy tips and ideas on adjusting your business to Takeaway and Delivery.

mccainfoodservice www.mccainfoodservice.com.au


5 MINUTES WITH ... // Jessi Singh

Jessi Singh

The Melbourne-based chef/restaurateur on the importance of overseas workers, the flaws in our system and how business owners can give back.

WE HAVE SIX people on sponsored visas

I am fortunate enough to have everything.

Resident Takeover took place over Easter

Horn Please, Babu Ji, Dhaba at the Mill,

very lucky; I can get a handout from the

at least they had basic liveable income

between all of our venues (Melbourne’s

Daughter in Law, Mrs Singh and Sydney’s

Don’t Tell Aunty). About 80 per cent of the rest of the staff are international students and backpackers.

Most students are from India and Nepal

My income has stopped, yes, but I’m

government. But the students and the

backpackers and temporary visa holders are not covered and most businesses

can’t afford to employ them because their

at Mrs Singh and Daughter in Law], so coming in. They took whatever their

wage is plus all the sales [from the long weekend] were split between them. We’re also about to open a pop-up

income has totally stopped, too.

restaurant in St Kilda and, again, it will only

French. India is under lockdown, Italy is

profit for many years. In December,

still had about four people we needed to

— a lot of them can’t go home. If you look

out by bushfires. From March until July,

and a lot of backpackers are Italian and

on lockdown and France is on lockdown

at my cuisine — any ethnic cuisine — it’s impossible to find a local chef. You rely

heavily on international people. They’ve been such a backbone and leaving them [without help] during this time is very un-Australian. 38 | Hospitality

We’ve been working on a 2 per cent

January and February, business was wiped we will be hit by the virus. My partner and I decided we have nothing else to lose, so let’s at least keep these jobs alive.

We decided to do a pop-up [the Temporary

be students and sponsored employees. We

find a job. Then we reached out to a friend

whose restaurants are closed because he had a couple of student chefs, too. Between us

we can open another pop-up. We don’t know how long this is going to last for, it could

be three to five months; it’s just so they can keep cooking while this is going on. ■


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Profile for The Intermedia Group

Hospitality May 2020  

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