SCK Blog

Employing Hospitality Staff

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Thursday, November 27, 2014

Staff can be your greatest asset or your biggest nightmare. As the owner of a small business, the strength of your staff depends on your ability to manage.

Hospitality Staff

As owner/manager you must develop skills in the following areas:


A well worded advertisement in the right paper attracts potential staff. It is a good idea to read the advertisements from other restaurants/cafes to get a good feel for what works. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different style ads to see what works best for your business. Although advertising for staff can be expensive, the better your advertisement, the more the professional the staff who will respond.

Try not to cut costs here, without going overboard. Remember to set times for prospects to ring say between 9.00 am - 10.00 am and 3.00 pm - 5.00 pm. By selecting times that suit your business or management style you give yourself the best opportunity to pre-qualify staff.

Job application

Have each applicant complete a job application form asking for information relevant to the job and containing references that you can check later. Leave some space for your own interview notes. This allows you to screen them later at a time convenient to you.


Having placed your advertisement and pre-qualified applicants over the phone or perhaps by having reviewed their resumes sent by fax or email, it is now time to interview. You should have worked on what questions you want to ask well in advance and also what type of response you are looking for. Try to ask questions that get more than Yes/No responses. Questions that challenge the applicant give you a much greater chance of understanding their real ability.

Prior to the interview you must also have calculated what wages and conditions are appropriate to the job. Most times there will be an award structure that is applicable, however in some jobs, such as Executive Chef, wages are often negotiable.

Employing staff

Having decided on the right applicant to compliment your establishment you now need to ring them to offer them the job. Reiterate the wages and conditions of their employment and confirm a starting date. On their first day of employment they should be given relevant forms to complete, some for your office records and others pertaining to the current tax laws.


Never assume that new staff know exactly what to do. It is always a great investment in your business to walk the staff through the systems and procedures, introduce them to other staff members and to give them relevant training. It is always preferable to be over trained than under trained.

My experience is that in most establishments, systems differ depending on the management style and sometimes locational factors.


Grooming and personal hygiene are both important issues for food service staff. Have rules and guidelines in place and make sure your staff respect these. Nothing turns customers away quicker than poor personal habits, hygiene and grooming.

Previous blog posts in this series are:

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Conti Espresso Machines

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Introducing the Conti range of espresso machines.

Stylish and sleek in tall cup versions, lever wands, temperature stability, multi boilers. From the novice to the professional barista, with Conti espresso machines there is a machine for you.

Conti Espresso Machines

Conti Essika

The best cup for the best price available in 3 models : ESPRESSO , TALL CUP and COMPACT.

Electronic volume control

User friendly : large removable drip tray (ESPRESSO and TALL CUP versions) The motherboard is placed in cold area with a large protection. Reinforced frame.

128 mm under the coffee spout (TALL CUP version) Maintenance conception will make service so easy. Thermosyphon system garantees the best cups for all specialities with the best thermic stability all day long. The COMPACT has a 5 liter boiler with a 2500 W heating element and the ESPRESSO and TALL CUP have a 11 liter boiler with a 3600 W heating element: this will allow the best results.

Innovative design with stainless steel and aluminium body and blue or black corners will smarten up your bar.

Conti CC100

CONTI is launching the CC100 range, conceived to meet the requests of a large number of customers and to assure them reliability and optimal coffee extraction. The association performance / economy as leitmotiv is granting an excellent short-term profitability. Easy maintenance associated with the latest technology, the solidity of the casing and frame manufactured in metal, ensure the competiveness of the CC100.

Available in 1, 2 & 3 group machines.

The performance and robustness at economical prices

Range of machines thermosiphonic system and automatic controls

  •  CC standard 100
  •  Available in 2 and 3 groups
  •  Built-in volumetric pump
  •  Copper boiler
  •  Radiator hydraulic system
  •  Electric heating only
  •  Management of boiler heating system with PID
  •  Volumetric dosing
  •  2 gauges: pressure boiler and pressure pump
  •  1 x hot water outlet and 2 x steam outputs
    (except one group: 1 x output hot water and steam output x 1)
  •  Automatic boiler filling
  •  Protection by immersion klixon safety

Two versions:
1. Espresso (80 mm)
2. Tall Cup (165 mm)

Technical features

  •   Excellent Quality at a low price
  •   Consumption 2-3 Kg coffee per day (restaurants, takeaway, sandwich shops)
  •   Pre-infusion available on Espresso and double espresso
  •   Solo kit for freestanding version (option) to plug into water tank
  •   Adaptable to pods system ESE (option) with modified filter holder and sprinkler
  •   Automatic coffee group cleaning
  •   Eco Mode.


Temperature of extraction settings.

The thermosyphon system associated with the adjustable flow control, on each group, ensures high temperature stability for coffee, whatever the production volumes. The boiler is controlled electronically with a PID system. Dry steam galore, and perfect control of coffee temperature extraction (+ / -1 ° C) are two parameters which characterize the functioning of X-one TCI.

TCI panel.

The illuminated press buttons are sized as desired to allow easy and intuitive selections, ensuring a comfortable use.

Chromed steam taps with dual function.

Lift the chromed lever and a steam jet installs quickly to full speed in the locked position. The closing position is done by simply lowering the lever. To activate the "flush" function, a simple press on the lever is enough. It's simple and effective with X-one TCi!

Mixed hot water, two pre-measured volumes.

Press one or the other of the two function keys and the amount of pre-programmed water (glass or jar) will be quickly delivered at good temperature and without splashes.

Lighting of the operating area.

Light beams, placed near the coffee groups, illuminate the operating area and bring a real ease of use.

Stainless steel wire drip tray and spacious basin.

Stainless steel wire drip tray not to stain the bottom of the cups and quickly evacuate the splashes in a wide and spacious basin easily removable.

Adjustable flow control.

The adjustable flow control device (1 per group) allows setting the temperature level of the first coffees.

Large cup warmer capacity.

The large cup warmer capacity (around 80 espresso cups) is edged on both sides for secure storage. It also provides the ventilation of the machine.


Directly in sight, the display provides all information allowing the general control of the machine: information on settings, management and maintenance.

Fantastic technical accessibility.

The technical area, consisting of electronics, electrical, hydraulic elements is fully protected. All the main parts are quickly accessible by simply removing the basin.

Monte Carlo

New multi boiler technology with innovative pre infusion system.

Parameters of each group can be set independently


  •  Keypad with large keys and surrounding lights
  •  1 x general touch screen display for the main features of the machine
  •  2 x hot water taps electrically activated allowing different temperature for tea.
  •  2 x steam taps activated by levers
  •  Cool touch steam wands with non stick coating
  •  Barista lights

2 sizes

Tall cup : 140 mm
Espresso : 80 mm

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Robot Cook The Perfect Kitchen Assistant

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Introducing Robot Cook from Robot Coupe.

Robot Coupe, inventor and leader in food preparation equipment, presents the Robot Cook®. It is the only cooking cutter blender which satisfies the demands and trends of the traditional catering sector.

Robot Cook


Easy to use with its variable speed function of 100 to 3,500 rpm.

Refined dishes prepared in no time with its turbo/pulse rotary speed reaching 4,500 rpm.

A mix of delicate products prepared without cutting due to the inverse rotation of the blade: the R-Mix® function

Keeps the food preparation hot thanks to the intermittent function.


Using the programming function, entrust your secret preparations to Robot Cook® and effortlessly reproduce your favourite recipes.


The powerful Robot Cook® relies on a very robust industrial induction motor.


In the hive of kitchen activity, the chefs will appreciate its silence.

Being a step ahead every day

A concentration of technology and innovation, the Robot Cook® is the solution for minimising the preparation time of your recipes. Emulsifying, grinding, mixing, chopping, blending and kneading are among the many functions Robot Cook® carries out to perfection.

Unique performance

 The large capacity bowl produces sufficient quantities for professional needs.
 Equipped with a high precision blade in the bottom of the bowl.
 Its modular heat capacity up to 140°C is accurate to the nearest degree.

Full of ingenuity

 T he Robot Cook® bowl is equipped with a removable scraper arm, thus avoiding any manual manipulation and ensuring homogeneous food texture.
 An anti-vapour lid wiper ensures perfect visibility during processing.
 An opening in the centre of the lid allows you to add extra ingredients into the bowl without having to stop the preparation of the recipe.

Robot Cook

A model of simplicity

The Robot Cook® is designed to facilitate all manipulation during operations.

 A novel system of blade retention allows you to safely empty the bowl of its contents.
 All parts in contact with food are easily removed and are dishwasher safe.
 The lid is watertight and is fitted with a safety device.

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Fun Friday 21 November

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Monday, November 24, 2014

Our fun Friday facebook post is

  Fun Friday Post 

Join the fun on our facebook page

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Skope in line for Award for Excellence

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Friday, November 21, 2014

Sydney Commercial Kitchens would like to wish Skope Industries every success in the upcoming New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards for 2014 where they have been announced as finalists. Whatever happens we believe our industry will be a better place with this research into CO² as an alternative refrigerant source. Well done Skope. You guys rock and so do Skope Refrigeration products!

SKOPE Industries Ltd has been named a finalist in the Project & Product: Resource Efficient Design category of the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards for 2014.

SKOPE have developed a new cooler that uses CO2 as the refrigerant, eliminating the need for the high global warming R134a refrigerant (HFC = Hydrofluorocarbon). It is this product that has been selected as a finalist in the awards.

Skope Industries

Through considerable investment in Research and Development, SKOPE has designed the B600F-3 CO2 refrigeration system to be very cost effective, whilst maintaining its high refrigeration capacity to ensure the rapid chilling of product. Most importantly, the B600F-3 uses less energy than its R134a predecessor (which was Very High Efficiency in its own right).

As there are tens of thousands of beverage coolers in Australasia that could utilise CO2 as a refrigerant, the potential for reduction in power consumption, combined with reduction in environmental impact, is large.

Dominic Blissett, SKOPE’s Refrigeration Design Engineers, says SKOPE was awarded a Research & Development Grant by the Callaghan Innovation, Science and Innovation Grants this year. "It is through considerable investment in Research & Development that we have been able to design this product," says Blissett.

SKOPE’s new environmental test chamber significantly increases testing capacity, ensuring faster project turnaround times and improved accuracy. Blissett explains that almost any environment can be simulated within the chamber, ensuring the cabinet’s performance in the harshest of climates.

"The new environmental test chamber was key to the success of this project, as we tested the refrigeration system in varied conditions, loads and ambient conditions using a Dynamic Heat Loading Simulator. We can replicate any condition then push it further if it’s not enough to meet the SKOPE standard," says Blissett.

SKOPE sets its standards high to ensure client expectations are exceeded. "We design products that are made to last, with a focus on durability and extended product life. SKOPE is recognised on the global stage for our work in energy efficiency and natural refrigerant systems."

Nineteen projects are finalists in the premier engineering awards, New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards 2014.

Winners in the People, Projects and Products, and Practice categories, along with the Supreme Award, will be announced on November 28th at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland.

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Hot 50 restaurants of 2014

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Australian newspaper has just released their list of Australia’s Hot 50 restaurants.

Hot 50 Australian Restaurants

By state, the results are:

NSW 17
VIC 14
SA 6
WA 3

The restaurant that received the top gong in Australia was Rockpool in NSW.

The full list, by state, is:

  • Name  City State Award
  • ALPHA Sydney NSW
  • BENTLEY Sydney NSW Hottest Wine Service
  • CAFE PACI Sydney NSW
  • CHO CHO SAN Sydney NSW
  • DA ORAZIO Sydney NSW
  • ESTER Sydney NSW
  • MR WONG Sydney NSW
  • OSTERIA DI RUSSO & RUSSO Sydney NSW Hottest Dish
  • QUAY Sydney NSW
  • ROCKPOOL Sydney NSW Hottest Restaurant, Hottest NSW
  • SEPIA Sydney NSW Hottest Chef
  • ATTICA Melbourne VIC
  • BAR DI STASIO Melbourne VIC
  • BRAE Birregurra VIC Hottest Regional, Hottest Vic
  • CHIN CHIN Melbourne VIC
  • LAKE HOUSE Daylesford VIC
  • LEE HO FOOK Melbourne VIC
  • LUXEMBOURG Melbourne VIC
  • PEI MODERN Melbourne VIC
  • ROSETTA Melbourne Vic
  • STOKEHOUSE CITY Melbourne VIC Hottest Classic
  • TONKA Melbourne VIC
  • TOWN MOUSE Melbourne VIC
  • BISTRO DOM Adelaide SA
  • DANIEL O'CONNELL North Adelaide SA Hottest Value
  • ORANA Adelaide SA
  • PEEL ST Adelaide SA Hottest SA
  • PRESS FOOD & WINE Adelaide SA
  • ESQUIRE Brisbane QLD
  • URBANE Brisbane QLD Hottest Service
  • WASABI Noosa QLD Hottest Qld
  • AUBERGINE Canberra ACT Hottest ACT
  • MONSTER Canberra ACT
  • PRINT HALL Perth WA Hottest WA
  • WILLS DOMAIN Yallingup WA
  • ETHOS EAT DRINK Hobart TAS Hottest Tas
  • JOSEF CHROMY Launceston TAS

Read the original article and the emerging trends at

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Hospitality Industry Success Index 2015

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Tuesday, November 18, 2014


More restaurants are incorporating health food into their menus as Australians become increasingly more concerned with the nutritional content of their food, according to the latest Hospitality Industry Success Index (HISI).

Hospitality Industry Success Index 2015

The latest HISI Report, which sources information from nearly 7,503 hospitality businesses and 202 detailed surveys, was released to the public today following a sneak preview at the Fine Foods Expo in Melbourne last week. It was commissioned by ASX-listed equipment finance company Silver Chef Limited.

The report revealed that 70% of hospitality business owners had added health foods to their menus during the past 12 months.

Silver Chef Founder and Executive Chairman Allan English said the hospitality industry was undergoing a "significant transformation".

"We are not only seeing more healthy menu options in restaurants and cafes, but we’re also seeing more businesses specialising in areas like raw foods, acai bowls and vegetarian and paleo-friendly meals. There definitely seems to be a consumer demand for healthier dishes and business owners are taking note."

"A business’s ability to adapt to changing market conditions would be a key driver of its future success in the hospitality industry."

"Understanding the shifts in consumer behavior and identifying and acting on key trends will allow them to turn initial challenges into rewards that drive growth," Allan English said.

"Our clients also find that funding their kitchen equipment through Silver Chef not only protects their cash flow, but provides them with the flexibility to update their equipment to diversify menus based on consumer trends. It enables them to cater to the market’s needs."

Silver Chef’s Rent-Try-Buy® Solution allows operators to trial the equipment in their business first and purchase or upgrade at any time, as well as return what they don’t need after 12 months.

This agreement also allows customers to top up their equipment for free if they didn’t get everything they needed the first time around.

Other highlights from HISI included:

 41% of Silver Chef customers come from a non-hospitality background, such as media, finance and the arts
 67% took less than six months from concept to completion
  Only 8% said they were under budget for their fit-out & setup costs
 70% have incorporated health related foods into their menu
 48% don’t currently allow for mobile bookings
 60% are looking to expand their business in the next 12 to 24 months

Download the report free Hospitality Industry Success Index 2015 and happy reading!

Why SilverChef?

90% Success Rate – Silver Chef customers fare much better than the industry average, with 9 out of 10 customers surviving at least 12 months of trading.

Hot 50 – With several Silver Chef customers featured on The Weekend Australian’s recent Hot 50 Restaurants in Australia List, it just goes to show that Silver Chef isn’t just for start–ups or small businesses.


More than 20,000 Australian hospitality businesses – Nearly a third of our customers operate in regional areas of Australia, from Airlie Beach to Albany, and Yarra Glen to Yass.

Rent-Try-Buy was specifically developed for the industry, by people in the industry. It’s unlike anything else on the market and caters to the unique challenges and nuances of the hospitality industry. Over 20,000 Australian hospitality businesses choose Silver Chef to help them succeed. Find out what you’re missing!

Over 55 accredited franchises – Silver Chef has accredited over 55 franchises such as Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, Domino’s Pizza, Donut King, Brumby’s Bakery and Michel’s Patisserie. Every store from one of our accredited franchises is eligible to generous amounts of pre–approved funding. Hugely successful franchises often prefer to fund their equipment through Silver Chef to protect their cash flow and to help get the best franchisees on board.

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Fun Friday 14 November

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Monday, November 17, 2014

Our fun Friday facebook post is

  Fun Friday Post 

Join the fun on our facebook page

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Commercial Kitchen App

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Friday, November 14, 2014

Formitize has released Commercial Kitchen App – its latest industry solution for commercial kitchens and businesses worldwide.

Commercial kitchens join the number of industries that have benefited from the capabilities of Formitize’s industry apps. The company is pleased to announce the addition of Commercial Kitchen App into this highly successful family of mobile app solutions for businesses.

Commercial Kitchen App

The Ideal Commercial Kitchen Management Solution

Managing a commercial kitchen is a tough job for restaurateurs. They have, for one, to devise a system where new orders are dispatched in a manner that makes service more efficient and faster. Next, they have to make sure that the kitchen itself is hygienic and compliant with the local government’s health standards. Failure to do so can result to revocation of the sanitary permit and the closure of the restaurant – two scenarios an entrepreneur does not want to face.

Of course, with the help of commercial kitchen apps, these businessmen should not have to worry about that.

What Commercial Kitchen App Can Bring to the Commercial Kitchen

"Every single commercial kitchen in the world should be using this App" Head Chef, Echo Group, Australia

These are the things that commercial kitchen software can do for businesses:

1. Seamless job dispatching

The paperless system that the app makes possible will make the division of labor a lot more efficient within the commercial kitchen. ‘Jobs’ are received from mobile devices that waiters use for take customers’ orders, and the kitchen manager assigns these job orders by mobile device to the chefs who will be responsible. In turn, the chefs also receive their queues of orders through their own mobile devices. There is no need for shouting and passing orders by mouth to the different cooks and chefs in the kitchen.

2. Convenient safety and hygiene inspection process

When the entrepreneur needs to conduct a periodic hygiene or safety check of the kitchen, all he or she has to do is to call up the mobile forms that represent the hygiene and safety checklists that were previously on paper. Using only his or her mobile device, the manager can go around and verify the kitchen’s compliance with the individual points in the checklist to ensure that the kitchen will not fail any sudden inspections by the government.

3. Efficient sales invoicing

The system in the app for commercial kitchen can be set up in a way that both the sales teams in the counters and the crew in the commercial kitchen receive notifications of new orders from the waiters doing tables. This way, sales invoices are updated in real time in response to additional orders. When the customer ultimately wants to check out, it will take less than ten minutes to generate the correct invoice.

4. Better service

Last, but not the least, restaurateurs can raise the bar on the quality of the service that they give their patrons. Waiters can now do tables using their mobile devices. Once the order has been forwarded to the Management Portal, they can then move on to other tables. With this enterprise mobility in place, proprietors can avoid the complaints of ‘slow service’ from customers and ensure customer satisfaction.

Formitize CEO Matt Burge says, "Commercial Kitchen App will open many doors to opportunities for the restaurant once it is implemented in the business. I highly recommend commercial kitchen owners and business managers to visit Commercial Kitchen to fully explore the features and capabilities of the program."

Discover how Commercial Kitchen App can improve workflows, especially in the food service industry. Take the tour today at!

Kristina Godinez, Formitize, 1300 552 008

Press Release originally published on SYDNEY, Australia November 12, 2014

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Marketing your Food Business

Posted by: Neil Willis |  Thursday, November 13, 2014

There are many ways to market your food business. These days, with so many choices of where to eat, how you market your business will definitely impact on the success of your business. Traditionally the following avenues are open to you for marketing:

 other social media instagram, twitter etc
 local paper for both advertising and submitting food articles
 business cards
 neon signs
 sidewalk blackboards
 your own website
 Yellow Pages
 letter box drop in your local area
 food guides, especially online ones
 food guides, especially online ones
 deals websites, like scoopon, groupon etc


Getting to the local market

In addition to using most of the above in our restaurant, we also printed leaflets of our weekly menu, and hand delivered them to local business houses. Doing this I became so well known that the local businesses would allow me to pin the menu list to their notice boards. At the time there were 51 other restaurants in the Crows Nest area, all vying for business lunches, so every little bit extra helped. The cost was minimal and the results were almost immediate.

One night at about 9.30 pm a customer approached us hoping we would still serve dinner. Many of the other restaurants closed their kitchens by that time for meals, serving only desserts and coffee after that. As we were the owners and the chefs, we had no problem with this request, and soon it was also part of our marketing strategy.

Crows Nest has a predominance of two types of businesses - restaurants and film production companies. Pretty soon we were regularly feeding between 20 and 40 people after 9.30 pm, all of them from the film industry. As they were also good tippers, our staff seemed to enjoy serving them as well.

No matter what you do, the more fun you have doing it will always produce better results.

Whatever strategies you use, you must monitor the results. If a particular strategy is not working then you need to stop doing it and find something else which will work better for your business.

Previous blog posts in this series are:

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