SCK Blog

Silverchef celebrates 30 years

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Silverchef are celebrating their 30th Birthday with a bang!

Silverchef celebrates 30 years

They have permanently reduced the upfront costs, making the most flexible funding solution in the hospitality industry more accessible to customers than ever before.

If you are funding equipment for a business that you have owned for over two years, you can now enjoy zero upfront costs.

For all other applicants, they have removed the application fee and more than halved the security bond from 13 weeks to just 6!

Find out more about Silverchef


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HISI2016 PROFIT

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Monday, January 18, 2016

TOPIC OVERVIEW

It is the driving force behind any business: profit. Hospitality is an industry buoyed by fast moving trends, creating an environment ripe for innovation, change, and potential profit growth. What you are doing today, can be completely different tomorrow.

Hospitality businesses can often operate on thin profit margins - but how can you increase yours? We look at the profit growing opportunities and challenges for your business.

KEY FINDINGS

The formula for better business has always been very simple: increased profit must come from increased work. Whilst many of you are still prescribing to that mentality, it would seem the adage of ‘work smarter, not harder’ is also coming into play with profit-boosting schemes like add-on purchases at ordering or POS, liquor licences and decreasing wastage.

THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU

Some things never change in small business, right? Nearly 1 in 3 restaurant owners (28%) have said that they will work longer hours themselves in a bid to keep wages at bay. Wages costs are the biggest expense for a hospitality business, so business owners try to cap these themselves by working longer hours. Not an ideal scenario, right?

FRANCHISES ARE KING OF THE ADD-ONS

Not surprisingly, franchise models ranked the highest at (63%) to promote add-on items – e.g. combo meal deals, upsizing, fancier meals (‘create your own’), or better quality ingredients. In the age of reality-TV food obsession, it would seem the average person is no longer content with, well, average!

TAKE-AWAY SAY NO TO ADD-ONS

Interestingly, only 35% of take-away outlets said they would use this tactic in the next 12 months to boost profit.

For an industry personified with ‘Would you like fries with that?’, it was a surprisingly low figure. Take-away outlets would do well to take some pointers from the franchise business model and incorporate some of their tactics to boost profit.

THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE ENDLESS…

Other tactics supplied to boost profit were as follows:

• Get an alcohol licence

• Actively seek more ways to save on costs

• Re-invent the business model

• Open more days/hours

• Improve quality

• Reduce wages

• Cut cost of sales.

CUTTING DOWN ON UNNECESSARY WASTAGE

Minimising wastage was the most popular method to increase the business’ profit – 69% of restaurants, 80% of franchises, 75% of cafés/coffee shops, 60% of take-away outlets.

TAKE-AWAY ARE QUICK TO ACT

Take-away has the highest proportion to increase prices to boost profit (41%). Take-away venues are also the most likely of all the segments (at 38%) to use cheaper products and ingredients. They were again the most likely out of all the sectors (1 in 4 - 24%) to reduce their portion sizes in efforts to offset purchase cost increases

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Using cheaper products and ingredients, reducing portion sizes and increasing prices have long been the take-away sector’s ‘go to’ methods, but in the current climate, does this mean they will lose relevance in the market? Are they actually giving customers what they want, and will this ultimately signal a downturn for this sector if things don’t change?

Take-aways need to be more flexible and adapt to the market. Do an audit of your menu and keep the items that are selling well and profitable and remove the non-performers. Look to diversify and add another element (revenue stream), like coffee or ice-cream. Silver Chef allows you to feel comfortable and concentrate on running your business while you trial the equipment to see if it’s right for you.

OPPORTUNITIES

It’s the secret code that every small business owner wants to crack: how can I increase my profit margin?

The answer comes down to one simple thing: being organised. Allowing yourself sufficient time within your business for both planning and review, will allow you to take on profit-increasing activities, research the latest in innovative strategies, and find out what profit stream is suffering the hardest.

Here are some other opportunities for how you can increase your profit margin, and start working towards your business goals.

BUILD YOUR TOP-LINE REVENUE

That’s right - sell, sell, sell! Did you know that a 2% increase in sales is equivalent to a 10% reduction in food costs? Be aggressive in your selling strategies. Aaron Allen + Associates encourage you to ask yourself:

“Can you refresh the sales skills of your front of house staff? Can you get your servers to sell more beverages?

Can you put together some creative specials or fixed price options that will get people in the door? Before you start cost cutting, make sure you’re doing everything you can to creatively and energetically sell your restaurant’s offerings.”

RE-ENGINEER

The landscape of take-away food, restaurants, and cafes in Australia has changed irreversibly over the past decade.

Competition has increased with high-end urban grocery stores now offering fresh, pre-packed meals; restaurants are learning to specialise, whilst centralised ordering systems like Menulog and Delivery Hero are killing local take-away outlets by opening up a world of endless options, delivered to your door. Now is the time to take your current profit-making strategies and adopt them to the modern industry attributes.

FOCUS ON YOUR GOOD STAFF

Between unpaid training hours from management, uniform costs, onboarding programs, human error and education; it is estimated the average Australian business spends up to $1,500 training a single member of staff.

So, before considering terminating a contract: what are your other options? Can you offer paid leave, holiday leave, or training programs? Hang on to your good staff - they underpin your business in both service and reputation.

MARKETING

As we will touch on more later, marketing your business is the most effective way to bring in more customers.

With major developments in the online sector, advertising your business is now much cheaper than the traditional print advertising of days gone by. You can isolate certain demographics - such as age, or what postcode they live in - so your local catchment can be targeted.

FOCUS ON THE MAJORS, NOT THE MINORS

Looking at every single opportunity to increase your profit can be completely overwhelming. Adopt the 80/20 rule: what are your priorities? What is achievable in the next 3 months? What would you like to achieve in the next year? What are your long-term opportunities? Take it one step at a time, and cross off all the ‘can-do’ activities to start seeing immediate results.

EQUIP YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS

Setting yourself the goal of increasing your food production, or reducing your wastage, cannot be achieved without first creating an environment that will make this possible. Can you reconfigure your seating plan? Is your kitchen using the best equipment possible?

PASS ON SOME OF YOUR PURCHASE COST INCREASES

It’s an unpopular option, but one that more people must consider.

Do your current prices reflect the stock costs, wages, rent? 27% of restaurants and 20% of cafes we surveyed admitted to not passing on growing business costs onto their consumers. Are you selling yourself short for premium ingredients being sold at an average price-point? Consider when you last set your prices, and work backwards to calculate how your expenses have increased since then.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Having the right equipment for your business is paramount to the success of both service and product. In a fastmoving industry that is known for its ever-evolving trends, the food and beverage market requires very specific equipment.

Silver Chef understands that start-up businesses require the right equipment, at the right time. That’s why our innovative system allows you to rent and try the kitchen equipment you need, before moving on to purchase if you decide it’s right for you. It also provides you with the ability to have your business up and running, creating an environment in which eventual ownership is made possible if that’s your ultimate goal.

HISI2016-PROFIT

CASE STUDY

Recently, Silver Chef had a young couple from Korea open a gourmet pizza store on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

They were travelling quite well until large franchise stores opened in the same complex - suddenly, they were selling $20 pizzas against their competitor’s $5 pizzas.

They came back to Silver Chef and noted that a noodle and bubble tea bar would be fantastic - and so, like that, their business was transformed!

They returned all the pizza equipment, replaced it with a wok table, bubble tea machines and rice cookers. This allowed them to adapt to their changing market conditions and keep the assets that were working like their exhaust canopy and cold room. The result was that their business bounced back, revenue and profit increased, and they welcomed lots of new customers into their business.

Hospitality businesses must be both flexible and resilient.

They must move freely with the trends moving through the industry, but also be prepared to let go of their concepts, and adapt to what the consumer is wanting. Part of this is making sure you have the right environment to do so.

If your current kitchen is squaring you in, then take the time to review - Silver Chef gives you the freedom to try something new, without the financial burden or having depreciating equipment on your books, using up your cash flow and impacting on your business’ ability to borrow from lenders in the future. Plus, Silver Chef payments are 100% tax deductible.

It’s a fast industry to survive in - and Silver Chef wants to make sure you can keep up.


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HISI2016 EXPENSES

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Monday, January 11, 2016

TOPIC OVERVIEW

Hospitality business owners can come up short by failing to address key financial issues.

The industry allows for a higher level of cost manipulation than other industries, so it’s important for business owners to react quickly to industry trends. Unlike fixed expenses, restaurant owners can control their outgoing costs by lowering expenses, changing food brands, cutting labour costs, reducing portions or raising menu prices.

So, in a realistic and achievable sense, how can you look to reduce your expenses?

HISI2016-EXPENSE

KEY FINDINGS

YOU’RE REFUSING TO SHARE THE BURDEN

Purchase costs are going up 50% for restaurants and 58% for cafes surveyed however more than 1 in 4 (27%) of restaurants don’t pass any of their purchase cost increases onto customers.

TAKE-AWAY BUSINESSES ARE QUICK THINKING, FAST ACTING

Take-away outlets are the most likely of all the segments (at 38%) to use cheaper products and ingredients. They were again most likely out of all the groups (1 in 4 – 24%) to reduce their serving sizes in efforts to offset purchase cost increases.

RENT IS ON THE RISE

More than half (51%) of take-away outlets’ rental/ lease costs increased as a proportion to revenue, compared to 39% of restaurants, 42% of coffee shops, and 63% of franchises.

BUT YOU STILL WON’T MOVE

While nearly half of all take-away outlets (49%) consider their rent too high, only 3% will be looking to move when their agreement is up for renewal.

Interestingly, nearly 70% plan to renew under similar terms. And they weren’t alone: 43% of restaurants, 54% of coffee shops and 37% of franchises also noted that they wouldn’t move regardless of increasing rent.

YOUR PROFIT IS REDUCING

The vast majority of people are not passing on all the cost increases onto customers, that is taking it as a loss, and therefore making less profit.

YOUR STAFF AND PRODUCT ARE EXPENSIVE

Wages and costs of goods sold (food and beverage) are the highest costs of a hospitality business.

OPPORTUNITIES

As an industry, food and beverage operators are under a lot of pressure to optimise production and keep their costs low. So how can you look to reduce your expenses?

Reduce energy use. Switch to compact fluorescent lighting to save electricity, and cut your heating bill with better insulation and windows.

Pay your bills...early! Don’t let the cash flow fool you: paying your bills early will crunch at the time, but give you freedom down the track.

Find other options. Think outside the square. Clever new start-ups are always finding new ways to innovate the hospitality industry, with companies like Silver Chef reinventing how food and beverage businesses operate. Measure staff productivity. With wages sitting as one of the highest expense for most Australian businesses, you want to be sure you’re getting bang for your buck. Tie in rewards for achieving their targets.

HISI2016-EXPENSE2

CHALLENGES

The expenses for the food and beverage industry are unique to hospitality only. The costs of a restaurant, cafe, or take-away outlet do not exist for any other industry, and provide a challenge only those with many years of experience can resolve.

It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small, a restaurant, cafe, or take-away venue, you will all deal with the same problems, with the biggest being:

• Food spoilage

• Wasted food from employees who eat on the job

• Changing dining trends that include seasonal adjustments

• Loyal customers trying new restaurants

• People who are looking for healthier food choices.

However, good financial management spots these trends and issues before they become insurmountable problems. The solution comes in preparation - always be well across your expense figures, and be prepared to take immediate action on problem areas.

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR EXPENSES

HISI2016-STEFAN

Stefan Blee is a chef, consultant and contractor currently working at London Fields, a new gastropub in West End, Brisbane. He specialises in restaurant set-up and operations, menu and recipe development, and cost control.

We spoke to Stefan about how to reduce expenses in your business. Here are his tips.

FIRSTLY, YOU NEED TO KNOW WHERE EVERY DOLLAR IS GOING.

Look at expense reports weekly and really analyse where the money is being spent and if those expenses are necessary. Shop around for more cost effective products and compare products and services to make sure you are getting the best deal. It can be as simple as changing chemical suppliers or linen services, using a different milk company, or buying cheaper toilet paper. Also look at things like water leaks and low wattage light bulbs to save on your utilities bills, changing your printer to a model with a longer ink life, or buying flowers from a cheaper florist. Every dollar counts.

THE KEY TO MINIMISING WASTAGE IS ORDERING CORRECTLY AND STOCK CONTROL.

Many chefs make the mistake of ordering too much and that can really hurt the food costs. Perishables that have a short life need to be ordered in smaller quantities and utilised in different ways if there has been an over order.

For example: a café orders 5 trays of avocados for the breakfast menu but after a slow few days there are still 2 trays remaining and they are starting to turn. The chef should be thinking about turning those avocados into a salsa or puree and put them on a special to move the stock instead of letting them turn.

STOCK CONTROL IS PARAMOUNT TO A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS.

All perishables need to be labelled and dated, and correctly rotated with new stock. Correct handling, regularly changing containers and vacuum packing are all going to increase the life of those products. Savvy chefs will use techniques to minimise wastage such as bottling, pickling and fermenting.

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO REDUCE THE COST OF GOODS SOLD.

Firstly you need to check that the menu item has been costed correctly and that there is sufficient margin for the sale price. Know the cost of your products and shop around for a better deal - most companies will do anything to secure your business so speak with the reps about the products you are using and give them comparisons of cheaper products through other suppliers. Having multiple suppliers can be beneficial as well – cooking oil, flour and sugar may be cheaper with one company, but vinegar, chocolate and disposables cheaper through another.

DON’T PERSIST WITH CHANGES IF THEY ARE NOT WORKING, AND GET REGULAR FEEDBACK FROM YOUR CUSTOMERS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT IS WORKING AND WHAT IS NOT.

If changes are too noticeable and the business appears different there is a risk of losing regular customers.

For example, if you have been putting linen on the tables for years and decide to remove them to save money, speak with your regulars and let them know why you have removed them. Many small businesses will cut back on wages by rostering less staff, but not plan accordingly and spread the extra workload sufficiently. Make sure you have a clear plan on how the changes will affect the service and product and what will be done to minimise the risks.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MARKETING IN HOSPITALITY

It never ceases to surprise that for such a fast-paced, cutthroat industry, hospitality has always had such a love/hate relationship with marketing. “We’ve got a great reputation”, say some. “Our regulars will never go anywhere else”, say others.

In a bygone era of booming suburbia, cooking at home, and the attitude eating out or buying take-away as a ‘treat’; these arguments might have been relevant. But today, more and more Australians are opting to eat out for most meals, and are therefore less about loyalty, and more about quality and price.

GO ONLINE

Modern marketing comes in a smaller - and arguably more invasive - space than traditional media: online. Investing your marketing budget into online advertising on platforms such as Facebook will see great return. It’s becoming increasingly easier for you to track your efforts and spend in this space with functionalities like free Facebook reporting tools in the back-end. On a commercial front, are you registered with one of the many online ordering apps, like Menulog?

SAVE YOUR PENNIES

The best part about this type of marketing is that it is cheap, and accurate. You are able to target specific audiences, and establish a connection with them for future contact with promotions, new menus, or discounts.

FIND THE RIGHT ANGLE

What should you be talking about online? Here are our recommended starting points.

• Kids and teens: make sure you are directly addressing your major audience, particularly in the take-away industry. Kids can be very persuasive.

• Photography: the proven method to get mouths watering.

• Value and affordability: ‘guilt free’ eating.

• Social Responsibility: green packaging, vegan/vegetarian options, and food recycling.

Don’t be left behind with outdated marketing in the wrong places. Make sure your business is getting the visibility it deserves.

SILVER CHEF TIP:

If you are a small business who is unable to hire a full-time staff member to manage your marketing, why not hire a marketing consultant? They will be able to come in and establish your marketing strategy, whilst giving you a few tips on how to get started.

 HISI2016-EXPENSE3

HOSPITALITY BUSINESS BENCHMARKS: HOW DO YOU FARE?

Just like regularly reviewing your menu offering, reviewing these numbers regularly could have a big impact on your profit.

COMPARE YOUR BUSINESS PERFORMANCE TO A BENCHMARK

A great way to scale how your business is faring on the competitive landscape, make an effort to compare your business performance using the benchmarks across the industry on a regular basis.

They will allow you to confirm that you are performing within the benchmark range, as well as clarify what it may mean if your business is outside a benchmark range.

When reviewing your results, try to identify the reason for the differences between yourself and the benchmark.

If your business is new, you can use the benchmarks to get a better idea of what sales you should be able to expect and how much your main expenses are likely to be. This will help you in developing a financial forecast for your business.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU

If your Cost of Goods is higher than the benchmark, it may be because you could be buying some goods cheaper, or it may be there is a high level of wastage.

If your Labour/Sales ratio is higher than the benchmark, you may need to review staffing levels, or rosters for quieter periods.

If your Labour/Sales ratio is below the benchmark, you may be losing customers because your service is slower than your competitors.

If your Rent/Sales ratio is higher than the benchmark, might you be able to negotiate a discount on the rent with your landlord, or could it be worthwhile moving to a different location at the end of your lease?


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Happy New Year 2016

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Friday, January 01, 2016

A happy & prosperous New Year to all our customers and suppliers.

Happy New Year


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Celebrate 2016

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Thursday, December 31, 2015

SCK hopes you all enjoy your celebrations tonight.

Stay safe and see you next year!

Celebrations


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Christmas 2015

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to all our fabulous customers and suppliers.

Merry Christmas to all


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Santa Claus is coming to town 2015

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Thursday, December 24, 2015

Santa is coming to town


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Holidays 2016

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas to all our great customers

We take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful customers and suppliers and wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

SCK is on their annual holidays. Our offices will be closed from Tuesday 22 December and will reopen on Monday 11 January 2016.

We do continue to process any online orders during this break, however please note that some of our suppliers are also closed during this period, which may delay your delivery.


 

See you in 2016.

 


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HISI2016 COMPETITION

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Monday, December 21, 2015

TOPIC OVERVIEW

Competition is integral to the business of food and beverages.

Hospitality has, and always will be, a fast-moving race of winning over your customers, constantly seeking innovation, and maintaining your reputation as one of the best - if not the best - in your field.

But, as with any industry, there are benefits to knowing who your competition are. Who shares your market? How do your costs compare? Is your business in a highly condensed area?

With the demand for take-away food and restaurant dining on the climb, the Australian food and drink landscape is looking to become more competitive than ever - are you prepared?

HISI2016-COMPETITION

FACTS AND FIGURES

A large proportion of those in the hospitality industry are old hands at the game (trading for longer than four years). Yet despite the somewhat congested market, our findings show that new players on the scene (1 in 4 cafes and 1 in 5 restaurants) are confident of their future success, entering with eyes wide open.

YOU’RE ALERT, BUT NOT ALARMED

The general attitude is one of awareness, but not concern - 69% of cafés/coffee shops, and 65% of take-away outlets are not concerned with nearby competitors. Cool, calm, and collected - that’s what we like to see.

ALMOST HALF ARE FEELING THE SQUEEZE

Large clusters of restaurants are a great convenience to the consumer, but a concern to restaurant owners trying to mark their territory. 41% of restaurants surveyed felt the pinch, saying they felt there are too many competitors within close proximity.

TIME TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

Although competition in the industry is fierce, 1 in 5 operators (20%) say it doesn’t matter because they have a niche product. The lesson here? Make sure your product is unique and high quality, and always be informed of what your competition are doing.

RESTAURANTS FEEL SAFE

Restaurants have traditionally owned the food market, but with the rise of high-quality, healthy take-away food available, we asked: are they scared of losing their relevance? Not so. 67% of restaurant owners say they aren’t concerned about the competition from nearby cafes, pubs and other venues selling meals

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OPPORTUNITIES

NEW TECHNOLOGY

Gain an edge over your competition by creating a fuss-free and modern environment for your customer with the latest in consumer technology.

These include:

• Online booking systems

• Contactless EFTPOS systems, such as Paypass or Paywave

• Electronic ordering, like iPads, or touch screens

• Automated marketing via email to your loyalty database

DIRECT ENGAGEMENT

Now, more than ever, new pathways have been opened up between yourself and your consumer. Use these to get up to- date responses, and create direct conversations. You can use the variety of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; or EDM (electronically distributed mail) to communicate new offers, news, surveys, answer product queries, or other important information.

A NEW AUDIENCE

Did you know 85% of Australians use a Smartphone?

And 92% of all households have Internet access.3 The demographic is shifting to an online forum - make sure you’re catering for their needs.

Food preferences are changing quickly, too. The sprawling Baby Boomer population is getting older, and investing in healthy food options. In turn, the growing Gen Y demographic provide more diverse food requirements than previous generations, with a rising demand for vegan, vegetarian, halal, kosher, and allergy-specific options.

Your new audience is better educated than ever before on health and smart food options. Fast food will always have its place in Australian food culture, but ensuring you provide a diverse and interesting menu will ensure you remain relevant and popular.

HAVING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT

With a slick and modern kitchen, you will be able to increase both the quantity and quality of food being produced. Don’t be left behind as your competition moves ahead - make sure your kitchen is performing at the best rate it can.

 HISI2016-COMPETITION-COFFEE

FINDING GREAT STAFF

Having a great kitchen is nothing without a solid team working in it. But finding reliable, long term staff in the hospitality industry can be difficult. To build a great team, make sure you:

• Take your time to select the right staff: look for enthusiastic, committed, and passionate people who are honest and experienced in their field.

• Correctly handle onboarding staff, training, complaints, holidays, and outgoing staff.

• Take your time: food is only part of the picture when it comes to a successful restaurant, cafe, or take-away shop – great service is crucial too. So take your time in the interview process to make sure you’re choosing someone who fits your work culture.

• Find out their skills: people often have more to offer than meets the eye. Maybe your new waiter also happens to be a talent in online coding to help you with your website. Ask the right questions, and you can build a multi-disciplinary team.

CHALLENGES

URBAN VS COUNTRY: WHO’S DOING BETTER?

It comes as no surprise that the sentiment of optimism and excitement in new hospitality business is clustered in our nation’s urban centres.

In the city, a huge 92% of publicans are feeling very confident for their futures, with A-grade investments in equipment, menus, marketing, and decor raising both volume and spending from their consumers. In comparison, with only 69% of regional pubs feeling confident about the future, is Australia’s famous pub culture being replaced with its modern successor, the urban gastro-pub?

Hospitality in rural Australia is suffering, with their dwindling consumers opting for multinational fast-food take away like McDonald’s, and ageing owners resistant to investing in the updates they need to ensure their future.

FOCUSING ON ONLINE OPPORTUNITIES AS MUCH AS YOU DO OFFLINE OPPORTUNITIES

As the old saying goes - a business owner must always make time to work ON their business, not IN their business. Branching out into new technology or online platforms is a pie-in-the-sky dream unless you dedicate time to the cause.

Get your online profile started by:

1. Making sure your website is up-to-date so customers can find you easily online

2. Setting up social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram

3. Making sure your business is on business directory listings like Zomato

If you don’t have these skills personally, seek out help from online consultants, or engage your staff - who knows what skills they can offer!

INCREASING YOUR VALUE PERCEPTION

As with any retail business, you must spend money, to make money.

In order to raise your prices for consumers (and therefore increasing your revenue) you must first work to significantly increase your value perception. Consumers in the current industry climate are prepared to spend big on take-away or eat-in food - but first you must convince them of its worth.

Here are our top tips to increasing your value perception.

 HISI2016-COMPETITION-COMBIOVEN

PROMOTE POSITIVE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

Positive testaments of your product will be the best sale point possible. Advertise positive customer feedback at every touchpoint possible - on your website, on your menu, even on your shopfront.

GIVE A STRONG GUARANTEE

Preaching value is only powerful when backed with confidence. Make sure you make firm and assertive statements regarding the quality of your food and service - it will create an environment of trust for your consumer.

CREATE A NARRATIVE

Satisfy growing consumer curiosity about their meal by creating a narrative around the produce or product - is your salad using ‘farm fresh’ ingredients? Why did you choose that brand of coffee? Tell a story, and connect the consumer to their meal.

Start with this: what is it that makes your restaurant or cafe different to everyone else? Is there a story behind your name? Is your family from the Mediterranean and you have incorporated traditional elements into your venue as a homage to your heritage? It will make a huge difference in a congested and highly competitive market.

REVIEW YOUR LANGUAGE

Food advertising has long been considered an art: using just a few choice words, you can convince your viewer to choose you over the competition. Creative copy is everywhere, so pay attention to the language you are using, on everything from your menu descriptions to your window advertising.

USE PHOTOGRAPHY

They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach - well, the way to someone’s stomach is through their eyes! Invest in high-quality photography of your dishes, interior, kitchen, and ingredients. A picture does indeed, after all, tell a thousand words.

EDUCATE YOUR STAFF

A simple fact dropped by your staff to a customer at the point of sale, or whilst ordering, can shift food choices or brand awareness significantly. For example, requesting that your staff strive to make your consumers aware that you’ve actually switched to a premium ingredient, is a great way to upsell a product and increase your value perception.

 HISI2016-TASSIE-STORY

There’s something special about country cafes. With the unique personality and home-made freshness that only a small business can provide, The Red Velvet Lounge welcomes you from first sight.

Nestled into the lush countryside of Cygnet, around 55 km from Hobart, The Red Velvet Lounge sits snugly between the picturesque mountain ranges and quiet streets of the small town. Famous for its cakes, biscuits, and sourdough bread, The Red Velvet Lounge is famous among locals and visitors alike - which, considering its recent turn of events is nothing short of remarkable.

In November of 2014, the historic 100-year old building tragically caught fire, and was burnt to the ground. Believed to have started in the kitchen and spreading quickly to their famous dining area, both investigators and insurance companies couldn’t offer much further explanation for the fire than this: it was just damn unlucky.

Owner Steve Cumper was devastated. The kitchen – the heart of his iconic restaurant and cafe - was destroyed.

His dining area was unusable. He was losing money by the day as his bills ticked over. But worst of all, his insurance policy didn’t even come close to covering the hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage the fire had caused. to pull up“. At this point, I thought the fire was a sign stumps,” says Steve, a hospitality veteran of over 30 years.

“But we had such an overwhelming response from the broader community who organised a fundraiser.

“Attending were a whole lot of industry people and organisations who banded together to raise $35,000. And that really steeled our resolve to get up and keep trying.”

Among the people to hoist Steve and his staff back into business were Silver Chef. Already a loyal customer of the Silver Chef brand, the equipment lost in the fire had only just been paid off for full ownership by Steve a short time earlier.

“I contacted Silver Chef,” remembers Steve, “with a ‘Wish List’ and a ‘Reality List’. Luckily, they were able to help me with both.”

Indeed, the existing relationship between Silver Chef and Steve meant that replacing his kitchen was as easy as a phone call.

With an incredible $75,000 loan from the government, Steve had only a small gap to cover when it came to setting up a new and renovated kitchen.

To preserve his cash flow, Mr Cumper decided to rentto- buy nearly $90,000 worth of kitchen equipment and stainless steel benches through Silver Chef, rather than buying it outright.

“I was working to an incredibly tight budget and didn’t want to tie up what cash I did have in expensive kitchen equipment,” says Mr Cumper, whose wages bill alone is about $300,000 a year.

“The ability to get the equipment you want immediately without having to outlay a shed-load of cash is very attractive; renting-to-buy the equipment was a no-brainer.”

Silver Chef’s willingness to fund new and used equipment also helped The Red Velvet Lounge keep its costs down. On Saturday evenings, The Red Velvet Lounge transformed from a cafe into a fully-fledged restaurant, and the kitchen reflected this versatility. Almost everything prior to the fire was from brand ‘Simply Stainless’ - four work benches, dishwasher, sink benches and gantry.

Following the fire, The Red Velvet Lounge saw a whole new kitchen installed. The combination of new and second hand equipment now included exciting new options like a Robot Coupe ice cream machine and Henkleman vac packer. In addition to restocking the essentials, Steve also chose to add in a new Expobar coffee machine and versatile Mecnosud spiral mixer. His new kitchen was complete.

Steve Cumper is no stranger to the perils of the hospitality industry. Starting out at the tender age of 16, Steve overcame many hurdles to win the successful name he currently has in the Australian food and beverage industry.

He was the winner of Country Style magazine’s first ever National Country Chef of the Year award, and the iconic Red Velvet Lounge was even included in a 2014 issue of the Wall Street Journal.

When asked what ‘Plan B’ was if the cafe could not be rebuilt, Steve laughs.

He cheekily adds, “The only real back up plan was for me to go back to male modelling.”

And it was this determination and passion for his work that has seen Steve rise from strength to strength since the reopening of The Red Velvet Lounge earlier this year.

One cannot help but marvel at the highly responsive and innovative era businesses are lucky enough to operate in these days. It was not long ago that losing your business meant, well, losing your business. To watch your building burn to the ground spelt the end of the road for many, as raising the cash to rebuild would have taken years.

In 2015, however, response time is the basis on which so many companies are growing their offering.

Steve Cumper agrees. “The nature of lending money has changed over the years. Quite frankly, people could not have found the spaces in between established commercial markets to find, purchase and create a new market.”

As Steve has shown, by having the right equipment, at the right time, everyone is a contender - regardless of difficult circumstances.

So, we asked - how would you describe the new and improved Red Velvet Lounge? Steve says the refurbishment has allowed him to replace an “idiosyncratic space that had patinas of interest layered over the years” with a more appealing one.

“It’s a beautiful space—it’s lofty, airy, light, warm and the same bonhomie we were noted for is still in the bricks— that’s going nowhere.”

Also unchanged will be the “frocked-up yet unpretentious” country food for which The Red Velvet Lounge is famous, including its Nanna-style cakes—“think upside down quince cake with custard”.


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Hobart-Food-Equipment

Posted by: Sydney Commercial Kitchens |  Monday, December 14, 2015

For 100 years now, Hobart Corporation has been the world’s leading supplier of food equipment and service for the foodservice and food retail industries.

Hobart manufactures products for baking, cooking, food preparation, refrigeration, warewashing, and weighing and wrapping. Key products include mixers, slicers, scales, wrapping equipment, refrigeration, ovens and warewashing equipment.

The Hobart Corporation USA began with the idea to put an electric motor on a coffee grinder. Â On July 20 1897 Mr CC Hobart & Herbert L. Johnson formed the Hobart Electrical Manufacturing Company in Troy, Ohio USA.

Warewashing

At Hobart, all the equipment is designed to help you address critical industry issues. No wonder the food industry relies on Hobart more than any other warewasher.

Glasswashers

hobart-glasswasher

Hobart Glasswashers

Dishwashers

Hobart-pass-through-dishwashers

Hobart Dishwashers

Preparation

Hobart provides you with the tools to create your art. Hobart offers the right equipment to make food preparation easier.

Mixers

hobart-mixers

Hobart Mixers

Slicers

hobart-slicers

Hobart Slicers

Peeler-cutter–mixer

hobart-potato-peelers

Hobart Peeler

Cooking

Hobart offers a wide variety of cooking equipment to serve your every need. Hobart makes sure your kitchen flows smoothly and reliably throughout the day.

Commercial microwaves

panasonic-microwaves

Panasonic Microwaves


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