Ken Burgin

Restaurant Productivity

Productivity & Cost Control

Sharing ideas about how to make Webinars more interesting

It was great to share my thoughts with the Facilitation Queen Leanne Hughes, about how to make webinars more engaging and interesting. With looming restrictions on live gatherings, they have to be in the toolkit of every trainer and meeting facilitator. The SilverChef webinars I’ve started have had a great response, and this method of teaching and learning is becoming much more familiar and popular. Here’s Leanne sharing her experience, and drawing on the ideas

Read More »

Show the Sparkling Cleanliness of Your Business to Reassure Anxious Customers

News about the spread of Coronavirus is not good, and people are starting to panic – we need to stand as islands of calm and true hospitality, while taking important precautions. It’s also time to take urgent management action to protect your profitability. You can stand out from the crowd by being spotlessly CLEAN and HYGIENIC. Here are some quick ways to make this obvious to customers. There also need to be special precautions with

Read More »

Preparing your Cafe and Restaurant for the 2020 Recession

The last time we had an impact like this in Australia was back in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks in New York. Then there was the Global Financial Crisis in 2007 – 2009, which affected Australia to some extent, but a rapid economic response by the government stopped it from having the effect here that it had elsewhere. I wrote a fairly lengthy article back in 2001, with advice on how to manage the effects

Read More »

Taking the Stress & Shame Out of Self Promotion

Where did we learn that self promotion is a bad thing, and why do we accept that as the truth? Marie Forleo feels you should feel ashamed if you don’t promote your skills and achievements. This should resonate with people in hospitality – by definition most of us have to be ‘out there’ with the public and promoting the next event, tomorrow’s lunch or just an extra round of coffees. In many small operations, the

Read More »

Reducing the Drama When Staff Resign

Had someone quit unexpectedly? It’s costly, especially if they hold an important position. A colleague found out her operations manager was planning to leave, when the news slipped out accidently. She moved fast to cover the gap, and reflecting on it later, said: Part of the problem is that most staff don’t know how to resign or handle these situations professionally… Sound familiar? No-one wants good staff leaving, ever, but if it’s going to happen,

Read More »

Petty Theft – Where Do You Draw the Line With These ‘Grey Areas’?

Ever seen staff help themselves to food, drink or even cash, and they seem to think it’s OK? You call it shrinkage, waste, ‘unders’, discrepancies or theft. What do they call it? It’s the grey areas that cause problems: drinks or food for friends and family, sloppy work that results in waste, or taking home left-overs. Grey has to become black or white. Does the culture you’ve created reward honesty, or overlook those who break

Read More »

Ask Staff to Use this ‘Briefcase Technique’ if They Want a Raise

Here’s the thing: we don’t mind giving staff a pay rise if they plan to add more value. But most times, they don’t know how to negotiate for a raise in a convincing way. Ramit Sethi’s Briefcase Technique, outlined in the video below, is a great way to help them understand what you really want to hear. If they do plenty of preparation, you only have to say yes – the case they make is

Read More »

McDonalds is retraining our customers, and it’s a good thing…

Here’s the revamped McDonalds in Sydney’s inner suburb of Kingsford. 24 (twenty four) kiosks have replaced the queuing area, and the pickup counter is now just a small area on the side. The McCafe remains (on the right). You can order at the counter, but there are no visible registers or signage to indicate this. Cooking is now out of sight. Trays are gone, and if you choose to dine in instead of takeaway, you

Read More »

Can we talk about cash?

With many cafes and restaurants reporting up to 80% of sales being made on card, the traditional informal cash transactions and ‘owner’s cash bonus’ have become much more difficult to manage. They’re going away – forever. We’ve relied on cash shortcuts for… The great kitchen hand with a visa problem, who is happy to work long hours for $20 ph in the hand. The electrician who comes immediately because he’s paid cash. The cook with

Read More »

What’s your Business Plan B for when the Caronavirus hits Australia?

I’m still trying to process and understand the implications for restaurants, cafes and foodservice – the news keep unfolding every day. I’ll keep updating this over time – so much to consider… Last year we had more than 1.4 million tourists from Chinese, many of them travelling in groups – new bookings have now been stopped. How exposed is your business to overseas tourists? Even my Uber driver this morning said he often has Chinese

Read More »