Ken Burgin

Restaurant Productivity

Staff Recruitment & Management

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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Restaurant Roster System

How to Choose a Restaurant Roster & Staff Scheduling Systems

These systems have become indispensable if you want to control wage costs and manage labour allocation. Rostering is one part of their function, and they should also allow interpretation of Awards and pay conditions, integration with payroll systems, and collection of employee data. Plus easy connection with a bookkeeping system like MYOB or Xero, and dashboards to track results. This list is regularly updated, and descriptions are taken from their websites. Terminology varies between different

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What Employees Should Never See or Hear

We want to be open with staff and involve them in decisions and success. And the team may feel like ‘family’, but there are some things the kids shouldn’t know about – personal and business! New managers can find it difficult to be discreet – do they need some guidance? Here’s my No-Go list – how does it compare with yours? Comments and examples very welcome… Pay Rates and Employee Perks. Most people know what

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The Restaurant Management Blogs I’m Finding Most Useful…

Have to admit I’m an information glutton, and part of my job as Community Manager at Silver Chef is to keep employees updated on what’s happening in the wider hospitality community. Generally I prefer to follow blogs and twitter, instead of receiving email newsletters – here are the ones I find most useful at the minute. And I’m very open to suggestions… Aaron Allen, Quantified Marketing Group – blogging on restaurant marketing internationally Jim Sullivan of

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Restaurant Robotics – Two More Examples

We’ve already looked at robots cooking stirfy, and robots delivering plates.  Here are two more examples, both in early development but showing plenty of promise. The Hiring Robot, with an improvement to the speech and intonation, would be good for a first interview. Asking questions verbally is likely to get more responses than a set of written questions. You’ve probably already related to ‘people’ like this when you make banking or airline inquiries. It’s also

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Dealing With Copycats…

Tell the truth – most restaurant and foodservice ideas are some version of what you’ve seen or eaten before. You could call it ‘creative swiping’ instead of copying or plagiarism, but it’s rare for any chef or restaurateur to create a full set of completely original ideas for a new menu or cocktail list. Remember that trip to Chicago, Bali or Barcelona – tasting, taking photos and dreaming up how you could do an Aussie

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