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Retired down and out

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Try and find a list of millionaire retired chefs!

If you look at the career path of your average chef it looks like this, they get an uncontrollable itch as youngsters to be in hospitality. Probably find a job as a kitchen hand somewhere and begin what will become the obsession, a career in cooking. After working there arse off in kitchens over weekends and holidays, they then get the opportunity of a lifetime, an apprenticeship. Well that’s how it was in the old days now it is some fast tracked half arsed course that gives you masters in boiling water.

The initial training part of your career will go relatively smoothly but you will long for that title of executive chef. The reality is the amount of true executive chefs in this country you could count on both hands, what we actually have is very well trained, creative, hands on head chefs that are made responsible for the whole kitchen and associated departments. This will not deter you though from seeking what seems to be the illusive title.

Eventually someone will offer you your big chance, a job as the executive chef, unfortunately it will come with a limited brigade and not quite the salary you were hoping for and the hours are about twice what you thought they would be but remember you do have the title!!

So you commence the job in the hope that one day the remuneration will meet the hours. You start having staffing issues, the boss is on your case about food cost and wage cost, and you decide he is an absolute prick and its best to leave. You have probably been there about 18months, taken a bit of cash in hand and have not noticed that your superannuation payments have not been paid but as you have been taking cash in hand your worried about the tax man getting you so you forget about it. You started at 18 or 19 you repeat this process over the next ten years and then realise you’re looking down the barrel of becoming a thirty year old serial repeater. Bloody hell I better get this sorted I have nothing to my name, I haven’t even had one divorce yet what am I doing with my life. Ok the plan, find a girlfriend and have a great time, marry her because she is so much fun, ensure she has a baby quickly so you can start to hate her because it is no longer fun, have an affair with a waitress and get divorced, at least your life is back on line and now you are heading towards forty. The small amount of money you did save is now split in two and you are paying child care. Realise that you are now heading towards fifty and have to make some changes, go into your first business, pocket all the cash and remove the stress form your life, hey at least now you have some money. Please do not pay tax or do any financial planning that is for rich pricks, things go along for a while until you get a tax bill you cannot jump over and the good times turn very bad very quickly. You shut the business down, you eventually find a woman who has finally found a solid man, by this time the sting has really gone out of you and you both restart your life at fifty and plan for your retirement.

However you can take another path, go to a sound financial planner in your twenties, shut your mouth and resist the temptation to tell them how good you are, I can assure that they have heard it all before. Allow them to give you some sound structure and financial advice. You stick to the cooking and let them look after your finances. If you do this you will most probably find that you get to your mid-fifties and have quite a comfortable retirement in site. Please please take this advice from one who knows, I have had the privilege of working with a fantastic group of guys over the past couple of years and have seen them turn the lives around of many of our industry brothers, take the time to look them up AS partners in Melbourne and ask for Leo.

Just do your job

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It is widely known that we have a skill shortage and to be brutally honest it is not going to get any better in the foreseeable future. We have cut the guts out of our apprenticeship system and all those that want to bad mouth Tafe teachers I happen to know a few good ones that still believe in the same principles that I do “teach the basics properly”

Yea there are a lot of lazy teachers, those that attend conferences and make it a holiday and call that there industry exposure but there are many that actually care about turning out competent trades people. I seriously do not want to see another import or international student that has a competency in all aspects of cooking but you would not trust them to boil water. A lot of private providers are only interested in the international student’s dollar and have no care for the industry or actual producing skilled cooks so what to do?

If you think you have an actual interest in becoming a chef then let me give you some good solid facts. It is not a job it is almost a calling, if you develop the love for food it will reward you in the long term and almost ruin you in the short term. Forget the rubbish you watch on the television, no one is going to allow you to walk into a kitchen and let you start playing with expensive proteins and if they do they deserve everything they get from your experimenting. They deserve it but the consumers paying top dollar don’t

Forget trying to convince people like me that you are practising “fusion” if you do not know the basics the best you will end up with is confusion. So here is the answer to getting ahead in the food industry, source out a long term cook and discuss their career and look at them and see if that is where you want to be in 20 years’ time, that is stage one.

Stage two is research a credible establishment, an establishment that has lasted more than two years and seek employment training with them. Offer some of your time, do not just expect them to drop to their feet and accept you as the next greatest foodie! The more you give the more you get. It is not all about the money, it is all about the trade, the better you learn your trade the better dollars you will earn in the long run. They will help you find the right training establishment

Stage three, once you have successfully passed the above two steps, pay back some time to your trainers and initial establishment, give notice that you intend to broaden your horizons and seek out the next style you want to learn, be open and honest no one minds that. Be mindful that the more you learn the more valuable you will be as a senior chef. Critical, absolutely critical point, learn food costing and business management for without this you will be lost. It will be easier to succeed in clapping with one hand than it will in this era with no business skills.

If you have any doubts about the above have a look at some of the most brilliant chefs that have followed the same basics and achieved greatness in their careers, Gary Farrell, Ed Leonard,  Reimund Pitz and Andy North, just to name a few. So in closing, learn your trade and what you learn to do just do it properly, forget trying to be the fine dining guru, they simply don’t last the consistent cooks cooking modern tasty food for the masses are the ones still here.

Any further advice needed don’t hesitate to write

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I do not need your opinion

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This article is in support of all professional chefs

Sometimes you simply cannot take any more. In speaking at a conference in LA late December I was having a quiet 1000 beers with some of the participants after the presentation and you know what, no matter where you are in the world there is a group of ill-informed marketing people that have very successfully done there 101 in marketing and think they know all about food and the hospitality industry.

After listening to the development chefs and watching them share stories about the issues they encounter I realised it was no different here at home, the only difference really was the amount of Chefs that hold serious development roles in the USA and not just stand dollies at trade shows. It’s a population thing I guess!

All chefs I spoke with looked to their peers for information to assist them with clients if they did not have the required knowledge themselves, I find this trait admirable as a lot of chefs will pretend to know everything rather than seek further education or ask for help. So now let’s get back to the point, I topped the story list with a marketing person I have had the misfortune of having to work with that has come from the fashion industry and truly, when it comes to hospitality has the cerebral power of a gnat. I had heard about the rudeness of this person and there team of squirrels but thought that I could handle any situation. One of my friends had told me that during the last photo shoot she did for her that they refused to get off phones and basically did a walk through and emailed comments later, rude or what!

I prepared all products discussed and sure enough in prances plastic city, arms waving, cell phone to the ear and starts grabbing individual components of a dish and snapping comments. Enough was enough, I politely (well as politely as I could) said I would wait until she got off the phone and explain the concepts, this was met with a wave of the hand and an abrupt “just continue”. I stopped working, sat down and called a mate on my phone, the message got through. She then rolled her eyes, muttered something and hung up the phone then proceeded to tell me that things were not quite right. This whole event had the ability to spiral out of control so I did the professional thing and put a halt to the process after telling her that she was a rude bitch. Really professional!!!

So here is my message to all new marketers into the food service industry, respect your chefs as they generally have a handle on what is required and are trained to follow the brief provided should they be fortunate enough to have one provided, keep your personal opinion to yourself as it is simply not relevant unless it is backed up with consumer research. Have enough brains to try the entire dish as it was designed and if you think there is something not correct ask the chef to explain it to you. Give feedback to the culinary team based on sales statistics, future trends and the company direction. Not you’re personal thoughts or those of your pet goldfish.

If you think this is a little harsh you should have seen the first draft, so seriously take the time to realise that you possibly do not know everything and if you have never been in hospitality or the food service business before, speak to some marketers that have cut their teeth in this industry and have sound track records and learn from them. My dear old mother used to say to me, son you have two ears and one mouth, prioritise.

Life in a kitchen

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Most people in the perceived normal environment work eight to ten hours per day follow a budget or guidelines set by the employer, stop regularly for breaks, and are in an ergonomically produced environment. They are encouraged to work efficiently and with as least amount of stress and undue pressure in the work place as possible. If the equipment you need to produce your days’ work is damaged or broken it is expected that it would be replaced ASAP so as to not to disrupt the workflow.

Have a look at our lot in life “the Chef”, if you did not laugh you would probably cry.

 Now the real world, we generally go to work in a hot room with no windows or natural light, preferably with very little ventilation and defiantly no air conditioning. The day our aggressive yearly budget is accepted, we then set about trying to lower our own food cost and wage % to make things just a little harder. We have no need to fix our equipment because if a coat hanger or spoon cannot fix it, then that particular piece of equipment is not worth having. And by the way if it has not been stolen you have to question why it is still in the kitchen.

 Things are still looking ok though, at least we have a kitchen to work in, so let’s now write a menu that requires a Brigade of 12 to execute and then expect your staff of four to complete it on a daily basis. When you are partially through your day in hell prepping the menu, please do not forget to write up some daily specials just in case the menu you have will not cater for the unknown hordes that may or may not turn up. Please be mindful not to over prepare, as we do not want any waste.

 At this point in time you may feel that all this is a bit dramatic, insinuating that our life is generally hell and all our equipment is dodgy if it has not already been stolen. Well think again, here are some real life stories that most of us should be able to relate to,

 

1                 Go to work on day one and have a lesson on lighting the deck oven. Step one reel, off approximately 100 meters of hand towel and roll into a ball. Turn the gas on light the paper ball, throw it in to the oven, quickly turn and run so as not to blow yourself up as well as the oven.

2                 Before leaving work of an evening lock your Tongs and glad wrap in the oven and chain it shut with your own padlock. Be at work early to beg the Pastry Chef for use of the Robot coup. This is the only Robot in the Hotel, and this nutter has had the blade super glued to the bowl, the Bowl glued to the Base and it is chained permanently to the bench with just enough chain on it to be washed in the sink. Nothing unusual about that?

3                 A job came up requiring some volunteer work as well as a paid job, the volunteer work was no problem, organize a master class and complete it. The paying part of the job proved to be a little more interesting, prepare and serve a formal dinner at, preferably six star standards for 120 guests. Be aware that you have only four staff in total to prepare the dinner. By the way the venue is in a remote location. When we inquired as to what equipment would be made available to us, the answer was exceptional, you have no kitchen.

 

If you have ever wondered if you are in the Hotel industry check out the following and then decide

 

1                 Going for cocktails and Dinner is not your idea of a nice evening

2                 When someone asks your exact job profile you lie

3                 You work in an area and with people that you would not allow your Children to visit

4                 You get really excited about a 2% pay increase

5                 It is dark on your drive to and from work

6                 You have worked in the same kitchen for 4 years under 9 different managers

7                 You see a good looking person and know it is a guest

8                 Food left over from a Banquet is your main staple

9                 All the work you were hired to do gets done before nine and after five

10              Your already late on the assignment you just received

11              Your GM, s favorite lines are, When you get a few minutes, in your spare time, I have an opportunity for you

12              Fifty % of the Company does not know what you do. The other fifty don’t care

13              Vacation is something you roll over to next year

14              Change is the norm

15              Nepotism is encouraged

16              You read this entire list and understand it

 At the end of the day we would rather be in a kitchen than anywhere else, it is fun to let off some steam but to those of us there is no better place to be. One day I intend to write a book on the adventures that we have had throughout our careers? I think I will wait until most of us have retired. 

Slave labor

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It is disturbing to say the least at the thought process of a lot of restaurant operators when it comes to reviewing the manning levels of kitchens. I have had many ferocious arguments with general managers and food and beverage managers of establishments that insist on using the apprentices to cover shifts because they are not willing to employ qualified trades people. The most common one would be the breakfast shift; I can still hear it ringing in my ears “you do not need another chef, just roster the apprentice on”

This is not an unusual situation and it is mind numbingly stupid of managers to purposely push head chefs into doing this. It is widely known that you receive most of your complaints in the hospitality from three areas, if you are in the hotel game it is the check in and check out process, and for the rest of us the most common place if you are serving this meal period is breakfast. Even if you consider the work commitment alone of having to arrive at 5am in the morning to get prepared for service, do you seriously want to risk having your young apprentice in control you kitchen. I have absolutely no issue with employing apprentices but in this day and age the breakfast shift is fraught with danger as it is due to the complexities of people and having this entire shift hinge on a junior who may or may not have had sufficient training to complete the shift or had a substantial outing the night before and is well versed in there supposed entitlements in regards to calling in sick or whatever else may potentially ail them at the time. Call me a cynic, I call it realistic.

Not only is it a poor practice to do this but I do not ever recall the menu being cheaper due to having an apprentice cooking it , I do not recall menus getting smaller or having the skill requirement watered down due to the apprentice cooking it. Breakfast menus theses day mimic lunch and dinner menus in respect to some complexity of dishes and it is an absolute disgrace to think that the general public does not deserve the talents of a chef when preparing their meals. The apprentice is not your personal slave nor should they be used or treated as cheap labor. They are there to lean the culinary arts and deserve to be treated as such and if you miserable prats want to employ them in any other manner, simply sack them and allow them to seek decent employment. Then get off your butt and do the shift yourself. Let’s see how long that lasts before another chef position magically appears. After having this very debate with an owner some months ago I threw out the challenge that if they could competently work the breakfast shift for three days I would become there equity business partner /manager. This was the safest bet I have ever entered into it simply took four consecutive orders to arrive one after the other and all went well until it came to actually having to cook something, I have never seen so many eggs thrown in the bin, good god that poached egg technique is a difficult one to master!!

 

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True Australian

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I am seriously fed up to the back teeth with Australians being brow beaten into denying their own hospitality history at the chance of being labled a racist, redneck or any number of other titles. I can hear the hordes now saying finally we see the true Glenn Austin, well here it comes. I have just finished in Sydney visiting the food show and attending a number of high level meetings with various groups on how we should showcase Australia cuisine internationally. You would no sooner get involved in discussion on an option when some part of the group would question if we were potentially going to alienate some minority group by taking that particular path. It got to the point that if we mentioned, All Australian, Naturally Australian or Historically Australian we were on the verge of upsetting someone new to the country. Well bugger me and correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty well convinced that our tourism numbers are based on a number of key issues, our wether, beaches and rainforests, being a safe country to visit and stay, the friendliness of our people and the fantastic produce and cuisines we have to work with as culinarians.

To get to this point we are also seen as one of the most accepting groups of people on the planet and being this accepting has seen Australian hospitality and cuisine reach and in a lot of cases exceed the rest of the globe. So how about we forget trying to convince the up and coming hospitality participants that things are done better elsewhere, and to be careful of not upsetting the minorities, and return to what you were born to be and that is a true Aussie.

For those of you that may not be aware of what this is I will quickly give you the 101 lesson. In my view A true Aussie is a cheerful person that has good all round family and community morals, if a male they give their seats up to ladies and the elderly, they open doors for women, carry bags and have a genuine healthy appreciation of humour and are prone to sip the odd beer or two. Sounds good so far well there is more.

If you find a great Aussie of either sex in the kitchen they will proudly work with great Australian produce like our beef lamb and seafood, they turn this already fantastic produce into something outstanding to consume whilst not messing around too much with the integrity of the product. They take butter, sugar and eggs to make mouth-watering desserts. And select the best brews from our fantastic outstanding beer and wine makers to serve with it. If this is just too much, then keep the wine and grad a piece of  cheese any amount of the true Australian tuckers crackers and gorge on that, to hopefully end the afternoon with either a football game, a hit of cricket or some southing Aussie rock music.

If you are sitting in anyone of our eating establishments you will hopefully have a well-informed wait person that can have a joke, understands the region they are in, can match food and wine as well as speak to any amount of topics on the area you may want to know about. They are not pretentious just courteous and hopefully have a healthy amount of larrikin in them, another great Aussie trait

We are one of the most sort after destinations on the planet, we are not Asian, Middle Eastern or European, we are Aussies so stand up for who you are, own it wear it and be proud of it. Produce food representative of our nation to the best of your ability and serve it to the wonderful people known as tourists who come to experience who and what we are.

I am Australian

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I am seriously fed up to the back teeth with Australians being brow beaten into denying their own hospitality history at the chance of being labled a racist, redneck or any number of other titles. I can hear the hordes now saying finally we see the true Glenn Austin, well here it comes. I have just finished in Sydney visiting the food show and attending a number of high level meetings with various groups on how we should showcase Australia cuisine internationally. You would no sooner get involved in discussion on an option when some part of the group would question if we were potentially going to alienate some minority group by taking that particular path. It got to the point that if we mentioned, All Australian, Naturally Australian or Historically Australian we were on the verge of upsetting someone new to the country. Well bugger me and correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty well convinced that our tourism numbers are based on a number of key issues, our wether, beaches and rainforests, being a safe country to visit and stay, the friendliness of our people and the fantastic produce and cuisines we have to work with as culinarians.

To get to this point we are also seen as one of the most accepting groups of people on the planet and being this accepting has seen Australian hospitality and cuisine reach and in a lot of cases exceed the rest of the globe. So how about we forget trying to convince the up and coming hospitality participants that things are done better elsewhere, and to be careful of not upsetting the minorities, and return to what you were born to be and that is a true Aussie.

For those of you that may not be aware of what this is I will quickly give you the 101 lesson. In my view A true Aussie is a cheerful person that has good all round family and community morals, if a male they give their seats up to ladies and the elderly, they open doors for women, carry bags and have a genuine healthy appreciation of humour and are prone to sip the odd beer or two. Sounds good so far well there is more.

If you find a great Aussie of either sex in the kitchen they will proudly work with great Australian produce like our beef lamb and seafood, they turn this already fantastic produce into something outstanding to consume whilst not messing around too much with the integrity of the product. They take butter, sugar and eggs to make mouth-watering desserts. And select the best brews from our fantastic outstanding beer and wine makers to serve with it. If this is just too much, then keep the wine and grad a piece of  cheese any amount of the true Australian tuckers crackers and gorge on that, to hopefully end the afternoon with either a football game, a hit of cricket or some southing Aussie rock music.

If you are sitting in anyone of our eating establishments you will hopefully have a well-informed wait person that can have a joke, understands the region they are in, can match food and wine as well as speak to any amount of topics on the area you may want to know about. They are not pretentious just courteous and hopefully have a healthy amount of larrikin in them, another great Aussie trait

We are one of the most sort after destinations on the planet, we are not Asian, Middle Eastern or European, we are Aussies so stand up for who you are, own it wear it and be proud of it. Produce food representative of our nation to the best of your ability and serve it to the wonderful people known as tourists who come to experience who and what we are.

Fact or fiction

Fact or fiction the great allergy debate

Now I know I have touched on this before but I really do need some clarity on the issue. I remember when I first stated in this wonderful industry the only abnormality we had to deal with was the odd hair growing, lentil licking tree hugger fondly known as a vegetarian. God bless their cotton socks as my good friend Theo Castricious used to say, everyone can be different, feed them lamb and you know for the most part the world was at peace. We honestly had no issue after the year 1990 coming up with more than steamed vegetables or at my place the famous tossed salad inclusive of bacon pieces.

The whole world has now gone completely mad, my partner in crime after  working the most prestigious Australian event has now informed me of at least 27 different dietary requests. After spending a fantastic Christmas in Adaminaby, sorry forgot to say happy new year to you all, I am left wondering why we had 74 all family and extended family members and not one dietary requirement. Now please do not pick the location as a bunch of hillbillies, far from it, doctors, solicitors, cattle farmers, sheep farmers, professional fisherman unfortunately some government workers and one decaffeinated, soy latte drinker who unfortunately was stuffed in a wombat hole never to be seen again but seriously why no allergies?

Could it be something in the bricks or bitumen in Sydney and Melbourne that creates theses allergies, perhaps the Volvo or Camry are the culprits, maybe licra and pushbikes, there seems to be thousands of theses around the place. If this is the case I prescribe the following, no more city holidays, go back to driving Kingswood’s and at all costs stay away from the bike pants.

As I now have my own little girl in the family Mitilda I will ensure she has the additional products in her diet, garden dirt inclusive of the odd worm, the occasional puppy lick and as much real life experiences Australia can offer as it did for the majority of us in my era where exposed to. Maybe she will be able to attend a restaurant and order directly from the generally well document collation of dishes the chef can prepare. I will keep you informed as to how this goes over the next few years.

Great to see inland country towns doing well, I spent a few days working in Tatura, Kyabram, Shepparton and Echuca and I can happily report a healthy restaurant industry. Nicks Greek Traverna in Echuca a dam great meal, the Victoria hotel in Shepparton was absolutely jam packed, the chef there Gracy is a rare breed as are the karaoke crew I experienced after woods. An old favourite of ours has also poked his head up in Echuca Tim Smith formally from Fabric in Melbourne is being touted as the best Chef in the region, no surprises there and lastly the outstanding true country experience the Paddle wheel motel, you really need to experience relaxed genuine hospitality of this hotel. In 42 degree heat I was giver an ice cold crowney to check in with and it just got better from there.

The corporate meeting mongrel

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I suppose one of the biggest differences between large corporations and small business is that in small business you really need to react quickly to a situation or a required action whereas in large corporations or big business you need to have another meeting or pretend you need another meeting!

One of the benefits of being a director of Australia’s leading and most successful consultancy, glenn@glennaustinconsultin.com  is having the ability to view several companies issues from the inside. Two of the greatest concerns big business has is their ability to react before the opportunity is either missed or has changed and wading through office politics. These two issues can bring a large business to a standstill. For those in the food industry whether it be retail or food service you know only too well how quickly an opportunity can slip through your fingers.

My opinion is the office or company politics is the greatest inhibitor to success, most people do not want to discuss in the right forum how many plans are shelved or opportunities are missed because

1                                     The people that are responsible for not moving on an opportunity are aligned with a senior boss and if they complain it will stunt their own personal growth,

2                                     They will not give up on their ideas because they do not like someone in the department that will become responsible for the project

3                                     Incompetent department heads will not put their hand up for help they would rather stifle the program

4                                     The success of the program will reflect on some other departments bottom line not there’s

5                                     They are basically lazy with a healthy dose of stupidity

The second greatest inhibitor to success is the person that cannot make any decision other than let’s have another meeting. You would truly be amazed at how one good idea can be lost in the meeting game. As an example let’s look at the meeting mongrel and see how a great opportunity can be lost. A good idea is raised and all but one agrees it has merit and should be followed through.

Due to the nature of the opportunity a time line for completion has been set for six weeks. The meeting mongrel who did not agree now kicks in because they are not actually keen on the idea as they do not like the person that came up with the concept for two reasons, first being it was not there idea, second reason is that there is a promotion in the wind and both are going for the same promotion. So to totally undermine the idea, the meeting mongrel puts up there hand to run the project and is responsible for presenting the final report to the big boss, because they cannot be viewed as a “non team player”. Now this is absolute gold watching this in action.

Step one is to divide the initial group so no one other than the meeting mongrel knows what is going on, step two is to create two focus groups but give them both a slightly different criteria to work too. Agree on a scheduled time to meet to discuss the findings then keep rescheduling the meeting until neither party can actually meet together. The meeting mongrel then creates a third and separate group to analyise the two other groups findings. The meeting mongrel has now tied themselves up with three different groups creating three sets of meetings. Due to the fact that the meeting mongrel actually put out two slightly different sets of criteria but only they know that, the group appointed by the meeting mongrel are putting together the final report, come to the conclusion that due to time restraints, and conflicting information the original opportunity was either not that good or the risk is too high so the project is shelved. They then have to take this information to the company director and whist having a captive audience get to explain that they have saved the company tens of thousands of dollars by thank fully stopping this project whilst adding some doubt and genuine concern over the employee who initially floated the concepts ability to actually understand what the company restraints are.

It is a very awkward position to be in when you have to explain to your client that they are really part of the problem and they actually need to get off there butts now and do something not create another, subcommittee, focus group or call on a perceived higher being to make a decision whilst they are just creating division. I would be quite willing to bet that most of you reading this article can pick a time when you have been involved in a similar situation. If this is the case and it is still happening please do something about it. Remember all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing!

I am not interested in your food

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It is an interesting concept listening to the latest and greatest chefs and their opinions on food and business; I recently spoke at a forum in the USA on making food outlets viable globally. My opinion has been the same for years and I cannot see it changing soon. There are any amount of businesses taking on consultants at the moment, the food business is growing faster almost at the same rate internet scams are so that will give you some type of gauge to measure it by. Chefs also have similar traits globally which is a little scary for the business community as they generally have a sound concept that they wish to try and then make the fatal mistake of employing someone to deliver the food side of their concept for them, the chef. Unless you speak fluent chef you have probably taken the first step to failure. If you have never been in the food business there is step two and if you go in under financed your now just about at the point of gasping for air and yep that’s it your dead!

So what is the answer here, well if we take a look at one style of business that is growing in popularity and discuss that, the Gourmet deli/Caterer. Great idea to set up a business that will cater for breakfast and lunches and we can also do some corporate and private catering sounds fair. We can make all our own food, fresh sandwiches and soups, cakes and pastries and cater for the events in the as required this is going to make a fortune. If I had a thousand dollars for every one of these businesses I have seen fail I would be a multimillionaire.

So where do they go wrong, what are the most common three mistakes, firstly they employ a chef who specializes in doing “there food” this is a common fault the last time I saw this was in Brisbane where the chef did “there food” the problem here was that the chef had been trained in second rate three and half to four star hotels in the nineties, Brisbane standard then classed them as 5 star and this style was then inflicted on the public that simply required well-made sandwiches. Fortunately this was an owner operated business and when the bills started rolling on it was decided that the fillet of beef was probably not the best option for a sandwich. To be honest it is not the best option for many things but if that’s where you’re training started and finished you know no better.

Employing contestants from reality TV comes in as the second worst thing you can do, it seems the business requires more than the one dish you make daily after 19 hours practice and you are honestly not there for public appearances you are there to cook. And in at number three for the last greatest failure is the lack of finance to keep your business afloat whilst you create a clientele.

So even after all this sarcasm, what is the recipe to success. Well it is really simple, get rid of all the consultants advising you unless they have a sound track record in making money. Forget about letting the chef do “there food” and get them to do the food you want for your clients. If it happens to be a sandwich, ensure the sandwich is well made and well costed. Well-made does not mean place as many ingredients as you can in the center, so when you bite it, it either falls on your lap or down your front. Plan the dish, construct the dish and make it work.

Forget the reality TV contestant; you cannot seriously believe that the 15 nights of fame is a sound reason to let them loose in your business. Find a well trained chef that has the ability to listen, cook and work towards the common goal PROFIT. And lastly ensure you have a sound budget in place that identifies the potentially slow periods and allows you to weather the storm. And if you decide to do outside catering the delivery van is not an overpriced treat for the kitchen, it is actually a legal requirement. Your personal vehicle of variable cleanliness’ just won’t stand up to health and safety requirements, and whilst we are on the subject, commercial kitchen does not mean tidy your benches at home and prepare food whist you drink and smoke with your friends.

In closing I summarize it down to this. Prepare food in a clean regulated legal environment, do not try and exceed the customers’ requirements, just meet them and ensure you can afford to start and run the business because if you cannot you are simply harming the business down the road that has done the hard yards for a lot of years. To long term operators this is not a game, it’s our life