5 TAKEAWAYS | Making Plans to Grow in 2022 – Sponsored by Miele Professional

Jun 22, 2021

Finance, Risk and New Ways to Expand Sales…Ken Burgin sat down with some of the leading cafe and restaurant industry entrepreneurs about their plans for growth and more importantly how they will fund it. In an uncertain world, there are still exciting opportunities. Hear what was discussed and more in our Hospitality Unites 2021 panel discussion. If you missed the session or would like a recap, check out our 5 takeaways below!

1. First of all, why do we hospos keep wanting to expand all the time?!

Well according to our panel, it’s all opportunity, opportunity, opportunity! Of course, if you’re at a point where you’re business is doing well, you always want to expand.

“There’s so many opportunities we see and things we can keep doing to improve the customer experience, we can’t help ourselves, and keep creating new ways to help our business” said Libby Cupitt, Customer Experience at Cupitt’s Estate.

“We’re crazy!…We look at opportunities with an open mind – seeing new ideas and how they would implement them in our own markets” said Reif Hand, Director at Byron Bay Corner Store.

Frank Dilernia – Owner & Director at Tapavino Group, had another take, “sometimes you also get pushed by some of your staff, a lot of management and senior players want to be pushed into trying something new, into being part of a new venue”.

2. Risk. The economy growth came to a halt 18 months ago – what extra considerations are there now to weigh up risk, post-COVID?

It’s all about managing the fixed costs even better now (where possible), according to the group.

“What can the landlord offer now? How much contribution will they put in and what are the terms of the lease?” stated Dilernia “Leases need to be more flexible now”, he concluded.

“We try and do it (grow) with our own money as opposed to borrowing, where we can” – added Hand. “We looked at a band of our turnover and what we thought about it was going to be – we said, if we can keep the rent at under 10% of the turnover, then we can manage it”

It simply cannot be about gut feel anymore. According to the group, you need to look at the numbers, not solely your emotions.

“The last year has definitely made us step up our game and think about our risk management – developing strategies to get through all situations. Rely on financial planners – budgets, forecasting, trends and experts, not only the entrepreneurial spirit like we once did”, added Cupitt.

3. Diversification – how can we crank out more from the same amount?

It’s a great strategy to mitigate risk, but how do the panelists put it into action? Of course there’s online sales, doing more with what you already have, these are particularly critical during lockdowns. And from a business point of view, “e-commerce has been the way to go, to sell into the restaurant – that helps” said Dilernia.

The Byron Bay Corner store changed their product tactics with a grab and go diversification strategy – “What COVID forced us to do was stopped a lot of product categories, we have since brought these back, but changed them to be less labour intensive,” said Hand. You have to be “going back to basics, looking through the sales and the display fridge as if its sqm of real estate – what are the best sellers? We need to be stocking more of what is selling” he concluded.

“So learn to be a shopkeeper too, not just an operator!” a word of advice from Ken.

 4.Let’s Talk About Staff

A massive issue right now of course, but what can you do while you plan to grow? How do you find good people and keep them longer these days? What’s some new things the panel has been doing. Move fast and treat them right….

“It comes back to having a culture where people want to work there. It’s the age old idea of treat people how they want to be treated” – Hand

“The culture of the business is a huge focus in terms of retention, yes. We’ve also been making sure that if people come in with their resume, we talk to them then and there before they go on to the next business. Get them in as soon as possible because it’s an employee’s market out there.” – followed Libby.

5. And finally, whats their one piece of advice if you’re starting a rebuild?

“Look at your fixed costs – what can you renegotiate?” said Dilernia

Communicate more often and offer incentives for people to come back. “Be honest, tell your customers you want to see them again” – Cupitt.

“Everyone’s business is different, but really just get back to basics. Walk up and down your area and have a look at what people are doing, what areas of the market can you exploit? Combine that and what you do well together. Look for opportunities in the market” – Hand


  • Libby Cupitt, Customer Service Manager – Cupitt’s Estate
  • Frank Dilernia, Owner & Director – Tapavino Group
  • Reif Hand, Director – Byron Corner Store
  • Ken Burgin – Industry Insights Consultant (Host)

A big thank you to our speakers for being a part of the inaugural HU event. If you would like to hear more insights, you can view the recorded sessions OnDemand now – find more info here.

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