Father’s Day is one of those special days of the year when families come together. That makes it a busy day for Australia’s restaurants, and the chefs and restaurateurs that run them. If they are dads themselves they try to squeeze in time with their children when they can. And the advice their own fathers gave them is never far from their minds.
Tackling a restaurant refurbishment is a daunting task – as Mitchell Waugh knows all too well. After taking over Paddington institution Four in Hand in early 2016, the Public House Management Group founder and managing director recently embarked on a three-week renovation of the restaurant and hotel.
“A refurbishment of both the pub and dining room was on the cards from when we purchased the Four in Hand, we just wanted to spend a bit of time with the property before making any decisions on what direction we would take,” he says.
You pour your heart and soul into your business, work long hours and do your best to keep your customers happy. Then you go on to the internet and discover you have received a bad review. Your immediate reaction is anger, and your instinct is to go on the defensive. But it’s much better to look at it as an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.
Waste – including food waste – has become a hot topic of late. The recent ABC TV series War on Waste exposed the shocking amount of produce that is thrown out unnecessarily. Food waste costs the Australian economy around $20 billion per year, with four million tonne of food going to landfill. Half of that comes from households and half from businesses, mostly supermarkets. But, in good news for the industry, the majority of restaurants are doing the right thing.
Now, more than ever, people want to know where their food comes from. As interest in sustainability soars, the farm-to-table trend has grown so popular it’s become the norm. The farm is getting closer to the table, with more and more restaurants sourcing their fruit and vegetables from on-site gardens or nearby community farms. And customers love it. Recent research by OpenTable Australia found the use of seasonal produce appeals to 56 per cent of diners, while 40 per cent like restaurants that take active measures to use sustainably-sourced food, and 31 per cent are attracted to venues that grow their produce on site.