Mr Yum’s Table Talk events bring the best of the hospitality industry together to discuss current issues and arm business owners with plans for the future. Keep on reading to discover the insights that could help your business grow.
Meet the panellists:
Damian McDowell - GM of Wynyard Pavilion, Damian knows how to create memorable customer experiences. He outlines the strategies and skills operators need to navigate day-to-day challenges.
Rosie Herdman - Founding New Zealand editor of Broadsheet, Rosie covers the best of food and drink around the country. She shares the power of storytelling and building a brand with buzz.
How to get media coverage
Rosie is well-versed in the ins and outs of obtaining press coverage. Here’s what she says the Broadsheet team look for when choosing a story
“What we're looking for in terms of content, it's always about the story behind something. So I guess it's important to remember that you might not be the first person to do something, but as long as there's a story behind it, you know it could be someone's recipes coming from the family or opening in a place where something like that hasn't been there before,” Rosie said.
“So, yeah, I would say it's definitely often about the new. Audiences, of course, love new things, new openings, but also it's important to celebrate places that have been around and doing great things for a long time and talking about them in a different way if we can.”
Navigating tough times through transparency
With tougher times on the cards, Damian spoke about how his team navigate staff shortages and supply cost creep.
“We've started sharing our numbers with our team, which has been a really, really big game-changer for us. So sort of like open book management and treating people like the adults that they are. I think in the past, I certainly was hiding numbers and whatever else. And so that step of speaking to people on a management level and empowering people to understand what the numbers are and the business side of things has been really important for us for retaining staff,” he said.
“That's been the biggest impact on our bottom line because it's not just me, maybe one other manager and one other manager that knows about the cost of goods and net profit.”
Pitching your story to media
Rosie receives emails from venues seeking coverage every day. Here’s her advice on standing out from the crowd when pitching.
“It's worth remembering that a lot of editor's inboxes are overflowing, so if you're not responded to straight away, it doesn't hurt to follow up,” she said.
“I would say the subject line is super important. Like being super clear with specifics like what exactly are the emails about? And then being as clear as possible so that we can get all of the information we need in order to determine whether it's going to be a good fit.”
“I think it's actually a real asset to do your own PR. We love hearing from and interacting directly with owner-operators. So yeah, that's a huge asset for me. If I'm talking directly to the owner, it's great. Especially if you've been in the industry for a long time and have a lot to offer,” Rosie said.
What to look for in tech
Damian and Wynyard Pavilion have seen great success implementing Mr Yum. He spoke about what venues should look for when bringing new tech on board.
“It's not about just adopting tech for tech's sake, which I think I've probably fallen into in the past. I think it has to be tech based on your principles and business model and what you want to give guests,” Damian said.
“I think if you ground your tech decisions based on need and your vision and what you want to give guests, then you can't go wrong.”
Playing into trends
Rosie has her finger on the pulse when it comes to new and emerging trends. Here are her thoughts on the next big things.
“There's just so much amazing stuff happening in the suburbs. Like a lot of the top new openings in the last few months and in the last year were in Auckland’s outer suburbs like the North Shore or like a destination place, you know, out west.”
“I feel like Aperitifs are really having a moment, like vermouth is very much on the rise, like that sort of pre-dinner afternoon Italian vibe. Everyone knows aperol spritz, but it's kind of evolving in that aperitifs area,” she said.
“And then I feel like I'm seeing like a lot of cacio e pepe riffs… if someone wants to come up with another riff on cacio e pepe, I will probably try it. They seem to be very popular.”
Creating experiences for your guests
Creating experiences is a great way to attract customers to your venue. Damian spoke about how he managed that in the past to great success.
“if you're in your demographic, something that you think is cool, other people are generally going to think it. And that experiential thing is just so important now. Like there's going out for a beer, but you have to add more to it,” he said.
“So certainly for us at Pocket [a bar he owned] that was a comedy night. If that broke even, that was our marketing, that was our community piece that that's what built love and, and was super successful and really fun and, and yeah, you really connect with your guest.”
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