09/09/2021

5 Things We learnt From Hot Takes & Takeaways Ep1

Editorial Team | Events

From bad Google reviews and influencers eating for free to Covid-19 passports and mentors, episode one of Hot Takes & Takeaways offered more than a few pearls of wisdom.

Working in Australia’s hospitality industry has never been tougher. Chefs, restaurateurs, publicans, and bar staff are struggling to keep their heads above water. But fighting back, our culinary creatives are finding innovative ways to keep their metaphorical doors open, even while their physical ones are closed.

On Monday, September 6 comedian Gen Fricker hosted the premiere episode of Hot Takes & Takeaways, an interactive live stream delivered in partnership with Concrete Playground and Uber Eats, viewable exclusively on Facebook.

Guests included Julian Cincotta (Butter Sydney) and Cuong Nguyen (Hello Auntie) who joined Fricker to wax lyrical on the forces shaping Australia’s food industry. They talked about the highs and the messy lows of putting food on tables and doorsteps in 2021. Here are five takeaways from episode one and watch the live stream in full above.

1. Google reviews have a place but there is no replacement for understanding.

 “It’s important but also not important,” says Cincotta. “No one will write a review on Google if they are truly passionate about your place. I would love to have a rating of reviewers. It’s sad that it can really make or break a business… I just won’t go back to somewhere if I really don’t enjoy it.”

“Back in the day if they wanted to say something mean they would have to say it to your face,” says Nguyen, “I appreciate that we are creating for someone else to experience, so if you don’t have the feedback, you don’t know if you are doing good or bad. So in order for you to improve you need to know the bad.

2. Social media and influencers play a role in a wider marketing strategy.

On social influencers, “It’s a double edge sword,” says Nguyen. “As much as people write them off, it’s good and we need them.” Cincotta adds: “I love that everyone has gotten more into food and are appreciating it but I do hate that it has made everyone a critic.”

3. Vaccine passports are the only way forward.

“I don’t think we have an option. I think they are going to enforce it,” states Nguyen. “I think whatever keeps people safe and whatever the Government advises, is what we will do,” says Cincotta.

4. Chefs and restauranteurs to look up to include:

“I think [Maurice] Terzini (Icebergs Dining, CicciaBella) is one of them,” explains Cincotta. “I have to say Neil Perry (Rockpool), what he has brought to Australian cooking and what he does for charity.”

“As a restauranteur, I like Justin Hemmes (Merivale),” says Nguyen. “I think their business model is really good. I like what he does… the experience. I like the pub concept, the great facades, the great spaces, that he takes away the gambling and expands it to a bistro with a different theme.”

5. Pivoting and eating during COVID

“Being able to diversify your revenue streams is important,” says Cincotta. “We have clothing, we do stuff with local artists. We have food and booze. We do delivery. Whatever you can think of you can do. You have to think quick.”

And bonus 6. Will there be a Hello Butter collaboration?

“I was thinking about this when I came in,” laughs Nguyen “…and was thinking about what a good crossover would be.” Cincotta adds: “I think we can work something… Hello Butter Club maybe?”

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