The Open Pantry Podcast is a hospitality podcast where I interview people within the hospitality industry about their lives both in and outside the industry. Our podcast aims to show that the thing that links all people in hospitality is a want to be creative, support each other and always do better. We hope you enjoy the episodes.
Episode 34 - How Balwyn Canteen became one of the best burger shops in Melbourne by working with food influencers
I feel so lucky to have DJ Richards finally on a podcast after years of asking. He and his wife Adela have built one of the best burger/donut businesses in Melbourne and in this podcast, we go through step by step in how they built it.
Working as a chef for many years, he wanted to combine his love of baking and burgers and create their second very successful venture, Balywn Canteen. DJ and Adela were self-aware enough to use the power of social media in 2015/16 to grow their first venture, Heroes, and realised that the food influencers were gaining a lot of prominence and exposure on social media.
They were smart enough to foster the power of social media and work with the influencer brigade to gain market insights and product development ideas in a saturated Melbourne burger landscape.
Today Balywn Canteen stands as one of the best, most loved and most creative burger and donut venues in the country and this podcast shows how DJ and Adela were able to build it without losing their humble appeal.
If you are starting a venue now or looking to seriously grow revenue, then this is a must-listen!
Discover Balwyn Canteen here:
As always please feel free to reach out to us on:
Episode 33 - Joshua Kopel and how his southern charm and cuisine has taken over the LA restaurant and bar scene
In this laughter packed episode I have the pleasure of talking to Joshua Kopel, owner of Preux and Proper, South City Fried Chicken and Five0Four Hollywood. We talk about how he came up through the industry from working in some of the busiest bars in the south to owning a Fine Dining venue in LA.
Hailing from humble beginnings in Baton Rouge, LA, owner/operator Joshua Kopel wanted to bring a little bit of The South to Southern California. In 2010 he opened Five0Four, a New Orleans style bar, in Hollywood. Four years later, Kopel looked to DTLA, broadened his focus from Bourbon Street to The South as a whole, and opened up Preux & Proper. After a rocky first year in The Fashion District, Kopel was ready call it quits. In walks Sammy Monsour, a third generation chef that grew up in his father’s kitchen in Chapel Hill, NC. Kopel and Monsour hit it off instantly, and what came to fruition was the best kind of Southern. Monsour’s food encompasses his classical training at the CIA, his Lebanese ancestry, and his Southern roots. It’s like your grandma’s food went to school, traveled around the world, and came back to you beautifully plated with one hell of a story to tell.
It is their mission to inspire Southern Culture and Hospitality throughout their restaurant and community and that really comes through on this valuable podcast.
Please follow Joshua here:
As always please feel free to reach out to us on:
Episode 32 - Sash Fernando from Principle Design
In this episode of the Open Pantry Podcast I talk with the Sash Fernando founder of the prominent Melbourne creative studio, Principle Design.
Principle Design specialises in Design Strategy, Branding & Graphic Design to name but a few which allows us to have an in-depth discussion about the role that branding plays in any successful hospitality brand.
Sash and I discuss about many design components including why design is so important for a hospitality brand, how the elements of a hospitality brand are being used for so much more than a logo, and how his team is able to develop a clients idea into a sustainable brand with a vision for growth.
We especially touch on one of their newest projects, Chunky Town, and how he and his team were able to build it from ground up on just a product sample from an open-minded client.
With their experience working with such hospitality brands as Sushi Hub, Ika8 and Ms Collins, this is a powerful conversation in which both the experienced and non-experienced hospitality people will gain a lot from.
Please discover Principle Design here to see their great work-
As always please let me know your feedback
Episode 31 - Doug Koob from Circle Alliances: How to build a strong hospitality brand with Starbucks Strategy
In this episode I talk with Doug Koob, the founder of hospitality consulting brand Circle Alliances in the USA. They help clients build brands, create memorable experiences and deliver on outstanding financial results.
Doug has been in the hospitality industry from an early age, starting with Starbucks in the very early days, at about 75-100 cafes. He subsequently saw the development and evolution of this brand as it became one of the biggest brands in the world.
He has worked with Starbucks both in North America and Europe which has given him many experiences and lessons that we deconstruct over this 40 minute conversation.
We talk about how Starbucks used their mission statement to build its team culture, why strategy is so important as you build your hospitality brand, the power of connections in your industry, and how and why the hospitality industry is changing and how to stay ahead of the curve.
Doug is such an easy person to talk to and not only does he talk common sense in this podcast, but he also gives great points which will make you think and develop ideas for your hospitality business.
I highly recommend that you reach out to Doug if you are developing your hospitality brand in North America, and no doubt Open Pantry Co. and Circle Alliances will do some work together in the future as we share excellent concepts in each others markets.
Please find the details to contact Doug below and the link to this great conversation:
In this episode I am lucky to talk to the ‘Sweet Assassin’, Adriano Zumbo. We talk about how he got his start in the industry, how he developed his first bakery in Balmain, Sydney, the story behind his first appearance on Masterchef and he talks openly about his challenges of the last few years. In this very honest interview we discuss where the industry could go next and what he hopes to do next in his career.
Episode 29 - Jared Merlino from Bartolo, Surry Hills, Sydney
Since opening in November 2018, it was always Jared’s vision to create a venue where patrons could feel at home, whilst settling in to enjoy the incredible food and drinks on offer. During this time an application was submitted for a PSA (Primary Service Authorisation), which would allow guests to drink without dining.
With the approval of Bartolo’s PSA and the opportunity to offer later night trading, Jared’s vision is finally being realised and he is excited to be able to provide customers with more of what he does best, alongside the wonderful Grazia di Franco, who is responsible for Bartolo’s innovative seasonal cocktail menu.
In this episode we talk about Jared's journey from working as a kitchen hand in a gentleman's club, to working with Merivale group in Sydney for 6 years and running Ivy, one of the best bars in Sydney.
If you are scaling a hospitality brand and want to make sure that it stays authentic, then I know this podcast is going to offer you a lot of value.
Please check out Jared's venues below to see what his group is about:
Lobo Plantation: http://thelobo.com.au/
The KittyHawk: https://thekittyhawk.com.au/
Big Poppa's: https://www.bigpoppa.com.au/
As always please reach out to me with any feedback on the podcast on to nominate a guest I should talk to:
Episode 28 - How to make your restaurant the 'comeback story'
In this episode I talk with the amazing restaurant owner Sylvie Gabriele of Love and Salt LA.
Since the opening in late 2014, Love & Salt has garnered critical attention for the reinvention, as well as the restaurant’s SoCal interpretation of Italian cuisine, including recognition as one of Los Angeles Magazine's top ten new restaurants of 2015. That same year Forbes described the evolution as "L.A.'s Best Restaurant Comeback Story.”
Sylvie’s fastidious approach to managing all aspects of the restaurant — from the warm service to the branding and creative marketing — have contributed to Love & Salt’s continued growth and success as a mainstay not solely in Manhattan Beach, but in Los Angeles proper.
We talk about how Sylvie has managed to take a venue that was famous for what her father Guy Gabriele did with Cafe Pierre, and make it a powerhouse venue on Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles.
The best way to find out about Love and Salt LA is in the following links:
The Open Pantry Podcast is brought to you by Open Pantry Consulting. Please make sure you check us out and leave your feedback here:
Episode 27 - How to build the best restaurant staff culture and pay them correctly to enhance productivity
How do you recruit and train the right people into your business? And when you hire them into your brand how do you make sure they are paid correctly so that they are satisfied and you are making money as the business owner?
All these topics are covered in this week's great podcast with my good friend Chris Firinauskas.
Chris has had an amazing career in leading both the HR and Training, Learning, Development pathway of some of the biggest Australian and international brands.
If you need to know about how to develop great talent then this is the podcast to listen to.
Please let us know your feedback via Twitter @OpenPantryCo or reach out to me through LinkedIn
Episode 26 - How to develop of restaurant culture of humility and care
Episode 26 - In this episode we start the first of many conversations with great international brands carving a path in the world of hospitality. Today I talk to Dina Samson and Hans Luttman from San Julian Hospitality which has the portfolio of Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza in Downtown L.A.
Hans Luttmann is the Managing Partner and Director of Hospitality at Rossoblu restaurant and has been working in the restaurant business since the age of fifteen. Hans captained Michelin starred teams at Hatfield’s, Osteria Mozza and Providence. He is known as a creative, results-oriented leader who loves to build teams and empower his staff.
Dina Samson has adeptly assumed the role of “accidental restaurateur” having opened her first restaurant, Sotto, alongside husband/chef Steve Samson in 2011, quickly learning the ropes as the opening general manager.
When her husband, Steve, sought her expertise in financing his first restaurant, she soon became integral to the nascent restaurant’s daily operation, taking on all marketing and finance responsibilities. They have expanded their brand of hospitality through San Julian Hospitality with Rossoblu, their acclaimed ode to Bologna, and Superfine Pizza, which is widely considered the first “LA” pizza, melding the best traits from Neapolitan traditions and New York style. Samson also miraculously finds time to raise young twins, Luca and Gaia.
In todays episode we cover:
-How they focus on bringing customers back with great customer service
-The best way to balance a busy work life and family
-How the atmosphere of a restaurant can really add to the customer experience
-The simple things you can do to give a positive mindset to the team you lead everyday
I really enjoyed today’s episode and I hope you do too, it will give you a great understanding of how to develop great teams by bringing in the elements of care for your staff, great product and atmosphere, and the ability to look forward positively to new challenges.
Please follow Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza here. As you will hear they are amazing brands and well worth a visit:
Insta: @rossoblula @superfinepizza
As always please reach out with any feedback on twitter
And check out our YouTube Channel to watch this episode as well:
Episode 25 finds me talking to Matt Hale and Braden Johnston from Rising Tide Financial. They are based in Melbourne and have great experience in financial lending and planning. They have been in the business for over 10 years and really know the hospitality industry well.
In todays episode we cover:
-What the biggest mistakes people make when they start their first hospitality business
-The maximum number of investors you should have for your venue
-How automation will shape the financial services industry
-The best financial process from going from one site to two sites
I really enjoyed today’s episode and I hope you do too, it will give you a good foundation of financial acumen so you can go into your food venture with confidence.
If you’d like to set up a time to talk to Matt from Rising Tide Financial then please reach out to him here: https://calendly.com/mattrisingtide/15min-chat
Otherwise please take a look at their website: https://risingtidefinancial.com.au/
As always please reach out with any feedback on twitter
And check out our YouTube Channel to watch this episode as well:
Episode 24 - How to develop leadership within your restaurant teams with Alan Borges
It was great to catch up with Alan for the second time on the podcast to talk about all things restaurant leadership. Alan has a very successful restaurant coaching business and in the 18 months since we have last talked to him he has developed even more insights.
In this episode we discuss:
-Is leadership or team culture more important
-Who the best leader he has worked under and why
-How he believes automation will change restaurant leadership
-What's the number one thing that venue owners can do to change their team culture
Alan is all over the internet, but the easiest way to find him is through his website here: https://alanborges.com/
As always I love your feedback so please feel free to reach out at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Episode 23 - How to grow an established food brand with Daniel Grundmann from Hooked Fish and Chipper.
In this episode we talk with my great friend Daniel Grundmann who is a co-owner of Hooked Fish and Chipper which has three locations in Melbourne.
I ask him about:
-How he started out in the hospitality industry in the UK
-Why he bought an established brand and how they evolved it
-Why Fish and Chips are still a relevant section of the QSR industry
-The food trends he is picking up on whilst he travels overseas
-How he feels health brands will grow and evolve over the coming years
Please make sure you check out on of Hooked's locations in Melbourne. Search for them here @ www.hookedfishandchipper.com.au
As always I value your feedback on Instagram @open_pantry_consulting
Episode 22- How to understand your lease and not over capitalise with Frank Wilden.
It was great to catch up with my good friend Frank Wilden and discuss leasing in the hospitality industry.
On this podcast we discuss:
-Why the people get into bad leasing deals
-How much to spend on a lease as a percentage
-Whether high street or shopping centres are better for branding
-Why some venues look profitable but go out of business
-How to do your due diligence on your next site
I hope you really enjoy this episode and please make sure you follow Frank on twitter @thefrankreport
Feedback is always welcome at Shaun@openpantryco.com
Episode 21 - How to make social media work for your food venue with Paul Zervos from Project Eats
It was great to have Paul on this episode because he really understands both the marketing and hospitality industry. He grew up with his mother owning a cafe and realising how great the hospitality industry is.
Now he owns the up-and-coming graphic design and digital hospitality-focused agency Project Eats.
In this episode we cover:
-Does print media still play a role in marketing today
-What the biggest mistakes in marketing are for venues
-Why should you use an agency rather than using internal staff for social media
-What social platforms work with what type of venues
Paul from Projects Eats can found at:
I hope you really enjoy this podcast and found it valuable.
As always please let me know your feedback at:
Episode 20 - Jane Kou from ‘Bring Me Home’ App
Jane Kou is a young entrepreneur who wanted to do something to change the amount of food that is thrown out of food venues across the country.
1 in 5 meals gets binned just because it's unsold. Bring Me Home's app lets you buy and pick up discounted surplus food from cafes and restaurants, which would otherwise be binned.
Since mid 2018 the Bring Me Home app has rescued over 1000 meals that would have otherwise been thrown out. It is a win-win-win scenario for both the Bring me Home business, food vendors and customers of the app.
In this episode we talk about:
-How Jane came to build the app around this concept
-How food waste is contributing to environmental damage
-The venture capital environment and how it is different in the U.S. opposed to Australia.
-Her targets for the brand and how she plans for it to scale.
If you want to connect with Jane from ‘Bring Me Home’ then the best way is to firstly download the app and reach out to her on LinkedIn under ‘Jane Kou’
As always I love feedback so please reach out at: Shaun@openpantryco.com
Episode 19 - How Shaun built his career in hospitality.
I definitely flipped the script on this one and got someone I truly respect and trust, Jason Titus, to interview me on my career in the hospitality industry. The wins and losses and how my experiences have shaped what is important to me.
Episode 18: How to build an amazing looking venue whilst controlling your costs.
Dan Cox and Christian Bright from DCB Developments.
This is an exciting podcast as Dan and Christian give a great description of their shopfitting business operates to such a great standard, how their business partnership of 11 years has added to their friendship of over 30 years, and their tips for saving money during the fitout process.
The questions we go through are:
-How did they become shopfitters and build the business
-What are the stages of the shopfitting process
-How long does it generally take to build a venue from scratch
-How can an owner make sure that the costs don't esculate too high
-What do they enjoy most about the work they do
-How do they handle stress in such a high pressure environment
I was really proud to deliver this podcast and I hope you enjoy it as well.
More information on DCB great work can be found @
This podcast is brought to you by Open Pantry Co.
Feel free to email me at Shaun@openpantryco.com.
Sustainability is growing in momentum in the hospitality industry.
Sustainability is critical to the success of talented people and to the supply chain which delivers the amazing product.
In the latest episode of the Open Pantry Podcast powered by Kounta, we chatted to three ladies leading very different initiatives, with one common goal - a more sustainable future for hospitality.
Kaitlin from @_reground explored the possibilities of recycling waste that we didn’t previously know could be repurposed.
Demelza from @samecup chatted about the sustainability of people within our industry and what we can do to ensure a more diverse, fair and successful future for hospitality.
Bringing it all together, Claire from @industrybeans explained how a business can successfully implement these types of initiatives without becoming distracted from their core vision and purpose.
We hope you enjoy this great episode
Episode 16 - 100 Burgers Group
Daragh Kan, founder of 100 burgers group, and Jackie Doran, their pubs & bars marketing manager took us to the roots of the 100 burgers empire.
The 100 Burgers journey started with a venue that couldn’t prepare food, to a burger truck that didn’t fit in the door, to now, 17 sites, and a handful of viral Australian brands.
Here are a few of the secrets to their success we chatted about:
How to be a trendsetter when connecting with your audience.
The impact social media has on the success of a hospitality business.
How to build a loyal customer base.
How to capture a following.
Continuing in our second season of the Open Pantry Podcast, I have partnered with Kounta to bring the industry's top authority's together to chat and give honest opinions on hot topics set to move the industry forward.
In this episode, episode 15, we talk about the landscape of emerging technologies are shaping the customer experience. Will we know our customers even more? Will it make the customer experience even better?
To answer these questions, we assembled a panel of experts with work experience both in Europe and Australia to shed light on what tech trends we might soon see in Australia.
Chris Tate - Ops Manager at Pablo & Rusty's
Josef Neumier - Former Head of Retail at Sonoma
Josh Harrison - COO and Founding Member at Kounta
In our second season, we've partnered with Kounta to bring the industry's top authority's together to chat, shred, and jam on hot topics set to move the industry forward.
In this episode, we set our sites on the future of tipping. Are the conditions ripe for tipping in Australian to become the new norm? Or will we stay the current course.
To answer these questions, we assembled a panel of experts with work experience both in North America and Australia to shed light on what tipping trends we might soon see in Australia's future.
Adam Miles - Head Waiter at Porteño
Tristan Rosier - Chef, Waiter, and Owner of Arthur restaurant
Edward Randow-Stone - Chef D’Experience at Kounta
Episode 13 - This is another great episode, this time with the hospitality gentleman and legend Frank Wilden.
Frank is a 'serial restauranteur'. He has owned highly acclaimed restaurants in both Melbourne and Sydney and also works with some great food and entertainment brands. He now goes by the title of 'Retail Food Strategist', which in simple terms means that he advises brands on thinking differently about their concepts by always bringing it back to the best customer interaction possible.
Please make sure you follow Frank as you won't be disappointed by the content that he shares and writes:
Episode 12 - This is another great episode with the branding and marketing champion that is Bianka Velevska.
She has worked in the hospitality industry all of her career, and for the last few years has branched out as a freelance marketing director.
We talk about how she has become a success, the connection between branding and successful venue openings, and some of the best tactics to make sure your venue stands out in a crowded marketplace, including paying for social media.
Please make sure you check out what she is doing in the branding and marketing space:
Episode 11 - This is another great episode this time with the champion of the Gold Coast food truck scene, Jemma from Notorious E.A.T.
The trailer has now turned into a new truck in the last 18 months and it was great to hear about how Jemma has come from being a chef and moving her way through brands like Dominos and Nandos.
We talk about she has made it a success, the landscape of the food truck scene in Australia, and what her next steps are in the scene.
Please make sure you check out what they are doing so you can keep track:
Episode 10 - James Marchetti
Today's conversation is with James Marchetti who is a director of Australia's consolidated supply chain/ordering app Onezoo.com.au.
We talk about the benefits in consolidating the ordering process, some of the benefits in using technology to help your food venue, and where the industry is going in supply chain logistics over the next 5-10 years.
Episode 9 - Tony Marciante (Chef Tony)
This is a great episode where I have the pleasure of interviewing 'Chef Tony' , Tony Marciante who has a seafood restaurant in Maryland, USA.
We talk about his career in the industry which has spanned nearly 30 years, the importance of social media and email marketing, how he was able to survive the downturn in the industry in 07/08, and the importance of personal brand and where that is taking him to next. Please follow him on Twitter and Instagram @cheftony
Episode 8 - Will Deagan
What a great episode this is talking to Will Deagan from the brand Kounta. Will and I have known each other for a few years and I've always been amazed with his deep insights for someone still young in the hospitality field.
We talk about sustainability in the restaurant field and how that will change menus, the importance of a good fitout for new venues and how automation will change the hospitality service model. I hope you enjoy this episode today.
Episode 7 - Liam Crawley
It was great to catch up with this superstar in the catering and restaurant game Liam Crawley. Liam is from Sydney and runs the very successful DWL Hospitality. We talking about the state of the play with catering to smaller and larger clients, the power of using social media in hospitality, recruitment and team culture, and also about his new secret pop-up venture. I hope you enjoy this episode.
Episode 6 - Erin Louise House
What a great talk I have today with Erin-Louise House. She is an Aussie who has made waves in Dubai, Singapore and now NYC.
We talk about her involvement in a new brand called Market Lane NYC as they are just about to open. We also delve into the service standards in the hospitality industry, organic foods, and how convience is playing a big role in customers buying decisions in the food space. She is my first overseas interview and it was a delight to have her on the show!
Episode 5 - Ze'ev Meltzer
This podcast was absolute fire with lots of laughter and fun!
Ze'ev is a beer owner in his mid 20's who in the last 1.5 years has carved a named for himself in the Melbourne beer scene with his brand Collins Street Brewing. His signature beer Once Bitter has made waves in the Melbourne beer scene being in many different high profile bars and clubs. We talk about brand building, the importance of marketing, maintaining a quality product and how he balances his life in between. Purely a great podcast with an up and coming entrepreneur
Episode 4 - Andrew Lorenzo
It was so great to catch up with a great friend Andrew Lorenzo. He has had a great experience in hospitality in the last 15 years.
We talked about his time spent in America with brands like Macaroni Grill, TGIF, and Panera Bread as well as how he balanced his love of acting and the performing arts with his career in hospitality.
Andrew also talked about his new venture in 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken which will open up in Australia in the next few months.
Episode 3 - Greg Huggett
It was a pleasure to go back to where it all began for me with Episode 3. Greg Huggett gave me my first job as a baker's assistant back in 1997.
Greg has had an amazing career spanning over 40 years in hospitality. Half of that was spent largely with Hilton Hotels in many venues worldwide, and half as a multi-site franchisee with Bakers Delight in South Australia. He has worked with some of the best chefs and food personalities in the world.
It was great to chat with him about his successes, training in the industry, changes in food culture, and just the funny experiences he has had along the way. I know you will enjoy this weeks episode with a close friend of mine.
Episode 2 - Kim Toovey
It was so fulfilling and exciting to have a great chat with one of my best friends Kim Toovey.
Kim has had over 20 years experience in hospitality and to hear his journey in his early years at McDonalds, starting his own business with Wok Me and moving onto even bigger experiences with Grill'd and Doughnut Time, it was humbling and humbling to hear his story. Even from someone who knows him as well as me.
Episode 1 - Alan Borges
This is a great first episode with my good friend Alan Borges. He has a great history in developing people in Hungry Jacks, Grill'd and Zambreo's. He now has his own coaching business on the side and is helping people transform their lives. It was great to hear his theory on life in this episode