Monthly Archives: February 2018

From Subway to BEKYA, with a little help from Coca Cola Amatil

Restaurant Bekya Sydney Middle Eastern Food

Mel Hearse talks to Wally Mostafa, co-founder and part-owner of restaurant BEKYA Middle Eastern Foods, about his transition from franchisee to restaurateur.

Whilst still in the franchisee business, Wally Mostafa owns one Subway restaurant and he’s made the switch to opening and running his own restaurant—BEKYA Middle Eastern Food.

BEKYA has started out strong and is already a popular eatery that’s housed in the Tramsheds Harold Park—which has recently undergone a transformation into a European-inspired food hall hosting 18 retailers and providores. He and his partners also have another two BEKYA restaurants: one in the Gateway food court, and the original outlet situated in the Greenhouse at Centennial Park.

The concept is straightforward: BEKYA prides itself on fresh, tasty and handmade middle eastern goodies.

“We use family recipes and strictly local fresh ingredients,” Wally says. “Our food techniques include pickling, slow cooking meats, home-made Egyptian flatbreads and a variety of spice mixes.”

Their space has been carefully designed with an open layout, to encourage an environment of sharing a meal—an old, honoured tradition and an expression of hospitality.

Opening the popular middle eastern eateries has involved a sometimes-steep learning curve. That said, Wally says his experiences with Subway—including his established relationship with Coca-Cola Amatil—has made for a somewhat less bumpy ride.

“Funnily enough, my Coca-Cola representative from my Subway restaurants is now the area manager where BEKYA is located, so we already know each other,” he says

“They’ve actually provided invaluable help with our set up—from helping with the bar design to recommending and supplying our beverages at the restaurant.”

Coca Cola Amatil working with

When it comes to support, Coca-Cola Amatil has plenty to provide its customers. As well as advice on beverage selection and optimal stock levels, the team also provides bar runners, straw holders, and coasters; as well as decals to place behind the bar, reminding staff how to pour the perfect beverage. Around the restaurant, Coca-Cola Amatil offers branded glassware, signage and cutlery holders.  

Then there’s the personalized support on offer. Wally says due to his relationship over the years, and particularly because of the successful high volume trading with The Greenhouse café at Centennial Park, Coca-Cola Amatil came on board with the BEKYA brand from day one.

“They pretty much did our bar design—helping design for a maximum workflow of the bar area, including the coffee section at our flagship restaurant at The Tramsheds Harold Park,” he says.

“We went to their Grinders Coffee headquarters in Leichhardt, where we got Barista Training on their machines. Perhaps more importantly, we got their Alcohol Beverage Ambassador, Michael Nouri to meet with us and come up with a middle eastern cocktail menu using middle eastern flavours such as Hibiscus, Rosemary, Thyme, and Mint.

“As our business—BEKYA—continues to grow, I have no doubt Coca-Cola Amatil will grow with us.”

Related Article:

Five lessons I learned as a restaurateur

About the Author

Melanie Hearse has been working as a freelance writer for 15 years—covering new fads in food, exercise, adventure, travel and more.

 

Marketing Your Business in the Digital Age

Successful hospitality restaurants driving online presence

Marketing your business in the digital age has its advantages and challenges. By understanding the tools available and how they can work best for your business, you can increase your reach and improve your bottom line.

To help you achieve this, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the main aspects of digital marketing and how they can help you leverage the success of your business.

Social media

Social media gives you access to a marketplace that is both global and local. These platforms give you the opportunity to build brand awareness and strengthen customer loyalty. But there are important points to keep in mind for a successful social media strategy:

  • Differentiate: What works for Facebook may not work for Twitter, and so on and so forth. When considering your social media plan, make sure you tailor your content for each platform.
  • Localise: While social media gives you a global reach, don’t forget it is the local touch that often has the greatest impact. Use geolocation tools, hashtags and mentions to establish yourself within your community. This is also a good way of building community ties.
  • Personalise: Quick response times and personalised responses are highly valued by social media users. If a follower asks you a question on social media, make sure you have the tools and resources to answer promptly. It is also a good idea to plan how you will manage customer complaints, and whether a social media policy is actively in place for your business.
  • Watch out for trends: Be it the mannequin or ice bucket challenge, staying ahead of trends on social media can help you position your brand and stay relevant. While it may not be appropriate for your business to jump on “trend bandwagons”, it pays to understand what is influencing public thought.

Melbourne-based mezcal bar Mamasita is one business that has built a strong social media presence across multiple platforms. From short Facebook videos to recipes and memes, Mamasita provides an engaging mix of content that speaks to the interests of their customers. What’s more, there is an overarching social media plan to integrate all platforms. Twitter posts link to Facebook events, Facebook to TripAdvisor and Instagram to the website. This strategy helps define the brand’s image, increase website traffic and user engagement.

Marketing presence in the digital space for hospitality industry

 

Peer review sites

Platforms like these can have a dramatic impact on your business. Like word-of-mouth marketing, these sites help spread awareness and strengthen your brand credentials––especially in the food and hospitality industry.

Today, an increasing number of sites like Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor or LocalEats are informing consumer decisions. A 2014 study by Google Consumer Surveys found that 67 per cent are influenced by online reviews. So, what does this mean for your business? To make the most of this growing form of customer engagement, follow these considerations:

  • Promotion: If your business has a good rating, advertise it. Many websites will provide you with marketing collateral to showcase your score. This is one easy way to connect your online performance to your real-world business.
  • Think in categories: Another point to keep in mind is how to ensure your listing appears in search results. It is one thing to have a good rating but if your business doesn’t appear in search results returned to users, it will be of limited use. Incorporate typical search filters like “date night”, “family friendly” and “budget” into your business profile to help with optimisation.   

The cafe 2 Fat Ladies in New South Wales, for instance, is number one of its category on TripAdvisor and also has a strong Zomato presence. By actively responding to reviews—both negative and positive—the management show that they care about customer feedback. Importantly too, there is personality to their comments. Be it “Thank you for calling in for a visit. The quiche is pretty awesome” or “Can’t go past the good ole ham, cheese & tomato sandwich”, the cafe has a warm and personal tone that helps differentiate them from their competitors.

Digital content

Another way to market your business in the digital age is through content. Providing value-adding content that enriches your reader’s experience is a powerful way to build customer loyalty and strengthen yourself as a thought leader.

This can be achieved regardless of the size of your business. A small business, for instance, might focus on creating a monthly email newsletter while a larger company may consider creating a specialised blog or digital magazine. Think about what will work best for your scale and resources. Here are some other considerations:

  • Plan ahead: Be it a monthly newsletter or a daily blog, it is crucial to organise your content ahead of time. A blog that begins weekly but drops off to every now and again will do little to promote your business. Creating an editorial calendar is a useful way to bank up ideas and structure future posts or news items.
  • Don’t overdo it: It is important to be realistic about your capabilities and priorities. Setting up a high-tech food magazine may not be within your reach but perhaps it is possible to send out a personalised recipe once a month. What’s important is that you provide high-quality content that speaks to your customer’s needs and interests.
  • Integrate with social media: If you do decide to use digital content to promote your business, make sure that it is shared across all your social media platforms.

Abbey Beach Resort has been able to build customer loyalty via its newsletter, blog and integrated social media strategy. The resort shares regularly updates to its followers on upcoming deals and also invites them to share their own content. This commitment to digital content has allowed the business to define its brand voice and strengthen customer relationships.

Digital media has made marketing more accessible, scalable and personalised than ever before. Be it social media, digital content or peer review sites, there is a wide range of platforms that can help improve your business—now is your chance to use them.

 

About the Author

Melissa Kitson is a bilingual journalist who has worked for the Buenos Aires Review, Fodor’s Travel Guides and Oxford University Press.

 

Licensed To Serve

Licensed pubs clubs small bars

Starting up a new business is a monumental undertaking. Working out which licences you need to open the doors and what you’ve got to do to stay on top is tedious but critical. Use this food and beverage licence checklist to make sure you’re all geared up to get serving.

What type of licence is needed?

The first thing you need to do is to work out what type of licence you want to apply for. If you are serving alcohol, licences vary across restaurants, hotels, general bars, small bars, packaged liquor (like a bottle shop or online sales) and nightclubs—to name a few. But there’s also limited licences for single functions or special events. Doing your research well in advance will help you pinpoint exactly which one will cover you across the board.

There are also times when a liquor licence is not required, such as the exemption for a non-profit organisation. In some cases, bed and breakfast businesses may also be exempt.

Where to start?

Each licence comes with its own limitations, requirements and applied laws that vary from state to state.

Checking the Australian Business Licence and Information Service is a good first step. This website is part of the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science, and can give advice on what government licences or registrations apply to your proposed business. It’s also a great indication of the state, territory, local and Australian government-imposed laws relevant to your business. To put it all into place, this guide also gives you access to the various forms and resources required.

Don’t make it hard on yourself.  Talk to similar businesses in your area as well, and even discuss licences with your suppliers.

What you need to know to run a licensed venue

 

Undertake licensee training

Some states expect all licensee applicants to undertake training before a licence will be considered. Training covers the legislative environment for liquor licensees, understanding your licence and best practice. For example, if you are in Victoria, all individuals, partners and at least one director, must undertake Licensees’ First Step Course. To find out more about this step, details about Queensland’s mandatory Responsible Management of Licensed Venues training can be found here.

Check with your local government

While the relevant authorities regulate location, local governments often have an input. It’s worth checking with the relevant body or council to see if there is a particular party in control of the licences you need.

Consult with your local community

As a potential licence holder, it is your responsibility to talk to local community members about any concerns people have with your application and proposed plans. This particularly applies to liquor licensing, but it’s a good rule of thumb for any application. Community support will make obtaining a licence an easier process if you can acknowledge and mitigate any potential issues or impact on the local community.

Prepare a Community Impact Statement (CIS)

Many state authorities require the submission of a CIS with a licensing application. Authorities will consider the general well-being of the greater community and the social impact of approval of a license in that location. Aspects considered include the type of licensed premises applied for, its scale, size, layout and capacity, the trading hours proposed, and its location.  

If there are any specific measures you are planning on undertaking to reduce potential social issues, such as a Security Management Plan, this is the place to point that out.

Train all staff

When it comes to liquor licensing, ensure staff are familiar with the Act and laws relevant to the service of alcohol in that state, including when they can serve alcohol, to whom and if food must also be consumed. Since it is a crime in most states now to serve alcohol to intoxicated people, it is imperative staff are trained in strategies to overcome this issue.

Keep your licence handy

Once any licence has been granted, make sure it is always on hand for immediate inspection by the relevant agency. There is nothing worse than scrambling for paperwork in the middle of service, when you could just point to the certificate on your storeroom wall.  

Stay on top of changing laws

Finally, once you are licensed to serve, make sure you stay that way.  Follow regulations and remember that laws are often reviewed— keep up to date with training and regularly check your local state licensing authority’s website.

About the Author

Lana de Kort is a published author and business writer with over 20 years experience working with industry, commerce and community.  In 2014 she co-founded a network of over 21 writers across Australia.