We all love a good cafe, there’s no doubt about it. When the fare is delicious and the service, seamless sometimes it can seem like an easy gig to run. However, it’s not, that just means the cafe is doing a great job. Literally, every touchpoint in a cafe has been considered and thought out. This is where Stu Robertson comes in. Stu’s company, Mean Business, utilises his years of experience to help hospitality “owners streamline their operations, build profitability and ultimately have the business and lifestyle they deserve”. Stu’s latest endeavour, My Profit Kitchen, riffs off this, with a focus on profitability. We sat down with Stu (over the internet) to hear a little more about the ins and outs of My Profit Kitchen.
Q: I’ve just arrived on the planet, what is My Profit Kitchen?
Stu: My Profit Kitchen is a blog site designed specifically for café and restaurant owners to inspire them, and show them how to increase their profitability.
It covers so many different topics relating to the industry, from branding to pricing to the importance of knowing your numbers. Plus there are free resources readers can download to help make changes to their businesses.
Q: How did My Profit Kitchen come about?
Stu: Through my consultancy company, Mean Business, I work with hospitality operators to help them improve their businesses, to make them more efficient and build greater profitability.
Pretty quickly I came to realise that the industry is full of incredible, passionate and hardworking people who are sometimes struggling to make ends meet. It can be hard to get a return on the effort they are putting in.
And while nothing can beat a bit of one on one consultancy, I thought a blog would be a great way of helping those I can assist, help themselves.
Q: What’s your morning routine; what’s your favourite toast topping? Do you eat standing straight at the breadboard, or sit down with a plate? Light or dark roast? Filter or espresso?
Stu: I’m a seriously early riser – I can’t help it! I’m normally up at 5am to knock out a bit of work, then out the door to walk the dog on the beach before breakfast and then I’m back to my desk.
When I’m not meeting with clients I have the luxury of working from home, so I find I need a good routine to start my day, otherwise, I’m just relying on will-power alone to get the job done; and that’s not easy.
As much as I aspire to have a civilised sit-down breakfast I normally eat at the breadboard. And as for coffee, I like a good dark roast. If I’m at home I brew that on my little stovetop espresso maker.
Q: Smooth or crunchy?
Stu: Believe it or not, I only just learned to eat peanut butter about a year ago! Now I can’t stop eating it; but it’s crunchy all the way!
Q: #1 Auckland snack/meal under $10?
Stu: I live at Piha so I love staying local and grabbing a snack at Murray. $10 will get you a delicious taco, great beats, cool staff and all the good vibes you’d expect from a ramshackle eatery on a surf beach.
Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Stu: It sounds cliché, but I’d have to say my work. Partly because there’s always lots to do but mainly because I’m lucky enough to love what I do.
Q: What’s the dream goal for My Profit Kitchen?
Stu: I’m really excited to see what happens with this little venture. Ultimately I’d love to build a community around it where those people not only benefit from reading my posts but also gain learnings and inspiration from each other.
Q: Who do you look to for inspiration/who do you look up to?
Stu: Blogs, podcasts, the internet and the great people in our lives provide us with so much access to amazing inspiration, and I’m forever tapping into that. But ever since I was a kid, Peter Blake has been my hero.
As a young sailor I couldn’t help but look up to him, but in addition to this he was the first person to awaken my environmental awareness, and as I’ve got older I’ve become more aware of the huge amount he achieved in his life.
Q: What question are you dying to answer that we haven’t asked?
Stu: What’s the one most important piece of advice you can give those in your industry?
Know everything there is to know about your business – you need to understand your numbers, your target market, what your brand stands for, who your real competitors are; and just as importantly your own motivations and aspirations.
Not only is Stu a lovely guy, but he's also got the smarts. You can read more about My Profit Kitchen over here.