I am writing this from Melbourne airport as I wait for my flight home after 3 days of visiting our distributors and retailers. I always look forward to going home and would not live in any other city in the world however I am always so impressed with the standard of service and quality of food in the restaurant and hotel industry that Melbourne has to offer. This trip I enjoyed an incredible meal at Da Noi, a little Sardinian restaurant in South Yarra and some brilliant service at George Calombaris’s famous Press Club. I love good service... it makes or breaks an experience for me which is why I am constantly at my own staff about it.

I believe that good service starts with a good work ethic. I am often concerned about this in my own business and find that, particularly in Australia and with the current generation of employees coming through, it is not always up to standard. For example, being late. As an apprentice, if I was not at work one hour prior to my rostered time, I was simply sent home. This set a standard that I have never let slip. I now expect my staff to so the same – be at work 10 minutes prior to their starting time to dress, have a coffee and make themselves aware of the goings on of the day. How do you instil that into a 20 something year old who is not already in the habit?

On a different note, last week I visited the new Everleigh Markets in Newtown. Already incredibly popular with locals, it is definitely a great addition to the area with an amazing selection of fruit and veg, organic produce, fresh breads and other gourmet treats. It reminded me a little of being in France, where a trip to the markets is not only about the shopping, but also about the people you meet and the community you are part of. The money exchange plays a pale second to the conversation and experience enjoyed.

Until next time ...