Home' Hospitality Business : HB JUN 2016 Contents Kerry Tyack sets a cracking pace; as chief
assessor for the Cuisine Good Food Awards,
a judge for the Nestlé Toque d’Or; he’s head
judge of the New Zealand Café Competition,
the NZ Sausage Competition, Silver Fern
Farms Premier Selection Awards and of the
former Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge. He also
writes reviews for Cuisine Magazine, consults
to restaurants and somehow finds time to act
as Executive Director of the New Zealand
Beverage Council and he writes books as well.
WITH DEGREES IN POLITICS AND
SOCIOLOGY, WHAT LED YOU INTO FOOD
I’ve always had an avid interest in food and
cooking, and working to support myself
has taken me to interesting bars and cafés
all around the world. When I set up Tyack
Communications my first clients were food
magazines and this opened doors into a world
where I could combine work with my passion
for food, drink, and service delivery. I also love
to garden and cook and share what I’ve created, and as hospitality
deals with the ever changing, I’m ideally placed to indulge my other
WHAT WERE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE STANDARDS
AT THIS YEAR’S CAFÉ OF THE YEAR AWARDS?
The entire spectrum of quality - excellent, ho hum and indifferent.
The good take nothing for granted, those in the middle exhibit lack
of commitment and finesse, while those on the bottom rung show
contempt for those opening their wallets. The primary requirement
is to avoid believing your own hype. Sure, believe in your dream
but listen to and watch your customers for the most important
feedback about how well you’re doing in bringing your dream
WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS IN
THE CAFÉ INDUSTRY OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS?
The rise of the coffee culture and the morphing of simple
and casual cafés into sophisticated places to dine. This has
brought them closer to the concept of bistro or restaurant –
an amalgamation that’s partly responsible for the casualisation
of the dining occasion.
WHAT’S EXCITING YOU MOST ABOUT THE CAFÉ SCENE IN
NEW ZEALAND AT PRESENT?
It’s potential! When we can bring all the elements into line and
offer a casual café experience with food made on premise and have
a strong local provenance that defines our “Kiwi-hood”, we’ll have
something truly remarkable to share amongst ourselves and with
WHAT IS THE ONE BIG CHALLENGE FOR RESTAURANT/CAFÉ
Identify your market and set up your offering accordingly. That
requires a clear vision of who you want to walk in the door, what
you are going to do to attract them and how you will deliver to
those customers what they want with consistency.
WHAT POINTERS DO YOU HAVE FOR HOSPITALITY OPERATORS
WANTING TO IMPROVE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE,
THAT DON’T REQUIRE A LOT OF MONEY TO IMPLEMENT?
Invest in staff training and encourage their “shared ownership”
of your proposition, so they deliver to the high standards expected
without you having to watch over them every minute. Also,
de-clutter your menus! You don’t have to have a range of food so
broad your costs and waste soar out of control. Tight menus with
inbuilt flexibility are key. And ensure customers know about your
specialty dishes or items on offer.
IS THE INDUSTRY IN GOOD SHAPE AND WHAT WILL
HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES NEED TO SUCCEED IN THE FUTURE?
Despite immense pressures on those committed to serving us
great food and drink, we can take heart that things are moving in
a positive direction. Dining out is now part of our entertainment,
or discretionary spend, not the food budget. If operators want a
share of that they must consider how what they provide is keeping
the customer entertained. Good food and drink is not enough on
its own because so many are providing that. Create that point of
difference that distinguishes them in a crowded market and then
finds ways of letting potential customers know what that is. And
seek help if needed! n
Kerry Tyack on passing
judgement: It’s an absolute
privilege to experience
what our amazing chefs
and producers put on the
table and that comes
with huge responsibility
that I take very seriously.”
20 | June 2016 | Hospitality BUSINESS
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