Client stories | Morepork BBQ
Updated: Aug 21
Grace Team Accounting have been working with clients to establish business continuity during these unprecedented times. In this series we talk with clients and business owners around how they have pivoted their business to manage or create change. Hear about lessons learnt as well as ideas, information and experiences. Together we can help drive future success.
Don’t Put All Your Meat In One Basket | Words of Advice From A BBQ Master
First up we spoke to Clint at Morepork BBQ who has not one but two restaurants; one opened just before lock down, a catering and events division and a wholesale meats side to the business too.
So Clint give us a bit of a timeline around your businesses?
The Ponsonby restaurant is our flagship restaurant and then it was a natural progression to add the catering and events side of things which then led us to picking up contracts for the wholesale meats side. The wholesale meat division is providing pre-cooked ready to go meat to heat for catering companies as it makes it a lot easier for them to buy it this way than do it themselves. We’d just opened up our Kumeu Restaurant 3 weeks prior to lockdown so you can imagine how that felt!
Tell us some of the biggest challenges around lockdown and what you’ve experienced during this time?
Everything just stopped, the catering side of the business is 50% down on last year so it’s nothing like it was which creates a few sleepless nights. Events came to a complete halt - there were no parties, no nothing and it’s just starting up again now (July 2020).
We’d just opened up our Kumeu Restaurant and there was a lot invested into the new restaurant but lockdown just put a stop to all our plans we’d had for months, probably longer. Now we’ve been able to reopen it’s busy enough but ongoing challenges remain like staffing because we rely so heavily on overseas workers.
With no overseas workers coming in, those of us in the hospitality trade and also other industries that rely on overseas workers are all looking for staff right now. It’s definitely proving difficult that’s for sure. We didn’t have to lay anyone off, a couple left of their own accord but what we have had to do is cut back staff hours until things pick up.
What that means for us is we’re opening the restaurants for four days a week instead of the whole week so that means we can keep both our customers happy and keep our staff employed even if it’s for less hours.
Another challenge is just not knowing what’s going to happen. It’s always a real fine balancing act with staff as you either find yourself with too many or not enough plus the fact you can train staff up and then due to their transient nature they come and go. The extra challenge is getting staff when things do become busier and back to “normal”.
Best business advice you could give around pivoting or developing to sure up the future?
If you’re thinking of developing another revenue stream make sure what you do you don’t waste too much time on it if it’s not going to give long term financial success. You can spend a lot of time and energy on an idea but you have to make sure it’s sustainable and aids in your business growth across the board.
During lockdown we pretty much battened down the hatches and we thought about frozen meals but the return on investment and not knowing if it was going to work long-term wasn’t worth it.
We had also developed a range of sauces and rubs that we hadn’t done much with. During this lockdown period the sudden loss of revenue highlighted we needed to concentrate more in this area so we can develop another income stream that is available 24/7 without the concentrated staffing the rest of the business requires.
Highlights over this crazy period? Top business standouts?
We’ve just picked up a great catering contract for a movie set here in Kumeu just up the road from our Kumeu restaurant. It means a good weekly contract for the next year catering for about 300 - 500 crew on site. Because we have developed the catering side from the restaurant side we have more than one string to our bow so to speak. Having more than one revenue stream that runs alongside the rest of the business works well for us.
Other highlights include the local support since coming back and their willingness to spend money.
What services and support have you received from Grace Team?
We've worked with Grace Team for a number of years and more recently in the Business Coaching capacity. We're now working on a business plan with Michael. The coaching is great for accountability - makes sure you do what you say you’re going to do.
From a financial standpoint it helps you make the right informed decisions - there’s a bit of backwards and forwards but you need a practical side and point of view from someone who’s not in the business and can look at things from a viable perspective. You might think an idea’s going to work but you need someone to bounce those ideas off who can run the numbers and challenge the idea to ensure it stacks up.
Proudest achievement so far at Morepork BBQ?
We’re here and we’re still on this journey! It’s blood sweat and tears but the fact we’re invigorated cooking great BBQ food over a spit is good for the soul and feels real good.
Find out more about Morepork BBQ over on their website here