We continue Part 2 of this three part blog series and delve into the mind of Kyle Street, Chef & Owner of Culprit. Kyle shares his thoughts some of the few ways forward in the hospitality scene as we navigate through this turbulent period for the F&B industry.
Part 2: On technology and vaccinations by Kyle Street
Kyle Street is no stranger to innovation and one who dares to push the boundaries of doing things differently. Following the Level 3 announcement, Culprit launched their @Home meal-kit and its weekly sets have been in high demand. Kyle tells us what differences he’s done this time compared to the previous lockdown and the challenges or positives from adopting a streamlined, digital and tech-savvy system.
You ran Culprit @ Home in lockdown last year, what have you done differently this time round and has it helped in streamlining your business?
Every time we have revisited our home kits, we have tried to improve them in different ways i.e. taste, flavours, packaging and delivery. We had been working with Meez well before the most recent lockdowns to create the ability to bring restaurant meal kits nationwide and intended to roll this out even at business as usual. However, this current lockdown has given us the opportunity to focus in and run this as a pilot programme with them establishing courier channels and us adjusting and refining the menus and packaging to not only be delicious but also more robust and transportable. Meez launches nationwide later this week so do keep a look out on their Instagram or website.
You are digitally savvy and a very creative person, do you feel that having the ability to design your website, along with social media has helped in ensuring that Culprit @ Home is successful and have helped the business?
I’m a bit of a geek and control freak, so I run our website, social media channels & web-based store front. To operators who aren’t very savvy or might be daunted or deterred by this, there is a huge number of apps and software available that are super simple to use as long as you have your brand identity or brand content ready to roll out.
Being able to run and control these elements allow me to be dynamic with menu updates and have a direct line of communication with my customers. From there I’m able to learn what dishes or concepts are the most well received with my customers.
Do you think that the future of hospitality and dining calls for embracing technology in the “new normal” and do you think the hospitality scene will be different next year, in what way?
We plan to incorporate our @Home meal kits alongside our day-to-day restaurant service by collaborating with Meez and offering these nationwide. Others may look at other ways to lift their sales, perhaps by adding in takeaway or spice mixes, ready to go products. During these times, it is invaluable to utilise every tool available to restaurant and one of the most evolving area is the technology and app space.
Our business is built on a certain level of customers to break even. Recently it’s been complicated in hitting those numbers due to recurring lockdowns, dining restrictions, closed borders with no tourism and even city centre construction projects. It’s not given us any choice but to consider all avenues to reclaim those numbers otherwise we’ll not survive. I feel it is so important to choose solutions that feel right for us and represent what Culprit is day to day.
Do you think vaccination mandates, social distancing guidelines will be the way forward for when we open up and re-emerge back into the “new normal” society? Are you hopeful or concerned?
This is a hard one. Restaurants are spaces that are inclusive, everyone is welcome. Yet in the same breath we also have a responsibility to create a safe and healthy environment for the people that dine with us.
One way that I can continue to offer a safe environment is by ensuring our team are vaccinated. I’m getting my second jab today, and everyone in our team will be fully vaccinated by the end of October.
It certainly sounds that at least in the initial, vaccination mandates are a way the government can instruct all restaurants on how to operate. If this isn't mandated and each restaurant is left to choose to use vaccine passports or not, this opens up the possibility of conflict, as restaurants themselves would need to create their own policies & police them, which I am not a fan of.
Would you dine at a F&B establishment if you know that there are unvaccinated people? Should the government mandate vaccinations for staff and diners in F&B establishments or should this be left up to choice? We'd like to know through this short 60 second survey.