#785 – Rami Ykmour On Building RASHAYS/
- July 9, 2020
Rami Ykmour – Serial Entrepreneur
Rami Ykmour is the founder of well-known restaurant chain RASHAYS. Rami has spent decades in the hospitality industry, initially working as a delivery driver for Pizza Hut, before working his way up at Domino’s to eventually run three franchises.
In 1998, Rami founded RASHAYS with his partner Shannon. Over 20 years later, he’s expanded the brand to over 30 restaurants across Australia’s east coast – including 18 franchised locations.
On today’s episode of The Daily Talk Show, we discuss:
– COVID-19’s impact on RASHAYS
– Working at Domino’s
– Staying open through COVID-19
– Uber Eats and delivery giants
– Underpaying staff and having integrity in hospitality
– Rami’s biggest hurdle
– How restaurants make money
– Timing and starting a restaurant
– Finding great people
– Gut instinct
– Leading from the heart
– The future of the hospitality industry
– A different approach for business
– Doing it all again
Rami Ykmour on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rami.ykmour
Email us: email@example.com
Send us mail: PO BOX 400, Abbotsford VIC 3067
The Daily Talk Show is an Australian talk show and daily podcast by Tommy Jackett and Josh Janssen. Tommy and Josh chat about life, creativity, business, and relationships — big questions and banter. Regularly visited by guests and gronks! If you watch the show or listen to the podcast, you’re part of the Gronk Squad.
This podcast is produced by BIG MEDIA COMPANY. Find out more at https://bigmediacompany.com/
It's the daily Talk Show Episode 795 welcoming to the studio Rami more. Welcome. Thanks for coming on the show, man.
Thank you guys. Thank you for having me.
My first podcast you're just saying this is
welcome to the world welcome.
Mat honestly, guys, I've never done a podcast before never listened to one. So I'm a virgin in so many ways. Hey guy, I mean, to me
now we will. seasoned professional in entrepreneurship. How do you explain what you do in 2020
might help explain what I did in 2020 but I'll just get up and go about my day but it's been very challenging I guess with COVID-19 and all the rest of it. So it's, it's changed me as a person. It's changed me as a change the way I think in business to be honest with you.
Well, I know a few people that have a restaurant restaurant, you've got about 30 is how many how many of you actually got more than
30? Or 30? Right? Yeah. 30 restaurants up and down the East Coast. Yeah, things are different because different states have different laws and all the rest of it. So it's been very, very challenging with what's going on at the moment.
This morning. We're just chatting about something happened in January, Josh was on a podcast and it feels like it was legit two years ago with everything that's happened. What did your January January look like? And and what was your sort of mission then? And how much has it changed since?
Yes, January, I guess we're getting about a normal year and you know, which one's going to be looking forward to to 2020 everything was going to be we had planes we had planes typing up in New Zealand. You know, grow a little bit more. And then yes, I was January was another like another January was fine.
And I mean, that's where it's, you can't you'd never know that this would be the case. And so Russia is the restaurants they're flying along and Then all of a sudden COVID hits. And I mean, were you in denial that it was going on? I mean, a lot of business owners were like, Are we going to push forward? So let's just see how it plays out. What How did you approach COVID?
Look when it first started, like Yeah, when COVID you know, started, started coming up with a news and started thinking, oh my god, how can this affect us? Hell, what's going to happen? Absolutely denial. You're right. You don't want to know you don't want to face the truth. And then I guess it all come to a head it was it was true. I remember on Friday night to the Friday so we shut down on the Monday that was when dawning stop that as of midday dining, Monday, I think is the 23rd or 21st or something of March. But I remember on Friday thinking I was out on Friday, actually, I was out on the town. I remember just going you know, things were a little bit quieter. Things were different. I'm thinking come Monday, man, there's got to be a different world.
What was the first communication that you had to all of so it's A franchise that you run, like, like, Can you give me a sense of the structure and where you sort of fit in at all?
Absolutely. So like, I'm the, I'm the founder of the business, I'm gonna see Yeah, I've got a whole, you know, we've got a whole structure in place. But one caveat, like when I started thinking COVID on your something, it was gonna be different. It was now on companies, CEOs and things like that. So being the founder, I made sure I was here on Monday, I knew there was a big decision to be made once because what I was waiting on. So New Zealand, if we look at New Zealand, New Zealand went into full lockdown, but they actually they forced the restaurants to close down so they didn't give an option to the restaurants to stay open for. For anything that is said you have to close down End of story. So what I what I started playing in my head over the weekend, I started playing in my head if they keep us open on we're gonna convert our restaurants into a pickup and delivery business.
So I started playing that in my head, and that's sort of where I come from. So I come from the Pizza Hut world. Nice world, so I guess it wasn't gonna be it wasn't gonna be too hard of a transition in my head when you say you come from those worlds I mean I come from those worlds in a different way I'm a customer you know I buy well what does that mean that you come from those worlds?
Yeah, I'll pick also started so I started my journey I guess in the workplace as a pizza driver back in 93 I was doing my HSC and yours failing miserably. So I go, you know, I bet again, find myself a job. Ramiz offer cat.
Yes, this is days of doggy. The TV personality that was on the Pizza Hut ends.
My daddy daddy was my favourite. Yep, absolutely. It was doggy man. It was doggy did you make doggy never got to make doggy but um, yeah, there was a lot of baggies working for us. Can we call you
can call me a dog.
And so and so you were doing that. So? Did you work your way up or like it? You mentioned Domino's there. How does this all come about?
Yes. So just briefly say it all started. delivering pizzas and worked my way up through management, all the rest of it and then I finished with the pizza I didn't then I opened a couple of Domino's franchise so I got to learn a little bit about the franchising world and about how you know pickup and delivery in that side of the world works
with franchises Tommy and I were talking about this the other day. When should you get involved as a franchisee versus when should you just go out on your own and open up a shop you know with your own brand?
Man it's interesting enough people get into franchising law franchisees get to see a franchise offer a franchise for easy money so really, man it depends. Look
Why did you do that?
It's hot. Why? Why did I franchises originally?
Yeah, like why did you get into like, say Domino's and things like Yeah,
Yeah, I thought Look, I got into it for the right reasons. I got into it because I wanted to make dominance a bigger brand at the time. Always. Always committed to the, you know, I'll work from the heart so I was like committed to, to making a difference to that brain and I wanted I wanted to make a difference from the what I understood from pizza to take the Domino's but when I got into the system I realised that that's not what it's about, you know, franchising franchises are two different things. It's it's a different world two different pages
that you didn't have much say or control being a Domino's franchisee or
you, there's no control and it was never about the, you know, and being a franchisee, and like being the way they treated the franchisees and this is the whole system. This isn't just that. It's always about the bottom line, bottom line bottom line. And that's because the way the franchisees sort of put pressure on the franchisor to act, they always put pressure on you know, the bottom line bottom line, what's in it for me what's in it for me, as opposed what's in it for the whole brain and as a result, what do I get out of it? So it wasn't it wasn't a good fit for me.
So you shifted rushes into a pickup and delivery across that three month lockdown Yeah, I mean, we're looking at the financial side, this is gonna we're gonna completely haemorrhage cash here or you saying we could have a real business out of this.
Now that it was going to be we're going to haemorrhage you. There was no question. I had my CEO and CFO saying to me, Rami, we have to close look at this. It's gonna cost us about 120 grand a week to stay open. I still remember the numbers clearly in my head. And I said to my CFO, is actually I'm good friends, we said, I said to him, we're best mates. And I said to him, so how long does that mean? How much money do we have in the bank? And you guys will do it for about 1512 to 15 weeks. I said, let's go. Let's try and make the most out of the situation. People are going to close down. Let's keep our staff employed. Let's hope. Let's hope COVID-19 goes away tomorrow, which we had deep down it wasn't. But it was a matter. Let's stay open. Let's keep everyone employed, because we can't afford to lose 23 years. Because if we close down today, then I've lost 23 years of what I've been building, so Yeah, okay, let's go. Any My head was okay, I'll lose everything. I started with nothing. I'll get up on my feet again. But did on the back of my head think that possibly? I could also climb out of this? Yeah, I did it and I had a bit of hype, but it was I certain The answer was no.
And so having that experience in the delivery side of things, Uber rates and all the different services have sort of come up over the last few years. Have you seen those services in the market from an entrepreneurial perspective?
Sorry that Ah,
yeah, no, so do you like a you as a business owner? Do you see Uber Eats as a terrible pot but you know, you're doing the deal with the devil in regards to you know, you're giving away 30% every single time someone doesn't order. When when should a business play with say those big guys versus trying to create their own systems?
Yeah, well He says, Look, it's it's very convenient. I mean, it's a it's a great look, they've they've found a gap in the market and they've been able to, you know, utilise it, I guess. But yeah, you're right. It's very, very hard to do business with them. And I guess I don't want to do business with the small player. They focus so much on the big play, you know, I'm sure McDonald's and KFC and all the big brands are not being paid 30 35%. So, but yeah, they force us to get in bed with them during the COVID-19 Yeah, they did. They chose
a strategy though, where it's like, this is temporary. Like I've had like, the local Mexican restaurant every, anytime I get in an Uber Eats, but they put a card saying, hey, just fuckin order direct. And so we'd been doing that through their website. Is there? Is there a strategy around that?
I didn't do anything like that. No. Of course we need
is like because I have no idea. I guess braids can't stop you from doing that.
Exactly. They can't I mean, you're delivering what you want. Not an honestly, legally. I don't know what If they stopped me delivering tomorrow Good luck to them they could they go off you know they are that look, the truth is but they do that they run a they got a structure where they need to charge 30% I understand that but it's just doesn't suit the restaurant too It doesn't suit poor mom and dad you know that's that's the drama it doesn't it doesn't suit the industry. But yeah, the strategy was, let's place our own cards. That's what we did. And we started our own call centre. So all all jumped on and got a one 3001 3000 number so a real nice phone number right now. And yeah, they got promoted again with 3000 3000. Now but what they what I did was I went out and bought 30 cars, so I went out and bought 30 cars from mg. They were cheap cars. I think I paid about 30 and a half thousand for them. And I'll use the Front of House staff. So myself and the franchisees we use the Front of House staff to start delivering food ourselves as opposed to delivering food to the table. I have 30 cars now delivering food to people's houses.
So this is in the enhanced Like what time period like buying 30 cars sounds
outrageous. Yeah. And deployed the doggy. Yeah.
Exactly, exactly. It's kind of fun. Well, buggies did exist, so that's good. But what happened? Honestly, everything was quick and, and because I think the whole I think that day, like I feel the vibe I still like I'm looking at my office right now and the vibe, the vibe was how can I say it? It was like everyone felt like they were in the trenches. Everyone was willing to fight. Everyone was willing to jump on and say, What do I need to do? So making decisions was so eat luck, luck. And because I was all in so I had nothing to lose in while it's already already committed all my money. So I was like simple decisions by these by that do that do this. So everything was there was no red tape, everything was happening. And the people felt that my staff my, the people around me felt that and they were like, so yes, everyone was allowing things to happen really, really quickly. But it was it was unbelievable. Like we worked seven days a week and people were working long hours without asking. Anyone it was just I think it was just the whole vibe of what was going on during that time.
What, what motivates you is that you know, stress and pressure or is it you know, just you're a motivated vision? Nah,
man just just motivated may just, I've just met whatever I do in life. I'm always like 100% committed one wants the best result wants to give it my all so whether, you know, I'm playing cricket playing footy. Drinking at the bar, what if he wants to know what to come first? You know what I mean? Yeah, I'm pretty. I'm very competitive, I guess. I guess it comes from a competitive place. And maybe the fear of having nothing that's that's the biggest thing I think I think they've, I grew up with nothing. So the feel of having nothing is sort of, maybe that's sort of that's in there. And as a result, I'm always wanting to win.
being entrepreneurial and working in sort of hospitality. We've heard stories of the big names who have ended up under paying their staff or and I sort of empathise with moving quickly and just having some fuck ups in the back end and before you know you lose your house and everything, how much of that is on your mind? And how do you prepare to make sure that you are doing everything by the book?
Look, this this has been my biggest success. The biggest success I've had in the business is that I've always worked to make sure that they can't be stuff ups like that you cannot win people off. That's once you read people off and in miles, you're a thief and you know what I mean? And then, you know, like, I've like I've a franchise itself. So you know, you speak about franchising, and sorry, franchisees and people are dead recently. 7011 and there's companies out there who underpaid this staff? Yeah, look, I don't tolerate any of that zero tolerance because if you're stealing from your staff, you're stealing from me the franchise or you're stealing from your suppliers. You're just it's stealing and he's stealing from a person who's taken home to feed his family. Just um, yeah.
So how do you create a guess I guess part of it is like trying to make sure that you As a business don't fit the bed as well. So how do you how do you? How do you sort of mix? being generous, paying fairly, but then also watching the bottom line so that you know that you've got longevity?
It's not an option, Josh. Yeah, yes. Like, it's, I get your question, but it's not even considered. It's just, you just got to make sure like, but integrity is number one. In business. If you have, you have a lot integrity, he can grow. And now I know what you're saying, you know, you see, and that's why they're the people who grow. That's the truth. If you see a company growing, you know, if the founders usually have a company that's growing is massive integrity. You see companies in big names, like what you said, who don't do the right thing. They're the people who sort of, it's no longer a founder making a decision. Now, it's CEOs and CFOs, and all the rest of it, but I think as long as it's with a founder, and he's been able to be you don't have people working for you for 23 years, like myself, you know, who sort of like helped me grow the bread because you can't do nothing on your own. And unless I see somebody with integrity, You got a chance.
We had a guest last week that said, you know, successful businesses are just presenting problems in a different way. So it's all the issues that come along with growing from one restaurant to 30 what has been the sort of biggest hurdle for you as a founder along this journey?
Man, I'll tell you what the hottest the hottest thing is going from one restaurant to two restaurants to be honest with you, that was probably the hardest thing because once you know how to multiply, it becomes it's sort of like you work at the system and it becomes a lot easier. So yes, I would say to you from one to two is probably been the hardest. And then then you get to a certain number now like you know, you're going to have the 2025 you know, it's sort of sort of it's just a multiplying you become you learn the skills as you go, I guess where it gets a little bit harder where it's more challenging. Now when we get into state you know, Queensland AC T and you start having different laws and different you know, different guidelines that sort of you know, even when you speak about payroll even got back a little bit, you know, these different arm, you know, you have to work on different arm different systems.
Yeah, Tommy and I always like walking past cafes or restaurants and we're doing the numbers in our heads and we say, you know, quiet. Yeah, even before COVID you say sort of that's not full. There's not many people and then you work out. Okay, that lease. What's that worth? What are they paying their staff? How do you create a successful hospital business when it comes to the dollars and cents?
Yeah. Look, it's there's obviously for my business, I'll speak for my business. I'm in the restaurant. So I'm in the restaurant part of the game. So, so yes, you walk past a restaurant, it's quiet during the day. It's, you know, but we rely on pizza. We rely on Friday, Saturday nights, we rely on Sundays. And I guess the challenge as a as a business is to grow that that peak period. But you go to your point, how do you I mean, you know, you've got to, you've got to control your food costs. You've got to control your labour costs, and you've got to make sure your Yeah, your occupancy cost is a good as a good percent from day one. It you got to have a good understanding of that. Oh, otherwise you will fall flat on your face. Absolutely.
And so does that mean because I can imagine, especially with, you know, reality shows like master chef, it feels like everyone's going into that foodie realm, especially here in Melbourne. Like, how do you make sure like to paper? should people be taking on debt? Like, what are the things? What are the key things that people do? That ends up not working out? Like there's sort of telltale signs of a bad business?
Yeah, the number one thing I say is, do not go into hospitality. If you're going to go in it for the bottom line. You're not going to succeed or hospitality from day one. I learned is all about generosity serve, have generosity. Do not Do not borrow do not. If you are borrowing money to go into hospitality. Again, you're going to get flooded. You're going to get you're going to fall flat on your face. It is a tough game it there is tight margins. It is very we work on very, very tight margins, even the biggest theories, you know, the golden arches, they work on very, very tight tight margins. You know, we're talking 345 6%. So, yes, so so I guess, and we
started then I guess like, for someone, do you just need to have cash in the bank to be able to make it work?
Absolutely. Might need to you need to honestly I would say have your own cash. You have to you can't afford to be partners with the bank. I'll tell you. It's too It's too tight of an industry. It's and unfortunately people see it from the outside. I think I can do it. I can do it. And I know the the failure rate in restaurants is like it's it's unbelievable. Like, it's, you know what I mean? I think only 10% of restaurants succeed or something. Something ridiculous. So yeah, so there's a lot to say, mate, you've got to have your own money. And it's not about knowing how to cook. It's not about knowing how, what good services, you really have to understand everything. There's so look you really got to You know, you've got to be, you've got to be a bit of a mastermind at being able to work your books, especially when you're a small business and you're starting off, you got to know what your food cost is, you've got to be able to manage it. You've got to be able to manage your labour you've got to man it's it's a very, very challenging business. It's very, very hard, but looks so simple and outside. I guess that's why so many people fall over, say yes, I'm like, comment to people who want to start your restaurant, make sure you have a lot of business knowledge in the background. Like, you know, under, you know, there's a lot of things you learned do courses, study guns, study at type, some business courses, you know, university, whatever, you can't just Yeah, you've got a it's it's a complicated business. I've got to say that
in Victoria, there was, I think, probably seven or eight years ago, there was a trend where cafes moved to suburban areas, you know, old coin laundries on the corner and a little suburb but it was a timing where that model excelled and it started going everywhere. And my brothers my were a part of leading that charge. And we're talking about on the weekend saying, you know, it was really timing like good business heads, but also timing. you've, you've been around for 23 years in that business. When a timing place with a 23 year old business that's been in the same industry.
Yep. So So I tell you what the timing was a timing was this is this is the different parts 23 years ago in Sydney, especially awkward, so big. In the western suburbs, there was neck cafes, so we entered so all into the gap. It was a different completely different gaming. I entered a I entered a business outside I found a gap in the market on you there was people that wanted to go out I wanted you know, there was those little little cafes those little cafes up but there was nothing of that size, where there's 100 seat or 200 seat up people that can go out and meet and and have late night. So I guess and I started very started with no money so I didn't have a nice feed out. I didn't have any of that I just had a big place. And it was Yes.
So in that position when you first started and Don't have a nice place. I guess it can be pretty tempting to be like, ah, maybe I can get 50 k from the bank for for a better fit out which might say more customers come in what was your mindset at that point?
Yeah, well I did that I did that. So So what happened was, but I did that originally suffer so I opened up with nothing. And then when I saw an opportunity, and also I can, I saw it growing and there was a demand, it was a competition. No, no nothing and I could see the demand was massive, then I was able to sort of, you know, be brave and go out and borrow money and I borrowed very little Yes, all I did was I borrowed 20,000 20,000 it was never enough, right? It's all part slowly and are built slowly.
But you also saw a gap where as people are saying, Let's open a cafe let's take a big cash, but the the gaps been filled
many, many times. There's a lot of donut shops that we're in now. that are no longer Yeah, right. Like there is that trend and so where where was the those that 20 grand bits and pieces How did you know where to place it?
Always I was on the floor I was in the like, I was always in the business. I felt the business I spoke to the customer. So I understood, you know, let's get a wood fire oven. So then woodfired pizza came in there became popular, so I'll put a wood fire oven in there, you know, then, you know, we upgraded coffee machines we did. So we reacted to the customer's demands. I did what the customers want. It wasn't what I wanted. It was what the customers needed and wanted. It was a different time. And I gotta be like, now you're, you're taking me back in at 20 odd years. Yeah, it's it was different today to starting a restaurant today. Um, you know, because people all around me come in and they get advice off me all the time saying I'm going to start my own business. I want to open a restaurant. And unfortunately, I try and give him as much advice as I can. And I tell them not to do it. And some of them. Some of them don't. Yeah. And the people that don't, you know, I don't know. Like, you know, it's very hard to find somebody honestly, in all the time that I've been in business. I've worked with two people who I know were capable of opening a restaurant because they had what it takes. And they understood what they were getting themselves into that other thing they understood them getting himself into. And I knew they had that ability to to make it work
for Josh and I so we have a video production company alongside this show that we do every day. And I think the learning recently has been that sort of jumped from being just Josh and I as the founders to then actually having people on board and it makes more sense when there's more people but getting the people is the hardest thing and finding the right people is even harder for you. You mentioned that you have a CEO you have you know marketing team, you know all those main roles of field for you as a founder how's it been identifying the right people to bring into your baby?
Man, it's so hard honestly like it's where I'm for ever working with people where I've been very privileged as well been very lucky is the key people in my business have stayed with me for like booboo for 20. So, that's, that's the secret otherwise, man, honestly, to answer your question about how do you find good people? And how do you find the right people? Man? It's so difficult. Yeah, it's so difficult. You know, good. People are so hard to find, um, you know, like, yeah, you just keep on working. You just keep on chipping away at it. I guess. I wish it was this. I wish it was a simple solution. I wish I had the magic answer. I would be. Yeah, I'd be very, very well off. But um, yeah, it's very, very hard. finding people. And it's a big it's a big it's a very, very big challenge. I don't have the magic wand man. Sorry.
I think as a I mean, you could look at it as in you as a person who do you like or who gravitates to you? And then you're applying the filter of what has worked for you. When you look at the people around you. Why are they around you? Why have you decided to partner with them?
Love it. The people I have the people I really are walking into my business are people who lead from the heart. That is the biggest thing. I just there are things that are lacking. At so I look for people who lead from the heart and then on now I'm happy to work with them. I know my, the rest of my team is happy to work with them and the skill comes. So I definitely look for commitment. Passion ahead of skill if you like,
what do you think? What is gut instinct come into all of this?
It's for me from May specifically Matt is Yeah, it's about 99.9% gap. I'd never met I definitely went from the gut, you know, it's simple. You got a lie, you know, your head gives you mixed messages. And you can find all sorts of messages when you let your head do the thinking, you know, you could, I could, you know, you could get it you could ask a million questions that have different million different angles. So yes, it's definitely it's definitely the heart that working from the heart is definitely the key for me and, and that's definitely that's been my success. And I think it's been one team success.
Do you think that you have to communicate in a different way to the team when you're doing it that way I can imagine CFOs or, you know, sort Traditional heads, right? It's maybe more sort of in the numbers. Are you hiring specifically for people who can work with that?
I tell you what, I'll tell you quickly what's happened to me. So with COVID-19, it's been a very, very big eye opener. So I let my sees my CFOs my see me in my car is whatever they are, I'll let him control the business a lot pre COVID-19. And they'd started swaying the business towards numbers, to be honest with this started swaying the business to what I said early on back to why I remembered in franchising, when I was franchising from Domino's, and all the rest of it, so I felt that because I wasn't fully like, up when COVID-19 kicked in, that's when I've just sort of coming in through everything out like when I said I was all in, so I was all in everything. I was 100% committed. And so yes, to answer your question about them talking about numbers on one of I kind of stopped that or kind of
happened, what were the what were they were they KPI based on that or like what it takes Seems like a common thing, right? Like, especially with a business. You even talk about margins bank small and like all of those things are alarm bells when you're trying like trying to survive. So how do you if margins are small and making you know paying too much for for Labour or too much, you know, the supplier and or whatever it is, if that's gonna be the difference between being an awesome business and shitting the bed like how can you get them to not focus on the numbers?
You have to focus on the business question, but it definitely that make it a priority. Definitely have it like if you're having if you've got an agenda and you've got 10 things on your agenda. It's definitely number 10. That's not what makes it you focus on your top line. You focus on your service, you certainly focus on your customers, you focus on all that. But if you fail, see if you're the kind of character who's focused on numbers, you're not usually working from the heart, you're working from the head. So you've already lost the first battle. You've lost the battle of, of, you know, focusing When your customer focusing on your staff focusing on your community focusing on what counts to make a restaurant work. So in so hopefully I've answered your question, you know, I mean, so yes, you need a bit of that. But that's got to be so far dad. So you tell him to fix everything and you say, by the way, guys, just remember we have to be cautious, you know,
so but when. So when you're thinking about people say, thinking about the staff and making sure that they're happy. What's the conversation or the thinking when you're like, Okay, we're going to have to focus on delivery. But these 15 people out of the 30 are not going to like this idea of the front of house, they're not gonna not fucking us to delivering it's gonna be a hard sell. How do you communicate what you think is good for someone or for the business versus not necessarily comfortable?
But by just communicating from the heart, I think people he passion people love passion and we just communicate with passion and you true about what you're saying. Most people gotta sign up and the people who aren't signing up the people who aren't agreeing with you will really make they're not for you. It's It's as simple as that. And, and you got to be brave enough. You've got to be brave enough to accept that. And I've suffered that during COVID-19. You know, not everyone saw not not everyone, not everyone come along and said, Yeah, no worries Rami. Let's go. Let's go and do it. Now. Not everyone did that. But enough people did, because already had a little bit of luck that that sort of culture existed in the business. That was the main culture.
How do you think Australian? How do you think Australia has handled this in terms of supporting businesses?
Man, it's honestly it's been amazing luck. Like, I could honestly speak for myself, I think, whether it's landlords like the major landlords, whether it's a government, whether it's the community, I think as long as you've, you've shown that you've been proactive and you want to you want, I think, honestly, I think we've done very, very well as a country, in on all aspects in all aspects. I met Victoria today. You know, bad news. But otherwise, I think so far man, I think I'm proud, I'm proud to say that I live in Australia and I'm proud to say that I have a business in Australia. And I'm proud to say that I'm, you know, I'm, I've got an Australian owned company, and we have a, you know, I'm very and how we'd survive COVID-19 I'm very proud.
When you are operating from the heart, I feel like emotion could potentially get into it a little bit more. How do you manage the emotional side of things? So I could imagine you have the benefits of having people that are super loyal, but I could imagine also, you have epic blow ups. And you know, you know, when you're communicating at that level, have you worked out a way of taking the good of the emotion, but then also, when it comes to the harder conversations or where there could be a blow up trying to sort of be less emotional?
Yeah, to know what, just obviously a bit to my office. So you know, I block all the time, all the time. But as long as As long as people know where you're blowing up from and if people know you and as long as as long as you and you're absolutely like this blow ups everyday in his office, but I tell you what, they'll their family blow ups, you don't I mean, they they're not they're not blobs where like you're going to lose your job he know that safety, you know, and allow people to blow me up for the right reasons as well. So when you create that family, and again, I'm telling you when you create that, that that culture way works from the heart, of course, you're 100% right, there's going to be blobs, every man always wants the same blowing up in the corner, you see, nothing's blowing up that you know, but you know, you've got nothing to worry about, you know, she's a it's a love of Steve united so we're gonna, you know, they're gonna be having coffee in five minutes.
Is it hard to hard pill to swallow for those HR professionals that are used to sort of traditional ways of doing things like if you had an HR person come in just like that just doesn't get it? What's HR?
Yeah, it's I mean, super interesting because I think that like your what's fascinating about that is you as someone who cares about people, you care about making sure you look after them. And I love that you can do that. But also take away some of the the rah rah.
Yeah, look at it made it man. It's honestly it's easy. Just let I'll keep on saying that to people and all my management who are higher, whether at store level, you know or whatever it is, man just yeah just be frank with people be honest with people and you watch how they respond. It's an easy game. It's an It ain't complicated. It's so easy. Life is so easy. Business is so easy as long as you do it the right way. And we're all on this planet doing the same thing we all want to we all try to, you know, put food on our table for our family. We all try to, you know, achieve a life simple, feel good about us off the bat. As long as you focus on the fundamentals, the basics. It's simple, man. It's honestly it's so easy. And I guess Some people that are gonna have a different view and I don't get it. And I'm not saying they're wrong, but for me, it's it's a simple game. Really simple. I love what I do as a result. I love what I do I enjoy what I do. And it's not enough hours in a day.
Yeah, I love it. Because I think what you're talking about your your business is that it becomes a lifestyle for the people that work for it. Not that you're trying to take the piss, but it's like, you want people who are spending 70% of their waking life working with your team and you want it to feel less like a job. I think that's what we try and do here. But then there's also the reality that people need to sort of get out of that. How do you how do you gain perspective, that it's, it is just a job. We are all here just trying to survive and do our thing. How do you remove yourself from that sort of work mindset away to something where it's perspective shifting?
It's not it's not just a job. Honestly, I never look at it like that. And I don't think my staff do I don't think anyone does. It's not just a job. It's part of our life like I think the word job like what is a job you know? I don't know I don't even think of I don't think my people think of it as jobs and I'll make sure the other people that hang around so it's odd maybe I live in a different maybe I'll win a different bubble he in my business but yeah we don't have it honestly it's not about jobs man it's about it's about
just life and so if it's not a job it can then be your life and then there is the also the reality that your life isn't it there's other aspects to life other than trying to just survive I think we get pulled into that where I need to disconnect sometimes even though that my job doesn't feel like a job. I also know I need a disconnect. What it how do you disconnect from the life which is your work, which is the job?
Person personally, the way I disconnect is, you know, I'll make sure my weekends I'm on weekends, I'll make sure my family time is my family time. But it's and it's simple because I'm happy at what I'm happy with my job. I mean I got to be careful not to use the word job, dude. Yeah, I'm happy where I am. I'm happy with what I'm doing during the week. So it's like, you know, automatic Look, it's hard for me to explain because honestly, it's it's natural. It just, it just, it just happens for me and, and maybe I have a look around me like, you know, the people who work with me and I just I don't know automate, I think it's same compassion in the workplace. It's working with people, it's understanding what people's what they need in their life. And I don't know, I, I can't explain it. And I guess that's been a huge part of our success as an organisation,
company values. Is that is that something that you focus on? Also, how do you create a compass for your team?
Yes, say, hey, say company values is sort of its live values. It's just training people. It's how you treat your kids. It's how mom and dad treated me. That's how I treat people. I expect him to treat me the same way and it's just as opposed to like, we are very, very unprofessional. We know that sorry. When Sound professional, I don't mean that in the bathtub. We're a little bit unorthodox. And you know, in our business we are very very unorthodox, especially from the top especially rocker speak for my headquarters. And the rest of it, you know, like, it's just, we are very just, you know, you come in when you want and, and people end up giving you more and you go home when you want and you you know, and you you know, we it's just and even the office layout and the setup it's not a profit it's not a it's not an office as expected I'll put a restaurant in the middle of my in my office, you know, where people go and work and eat and his food on all the time this drinks on all the time or whatever you whatever. Yeah, so it's just, it's not an the whole workplace doesn't feel like a workplace. And when I say that, it's like me going to visit other other offices, I guess, or other companies. I definitely don't work in that way. I definitely. I have a very diverse sort of people we all get along. We're not going to say like, you know, and, and like I said, we're not expecting much from people as long as you've hired the right people, they end up giving you so much literally have to say to people may go home, go home.
Look too hot. You've had seven cafe might just got taken to take
joy. The cost has gone up. Absolutely, man, honestly, in our business, we've got a man, we got to say listen, go home, man. It's alright, you know you're gonna burn yourself out. Again. Just watch TV God isn't what does focus mean to you? Focus?
I don't know, I don't know if I could ever focus but yeah, focus on like, I don't know what to watch today.
Yeah, I mean, I guess is there a? Do you think that you need to be focused to be doing like I guess you could have had 50 other different businesses you could be, you know, like, it sounds like your focus based on the customer and things like that they've been focused based on 23 years in business. Yeah, exactly. And so what so yeah, how do you how do you sort of reconcile focus?
Again, I'll swear to you it's just a natural ability for me to just Really just naturally I'll get up and I'm and I'll see I mean I don't want to sound like I'm gonna put tickets on myself here but I will look the way I look at it in business and if you meant to be an entrepreneur it's a bit like a it's a bit like a great athlete I don't know if you've had a chance to speak to a great athlete yes they have to fake us they have to train me to ask
them great athletes really awkward imagine
say that I say that you know like you know it just flows like it just yes you do focus but it's in built in yeah you know what I mean? Like it's not like I it's it's not a it's not a it's not something I have to turn on it's not like our focus it's not a turn on thing it's just a it's just say it exists in my in my DNA exists in the exist in what I do, and it to be honest and what I was yeah if I'm saying like a natural cricket a and ask him wait because I'm just in his own. I don't know what my focus is that what you call it, but I was in design, you know,
have you had to change anything that you do to be able to To get people on the same page, because I feel like with the the gut instinct from the heart, not like it's all very using intuition, but I feel like potentially as you start to scale and have more people involved, they all of a sudden they're asking questions of you that they might need answers. People might be operating slightly differently. Have you had to change anything over, you know, your lifetime to be a good leader?
Man, you're learning everyday 100% like, you change everyday as well. But again, you change each other. If I relate it back to family, just again, you're you're changing because it's growing up. It's what you do, you know, ask you at home, have you changed with your with your with your partner or whatever? And it's, it's Yes, but it's not a conscious decision. Yeah, it's just so it's a flowing, it's a flowing thing. It's just a, it's an ever evolving thing, but it's not where you go, I listen. Tomorrow, I'm going to start doing this or tomorrow. I'm going to start doing that. It's just it's just being in It being you know, and it's not to say I'm a workaholic I'm far from a workaholic. Yeah. Yeah, I'm far from workaholic it's just but what I do I'm just so committed I guess it's honestly it just comes from within I it's an you know, probably bad explain it but it just it's the best way and I guess when you when you hear so many when I say make people similar to myself and I would say that we can have that frank conversation sometimes
it sounds like it's you're referencing natural ability and things that you can't necessarily teach. When you look at something like a an MBA, or go into business school, what's your view on you know, the the learned business world or the degree behind people?
Look, I think to have something like that behind you, it's gonna make you a lot more powerful. It's gonna make it so much more powerful. I have no doubt. But you also need to have the natural ability yet is you You need to have an MBA by itself or, you know, any sort of, it's not enough. It's for me, that's what I've seen, even with the people I employ, they got to have and that's why when you when you ask the question, how do you find good people? How do you hire him? It's a very, very tough challenge. It's you got to have, but you've got to have a mix. And if you've got, I've been fortunate because I've been able to surround myself with people who have degrees. So they've been able to sort of, sort of, you know, help me with things because you do need a level of education. There's no question about that. But yeah, but you got to have that natural ability to lead and to be able to be an entrepreneur.
What have you learned about yourself during COVID?
Oh, my God. Yes. So good question. This is what I've learned about myself. I am.
I'm more confident or what I thought I was. I am I all I thought myself thought of myself as being not very confident but I realise how confident I am I realised That I, I, what I do, I do very well, I was able to sort of stamp it if you like by the results I achieved and how quickly I'll move things. Yes, I've got a lot of self. The biggest thing is I got a lot of self comp, I learned that I'm a lot more confident than what I thought I was. That's probably the biggest one.
And have you found mentors that have supported you over this time?
Man? Yeah, look, I've never had a mentor in my life. I've never had a mentor. I've never had anyone who's sort of a senior level who's been involved in my life. So yes. So you know, when you talk about mentors, I don't get it again. And people say who's your mentor? And, you know, people have tried to be my mentors. And I guess because I'm a, you know, I'm the way I work and the way I am. It's just, it's very, very, very hard. I've never been able to connect with anyone as a mentor.
What about reading books? I mean, people find mentors through podcasts you mentioned you've never listened to a podcast
yet, often. have
never, never, never, never heard a podcast.
And never never never listened to a podcast that I've been on a podcast, never read a book. I can watch a movie. I'm a bit like that. You know what I mean? I just say it. So I'm just in it, man. I just love what I said, I'll just leave it out of slavery or brave it and I wasn't in the hot and it just all comes it just all flows.
You've got I feel like you've got similarities with Gary Vee, but I feel like you'd be the type of guy who would be real pissed off with that sort of connection. Do you know of Gary Vaynerchuk?
I have heard of him, by the way.
And so and so what does it all look like for you going forward? Like what are you excited about? What and what do you think the biggest challenge is going to be for not only you but for the for the rest of Australia in business over the next coming years.
Things are gonna be very, very challenging. But what we're all excited where I'm excited is that I have I think I've got the formula or know what the formula is to success today. And I think people like myself who are, who work from the heart are going to be the people who succeed in this in these tough times. Because if you I think the community, the Aussies, like, everyone has come together. And just by the way, I do things by the will of God the way I do things the way I work with like, you know, my local suppliers or by Australian I do everything Ozzie interacting with my consumer I, I think people have just jumped to me that magnetic to me and, and I think that's so I'm excited because I know what I'm doing is what people want today. So yes, I'm really excited for the future. And, and I know I'm in the you know, I'm in I'm in a space at the moment where people are feeling that way. Well, we're I think, my my intuitions and my my skills are what's needed in today's in today's environment.
Yeah, I love it. I love it isn't afraid refreshing approach romney because I think I spend a lot of time looking at people who have the answer for everything and the very book smart and I've, you know, speaking the formula as it's written down, but then there's the fear, like yours is a very Aussie approach to business. You've put your head down, and you've felt it out all the way. And it doesn't work for everyone. But it's, I mean, it's working for you. Right?
And but it will work Look, when you say it does work for everyone, because I guess you've got to have it a little bit. Yeah, you know what I mean? You could you know what I mean? And if you have it, and I guess, what I'm what I'm trying to do, what I want to try and do my life from here on is I want to try and help people who have it, I want to see the people who have it, and I want to try and I guess motivate them and not because people like myself too. Because we're not book smart because we're not that because we then we know we're not very articulate, we kind of sometimes get put down and that's the truth we get put down by other people easily. And I and and I'll see those people say they're the people that are allowed to grow my business as well that I'll make sure I'll give a lot of runs. too, I allow him to grow. I you know what I mean? Or then let people push him down. Because I could see that in people. You know what I see a young Rami and someone. And because we don't come like what you just said, you know, we're not, you know, we're not your norm. You know what I mean? So, what we I think we've got to encourage those people a bit more. And yeah, and that's doing the future.
How does that sort of connect with your parenting style? Do you have any sort of thoughts or philosophies on how to parent?
Yeah, my, um, my kids, I've got four beautiful kids. So I'll go from 12 to five and yeah, I'm trying to give them as much right as possible as well. I want them to find their own flavour. I want them to be who they are. And I want them to you know, we have a bit of a challenge between my wife and I but you know, like she you know, she's very disciplined. She's about you know, with complete opposites. In that sense. She's very disciplined, you know, bedtime, this, this this, this is where I believe you Gotta let you know a little bit more you know, as soon as mommy's away are, are gonna be themselves a little bit more the fun guy as well, um, the fun guy but what I'm saying what I would say to parents as well is that yes, there needs to be discipline we have to learn discipline, but allow your kids allowed to, you know, allow him to lend a Mr. alarm to let allow them to learn from their mistakes as well. I'm a huge believer of that huge believer.
What about education? Do you think that traditional education it seems like we don't learn much about the things that we probably should in regards to accounting and business it's a personal fight like all the shit that you actually need to live as an adult. How do you say the education system?
Don't stop me? There's so so I went through school, right? I went all the way to 12 I still can't read and write. I'm borderline illiterate. I can you know, my reading is better than my writing. No one was able to pick it up at school high school teaches let me get through it. I don't know I used to scribble my, my essays and they used to get trouble for bad writing as opposed to not being able to spell at so the educated man education is not made. Look, look. So I'm sort of drifting a little bit because it's an emotional subject for me to read. It's like, yeah, I think education it's again, it's a, there's like a, there's a formula they use, but that's not for everyone you know, and an odd another school. I know, when I went to school, I'm, you know, I'm missing a little bit more to market. You know, I'll do a little bit more with my kids today. I think it's slightly better. But still, my dad was so far away from what the real world needs are, you know, just, I don't get it, man. I don't get it.
So you there's certain things that you can do was a dad to be able to make it easier, like, is there certain decisions around education that has sort of become apparent in the way that you want to do things based on the experience you had?
Yeah, well, I tell her, I educate my kids. I'll make sure they come to work during school holidays. I'll make sure they're here. I'll make sure I speak to him about you know, bills. I'll make sure I'll speak to him about I'll make sure I educate him about law. Life, which I believe doesn't happen, you know. And so that's, I guess that's my education part. And, you know, I'm not saying I'm not we need make, we need everyone we need people to go through and become doctors and work out the cure to cancer or to COVID-19 we need those people, you know what I mean? But I think the way we educate our people, we've got to be able to, you know, I don't know we've got to funnel more in a way where we allow people to, to go into, you know, to, I guess go to where they belong to what? To be educated in a way they needed to be educated.
In an alternate reality if you were to start all over again tomorrow, what would you do? What job would you create for yourself or not job?
What what lifestyle?
Man, that's the easiest question you've given me all day. wouldn't change a thing would not change one thing, man. Like him doing Love, love everything, do it exactly the same way.
Start as a pizza drava and work up the way I've worked up slowly. Whatever. I'll do it exactly the same way. 100% What
is it about the delivery driver? Because like, Don, the CEO or whatever the the senior guy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. You know, he famously so started as a delivery delivery guy. Is it? Was that a different time? Like, is there the feels like there's less opportunities for that sort of story of start at the bottom and work your way up. Everyone wants sort of, to fucking leapfrog get and be senior straight up. Yeah. Why do you think that happened in sort of the pizza industry?
You know, I worked with DOM, we were franchisees together, before he went on and made him he's done very, very well for himself. So I think in a time too, when I grew up, like, sort of when I grew up for myself, it was like, we were just coming out of a recession. It was hard to get a job. I mean, you know, things are a lot easier today that that's also the truth. You know, I don't want to make it look for the youngsters out there. But and they're not prepared to work as hard. I could tell you that I see that generation they're not prepared. They want to give They want everything put on a platform they. But I guess you know, we're very special in this country. Yeah. We're very, very fortunate man, even what we think his point is, and now we need poor like, the hunger is not there. You know what I mean? We know, like, you see it, you know, we're not hungry. We were okay, we're gonna be fine. And, and it's a beautiful thing to have. Yeah, it's it's beautiful. So I think it's a hunger. I think that's the biggest thing. I think it's, you know, it's it's not that there is an opportunity, there is more opportunities, but there's less hunger from that yet from that young generation.
Is it because I don't know if I can imagine a I can't say the transition, say in sort of the more modern businesses going from the Uber Eats that using the same sort of analogy, the Uber Eats delivery person making their way up and having the pathways Did you sense or feel that there was that pathway for you?
Now, no, it's not like I thought I'm going to start off as a driver that I'm going to do a B and C and get to see no no that's not the way it's just again I guess it's an inner passion that inner drive that I had that got me to wake up me I definitely didn't see it I definitely didn't think that I was capable I'll be I'll be honest with you I'm very very low self esteem all the rest of it. So it's not that it's just about that's what I encourage if I want to speak to youngsters make work from the heart do what's right do what's right for whatever you're delivering, whether it's food, whether it's furniture, whether it's whatever it is, and I don't mean delivery as in just car delivery as in making it happen and and and I'll know you'll succeed I know that I know the world is dying for people who are are I see it and obviously across a lot of people are dying for people who want to achieve or want to kick goals. People Australia's dying for it. We need it.
What have you got your hand in anything else lucky doing any other businesses on the side? Yeah,
I'll keep it simple. I'll keep it simple arm everything is sort of related to what I do. So my core business is so what I have is I have an adjustable kitchen downstairs. Have an industrial kitchen downstairs from my office. It's a so I have a 5000 square metre sort of industrial kitchen. And whatever I do is sort of linked to that. So yes, when you say I do have my fingers and other pies I do. I have a brain called Udi, which I've started, which is like a home delivery business afresh. So it's fresh product. And that's resulted from COVID-19. So that's a fresh home pack, if you like that gets delivered to you, and the protein and the protein is ready to be cooked. So you get a pain with it and all the rest of it, but also all the vegetables and everything else and all the prep is done. So we promise that it's a military ID that got through COVID-19 delivered to people's houses because there was no restaurants. So we deliver a milty in a pack where you're ready to cook it and simplified and we promise that will be on your table in 10 minutes. So that's something that I'm working on. A lot at the moment in the background. So that's called Udi, give it a plug double o double E. Judy, Judy loves foodie, but Judy. Yes, I'm doing a bit of that and everything. Everything I'll do is all related to what my core business which is a restaurant business, but then I won't get too far off because why get into something you don't understand? stick to what you know stick to what you know and you'll be fine. So yeah,
a little bit makes no sense.
Yet stick to it on that that's it makes it easy that way.
You fired us up we were pumped up. Thanks Rami for coming on the podcast as a first podcast that you've done. That was epic. Hopefully, you're a guest on many others others because it was good fun.
Thank you so much. Thank you for having me, guys.
Awesome. It's a daily talk show. So tomorrow guys have a good one.
See you guys.