Dishing out expert business advice

Dishing out expert business advice

Aspiring restaurateurs looking to move into Sydney’s competitive dining scene are being advised they need to be well prepped as they won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Joseph Valore and Sarah Doyle, co-owners of popular Sydney eateries Porteño and Bodega, will be serving up more recipes for successfully launching and growing a restaurant at a free business seminar and networking event.

Rise of an empire: the foodie business phenomenon is the first in a new series of City of Sydney business seminars titled City Thought Leaders that will bring together successful Sydney business operators to share first-hand experience and expert advice.

“Sydney offers wonderful opportunities for a diverse range of businesses to launch and thrive. Gaining insights from the city’s most successful business leaders is an invaluable learning opportunity for startups and local businesses seeking to expand,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Small businesses are the powerhouse of our local economy, representing 85 per cent of all businesses in our area and contributing nearly $20 billion to the economy. This new Thought Leaders series is another way we’re nurturing economic growth across the City’s local area.”

Mr Valore has helped build a diverse dining empire spanning bars, restaurants, pubs and a deli. He says many restaurants close down because they didn’t do the hard work before opening their doors to customers.

“The key is to have all your elements spot on – great staff, great food and great service. Unless you’ve planned for everything, you’re not going to be strong enough to survive,” Mr Valore said.

Ms Doyle said: “I enjoy coming to work because I’m with friends and family every day, but we work hard to make it all look effortless. There’s no denying hospitality is a slog that requires constant planning, costing and training to minimise errors, and even then it will be some time before you see a profit.”

City Thought Leaderd witih Myffy Rigby

Also taking part in the seminar is Myffy Rigby, Fairfax Good Food Guides editor and creative director of the Sydney Morning Herald’s food and drink events. She says you can tell if an establishment is going to be a success the minute you walk through the door.

“It’s all about authenticity. When you’re opening a restaurant, café or bar, it has to be something that makes you happy and is true to who you are. Sydney diners want a real and honest experience, and they’ll know instinctively if you’re trying to be something you’re not.”

Presenter Carlita Warren from Restaurant and catering Australia has spent years helping new and experienced restaurateurs navigate the regulations governing the food and beverage industry. She says startups need to do their homework before jumping in the deep end.

“My advice is to get on the ground experience before you think about opening up your own restaurant. Once you’ve got a taste for what’s involved, you’ll understand what you’re up against and all the steps required to launch and grow your business,” Ms Warren said.

The free City Thought Leaders seminars featuring Sydney’s experts in their field will be held at Customs House from February to November on the last Wednesday of the month.  

Rise of an empire: the foodie business phenomenon

Date: Wednesday 22 February

Time: 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Cost: free, but bookings are essential

Bookings and event information:

Future seminars are:

  • Elevated state: customer experience is everything Wednesday – 29 March
  • Play hard: how businesses can exploit Sydney’s festival scene – 26 April
  • No ‘i’ in ‘team’: understanding how vital staff are to a business – 31 May
  • Our future is here: Sydney’s startup business revolution – 28 June
  • Grass is greener: sustainable business practices – 26 July
  • Same but different: how innovation is changing the face of business – 30 August
  • Creative enterprises: it’s not as easy as you think – 27 September
  • Stand and be counted: women led businesses – 25 October
  • Now you see me: how important brand is to business – 29 November


For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Advisor Belinda Wallis

Mobile 0467 810 160 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Matthew Levinson

Mobile 0499 319 385 or email