Luke Mangan has revealed to Tim Gilbert on the Trailblazers Podcast by Verus Global, in a new episode released today, that when Covid-19 hit Australia he decided to shut down and sit tight instead of pivoting to take away or alternative income streams.
While he applauds those who succeeded he says that for his businesses waiting for the storm to pass turned out to be the best way through.
“I noticed in that period that everyone started doing takeaway food, or pivoting to other streams of income and good on ‘em for doing it. I waited, because what I didn’t want to do was burn cash. Because no one knew how long this was going to last.
How did Luke’s businesses survive?
So I decided not to do anything, I wanted to work out the cash we had, preserve the cash we had, before eventually opening,” said Luke Mangan.
After training at the Waterside Inn in the UK, owned by the famed French chefs, and brothers, Michel and Albert Roux, Luke went on to open his own restaurants including Salt, Moreish and Bistro Lulu.
It was the ups and downs of those ventures that gave him the experience to ride out not only his restaurants being shut down by Covid but also Virgin Airlines shutting down (for which he was a Corporate Chef), and his restaurants on cruise ships also simultaneously and abruptly stopping service.
“When I was 35 and I had Salt, I was so close to going broke because I expanded pretty quickly with Moorish and Bistro Lulu and thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to go through that again’, it was a nightmare,” says Luke.
“At that time I looked at other options, I started doing the cook books, I started doing TV, I started the cruising – putting restaurants on cruise ships, Virgin came along, so I had all these different channels of income which was great!
Who would have thought, you might lose one or two but who would have thought all would stop?. It did,” he says.
Now that the worst looks to be over, Luke has been glad to reopen iconic Sydney venues Luke’s Kitchen and glass brasserie and is thrilled to have survived what has been a tough year especially for hospitality.
“The thing that comes through all the time is to make sure that you are persistent, make sure that you work hard, but also having in your mind, a back up,” says Luke.
To learn more about Luke Mangan’s journey from apprentice to famous chef and restaurateur, and to find out what the last goal he wants to tick off on his career to-do list is, listen to Trailblazers Podcast by Verus Global, hosted by Tim Gilbert.