Landmark restaurant Cav’s Butcher & Steakhouse celebrates 25 years in the business this month. The award-winning Labrador eatery has increased KPIs by five per cent annually and will turnover more than $5 million this financial year. For owner and fourth generation Gold Coaster Richard Cavill, it has been a stellar ride. He speaks to Gold Coast Business News about the challenges and the triumphs.
Congratulations on surviving 25 years in the competitive hospitality industry. What’s the secret behind the success?
I was always looking to enhance the business in some way and so I went to the Unites States for inspiration. It was there that I saw the idea of having a butcher connected to the restaurant. People would pile out of the restaurant and then head into the butcher to get their meat. In 1996, we added a butcher to the restaurant and it has been a great success.
How have you managed to achieve consistent growth each year?
Our goal was to always go for 5 per cent growth each year and we have been able to achieve that. I have changed tact with the business in the last few years and taken a more rounded approach. I spent too much time being concerned with achieving growth, without thinking about efficiency of expenses. I have learned how to minimise costs without having it impact on the quality of the service or product. It’s all about management control and developing a good support team. You need to have some consistency in what you do. It’s not just making sure the meals go out on time.
It would appear that you have nailed it from a branding perspective. How important have the cows been to the image of the business?
The cows are part of the business. Everybody associates them with our brand. They have had an interesting life. We dress them up and then their outfits get stolen, the cows themselves have been stolen and someone set them on fire once.
They were made famous after a cameo appearance on Australian gangster film Gettin’ Square. How did that come about?
It had a lot of impact on our business. The producers asked if we could shut the doors for 10 days so that they could shoot here. They were very generous but it was from December 4 to 14 and the place was booked out night after night for Christmas parties. I couldn’t cancel those bookings, even though we would have made more money by having 10 days off, a dream for any restaurateur.
Where to from here, any plans to franchise?
Franchising has always been on the cards, but time constraints and the thought of letting it (the brand) go have prevented me from going down that path. If the right person came along I would consider it, but it would depend on numerous factors.
You’re also an astute property investor. How do you juggle that with running a busy restaurant?
The restaurant is my main passion; it’s the nucleus of my business. But you have to branch out and try other things and property has always interested me. The current property market has made people cautious but for me it’s about having a dabble.
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