As Icebergs Dining Room and Bar turns 10 this year, we asked restaurateur Maurice Terzini to share his 10 commandments of restaurant craft.
- Front of house drives the show. Good food is pretty common these days; what makes the difference is the vibe and the service.
- Concept before location. We have lots of ideas filed away, and when the right location arises we refer to the idea that best suits the location.
- Look around for inspiration, but don't copy. I've always found inspiration in other restaurants and bars, but globalisation has encouraged too many direct rip-offs, and it's pretty boring and bad for our industry to just copy things blatantly.
- Serve food you understand. The only time I've felt uncomfortable as a host is when I've had to serve food I didn't understand. I'm sticking to Italian now.
- Waiters should look like waiters. They shouldn't kneel by the table, address customers as "guys" or join the conversation unless they're invited. And they should always greet people properly: "Welcome to the restaurant".
- Choose service-friendly plates. Flat plates aren't aesthetically pleasing and they're impossible to clear. I hate anything square, too.
- Watch your rent. I'm now of the opinion that in this country anything over eight per cent (rent to turnover) is almost too hard if you're running a quality operation.
- Cutting costs is not an alternative to generating revenue. I've been most successful with ideas that were truly left of centre rather than boardroom-driven.
- Eat and drink in your own places. Ronnie Di Stasio taught me this. It's the most important lesson in my career - it's the only way to really understand your product.
- Look after yourself. It's too easy in our industry to go over the edge.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, 1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach, (02) 9365 9000.