Billy Kart Kitchen Brisbane review with Celebrity Chef Ben O’Donogue and wife Dee
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Australian chef, author and television personality Ben O’Donogue and his wife Dee at their establishment Billy Kart Kitchen, nestled deep in the suburb of Annerley, Brisbane.
This beautifully thought-out business combines simplicity and culture to deliver a truly unique experience to east Brisbane. Drawing its name from Billy Kart races that took part in the area years ago, they have transformed the traditional Clifton street local store into a cafe/restaurant that easily rivals even the biggest players Brisbane has to offer.
My chat with the lovely (and very funny) couple, truly highlighted their passion for the industry and their desire to continually raise the bar when it comes to service.
What was the inspiration behind your business Billy Kart Kitchen Brisbane?
Dee – The business was definitely location and family driven, being close to home was a real plus for us.
Ben – We just really wanted to be masters of our own destiny and basically wanted to provide amazing food and service.
What do you think is key to running a successful hospitality business?
Dee – Keeping costs down! Haha!
Ben – Yeah exactly! But first and foremost consistency of service and product – that’s the key. Day in and day out.
Dee – In the end it just comes down to be friendly and nice, simple as that!
Ben – Team cohesion with great relationships. A cohesive well bonded team is crucial, especially in smaller environments like Billy Kart.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Ben – An old employer of mine said – always employ someone who is better than you. So I’m still striving to do that haha! Oh and always pay taxes.
What do you think is needed to create the ultimate customer experience?
Ben – All customers have different expectations. Some want to be left alone, others want to be tendered to. So it just comes down to catering for different types of people.
Dee – People want to fed fast, so timing is everything. So to me acknowledgement is everything and tending to customers promptly. When they get acknowledgement, they want to come back again.
What do you do in your spare time? (If you have any)
Dee – I am so lucky to have a great team behind me, so when I get spare time I spend it with my kids. Though it’s hard to switch off sometimes no matter what! I think Ben would like to go see some more cricket matches?
Ben – Cricket?! When I get some free time I would just like to go fishing and surfing. Maybe play guitar more haha.
What are the plans for the future?
Ben – I’d like to do a couple more Billy Kart businesses, some in the outer suburbs. Also introducing a constant changing menu is definitely something we are looking to do.
Dee – I would like to refine this business more and once that is done, look at expanding more.
Visually this place is beautiful and elegant. Mixing the old and the new, the couple have created something truly unique and have really respected the history behind this venue. You can even still pick up some fresh bread, milk and the paper, just like the old corner store days!
With Ben’s wealth of knowledge and experience in the kitchen and Dee’s perfectly orchestrated front of house and customer relation skills on the floor, it truly is an experience worth the drive for.
Personal Pick at Billy Kart Kitchen Brisbane – The Aussie Asian Breakfast.
Duck egg with two king prawns, bacon and chilli.
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