Sterling Arnet: 10 Questions About Hospitality in 10 Minutes

A culinary arts diploma, a chef for the cafe of the year and a lead account manager for one of NZ's top food service providers. Sterling Arnet lives and breathes hospitality, we throw him in the Kakapo hot seat as he answers 10 questions in 10 minutes about the industry he is so passionate about.

You've been in hospitality your entire life, tell us about your path to becoming a hospitality business broker with Kakapo in 2017

I started out in the dish pit after completing a Culinary Arts Diploma, I quickly learnt that degrees don't hold a lot of weight in the hospitality industry. I worked hard for about 6 years climbing the ranks at various restaurants and ended up in my last role cheffing for one of Auckland's top cafes (St Heliers Bay Cafe & Bistro), where we proudly won cafe of the year at the time.

At this point I had learnt that I liked dealing with people more than food, but my passion was in hospitality as it's one of those industries that once you're in, it's very hard to leave. I spent the next 3-4 years working as an account manager for a food services company supplying restaurants all over Auckland and got to meet pretty much everyone who's anyone in hospitality.

I have always been one to push myself and take on new opportunities, I figured out that helping people transition in and out of their business was where I wanted to be. I love marketing, watching people get excited and connecting the dots together to making people's dreams come true.

Where is your favourite meal at your top Auckland restaurant?

That's a tough one! Either a goat curry at Satya in Sandringham, cheese on a stick & buttered corn at Tanukis Cave or Petra Shawarma in Kingsland where I often find myself enjoying babaganoosh! I have no real favourite but I know when something is good.

What is your view on the post-COVID-19 hospitality business sales market?

Cafes & restaurant sales have been strong, provided they're priced right and marketed well. It's a sellers market at present with an overflow of buyers looking to get in as quickly as possible, I'm blown away at the amount of multiple offer situations we're seeing at Kakapo currently.

When the borders open up again, what is the first place you're flying to and why?

Somewhere like the islands would be great at first but it would be great to visit my partners family again in the Czech Republic.

What is the difference between a highly successful business owner and an unsuccessful one?

Someone that has planned their sale ahead of time, has clean books and are super organised, it makes selling a business so much easier, faster and nets a better result.

If you were a superhero, who would you be?

That's an easy one, Batman.

What are a couple of goals you set yourself to achieve in 2020?

Join the 5am club by waking up at 5am Mon-Fri and swim the 1km course on the ocean race series later this year.

If you were to prepare your signature dish at home, what would it be?

A classic steak (medium rare), I cook it just right and like to mix it up with a choice of sides. I have also received high praise on my lamb tamarillo casserole.

Are there any specific areas within hospitality that are thriving post-COVID19?

A lot of suburban day times cafes are trading very strong and in some cases well ahead of pre-covid levels, suburban rents tend to be more reasonable and I have found these businesses to be in high demand with my purchasing clients.

As a man who visits hundreds of cafes each and every month, where is home to the best coffee in Auckland?

The best coffee is actually dependent on the barista, I have only ever had a handful of "Best" coffees that have stood out and made me go wow over the years. Recent Popular hot spots include Flour Mill, Dear Jane, Red Rabbit Newmarket & Kind Cafe.

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