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Hello, I'm Leanne Jones filling in for Peter Switzer tonight. A warm welcome to the program which puts you in touch with the best and brightest minds in business. On tonight's show, Mike Kendall from JBWere joining us in Melbourne to review today's good and not-so-good performing sectors. We've also got the second part of Peter Switzer's interview with Gerry Harvey about what separates good and great business leaders. Joining us in the studio tonight is Hunter Hall's senior portfolio manager James McDonald to give us his take on global markets and reporting season, who performed and who underperformed. Plus Peter Switzer's interview with Maria Bortolotto, co-founder of Melbourne dining institution Cecconi's on the ingredients for success. Do stay with us for the next hour. We'll be bringing you all the latest corporate news and market analysis plus learn some valuable lessons from Australian success stories. If you do have any questions for us or our guests, do make sure you email to Let's get straight to Mike Kendall from JBWere who is joining us live from Melbourne to take us through the sector winners and losers. Warm welcome to you. We did see the big banks have a subdued start to the session. They seemed to build on the support, Westpac rose 1. 6% in the end. What was underpinning that support for the majors?Good evening. It was an interesting day on the market simply because different sectors really behaved quite individually so you saw banks up and down, saw the miners down and up - sorry, other way around - but each of the sectors were having a life of their own today so it was interesting to watch, quite erratic market behaviour over the day but for the banks, certainly I suspect as people started to reflect a couple of things, first of all, with the GDP numbers being much stronger than expected, a few people started to speculate if interest rate cuts could be lessening or the prospect of further interest rate cuts in Australia could be lessening, that could be modestly favourable for the banks over the longer term and probably lend a little bit of buying support. Not dramatic moves on the day. Westpac has been a laggard over the last couple of weeks compared to the other banks so I suspect there is a few people looking at their banking portfolios and seeing it value on the table with Westpac compared to the others and that brought a bit of buying into that particular stock today.Come back to the RBA and the GDP figures in more detail in a moment but your thoughts on those miners. You mentioned they were the other way around compared to the banks, enjoyed early gains but ended low. BHP dropped 0. 3, Rio was down. It seems the iron ore stocks have seemed to falter in the last couple of days.I suspect it is because of the rising Aussie dollar which is going against trend. Nervous for the RBA watching how the dollar is moving against what they would hope be the natural reaction. With time, the Aussie dollar might settle. Maybe not back to the level some people were expected but I suspect it is a currency reaction because they do trade in US dollars. As that Aussie dollar continues to strengthen, it does mean it could clip some of the earnings outlook. I suspect that's why we did see weakness this afternoon.The property trusts and infrastructure stocks seem to be a bit volatile. These tend to be highly sensitive to shifts in interest rate perceptions, don't they?They do. We have started to see a little bit of profit-taking from the professional traders across these parts of the market over the last couple of weeks as expectations around US monetary policy have started to build and expectations around Australian monetary policy to some extent but it's more going to be driven about what's happening in the US, perceptions about US monetary policy and what's happening in bond markets. The US economic data last night certainly suggested maybe the Fed won't be in a rush to lift in September. Lots of speculation. I try not to get caught up in that, whether it's September, December kind of argument. That's for professional traders that are trading currencies and commodities. As I said last week to Peter, jel jenen is -- Janet Yellen is signalling bond rates will move higher and rates are starting to adjust. Traders won't leave it to the last minute and some will move out of those particular stocks and lock some profit in. That's what we have been seeing in the property trusts, infrastructure, the Transurbans, they have started to see big sellers anticipating rate moves, putting profit in the bank. These stocks have been for massive runs and are prepared to sit back and see what happens before deciding their next moves.Just on those rates you mentioned the weaker data overnight, do you think we could see the Federal Reserve moving in a couple of weeks' time at this meeting or are they still wanting to assess more of the incoming data that comes through and potentially only a move in December? What's your outlook for the interest rate environment in the US?Look certainly at this stage I think - it's always whether it's September/December, it is a bit of a flip the coin. The data seems to be leaning towards December rather than September. That's where the market moves and the future markets are indicating we are likely to see rates move which will be a December figure which, in some senses, adds up logically that they won't want to do anything until after the US elections as well. Putting that issue aside, if you look at the behaviour of Janet Yellen over the last couple of years, she has been very relaxed in her approach and taking a cautious and steady hand in terms of signalling to the market up-front that rates would move higher earlier last year, moving in December and stepping back and seeing what the outcomes or results of that move were going to be. I suspect they are taking their time and Janet Yellen once again and the Federal Reserve are being cautious. They will keep the cautious approach and my money will be suggesting a December rise rather than September but stranger things have happened. Exactly, it's anyone's guess at this stage. Let's look at the data you saw today, you mentioned GDP figures, the release marking the 25th year of uninterrupted economic expansion, growth in the quarter rising half a per cent. That was slightly weaker than the forecast of 0. 6%. Should still be seen as a good result after that first quarter gain of 1%. Would you say the economy is still holding up pretty well?It is. I always get a bit anxious about people that continue to run down the outlook for the Australian economy. The reporting season we've just had showed Australian companies are still out there so vast majority are doing good business. Some will run into hiccups from time to time and the market will deal their judgement where they see that, but overall reporting season was solid. I think that's been reflected in the GDP data. I would say a lot of the strong result in the GDP data today was off the back of an increase in Government spending, we really want to see GDP being driven by increased consumer spending, increased business investment and wages growth. They were the parts of the economy that are still soft, albeit the May and August interest rate cuts that we have seen really aren't going to be reflected in these numbers as yet. It will be interesting to see in the data reads we have in the months ahead whether the two cuts we have had have had any stimulatory effect on economic activity. Overall, it is good Australia's delivered a good set of numbers and there is activity and solid activity compared to so many other places in the world where economic activity is sluggish but, for me, I would have liked to have seen it more driven by an increase in things like business investment rather than a big jump in Government spending which did help a lot of the result today.Absolutely, Government consumption rising 1. 1.9%, public investment lifted 15. 5%, that public sector adding a total of 1 percentage rate to the GDP rate. The Government plans might suggest the public sector won't continue to support that growth so growth may be unlikely to stay above that 3% mark. It's going to be interesting to see. We have had two rate cuts come through so we have to see what impact that has had on the economy and where. But at the same time I have to temper my comments that if we are seeing government going to be increasing spending, the one spot we do want to see government spend the cash is in infrastructure because that's really going to drive employment, that's going to drive growth and that's going to drive a better outcome for the Australian economy. If they are going to be spending the dollars - it is a delicate balancing act. The Government has their work cut out for them to try and balance all these competing interests of improving social welfare, improving education, improving hospitals but also delivering the right kind of economic growth for Australia being infrastructure spending which does create jobs. It's going to be an interesting couple of months if not a couple of years for the Australian economy from a political perspective. But for the moment, these numbers today were certainly a positive for us, definitely.Of course, we are continuing or the RBA certainly continuing to assess all of the incoming data. Markets now watching for those inflation figures which are coming through at the end of October as a key indicator to whether the RBA could move in November. Do you think stubbornly low inflation could still prompt the RBA to cut interest rates from the current level of 1. 5%?Look, that's certainly not the call of JBWere on National Australia Bank where we take our guidance from. We would be looking for something midyear. Wages growth and inflation will be important but three cuts in a short space of time, the dollar is obviously going to be an influence but I'd be surprised if they went in November. Looking at the property market, particularly in the Eastern States, it is very strong so I'd think the RBA would be reluctant to overheat there but wiser minds than mine so I think we'll have to wait and see but I would be surprised. Fantastic, Mike, on that note, we leave it there but appreciate you joining us on the program. Thanks very much.Thanks.Mike Kendall joining us from JBWere. It's time for a break. When we return, part 2 of Peter Switzer's interview with Gerry Harvey after Harvey Norman posted a bumper 30% increase in net profit last month.

Welcome back to Switzer, I'm Johannisen yons filling -- Leanne Jones filling in for Peter this evening who recently spoke to Harvey Norman's CEO Gerry Harvey. We have the second part of that interview with Gerry Harvey telling us what he thinks are the characteristics of successful business people and winners.I think that you've got to have a lot of characteristics. There's maybe 50. The sum total of all those little things that make somebody successful. But if you get down to the nitty gritty of it, there is a couple of things you've got to have. Got to have a position for what you're doing, got to have a work ethic and you've got to be good in the space you work in. Then all of those other things you've got to be good at, like people skills, money skills, having the right accountant, the right advice, mixing with the right people. All of these things right across the spectrum. The flipside is you also work with a lot of people who have failed so what are the characteristics of losers?Bad luck is a fair bit to do with it because you can do everything right - I had a cattle enterprise, I've still got it, I lost 50 million in three years. It had nothing to do with my business ability. It was something that came from out there from left field. I've looked at that and I thought "Anyone can go broke". I'm not the worst business man in the world but I've stuffed up so badly here it doesn't matter but it wasn't my fault. If you just happen to get into the wrong lane, it's bad luck. If you end up in the right lane and everyone in that lane is doing well and you fail then, then it's probably your fault and so you've got to then look at the attributes they've got. My best advice to all of my people is "Listen, these are my best five or 10 contributors to our business profit wise and sales wise. Talk to them, study them. Try to learn whatever it is, whatever attributes they've got. Their people skills, their merchandising skills, whatever it all is, and then I get people to work for those people who are really good. They'll come to me years later and say "He never taught me anything". I said "It's all good if they can teach you something but if you can't learn by observing, you were never going to get there anyway". Even if he tells you nothing, you've got to be smart enough to be able to see what he's doing. Observe him. If you do that and pick up the things that he does or she does, then you will succeed. Why do so many people fail? That's got me beat because I've got 600 franchisees out there. 50 of them are 9. 5 out of 10. 50 of them are 9 out of 10. We've got all the ones in the middle. The bottom 50 are 4 out of 10. Some of those 4 out of 10, that bottom 50, I'll get up there. Out of 50, I will be lucky if I get three. The other 47 I can never do anything with, doesn't much matter how much I try or how much they try. Why are you a great musician and I'm not hopeless? Why are you a great athlete and I'm hopeless? All of these questions we can't answer. Why are people great business people and others - they write books on it and you can somebody that reads every book and talks to every top person and they're a dud. You are what you are. Sometimes. Sometimes you are what you are and you can improve yourself. Mostly, though, you're a natural.Once upon a time you told me Katie Page, your wife, was one of the best retailers in Australia. Why is she so good?When I first met her, she was 26 and she was working for me and three, four, five months, I thought "I've got someone special here". People liked her. They wanted to help her. She also did what I did which was she connected to people and she showed an interest in what they were doing. They liked her. So she could form a partnership with a supplier very easily where they both wanted to work together and they both liked each other.What's it like to work with your wife?Say what you think, with no fear and then move on very quickly. Do not dwell on it because that will be a disaster. If we have a little bit of a fight and one of us come back to the other half an hour later and want to continue that", I will say "Hey, hey, hey". Smile, laugh, get on with it. Do not let anything happen that goes on longer than it should.Do you work closely together?No, we work in our own spheres. Kate is the CEO, she has been for 15, 16, 17 years. My son was before that. I stopped being the CEO when I was 56, which is 20 years ago, but I've always been the executive chairman. In the everyday running of the business, Kate has a lot more to do with it than what I do. So I'm more there as a chairman, if you like. I'm involved in all the property, I'm involved in all the new stores and I put my nose into everyone's category from time to time saying "Why are you doing that?" . "I don't like what you're doing". I'm out there looking at the big picture of the company, which is what I should do, I think, as to where the company is going, how we are going to build this company every year and what the contribution each one of you are going to make to the building of this company and the people skills that we all need to have to grow our company. That's my job.How has she changed you over the years?The easy answer is I've tried to bring her down to my level and she's tried to take me up to her level. But I think I have never worked with someone, male or female, that I think's as good as she is. I think she is the best business woman in Australia. She has a knowledge of product, merchandising, store layout, her skims across the board -- skills across the board, accounting and even legal, her skills across the board, I think, are greater than any other woman in the country. They have a more narrow focus. I don't say she is smarter than them, they are probably smarter than her, I don't know -Careful.- but her overall ability to be able to - a person to make money has to create something that makes money. Lots of people out there are very smart people, they don't know how to create a situation that grows the money tree. She can do that. She can get hold of a product and she can enhance it and know how to advertise it and promote it, to sell all of those to make everyone a lot of money. Very few people have that ability to do it. Very few.How have you changed her?I think - I'd like to think that I opened the gate for her because there are a lot of very talented people out there that never get the gate opened for them. It's a great pity but there's never a gate opened. If it had just opened, so I think her association with me in the beginning allowed her to grow because it was a gate that was wide open. I was happy to let her have a go. But I'm sure, I often say, how many thousands of other people are out there just like that that never have that door opened and they never even know they are so wonderful, that they can surprise the daylights out of themselves.Any family in Harvey Norman, what about the future?We've got kids but they're not interested in the business and we've never pushed them as such to be interested in the business. My first family, I've got my son who is in the business but he never wants to run it. I've got my daughter who's in the business but she never wants to run it. They've watched what Kate and I do and they have a thing "I don't want to do that, I'm happy doing what I do". There are limited number of people out there that want to do anythings at that level because they've watched the way you live and what you do and they think "Why do I want to be like that?" .With people getting stuck into you over the lack of success of online, people suggesting you're past it, do you think there was ageism in that?When your opposition gets up there and they've got some new thing happening and they're online, of course they are going to throw that line out "I'm the new boy on the block and I'm the future and those people are yesterday's people". I'm watching this and thinking "Is there any truth to this?" . Let's be honest, is there any truth to this, I'm thinking to myself, then talking to lots of other people about it. I try to get a rational response from myself and others around me. My response always was "I think I know what I'm doing". But the only way I'm going to prove that is to actually do it and at the end of the day, whatever I say will make very little difference but whatever deed that I happen to do that works and suddenly they don't look so good and I look pretty good, I don't have to say anything.When will you retire?Never.What do you want on your epitaph?Nothing. I'm one of those people that I've got no interest in writing a book about myself or having anyone else do that. I believe once I'm dead, I'm dead. I believe that while I'm on this earth, I'm going to do the very best I can. One of the things you should do, Harvey rules, is exploit yourself to the maximum, just see who you can be, do the best you can and at the end of the day rise above your own expectations if that's possible but stay fairly humble and don't ever get into the stage where you start to be in awe of yourself. Why horses?Don't know. I think if you talk to anyone about whatever their passions are, whether it's boats or aeroplanes or whatever it is, most people like to have a passion. If you get to that lucky stage in life where you actually make a fair bit of money, you think to yourself "Well, I've got a fair bit of money, what do I like?" . I probably always had an interest in horses and even when I was a kid and on the train, I could tell you the last 30 Melbourne Cup winners or something, I was the local bookie on the train but when I grew up and got to 19 or something, I've gone to the races and thought "This is not for me" and I just completely disappeared. At age 32 I came back. I had money and I thought "I'll get into horses". I did, then it became a real passion with me. I think to myself what else could I have got into? I can't answer because I don't want an aeroplane, a car or a boat. What other passion can I get into? I play tennis, I play golf, I do business and I'm into horses. They're my four passions.How many horses do you have?About a thousand.Is the operation profitable?There's various parts of it that are profitable and various parts that are unprofitable so I've got my two horse studs in New Zealand that I'm trying to build up, still not profitable, hoping it will be. I've got my Magic Millions business which is profitable. The vinery stud interests which are profitable. I have got my stud interests that are not making any money but I'm trying. A money-making thing, I'm out there selling fridges, OK?Gerry Harvey, thanks for joining us.Thank you.Peter Switzer speaking with Harvey Norman CEO Gerry Harvey. Time for a break, when we return James McDonald from Hunter Hall will be joining us on global markets and reporting season, who's performed and who has underperformed. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the program, I'm Leanne Jones filling in for Peter Switzer this evening. Joining us in the studio tonight is Hunter Hall's senior portfolio manager James McDonald who is going to be giving us his take on global markets. James, very warm welcome to you, thanks for joining us.Pleasure.I guess there is so much uncertainty at the moment, so much talk about central banks and interest rates, the ultra-low interest rates at the moment. It must be difficult to position yourselves and knowing how to invest. What are you yourselves doing at the moment in this environment?It is really interesting. We have got these huge deflationary forces in the world, technology change, ageing populations, the rise of China, lots of deflation. That's driven interest rates down all around the world. Governments have taken on huge amounts of debt. I think the outlook is quite uncertain. What we've done is taken a barbell approach in our portfolio. Large amount of cash, 20% in cash, 20% in gold miners and then a portfolio of global - 60% in cheap global shares we think are very interesting.Why gold? Why are you taking that position in gold?I think it is a huge amount of central bank money printing that's happening all around the world. We've got negative yields on something like 40% of the world's bonds now. We think that's very good for the gold market. The big negative argument for holding gold is really you don't get any yield on it but with negative rates that whole argument disappears. Of course in the short-term, it has been buffeted by will the US raise rates, won't it? I think it's actually quite difficult for the US to raise rates while the Japanese are talking about helicopter money at the same time. Everyone else is cutting interest rates, right?Yeah.It is so interesting they are talking about a rising interest rate environment in that global environment. What are you making on the US economy at the moment because, obviously, recently we saw the jobs report which was disappointing. That seemed, for a lot of people, to take September off the table. What are your thoughts in terms of when we might see the next interest rate rise?I think December. Later in the year we'll get another interest rate rise but I can't see they'll be able to raise too many times because the US dollar would rise quickly and that would damage the US exporters. No doubt there will be a couple of rate rises but I think most people are expecting that now.Certainly seems like the market has become more comfortable with the idea of a rate rise.That's right. It is only going to happen if the US economy is actually doing OK. In a way it is a symbol that things are on track. Very sharp interest rate rises, say they go to 2 or 3%, that's going to be a real problem for equity markets around the world.We are only talking 25 basis points potentially, right?Exactly.What about the US election? People are saying that could be a barrier to the Fed raising rates although they don't want to be seen as having political influence, do they?That's right. What's your take?That's a valid point. I would imagine an interest rate rise after the election would be political palatable. Janet Yellen would probably like to keep her job. That's very true. Talking of global stocks, the US market at the moment, we talk about the central bank support, that seems to be underpinning equities at the moment. Still around the record high levels. Do you think they are very lofty, those valuations over there? Are you looking at any opportunities in the US?There is always opportunities. At a broad level I would say stocks look cheap relative to bonds because bonds are Ridley expensive -- ridiculously expensive but compared to history, shares look highly valued compared to the last 20 years. You have to be stock-specific. There is always pockets of opportunity. One of our biggest holdings in the US is a company that makes lasers for telecom networks and there is huge growth in these optical fibre networks around the world, a company called Lamentin, Google, Facebook are building data centres and linking them together. At the same time Apple is talking about putting 3D sensors in their phone that are going to use the lasers from this company, probably won't be this phone, probably next year. It doesn't rely on general economic growth. You have to find companies that have drivers apart from general economic growth.Is the US dollar strength, does that pose a problem for a lot of corporates?I think a lot of the multi-nationals have global production facilities. Of course it's not helpful. The reported earnings get weighed down by strong US dollar.Sure.But I think most companies are flexible enough to be able to deal with some US dollar strength.You mentioned the performance, the rise we have seen in the bond market. It's very interesting because we don't typically see that, the equity and the bond market rising in tandem with each other. Are you expecting a disconnect at some point, expecting them to move away from each other? Some are saying the next potential catalyst maybe for a blowup - maybe that's too big a word - in the market could be a pull-back in the bond market?I would imagine while central banks are ready to do more QE, I find it hard to imagine there is going to be a huge bond market crash. I suppose it would require much faster inflation. You look at Japan where the Bank of Japan in the next few weeks will assess helicopter money which is more direct intervention, possibly giving money directly to the Japanese government rather than buying bonds. I think the bigger risk is possibly people start to lose faith in currencies. So the Japanese yen has been quite strong lately. How long can you keep holding interest rates down before the currencies start to give way? In the US, probably the same question. I think that's why gold is so interesting because it's essentially a currency they can't print any more of.Just on Japan, there is talk of using unconventional strategies because they haven't to date been able to bring that yen lower. A lot of talk about the efficacy of low interest rates and monetary policy?That's right. Big question marks about trusting central banks. That could be a huge change in psychology I think if people start realising that the central banks just can't keep propping up the market so I think - we have a big holding of cash just to cover ourselves, 20% of our fund held in US dollars actually and then the gold miners. Who knows which of those trades will be right.Waiting to deploy that at some point? Absolutely. We used the Brexit crisis to buy a couple of real estate agents in the UK, Foxtons and did well out of those. Selectively using our cash when these things crop up.Let's talk about our own central bank. We saw the GDP figures, economy returning to growth not seen the end of the mining investment in 2013. What did you make of the numbers? Half a per cent growth in the second quarter, was that good enough?Superficially it looks good, doesn't it? We are growing at 3. 3% but scratch beneath the surface, private investment falling quite sharply. It's government investment that's picked up very quickly. I think there's some distortions in some of those numbers. I don't think it's quite clear to me how long government investment in Australia could rise because obviously we are trying to protect our AAA-rated balance sheet. A little bit troubling. Underlying you've got strong jobs data but in actual fact it's masking a weakness because there is a lot of full-time employment but part-time employment is quite weak. Australia reminds me a bit of Sweden where you have high GDP growth of 3 or 4% but Sweden has negative interest rates because they are trying to keep their currency down, got a lot of export growth but it is not creating a lot of jobs. Wonder whether we might get a similar outcome here. I guess the RBA will be very keen to keep the Australian dollar down and there is not really a lot of inflation. That's the next question because we have the inflation numbers coming out at the end of October. Today a lot of the takeout was given the GDP numbers, that takes the pressure off the RBA but really we know we have stubbornly low inflation at the moment so it is probably going to come down to the figures at the end of October.I think that's right and what's happening to the currency as well. I'm sure it is not explicitly said but I'm sure it is a key factor.They've been a little - sort of placing less emphasis on the Aussie dollar than previously which has been a change from the RBA.I think that's right.Just a quick thought, interest rate cut by the end of the year?I think so. These global deflationary forces I mentioned are keeping pressure on all around the world and we've got high interest rates relative to the rest of the world and there'll be pressure to cut here as well. Fantastic, James McDonald, we'll leave it there. Thanks for joining us.Thanks.Do stay with us, coming up Peter Switzer speaking earlier this week to Maria Bortolotto, co founder of Melbourne dining institution Cecconi's. That interview is up next.

Welcome back to Switzer, I'm Leanne Jones filling in for Peter this evening. This week Pete spoke to Maria Bortolotto, co founder of Cecconi's, considered a local institution. Cecconi's celebrates its 10th anniversary next month and Bortolotto looks back at the restaurant's beginnings and why it still proves so popular.You are talking Cecconi's. That's been 20 years. If you are talking the Bortolotto family, that's been probably 40, 50 years. We started in restaurants and cafes. Then worked our way up to the more formal dining. Bortolotto's cafe in the 80s was, again, very big institution. It was like a local name. Everybody went to Bortolotto's cafe Menace. Then it was Cecconi's Crown and where we are today, Cecconi's Flinders Lane. Again, a beautiful Italian restaurant which we're very proud of.With good reason. Given the fact that Bortolotto name is so well known, why the name change to Cecconi's at Crown?Why? When we were in Bortolottos, we sold that in '89 and then Crown - no, sorry, we started in '89, eight years from there and then that was sold and we actually did a couple of cafes, Segafredo and a small cafe in Collins Street and then, from there, probably a year Crown was sourcing an operator for the Cecconi's at Crown which they looked at us. Within six months, we were in there operating the big restaurant, it was a 300-seater. Very successful. Eight year term there. Then from there, we left there and went to Flinders Lane but why put your name to it? We sort of thought that Cecconi's was a fantastic brand name and we could use that as well as if the Bortolotto name was behind us.What was it like going from - I've read your story in the past and you were cafes and you were down-to-earth level and then you went into the stratosphere with Crown. What was that transition like for you? Exciting. It was incredibly exciting. You're in a glamorous world. What can I say? Crown actually do the work for you. All you've got to do is maintain your service, your level of food and we were known as one of the best in Crown. It took a while and then all our regulars who said "We're never going to Crown" came back. It became one of the regular haunts for all our Melbourne diners.You know yourself, being in business for such a long time, you're always on a steep learning curve. I'm sure there was nothing you didn't know about an Italian cafe or restaurante but going to the first grade like Crown where you've got unbelievable range of customers from foreign tourists to the heavyweights playing at the gambling tables at Crown, what did you learn about creating the best of business on a daily basis?Hard work, commitment and you must really know your product. Wine was the best of the best. We called in the professionals. We said we want a worldly wine list. That's what they gave us. We just learnt as we went along. Probably the first three years were the hardest. Then after that it became - it's easy. You've just got to maintain your staff, make sure they're the best and train them well. My sister is my partner and she's a bit anal in those terms! (LAUGHS) It's good to have that. With a lot of my friends who own Italian restaurants, it is inexplicable how they get so many Italian staff members who still maintain a beautiful Italian accent. Is this part of the training to maintain or even to get a beautiful Italian accent?This day and age it's difficult to source well-trained people in Australia. Probably half of our restaurant are from Italy out here - a lot are on working visas, some have been sponsored, some already have their residency but what we're finding is they are incredibly well trained, they suit our style, they've got heart and that's what we want. We're an authentic family that love what we do.Is that a bit of a problem, the attitude to the food waiting industry, if you like, in this country is very part-time, where in Europe it is seen as a full-time occupation and even "a profession"? You could say that but I think that is changing in Australia. Like the food industry is a real industry. Waiting and service is a big part of I think the next generation of what we need in jobs. One of those - Australia is changing. Now we've got young - enthusiastic young Aussies that want to be in this industry. I comment them but the Italians know it all.(CHUCKLES) Tell me this: You have family members working in the business. I know - I think it is always easier to lead non-family members but what has your experience been? Has your leadership qualities improved, the fact you do work with family?Look it's hard, I'm not going to say that it's easy because you've got - well, in our family especially, three strong-minded people that all have a vision. Sure we come together but it is important that each person is heard. You allow them their space. Everybody has a certain experience or talent and we all bring a different talent to Cecconi's, Flinders Lane.How do you maintain your enthusiasm for the business? I'm retired, Peter!So your spirit lives on in the business. You must have a view on the future of fine dining. I keep hearing some well-known businesses have moved away from fine dining. I've got to say when I was at your place, I felt it was fine dining but what's happening to fine dining?Look, I think it will always live on. I consider - you could say we're fine dining, sure we have the tablecloths, the wine, all the things that go with it but it's actually - it's an approachable restaurant. We have casual, we have fine dining or I call it more elegant dining. We also have the private room which corporates and families for a special occasion. I would call that more the fine dining. The restaurant's I think very approachable. We do have the bar. We do have the outdoor terrace. We do have the casual cafe.You can see how casual I am when I think you're fine dining but it's a damn good experience. Tell me this, being Melbourne, being the event city of the country, do you find the fact that Melbourne does attract so many events that it really helps keep momentum for your business, particularly with the Melbourne Cup coming up?Absolutely. Without the events, last weekend was a classic where there was no football. Melbourne was actually quiet. Which is bizarre.Momentum is important for your business, then?I think it's important for all businesses. What about the location? We know Melbourne now has two centres, once upon a time it was your end of town in Collins Street, now you've got Docklands, have you found you haven't been affected by the development of Docklands?Not at all. Flinders Lane is the place to go in the city. It's got - well, how many restaurants in Flinders Lane? You've got ourselves, Cecconi's, you've got Cumulous, Chin-Chin. They're the best of the best, we're there with them.Are you really retired? You are doing this interview tonight, does your spirit or your white cloud hang over the operation?Of course. Mum, Anne and I - we allow our staff to run our business and we guide them. I'm now 58 and if I was still thinking that I could run it, then there's something wrong with the way I manage businesses. We guide them. We have to. We've got a great chef Maurice who is incredibly creative. We must be on point. We're a restaurant that if we drop our guard, we could lose our base. But we must make sure that our food, our service - I call it the Cecconi's lifestyle.It certainly is that. Maria, thanks for joining us on the show.Thank you, Peter.Peter Switzer speaking with Maria Bortolotto. That's it for the show this evening. If you'd like to read Peter Switzer's thoughts each morning at the close of Wall Street, check out If you'd like to get his thoughts on super, visit the super report. If you have any questions for Peter or ones you'd like him to put to an expert, email Peter. I'm Leanne Jones, thanks for watching.