Butter’s Julian Cincotta: “Everyone is in the same boat”

27 March, 2020 by
Annabelle Cloros

Takeaway formed 20-30 per cent of Butter Sydney’s revenue pre-COVID-19 – now the cult fried chicken brand is 100 per cent reliant on food and drink to-go.

Julian Cincotta is the co-owner and chef of Butter Surry Hills and Parramatta along with Middle Eastern Eatery Thievery in Glebe.

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All venues were largely dine-in operations, but with the government’s decision to pull the pin on customers spending any time in a venue, beyond picking up an order, Cincotta has had to think fast about how his restaurants are going to pull through.

Like many, Cincotta has signed up to delivery platforms to keep his businesses afloat, and has also flagged the potential of drive-thru in Parramatta and Surry Hills.

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While the commissions aren’t helping in the current climate, Cincotta just wants to keep as many staff working as possible.

So how will Butter and Thievery weather the storm? By combing forces. Everyone loves a collab, and Cincotta has decided to mash up Butter and Thievery dishes with new rotating menu items including fried chicken and hummus bowls, kebabs, fried chicken snack packs and charcoal birds – despite the fact the dishes aren’t going to bring in profit.

“The numbers look like they won’t make us any profit considering the percentage these platforms take,” says the chef. “It’s just to try and give a couple of chefs a job and service the Inner West community.

“We appreciate the services the delivery platforms facilitate, however during this time of economic uncertainty, any reduction in commission would be appreciated so there is more money to pay staff and suppliers.”

There’s no doubt times are tough, but Cincotta says the comradery between the hospitality community remains strong. The chef is looking to introduce a pay-it-forward meal service where people can pre-purchase meals for those in need. “It really does feel like everyone is there for everyone right now, which is a silver lining in these horrible times,” he says.

Another silver lining for customers is the return of Butter’s seasonal ramen, which is now available for delivery and takeaway, with all the necessary packaging to transport the dish in primo condition.

When asked if he’s anticipating any packaging shortages given the huge takeaway surge, Cincotta says his suppliers are well stocked, but points to the big picture. “Yes, our restaurant and staff are affected, but our supply chain is, too,” he says. “Everyone is in the same boat, so we all need to stick together, help each other as much as possible and know that the government will be there.”