Spill The Beans Part One – Q&A With Shaun de Vries

Introducing our first instalment of Spill The Beans, conversations with hospo friends.

In Part One, we chat to Shaun de Vries, Founder of Open Pantry Consulting and co-founder of Principle of Hospitality Podcast on his journey, insights into the industry and tips on surviving lockdown in Melbourne.


Name: Shaun de VriesShaun de Vries open pantry consulting sitting down portrait image hospitality
Age: 40 
City: Melbourne
Company/job title: Founder of Open Pantry Consulting and co-founder of Principle of Hospitality 


Firstly, what’s your hospo history, how did you start? 

I started as a bakers assistant with Bakers Delight in my home town of Adelaide.  I love the hospitality industry and the connections that I have everyday.  You literally get to meet every part of society and that means a lot to me. 

Currently I consult for the hospitality industry specialising in systems and processes, operations and technology.


 What’s your day to day look like in a covid lockdown?

I usually get up and go for a long walk, go and get a coffee with my partner and talk to a lot of my clients through zoom haha.


Fav trend in the industry currently?   

Single item venues.  Venues that just concentrate on one thing and do it exceptionally well like Lune, Nico’s or Duke’s Coffee.


What made you start the podcast? How did it come about?

I had friends who were annoyed at the fact I had a voice for radio and wasn’t doing anything about it, so I just started interviewing my friends in the industry about their careers and their thoughts.


What fav piece of insight have you learnt from interviewing on the poddy?

Probably the ‘3-venue rule’ that I discussed with Nick Stone from Bluestone Lane coffee.  We talked about when you get to three venues you are either going to grow exponentially or you just stay at three.

Shaun de Vries podcast man smiling podcast radio streaming hospitality

What was your most challenging moment working in this industry?

I had a very bad car accident when I owned two bakeries, nearly lost my life, but in the process had to put both bakeries into liquidation a year later.

I also remember getting let go of the last day of my 3-month probationary period running a very prominent chain coffee shop because the two franchisees decided that they didn’t like having male leadership and wanted to go back to having female leadership.  I have increased their sales and operations and not done anything bad to the staff, so I was just perplexed and shocked and that led me down a challenging path for a while.


Tell us about your fondest memory about the industry?

That’s a hard one.  Probably opening my first restaurant for a client as a consultant in 2017 (which unfortunately isn’t there anymore), and also opening the first bakery I owned when I was 21 years old.  That was a massive achievement for me.


Is there something you wish was different or more progressive about the industry?

Having more female leadership in which they made really important and long-lasting decisions.  It is very obvious the difference between male and female leadership in some brands.


What’s your dream future for the industry? 

That we will embrace technology more and also that we have an industry which is more inclusive, not misogynistic, and people feel safe and looked after.


Shaun de Vries podcast man smiling podcast radio streaming hospitality interview

Shaun’s quick thoughts:

Favourite go-to place around town…Probably Terror Twilight in Collingwood.  Amazing atmosphere, food and staff.  They genuinely care.


Cook or food delivery…Both.  I have found us getting a lot more delivery at our place since the lockdowns started in 2020, but I love cooking and baking and it is definitely a happy place for me.


Last meal I cooked was… A mean chicken traybake with blueberries and cinnamon sweet potato the other week which was great.


Fave drop this lockdown…Probably because I really respect the team a lot, Stomping Ground produce amazing beers but the Laneway Lager is my favourite.


First place I’ll dine out post lockdown…I really respect what the team at Dessous do, so we love that place, but I am also looking forward to visiting Teller in Brunswick East which I haven’t gone to yet.


Home brew coffee or take away? Take Away from Oscar Cooper which is just around the corner from me.  Super nice people and great coffee.

Shaun de Vries sitting in restaurant cafe Melbourne brunch hospitality setting interior design

Shaun, Open Pantry Co’s founder has been an industry leader in Melbourne’s hospitality industry for over 20 years. Shaun has been a venue owner himself, he knows the commitment, effort and experience required to develop a concept into an award-winning, and profitable venture. He also knows how to develop a process to get there that’s enjoyable and rewarding for all involved.  

Today, Shaun hosts the Principle of Hospitality – The Podcast,  an initiative set up in 2018 under the former name of the Open Pantry Podcast, to give hospitality leaders a voice on an international platform. The insights shared by Shaun’s network of hospitality pros have helped thousands of people in the industry. With over 120 episodes so far, Shaun has interviewed big names such as Nick Stone from Bluestone Lane Coffee, Kim Teo from Mr Yum, Matt Lane from Mamasita and Sallie Jones from Gippsland Jersey.

With the support and knowledge of Shaun, his team and Open Pantry Co’s partners, Open Pantry Co. can quickly apply their organisation improvement model to ensure high-quality execution and operation of any food and beverage brands.

Follow his journey here


Open Pantry Consulting – https://www.openpantryconsulting.com

Principle of Hospitality- https://www.principleofhospitality.com

Principle of Hospitality Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/principle_of_hospitality