Our Big Kitchen (OBK) is a community-run, non-denominational, industrial kitchen where people come together to cook for a good cause. The OBK team work closely with SecondBite and Foodbank Australia to rescue food that would have otherwise been wasted and instead use it to prepare and distribute food for people in need in shelters across NSW. They currently provide food to residents at Salvation Army, St Vincent’s De Paul, Lou’s Place, Mary’s House, Rough Edges, Oasis Youth Support, Youth off the streets, Wayside Chapel, Jewish House and more.
As a registered charity, OBK is a small but passionate team of five based in Bondi, Sydney. They largely rely on donations to fund their good work and also hire out their kitchen facilities and provide catering services with 100% of all profits going towards supporting the community. Most importantly, OBK relies on help from volunteers to support its mission. These volunteers include individuals who offer their spare time and group bookings for corporate team building, school excursions and other private functions.
With demand for kitchen hire, catering, and volunteer group bookings gaining momentum, OBK sought the help of a solution to help them better manage and increase their bookings. George Karounis, Operations Manager at OBK, explains, “Before using Priava, we were relying on Microsoft Outlook to manage our bookings, and we knew it was limiting our potential. We required more clarity in terms of being able to view availability and also needed to capture more details about our upcoming bookings, and Outlook just wasn’t fit for purpose.”
As part of Priava’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy, we are committed to finding opportunities to use our software for the greater good of the community and our industry. So, in 2015, we partnered with OBK to provide their team with complimentary access to our venue management solution to help their team capture incoming enquiries and manage their bookings more effectively.
Over the past six years, Priava has helped OBK increase their capacity to support the greater community – they now manage close to 1500 bookings per year, an increase of 40% since 2015. George firmly believes that Priava has been the key ingredient to ensuring their success. George explains, “Priava transformed our business from the first day we started using the system. It is intuitive and easy to pick up and use, so our team were able to reap the benefits of the system almost immediately.”
“Priava is our go-to tool. We record every single booking in Priava and capture customer data to support our marketing efforts, and we also create and issue invoices straight from the system,” says George. “Priava does everything we require or haven’t thought about yet at the click of a button.”
More recently, Priava has helped OBK overcome unexpected challenges that arose due to the global pandemic. According to George, it was thanks to Priava that their team quickly and seamlessly adjusted to working from home. “What we couldn’t have predicted at the start of our partnership with Priava was how important it would be in helping us navigate through COVID-19,” says George. “Despite having to respond to ever-changing restrictions and staff working remotely across different time zones, we could rest assured the team had up-to-date information about our upcoming events, and we avoided any booking conflicts.”
As restrictions ease in New South Wales, OBK has experienced increasing demand for kitchen hire, catering, and group bookings once more, so they are now looking to find ways to use more features of Priava to streamline their booking processes. George explains, “We are looking at giving external caterers restricted access to the system so that they can check availability and book the kitchen when they need it.” He continues, “We are also exploring the reporting tool even further to see how we can use Priava’s core reports to gain a deeper understanding of our business.”
Visit www.obk.org.au to learn more about the amazing work that they do and to find out more about how you can help either via making a donation or volunteering your time.
An interview with Michael Brierley, CEO at VMA about the 2021 Asia-Pacific Venue Industry Congress