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Richard Barthes: Bringing the ‘wow’ factor to Cotto

Alumnus Richard Barthes, Operations Manager for Cotto (SA) is very excited about rolling out the rebranding and refurbishment for local coffee chain Cotto’s three cafés in South Australia. Aside from bringing the ‘wow’ factor to Cotto, he intends to see it grow to be one of the best cafés in the state.

As second-in-charge Richard manages 30-40 staff, working closely with each store manager across three cafés and a wholesale kitchen supplying to local businesses. New refurbishments, with a refined offering and rebranding of the logo and interior spaces will create a few points of difference for Cotto in South Australia.

Graduating in 2015 with a Le Cordon Bleu Bachelor of Business (International Hotel Management), Richard’s degree prepared him well for his current position. “My studies at Le Cordon Bleu have so much value and relevance in this role, the degree covered marketing, management, costing and HR. I apply what I learned every day, as a manager I deal with people from all walks of life. The degree was a good investment.”

Having first studied Marine Biology, Richard quickly decided it wasn’t his passion. In Canada, he worked in a café for a couple of years which gave him a taste for hospitality. He was fortunate to have two entrepreneurs/business owners mentor him and share their industry insights. He discovered that creativity, contact with people, and working with a team were all possible in a hospitality career. His next step was to train for his new path in hospitality management.

Born on a French island located east of Madagascar, Richard was attracted to Le Cordon Bleu’s French heritage. “I chose Le Cordon Bleu based on its excellent reputation and the French connection. The alumni network is really good, I use the Le Cordon Bleu network to recruit staff for Cotto. I have a first year student working in the kitchen who has some really great ideas, so I will give him an opportunity to innovate new dishes in the rebranding process.”

Reflecting on his time at Le Cordon Bleu, Richard says: “Le Cordon Bleu was very valuable for me, every class was enjoyable. The most valuable subject was communication, I apply what I learned there on a daily basis. It set me up to achieve really well in my current job, and taught me how to research, write and communicate well, including how to direct and motivate others.”

Richard’s first Industry Placement (Work Integrated Learning) was at Ayers Rock Resort where he spent six months as a Room Attendant, followed by restaurant service working 60 hours a week. “It’s really challenging, but very worthwhile. You work hard and save a lot of money in those remote areas because there’s not much else to do!”

The reasonable living costs in Adelaide influenced his decision to study in South Australia. “It’s a calm place to study and because it’s smaller you’re not fighting against such a large pool of talent, therefore business opportunities are greater.”

Richard’s vision for the next 2 or 3 years is to see Cotto grow to be one of the best group of cafés in state. “The staff are the most important factor in success – I believe we have a great team with amazing personalities offering impeccable service.” In the long-term, Richard’s five-year plan is to continue his journey with Cotto and see the brand improve and extend beyond South Australia.

With enthusiasm in abundance, this talented alumnus will undoubtedly continue to shine.