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Temperance Hotel, South Yarra

RED ROCK LEISURE

OPERATOR

ALL HANDS ON DECK THE MELBOURNE-BASED GROUP WITH EXTENSIVE INTERESTS ACROSS BREWPUBS, BARS AND RESTAURANTS EXPLAINS HOW THE AUSTRALIAN PUB IS RADICALLY – AND RAPIDLY – CHANGING

S

ome of the highlights in 2019 include our Euro pub Hophaus winning the ‘Overall Pub of the Year’ at the recent AHA (VIC) Awards. We also welcomed four inspiring Melbourne venues and their dedicated team of people to Red Rock: Cookie, The Toff in Town, Boney Band Room and Magic Mountain. Our brewhouse in Sydney, All Hands Brewing House, in its first full year of operation, is going from strength to strength. We are really proud of how the venue has come up and very happy with the beers we are producing onsite there.

Annette Verhoeff Group Operations Manager Red Rock Leisure

All Hands Brewing House, Sydney

ALL CHANGE The nature of ‘the Australian pub’ is changing. There is more of a focus on food, however for us this has always been a key driver. There are fantastic opportunities, and a growing expectation from the public, to ‘premiumise’ and expand the offer, whether it’s through craft beer, whisky, gin, cocktails and great wine selections or even coffee and artisan non-alcoholic beverages. The product offering is important but ultimately a pub is, and I hope always will be, a place where people can connect with a community, friends, family and even strangers. Getting that right comes down to how good your staff are and how engaged they are in the customer experience. In 2019 our focus is on enhancing the customer experience through things like staff engagement and training, technology-enabled service innovation, in-venue activations and collaborations and continued investment in our digital and social platforms. Of course all of this needs to be underpinned by profitability. Driving costs down and improving margins are

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“Three things have contributed to our success. People, culture and a long term vision” a continuous focus but finding the right balance so as not to impact on service or quality. Three things have contributed to our success. People, culture and a long term vision. Our first pub, P.J. O’Brien’s in Melbourne, turned 21 years old this year and is still enjoying growth. We have never wavered in our commitment to run it as an authentic Irish pub, we have supported live music there seven nights a week since its inception, our staff embody the essence of true Irish hospitality and the venue looks as good as the day it opened.

COMMUNITY MATTERS I think in this age of technology overload people are seeking out experiences that give them a sense of community and human interaction. The local pub has always been the next best thing

to home. The challenge is to understand what ‘community’ means to people now and how to engage with your patrons, both in venue and through the various digital platforms.

CHALLENGES It’s a highly competitive industry and the bar continues to be raised in all areas: venue design, food and beverage offering, entertainment and social media. It’s getting tougher to stand out from the crowd but I think the challenge is to maintain focus on what you do and do it well. Understand where you sit in the market, what your competitive advantage is and how you make that profitable. If you worry about other influences that are largely out of your control then you lose focus and the business suffers.

Profile for The Intermedia Group

Australian Hotelier February 2019  

Australian Hotelier is the monthly magazine for the nation’s pubs and supplier partners. For more than 30 years, it has delivered industry i...

Australian Hotelier February 2019  

Australian Hotelier is the monthly magazine for the nation’s pubs and supplier partners. For more than 30 years, it has delivered industry i...