Australian Hotelier February 2022

Page 1



Vol. 39 No. 1- February 2022


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PUBLISHER: Paul Wootton

SPECIAL FEATURES 8 2021 in focus: A look back at the year’s

biggest stories. 37 Staffing Crisis: Hastings People MD Luke

Butler helps to shed some light on the way forward.


Black Rhino Group




Odd Culture Group


Porters Plainland Hotel


Sunshine Coast Hotels


The Sydney Collective


Carlton & United Breweries


Goodman Fielder


Gaming Technologies Association




JLL Hotels & Hospitality




Paul Kelly Design


Player Elite





profile several operators that have something

as we enter 2022, and

in common – they all did some moving and

while thankfully there’s

shaking over the past year – and we also talk

not a lockdown in sight,

to a number industry partners that helped

visit or Call: 1800 651 422 (Mon – Fri 8:30-5pm AEST) Email:

them and many other pubs out along the way. Read on to hear about their respective

this variant’s peak in sight as I write, there

challenges, pivots, and epiphanies as the

are strong reasons to be hopeful that we can

pandemic challenged them – as it has us all –

finally get a chance to experience ‘Covid

to reexamine the way they do business.

normal’ sometime soon.

Happy 2022!

While it’s true that some things will never go back to the way they used to be – such as

Amanda Bryan, Editor

commuting to the office five days a week –


Australian patron’s love of pubs has proven

6 | Australian Hotelier


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is again being tested

itself time and again as we’ve found when

NATIONAL SALES MANAGER: Jason Wild Tel: 02 8586 6213


The industry’s resilience

on our much-anticipated recovery. But with

EDITOR: Amanda Bryan


Editor’s Note Omicron’s spread has still put the brakes

PUBLISHED BY: Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd 41 Bridge Road GLEBE NSW Australia 2037 Tel: 02 9660 2113 Fax: 02 9660 4419

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2021 in focus We wrap up another year with a look back at some of the biggest breaking news stories of 2021.

August Redcape announced plans to delist from the ASX subject to shareholder approval after posting strong financial results.

September Hostplus and Charter Hall announced a $1.7bn takeover offer for ALE Property Group and its 78 pub freeholds.

October Melbourne exited its sixth lockdown after reaching 70.5%



double dose vaccination, and Sydney

New Year celebrations were

Australian Venue Company sold six

exited its second lockdown after 106 days.

muted due to restrictions

Queensland leased hotel freehold assets to

that aimed to prevent crowds

Hotel Property Investments for $32.7m.

gathering. Melbourne,

November AVC announced an alliance

Canberra, Brisbane, the Gold


with Afterpay in its Australian

Coast, and Adelaide cancelled their official

The Great Northern Hotel in

venues in a world hospitality

New Year’s fireworks.

Byron Bay was sold by long-time

first for the buy-now, pay later platform.

owners the Mooney family to

Australia confirmed its first Omicron cases


two Melbourne businessmen for

after two international arrivals tested

Justine Baker stepped

around $80 million. Endeavour Group

positive for the new variant.

down as Solotel CEO with

listed on the ASX after Woolworths

Elliot Solomon taking up

shareholders voted in favour of


the role. In March, Baker was appointed

demerging the group. Intrust Super and

Australian Venue Co announced plans

Chair of advocacy group the Night

Hostplus announced plans to merge with

to purchase the Saturno Group’s eight

Time Industries Association (NTIA).

Hostplus CEO David Elia heading up the

pubs and four bottle shops in and around

merged entity.

Adelaide, bringing AVC’s South Australian portfolio to a total of 18 venues.


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Craig’s Royal Hotel in Ballarat, Victoria.



A string of acquisitions and a major move into the South Australian market were among the annual highlights for Victorian operator Black Rhino Group. 2021 HAS been a significant year for

South Australian activity

departments of selected venues, and of

pub operator Black Rhino Group with

Black Rhino Group also entered the South

course begun our expansion into South

portfolio expansion through acquisition

Australian market with four hotels added

Australia. It forced us to honestly reflect

in its home state of Victoria and its

to the portfolio in recent months, and with

on who we are and what our strengths

entrance into South Australia.

seven more to come over the next year.

are and how to maximise our potential,”

It started with the acquisition of the

“We’ve taken on some great businesses

Tomsic says.

Grand Hotel in Mornington in January.

that are already stalwarts of their local

“By the end of July, we had added

areas and we’ve also taken on some that

changer for us. It makes it easier to

six more venues across regional and

need significant capital improvement to

manage on all levels, more enjoyable for

metropolitan Victoria,” director David

reach their full potential,” Tomsic says.

our staff to work, and above else ensure

Tomsic says. The population boom in Victoria over

He is predicting massive growth in South Australia over the next five

“The efficiencies have been a game-

longevity in our business.”

the last ten years has seen the return of

years. “As we have in Victoria, we have

Looking ahead

the local pub, according to Tomsic.

targeted areas where the hotels are

2022 is shaping up as another big and

ingrained into the local communities as

exciting year for the group, Tomsic says.

and increase in congested traffic, we’ve

“With the suburbs continuing to sprawl

well as others in metropolitan areas that

“We have a number of acquisitions to add

noticed that people are less prepared

need some updating.”

to our portfolio across South Australia

to head into the CBD and surrounding precincts to enjoy a night out and instead

Business improvement

turn to their neighbourhood hotel.

The portfolio is not the only thing that’s

“Our aim is to take on those hotels and

and Victoria, which will see us grow to 35 venues by the end of 2022. “2023 is also looking to be an exciting

grown, according to Tomsic. “Our head

year for us, as we have purchased a

capitally and operationally enhance them

office has almost doubled in size from last

MONSTER pub which will be acquired in

to their full potential to give the locals the

year, some of whom had started in our

June 2023. We can’t wait to share this

best experience in their area,” he says.

hotels as casuals while studying at uni and

with you when the time is right.”

“Throughout our journey, we’ve seen significant growth after extensive renovations to hotels in regional areas,

have taken opportunities to grow within our group.” The last two years have been

Black Rhino also has extensive renovations planned for about five of its sites which will see them become leading

which has given us full confidence to venture

undeniably tough on the entire industry,

businesses within their community,

further away from our central operation.

though, so Black Rhino has taken the

Tomsic says.

“We’ve now got footprints in towns all over Victoria – with more to come – and

opportunity to simplify its business model. “We’ve implemented new TITO

“We’ll continue to expand and develop our people, especially those with an

we are currently going through project

technology in our gaming rooms, closed

undeniable passion for the industry. The

planning for each site.”

underperforming and laboursome

sky is the limit with Black Rhino.”

10 | Australian Hotelier



CUB’s on-premise sales may have slowed, but the brewer has set its sights on supporting the industry at this tough time.

Peter Bingeman Sales Director CUB – Beer

2021 MARKED the first full year of being

partners in on-premise, who have

Into the future

part of Asahi Beverages for Carlton

maintained their positivity and flexibility

Bingeman says the major challenges for

& United Breweries (CUB), and the

throughout this year, was a real highlight.

the industry going forward will be getting

company says its successful integration

“It is truly humbling and inspiring to

into Asahi has brought it greater

meet with our on-premise partners, who

structure and focus.

despite many being closed for more than

“It’s a great business that is committed to growing and investing in Australia. It’s been really good to see the increased

people comfortable with going out in groups and crowds again. “We’ll focus on the important role

300 days in the last two years, continue to

places of connection like hotels, pubs and

be positive about the future.”

clubs play in the community, and continue to develop campaigns that give reasons

focus on innovation and sustainability,”

Supportive strategy

says Peter Bingeman, CUB’s Sales

As the pandemic played out, CUB

Director – Beer.

stepped up its support, focusing on

“We’re also committed to working

This month, CUB also welcomes a new

for people to go to the pub, including refreshing the Love Your Pub campaign.

being a positive partner to industry,

with the AHA and Clubs Australia to

CEO, Danny Celoni to the fold, taking

implementing a number of campaigns

get a reduction in draught beer excise

over from Peter Filipovic who is retiring

and initiatives including For the Love of

which is now the fourth highest in the

from CUB after being with the business for

Your Local, which raised $2 million worth

developed world.”

25 years.

of support for struggling hotels, pubs

“With CUB being part of the Asahi Beverages family, and with Danny also

and clubs. “We also launched the Love Your Pub

Covid has made some marked changes to on-premise markets over the year, Bingeman says. Working from home,

joining the Asahi Beverages Executive

campaign to remind Australians of the

lockdowns and border closures have,

Leadership Team, we believe that we’re in

special and unique place pubs and hotels

for instance, significantly impacted

a very strong position to continue to grow

have in our communities across the

the number of people visiting CBDs

with our customers and meet their needs,”

country,” Bingeman says.

across Australia.

Bingeman says.

In addition, CUB offered credit

“On the flip side, we are seeing

Not surprisingly, he says, the Covid

extensions, credits for unused kegs,

stronger performance in the suburbs,

pandemic had an impact on on-premise

and worked closely with the Federal

as many after-work drinks have been

sales as CUB’s strongest markets,

Government to ensure the sale of

replaced by catching up with friends in

Victoria and NSW, experienced extended

growlers by pubs would not be subject to

the neighborhood.

lockdowns, although strong pack beer

double excise.

sales provided some relief. “This put pressure on us, but it was nothing compared to what our customers and partners have been through,” Bingeman says. “The resilience we saw from our

“It was good to see people being able

“We are also seeing strong performance in regional areas, with more people

to enjoy takeaway draught beer during the

moving to regional towns and people

lockdowns,” Bingeman says.

holidaying locally.

“Most importantly, our team kept in

“This has been a great trend, and one

regular contact with our partners and the

we’d love to see continue for country pubs

industry to ensure they were okay.”

and clubs.”

February 2022 | 11



As dining preferences evolve, Goodman Fielder has been working hard in the food lab to bring new foodservice offerings to the table. IT’S BECOMING increasingly important

The company says that when it began

welcomed a new variant called Classic

for venues to differentiate their offerings,

the development work on these flavours,

Mayo, and this new arrival was also given

mark them out as premium, and boost

they also received high ratings from a

the thumbs up by independent Aussie

their Instagram strike rate.

sensory perspective.

chefs who tested it.

With this in mind, food service company

“Being time poor, chefs are always

Goodman Fielder has been busy developing

Socially inclined

looking for products that deliver on

new products over the past year.

Reports suggest that 45 per cent of people

convenience without sacrificing on taste

In November, the food company

are sharing food content on social media

and quality,” says Goodman Fielder brand

launched two vibrantly coloured and

weekly, and in order to compete, venues

manager Natasha Raina. “Praise Classic

exotically flavoured milk buns designed

need to think outside the box.

is the perfect base for chefs to build and

specifically for the hospitality market. Michelle McPherson, senior brand

“This led us down the path of seeing how we could take our popular QBA milk

customise their own recipes.” The Classic recipe is made from fresh,

manager Baking Foodservice at

bun range into exciting new territories,”

free-range eggs, has no artificial colours

Goodman Fielder, says this product

McPherson says.

or preservatives, and has a neutral taste

launch was prompted by the rise of ‘Instagramable’ food. The first of these, the Smokey BBQ bun

“We know that brilliant colours can take an average recipe to an overnight viral

who wish to add their own flavour twist,

Instagram hit. With these new flavoured

says Raina.

features a sweet, smoky aroma and a

milk buns, end users can create colourful

deep burgundy hue, and the second, the

burger menu options.”

Sriracha bun, has a hint of chilli and garlic and a rich shade of red. To come up with the flavours, Goodman

profile, making it a good base for chefs

A classic addition

“Launching Praise Classic delivers a delicious and quality mayonnaise that is an economical workhorse in the kitchen.” The Praise mayonnaise range now

In another development inspired by

includes the Classic 21kg; Classic 3kg;

Fielder conducted an independent online

growing consumer demand, Goodman

Whole Egg 3.5kg and 99% Fat Free 3.5kg.

survey of over 200 chefs who were asked

Fielder added to its mayonnaise offerings

to rate preferences for on-trend burger

in late 2021.

bun flavours.

12 | Australian Hotelier

The well-known Praise brand of mayo

Goodman Fielder says it has more exciting new foodservice product launches in the pipeline in 2022.

GAMING TECHNOLOGY HOSPITALITY The best new and innovative commercial kitchen equipment, point-of-sale systems, paging and communication devices, waste management solutions, venue design and construction providers, furniture and flooring, food and beverage, entertainment, uniforms and more, are found at the Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE). AGE is the cornerstone of the Australian gaming and hospitality industry. It's where gaming, technology, and hospitality meet.

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Gaming Technologies Association’s new CEO, Jinesh Patel, explores the future of gaming in Australia.

CEO Gaming Technologies Association

AS THE peak representative body for

develop solutions that are easy to use and

A good fit

Australia’s gaming machine technology

safe for patrons and with minimal impact

Patel’s previous roles included working

suppliers, Gaming Technologies

on the current operations of operators.”

in an advisory position in the NSW

Association (GTA) has its finger on the

According to Patel, field trials of various

government hospitality portfolio, giving

pulse when it comes to evolving gaming

cashless payment technologies are expected

him seven years of experience in the

systems and platforms.

to be initiated by GTA members this year.

regulatory side of the industry.

GTA also this year welcomes a new

“The industry will use these trials to ensure

More recently, he has provided public

CEO, Jinesh Patel, to take the wheel of

we have the best solutions for all in place for

affairs advice to hospitality clients at

the organisation which aims to help its

all stakeholders as we advance.”

consulting firm GRACosway, advising on

members produce entertaining, safe, and

regulatory matters.

timely products for both operators and

AGE 2022

their patrons.

With the Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE)

hospitality and gaming sector drew him to

postponed for two years running, Patel

the GTA CEO role.

Customers are looking for an

Patel says the opportunity to work in the

outstanding experience, says Patel, and

says the industry is hungry to reunite, and

GTA’s role as a subject matter expert is

events like the AGE 2022, which will be

well, having been fortunate to work with

critical to ensure effective and efficient

held in August this year, will enable the

my predecessors, Ross and Chris.

outcomes for all parties.

whole industry to come back together.

“In my time in the private sector, I

“With many events postponed these

have also worked with some of GTA’s

The trends, opportunities and

“GTA is an organisation that I know

challenges in the gaming space are all

past two years, there is a pent-up demand

members, so I knew the role would be a

enabled by technology, which means GTA

for suppliers to get in front of their ideal

good fit, and it was an opportunity that I

and its members are critical to addressing

customer base. Companies looking to break

was eager to pursue.”

these with all stakeholders.

into our industry are looking at AGE to launch

Cashless Payment

their products and services at the show.” Patel says that there won’t be a

“We see Cashless Payment technologies

dramatic change to the AGE formula

for gaming machines as a key opportunity

in 2022. “We are, however, working

and challenge for the industry and the

on making it easier to connect buyers

GTA in the coming years,” Patel says.

and sellers and on allowing for a

“With cash used less, particularly with the younger generation, the challenge is to

14 | Australian Hotelier

more personalised event for all of our delegates,” he says.

Save the date AGE 2022 When: 9-11 AUGUST 2022 Where: ICC Sydney More info:

The Paddington on Sydney’s Oxford Street.



Debbie Higgins

Merivale is tackling new markets in regional areas and interstate and is also making waves in the sporting arena.

Group Operations Manager, Stadiums Merivale


as the first in-house, exclusive hospitality

made some mega moves in 2021 into

experience partner at the SCG and new

regional NSW and Victoria – and also

SFS,” Debbie Higgins, Merivale’s Group

was bringing venue leaders back a

into new hospitality markets.

Operations Manager, Stadiums, says.

few weeks before opening to re-induct

According to Merivale, although the

“The partnership sits with Venues NSW

wellbeing is the priority!” Another 2021 highlight, Higgins says,

them into their roles and focus on their

locations may have changed, the thinking

and is an exciting opportunity for us to

behind its venue acquisition strategy hasn’t,

provide a world-class, enjoyable experience

with Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes and the

through food and beverage for all guests to

one and it allowed the teams to feel

team on the hunt for “that special venue, in

the stadiums. For us it means an incredible

confident when reopening, and to have a

the special location that inspires a vision”.

opportunity and milestone in Merivale’s

clear plan for the team as our venues got

history and we couldn’t be more excited.

busy very quickly.”

In another major highlight for the group, Merivale won the tender late last

“We have been very focused on the

leadership and development. “This was a learning from lockdown

She says that Merivale’s senior

year to become the exclusive hospitality

stadium, as this unique opportunity really

management team “really upped the level

experience partner at the Sydney Cricket

hit a chord with Merivale. We believe in

of communication to our teams during the

Ground and Sydney Football Stadium

this precinct, and we believe the SCG and

lockdown to support team members to have

when it opens this year.

the new SFS will reinvigorate Sydney. We

clarity and government resources at their

love that.”

finger tips so they were well informed”.

services at both venues for an initial term

Learning from lockdown

nationwide staff shortage is still posing

of nearly six years – until September 2027.

According to Higgins, Merivale’s

challenges for the group.

Merivale operates some of Australia’s

experiences during Sydney’s first

Starting last December, Merivale has taken charge of catering and beverage

Higgins says that the industry and

“We continue to be challenged in this

most iconic dining and entertainment

lockdown helped the team navigate

space. We innovate and create to attract

venues and the SCG’s summer menus are

Sydney’s second lockdown in the second

candidates but it’s not easy. We have a

being refined by the group’s executive chef

half of last year.

number of exciting roles available across

team, with plans to deliver an offering

“We knew what to expect from

the group, from venue to stadium staff and

focused on quality, variety, value for

lockdown one so we proactively provided

head office, and we encourage people to

money and ease and speed of service.

our teams with platforms to educate, stay

check out to see all

healthy and connected in new ways. Staff

our available positions,” Higgins says.

“We’re proud to have been announced

February 2022 | 15

www.gffoodser https://www.fac oodserviceau



Despite a couple of turbulent years, some big mergers and savvy strategies have provided positive outcomes for Hostplus and its members. HOSTPLUS HOSPITALITY sector members, particularly those in Victoria

June 2021, Elia says. “We finished the last financial year with

David Elia CEO Hostplus

therefore created more requirements and responsibilities for employers, particularly

and NSW, continued to endure a difficult

strong investment performances across

if they need to onboard high volumes of

year in 2021 which included periods of

the majority of our investment options.

new staff regularly,” Elia says.

extended lockouts and shutdowns.

“Our flagship and most popular Balanced

“We very much see it as part of our

As Hostplus CEO David Elia says,

(MySuper) option delivered a net return

job and service at Hostplus to assist both

“We’ve all had our highs and lows this

of 21.32 per cent. This was its best-ever

employers and their staff and make any

year, but any challenges we’ve faced I

return in its thirty-plus year history.”

super changes as simple as possible. One

think will pale in comparison to those faced by the hospitality industry these last

New partnerships

two years.

In 2021, Hostplus also made some

“That said, a highlight for me has

important new partnerships. In November

way we are doing this is through our new onboarding tool, which will greatly assist employers with these new requirements.”

been watching the incredible resilience

Hostplus completed an historic merger

Savvy investments

and determination displayed by the

with Queensland-based hospitality fund

Hostplus has a broadly young member

hospitality industry throughout this time,

Intrust Super.

demographic, according to Elia, which

which I’ve personally, and I know the

“We were very excited to welcome Intrust

means the company will hopefully be

Hostplus team more generally, have

Super’s members, employers and staff

investing their retirement savings over a

drawn inspiration from.”

into Hostplus,” Elia says. “Merging with a

long period until their retirement.

According to Elia, despite the

long-standing fund such as Intrust Super,

“This is what we call ‘patient capital’.

challenges presented by Covid and staff

while minimising impacts for employers and

It allows us to take a truly long-term

shortages, many pub groups have been

members, was a significant task.”

investment approach, with assets that are

seizing opportunities in regional Australian

Hostplus also teamed up with Maritime

expected to provide longer-term income

communities, reviving the classic Aussie

Super in April in a partnership which sees

and growth prospects,” Elia says. “These

pub and helping drive local tourism to our

Hostplus managing its investment assets,

include unlisted property, infrastructure

country towns.

and Hostplus expects to complete its

and private equity, which are also

merger with Adelaide-based industry fund

assets that most everyday investors can’t

Statewide Super in April 2022.

easily access.

Super reform

is one of Australia’s largest investors in

The superannuation sector is going through

venture capital, with over $2.2 billion

an unprecedented period of reform and

committed to the sector,” Elia says.

“This is a great initiative. I think domestic travel will still present some of the biggest opportunities for hospitality venues in the coming year.”

Silver lining

“I’m especially proud that Hostplus

According to Elia, the past year has been a

change, according to Elia. One of the most

positive one in terms of delivering financial

recent sets of reforms, the ‘Your Future,

in companies like Canva, Oxford Nanopore

outcomes for members, especially those

Your Super’ legislation, which came into

Technologies and Commonwealth Fusion

in the hospitality sector.

effect late last year, led to significant

Systems to name just a few, we’ve helped

Collectively, nine out of ten Hostplus

changes for super administration and

back Australian success stories, scientific

members were invested in options that

onboarding processes for employers.

advances and the world’s transition to

achieved best-ever annual returns to 30

18 | Australian Hotelier

“The process to onboard new staff has

“Through our venture capital investments

renewable energy.”

Odd Culture Newtown, which opened in November last year.


James Thorpe

Managing director Odd Culture Group

SYDNEY-BASED Odd Culture Group, as

late 2021, says Thorpe, as a way of

Culture Group designed from the ground

it was rebranded in early 2021, has been

formalising its commitment to its people.

up – literally, as the venue was gutted by

busy buying and transforming city pubs over the past year. Managing director James Thorpe says

“The program, which all full-time employees are a part of, puts hard

fire in 2018 – according to Thorpe. “It’s a two-level bar and restaurant

caps on service hours, and makes time

on the busy King St pedestrian strip in

he wouldn’t have predicted that back in

for intra-venue mentorship, personal

Newtown, with a huge, 2000-plus product

March of 2020 when NSW was first told it

development and nationally-recognised

craft beer and natural wine bottle shop

was going into lockdown.

training, as well as giving each staff

attached three doors up.

“I honestly thought that our industry was done, that the business was over,” he says. “It was at that point that we decided

member a solid path for progression within the company. “We have a big focus on putting the right

“All of the design was done in-house by the group, from interior to lighting to furniture design. It was really rewarding

we weren’t going to be a victim of the

people in the right role for them, setting

seeing it all come to life and be so well

pandemic. That we would try with every

them up with the training and support they

received by customers.”

resource available to make it work – for

need for success, and then giving them

the staff.”

relative freedom to do their role effectively,”

More in store

Thorpe says. “People will surprise you when

The group remains on an expansion

given the right tools to shine.”

trajectory, with plans to add two to three

So the group pivoted some of its pubs, trading off-premise only, and instead of using Uber or Delivery, they devised an

more venues in 2022.

in-house delivery system that saw all food

Fine dining focus

and beverages delivered by the group’s

Thorpe says this focus on employees,

operate them, rising freehold values in

bartenders, managers and floor staff.

specifically making hospitality “a sustainable

that sector and a changing regulatory

career for those who have the spark for it”,

environment increasingly favours other

has defined the group ever since.

license types, for example, small bars,”

“We even hired e-bikes for those who couldn’t drive. Our staff all maintained

“While we love pubs, and will always

employment through that lockdown,

“Our appointment of James MacDonald

and the pubs garnered such intense

as Group Executive Chef and working with

community support that they came back

his team of industry-leading head chefs

gaming machines has swayed our appetite

after lockdown to a frightening level of

like Anna Ugarte-Carral, Jesse Warkentin,

toward “clean slate” opportunities, rather

trade – which more or less persists to

Doug Alverenga, and John Hockey, is a

than “turnkey” pubs with a heritage

this date.”

massive highlight for me,” he says.


Ultimately, Thorpe says, Covid has given

Thorpe says. “That together with our aversion to

According to Thorpe, being one of the

The group’s Newtown bottle shop has

rise to several new venues for the group,

very few pub operators in the country that

also been a runaway success, according to

and the team is around four times the size

do not operate gaming machines means

Thorpe who says the group may add more

now as it was at the top of the pandemic.

that the food and beverage offering is an

bottle shop sites in Sydney this year.

People focus Odd Culture Group’s People & Odd Culture program was developed in

especially crucial part of the business mix for Odd Culture Group. Odd Culture Newtown, which opened in November, was the first project Odd

“We’ve also just secured a site in Melbourne for our very first hospitality venue out of state, so keep your eyes peeled for that.”

February 2022 | 19


Reimagining city venues, nimble pivots into off-premise, and edgy new offerings are paying off for the recently rebranded Sydney group.

The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay.



JLL looks back on a huge year of pub sales which saw five years of market aggregation compressed into one.

Managing Director, Hotels & Hospitality Group JLL

A STELLAR run of pub sales has been

a discreet, off-market invitation only

developments, while right across the

keeping the property brokers at the

Expression of Interest process.

country we saw ‘blue-line fever’ – the rush

pointy end of these transactions on their toes for the past year. JLL Hotels & Hospitality, one of the

Not far behind, according to Musca, was the sale of the All Seasons Hotel in

frontage or ocean views, driven by Covid

Bendigo, the Lansvale Ramada Hotel in

intrastate visitation movements.

key players in the pub property market,

Cabramatta, and Gilligan’s in Cairns, which

conducted 83 pub asset transactions

transacted for a combined $150 million.

nationally, with a combined value of $1 billion in sales. According to JLL’s national director

to place capital in assets enjoying water

All three had substantial

“We also saw the continued rise of the freehold-only hotel investment asset class as the retail investment of choice,

accommodation components. “Working

noting yield compression extending to

closely with JLL Hotels’ Investment

private tenancy covenants for the first

John Musca, this result was a credit to the

Sales & Advisory teams added essential

time,” he says.

dedication of the JLL team, and was also

education and guidance to buyers less

a statement about the confidence clients

familiar with accommodation operations,”

realignment and necessary adjustment of

have in the property broker.

Musca says.

the balance between landlord and lessee

With such a large volume of sales

“Finally, bringing the class-leading

“The COVID-19 pandemic taught us the

interests, what is considered a sustainable

occurring during 2021, Musca says,

Merivale hospitality group to Victoria for

rent for any hospitality proprietor, and the

it was essential to deliver proficiently,

their first interstate pub acquisition at

effect that has on property capital values

expertly and speedily when helping clients

the magnificent Lorne Hotel, was both a

when rents need to be reduced to maintain

negotiate and then navigate the complete

privilege and pleasure.”

a long-term business outlook.

What’s next?

retail investment sector across the board.”

sale process. “It was also important to maintain a

“This is likely to have implications for the

sensitivity to the uncertainty hoteliers were

Musca is predicting ongoing consolidation of

experiencing at the venue level,” he says.

the market for the larger revenue-generating

reminded us that freehold ownership and

operations in every state as an ongoing

venue scale “are very useful underwriters

trend that rapidly escalated in 2021.

of business survival and asset value

The high level of sales activity also called for the expansion of the JLL team to meet the overwhelming demand for its

“We witnessed over five years’ worth of

According to Musca, Covid also

preservation in unheralded times”.

professional services.

market aggregation in 12 months.

2021 highlights

balance sheets of the private group

pub brokerage team, and the launch of

“It was a truly extraordinary year,” Musca

has seen portfolio expansion emerge

a National Mid-Markets brokerage team

says. “There were so many highlights – but

as a boardroom priority, whilst supply

servicing caravan parks, motels and other

certainly the $75 million sale of the Great

constraints continue to evolve.”

diversified hospitality asset opportunities.

“The public capital inflows and strong

For JLL, 2022 will bring new digital offerings and the further expansion of its

Northern Hotel, Byron Bay is a particular

According to Musca, NSW saw high

“2021 saw us assist more clients than

example of the unique value that the JLL

volumes of regional smaller pub sales to

ever to transcend state borders for group

selling platform can deliver to clients.”

build EGM inventories and the emergence

expansion and this national approach will

of greenfield and brownfield hotel

continue to be a focus in 2022,” Musca says.

This sale, he says, was completed in

20 | Australian Hotelier

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Despite significant obstacles, 2021 was a productive year that set up a solid foundation for the future. ONGOING LOCKDOWNS in 2021

Nick Becker Co-Founder Konvoy

reinvest into other parts of the business.

According to Becker, logistics and

created challenges for all players in

“We have heard from our customers

tracking had always been a challenge

the hospitality supply chain. For keg

that the biggest challenges are the nitty-

specialist Konvoy, many of its kegs

gritty processes behind transportation

remained at a standstill in warehouses

and supply chain, not to mention the

report on a number of valuable data

and various pubs and venues across

environmental strain that owned keg

points including the temperature and

different states and between Australia

assets and transportation can have,”

location of the keg.

and New Zealand.

Becker says.

“We were all in it together, so we

Keg pooling also reduces the number

for customers. “With these beacons, the devices can

“This data helps improve the overall process and puts the control back into

made sure to constantly check in

of assets created, he says, to ensure

the brewer’s hands. For example, there is

with our customers, kept the lines

that excess is prevented, maintain the

no more manual scanning to be done on

of communication open, and were

longevity of existing assets through care

arrival at a venue, so the billing process

empathetic to their situation,” Konvoy co-

and regular servicing, and decrease

is kept in the hand of the brewery,

founder Nick Becker says.

the level of carbon footprint that

improving processes and eliminating

transportation may have.

errors and the need for additional

Despite the significant obstacles, he says, Konvoy was able to turn 2021 into

“As more and more breweries are

a productive year that set up a solid

becoming environmentally conscious,

foundation for continued growth in 2022.

Konvoy is providing a sustainable service

Konvoy raised $30 million in capital over the year, and also finished 2021 with over 475 customers across ANZ. “Hitting these big milestones over the

to complement this.”

It’s got the IoT

employee resources when the kegs move through the supply chain.” Konvoy also handles the collection of the kegs, reducing further processes and also improving the efficiency of keg transport logistics. “In 2022, we are

Another Konvoy milestone in 2021 was

looking to introduce a new and improved

past twelve months have truly been great

adding specialist IoT tracking technology

beacon, Katch 2.0, that will unlock even

highlights,” Becker says.

to more than half of its keg fleet.

more valuable insights,” Becker says.

The keg journey

something new and innovative to the keg

tracking technology and the analytics

Konvoy’s business objective is to ease the

industry,” Becker says. “Thanks to our

Konvoy can provide its partners.

friction of the keg journey from brewery to

technology arm Katch, over 55 per cent of

venue and back again by offering a pooling

our fleet of 200,000 red Konvoy stainless

international footprint into the USA and

business model that frees up capital for

steel kegs are fitted with a smart IoT

Europe that will truly see Konvoy paint the

brewers and breweries so that they can

device that acts like a beacon.”

world red.”

22 | Australian Hotelier

“We have been very excited to bring

The plan is to continue to advance the

“We will also be looking to expand our

knowledge with global reach Domestic

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KATE MACDONALD GREG JELOUDEV Vice President +61 412 726 676

Executive +61 401 670 053


Porters Plainland Hotel won four QHA awards last year.



This award-winning family-owned regional Queensland pub has a strong service focus and is also kicking goals in sustainability.

Melissa Porter

Co-owner and marketing manager Porters Plainland Hotel

PORTERS PLAINLAND Hotel, a regional

offer real connection, she says. “No amount

“The Hotel also has two 130,000 litre

family-owned Queensland pub, cleaned

of pivoting, online offerings or gourmet meal

rainwater tanks and collects rainwater off

up at last year’s QHA awards, taking

kits will ever change this.”

most roof surfaces. The water is used to

out Regional Hotel of the Year, and

That said, according to Porter, Covid

flush the hotel and motel’s many toilets.”

has made a positive impact in a few small

accommodation, best Keno venue, and

areas, such as expanding the venue’s

What’s next?

Chef of the Year.

online delivery service.

Next on the agenda is composting, says

“We now offer food and drinks delivery

Porter. “It’s funny. Back in the 80s

Melissa Porter says the Regional Hotel

in our local region and at one stage were

and 90s, we disposed of all food waste

of the Year award in particular was

the number one Bottlemart store in

ourselves and then over time moved

“definitely a highlight”.

Australia for deliveries.

away from this due to increasing Health &

“Not just for the past year but a nice

“And in our instance, being within the

Safety regulations.

feather in our hat for many years to

lucrative one-hour drive market from

come,” she says. “We try to do all the

Brisbane has seen our local roads

of food waste sustainably but do so in a

little things well. And our core focus is

and regions busy with travellers and

compliant way. We also have a lot of land

always customer service.


at our disposal. So, if any regional venues

“We often say you can walk into any pub in Queensland and get almost the same

For the planet

parmy and you can get the exact same

The pub is also known for its extensive

beer. So it’s our service that sets us apart.

sustainability programs, and the venue

How we make people feel. And consistency

built on this in 2021.

in both product and service is important.”

Beyond Covid

“We already had a 30kw solar system

“Now we want to loop back to disposing

that take care of their own composting have any tips, I would love you to get in touch and share your insights.” In 2019 the venue undertook an expansion which more than doubled the size of the premises, leaving just a few

operating on the roof of our Bottleshop.

small projects to work on such as a refurb

And in late 2021 we added a brand new

of its main kitchen dry store, scullery and

Not surprisingly, Porter says, lockdowns

66kw system on the roof of our new motel

front service counter.

have posed the biggest challenge over the

which is exciting,” Porter says.

past year. “Having to close the doors to

“Our water-saving initiatives remain

“In a few years we may look at adding more motel rooms, as our 17-room motel

your business with short notice and no

strong. The hotel has its own water treatment

is experiencing healthy occupancy levels,

real certainty as to when you can open

plant which currently recycles between

and possibly adding a wedding chapel/

them again is definitely not fun.”

8,000 and 10,000 litres per day and has the

multipurpose space on the green space

capacity to recycle up to 18,000 litres per

adjacent to the hotel, but the latter two

day. So we have room to grow here.

will be a few years in the making.”

Hotels don’t just sell food and beverages, but also fun and positive experiences, and

24 | Australian Hotelier



other top gongs including best pub-style

Co-owner and marketing manager







The Mermaid Beach Tavern sports bar.



As it prepares to celebrate 25 years in business, Paul Kelly Design shares the past year’s highlights and what’s in the pipeline in 2022.

Paul Kelly

Director Paul Kelly Designs

2021 HAS been a wild ride for Paul Kelly

the Gardens at the Ambarvale Hotel for

shut down in a pandemic, it is also quick

Design (PKD). While some amazing

Colin Parras, a client for over 20 years.

to pick up speed once lockdowns end.

construction for months without a single

Project pipeline

that surrounded the industry was

site visit, while others remain unfinished

More projects are in the pipeline, says

overwhelming, although some could see

due to border restrictions.

Kelly. “We have some really exciting works

through the haze to the big picture and took advantage of the downturn.”

projects opened up, some were under

“When Covid first hit, the panic

“The biggest challenge in our field was

in progress at the moment. We are working

keeping our chin up, as we had a few false

with the Star in Brisbane on their signature

starts and a lot of uncertainty in regard to

rooftop development on Level 23 which is a

opportunity to renovate, according to

developments starting and pausing,” says

very exciting project for the PKD Team.

Kelly. “It seems that council working

PKD director Paul Kelly. “However, for a year that saw a massive

“We also have started working with

For instance, many venues took the

remotely has offered a real opportunity

Sam and the team at Iris on the new

for venues to complete repairs and

slowdown in our industry, we have had some

Queensgate Development (The Bourbon

maintenance over the past year, with

amazing clients that have decided to push

through to the Empire Hotel and retail),

the majority of the repairs being

through and have vision for the long game.”

and it’s such an honour to be working on

quite significant.”

PKD completed projects in Queensland with JDA Hotels’ Mermaid Beach Tavern,

such an iconic development. “But the biggest news is that in 2022

Kelly says this shows that the industry values PKD services, that owners are

in Griffith, NSW with the opening of Jim

Paul Kelly Design is 25 years old! We are

interested in increasing the value of their

Knox’s Gem Hotel, and construction has

planning a massive year of celebration

assets, and customers are in turn showing

begun on Franklin Wharf in Hobart.

and appreciation for all of the clients who

support with their patronage.

Other projects include the company’s first Byron Bay project, The North Byron

have been along with us on the journey.”

“I think after all of this, we are going to be in and out of limits on venues and

Hotel for Sean Dunleavy, as well as The

Constructive approach

Entrance Hotel for Andrew Thomas, the

Kelly notes that while the hospitality

and forth to timed seatings, allowing

Woollahra Hotel for Alister Campbell, and

industry has been one of the first to be

venues to focus on service and quality.”

26 | Australian Hotelier

reduced capacities and we will go back

Sunshine Coast-based hotel Baringa Tavern.



Technology, staffing and community connection are key priorities for this family-owned Queensland group.

Scott Armstrong

Managing Director Sunshine Coast Hotels

QUEENSLAND PUBS have been lucky

of the Year, says the Sunshine Coast

design can reflect the latest customer

with respect to lockdowns, losing only

is a very close-knit community. “It is

cues like allocating more space in

11 days trading last calendar year.

important that our hotels play an active

gaming lounges.

Scott Armstrong, managing director

role with local charities, Chambers of

“The other significant advantage is that

of family-owned and operated pub

Commerce, and industry groups to

you have a clean slate with no baggage

group, Sunshine Coast Hotels, praises

contribute wherever we can,” he says.

from previous operators, employees or

the resilience of the local economy and

“All of our hotels have been greenfield

customers,” Armstrong says.

hospitality businesses on the back of a

sites, so we have had to work hard to

very challenging period.

build our awareness and profile from the

process for hotels with Poker Machine

moment we break ground.

Entitlements. “There is great uncertainty

“Restrictions have reminded locals how much they enjoy their suburban hotels and

“The community is central to our

On the downside, however, is the tender

with our current system in terms of

the social connection that we provide to

success – the way they view our venue’s

supply and this uncertainty breeds risk

people of all age groups.”

presentation, ambience, quality of food

which is at odds with the need to provide

and customer experience at each of our

entertainment in high growth areas like the

development of much new technology in

hotels will determine how well we perform

Sunny Coast.”

the industry, he says. “There are some

into the future, and it has been pleasing

really positive tech initiatives that we need

how well our hotels have been embraced

New directions

to embrace quickly.”

by the local community each time we have

Armstrong says the group’s plan is to

opened one.”

continue to grow and invest in venues

The pandemic has also accelerated the

Armstrong says the biggest challenge of the past year has been staffing. “With

that fit the group’s small to medium-sized

no overseas migration into Australia

Greenfield approach

and a tendency for people to look for

Sunshine Coast Hotels identified a few of

intensive, so selection is key in getting the

new opportunities outside of hospitality

the fastest-growing areas of the Sunshine

right ones.

post-Covid, our staffing levels have

Coast almost ten years ago, Armstrong says.

come under pressure, particularly in the kitchen department. “The other challenge has been simply

“Apart from a couple of pubs, the

portfolio. “Pubs are both time and capital-

“We have been working on a project in Bli Bli for a number of years and this

majors owned every hotel east of the Bruce

is finally under construction now. It’s

Highway from Caloundra to Noosa. So we

a large-format tavern that we will be

to keep pace with the changes in Covid

didn’t have much option but to look for

operating in conjunction with Richard

restrictions with respect to patron density,

new sites and engage with developers.”

Deery from the Story Bridge Hotel.

functions capacities, masks etc.”

Community focus Armstrong, who was named QHA Hotelier

28 | Australian Hotelier

Opening greenfield sites has its pluses

“Other than Bli Bli we’ll be fully

and minuses, he says, with the major

occupied maintaining a strong presence in

advantage being that you can design

the areas we currently operate and having

the hotel exactly as you want it, and the

fun with our locals at the same time.”

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The war for customer loyalty has begun and the question is, if Pub A has loyalty and Pub B doesn’t, then how is Pub B going to survive? Player Elite has developed an automated digital loyalty system with a view to revolutionising the industry.

Bryan Te Wani CEO Player Elite

ALL GAMING venues face increasing

Loyalty war on the way

competition, so retaining the loyalty

As pubs and clubs and casinos start to

Outsourced offering a strategic advantage

of customers is becoming increasingly

compete more aggressively for the same

Player Elite’s model has another

difficult. Pub Loyalty programs have

patrons on the back of this trend, Te Wani

advantage – the company also runs the

been notoriously hard to implement, and

is predicting a “loyalty war”.

system for its clients. “We acquire the

due to a variety of systems, platforms,

“The old days of having a new purpose-

member into the loyalty program for the

and a lack of technology, they have

built gaming room or the latest pokies isn’t

pub – we make that process seamless for

rarely worked.

really going to be enough to differentiate

them,” Te Wani says.

Enter Player Elite, a tech startup that has developed an automated digital loyalty system that can be plugged into a venue’s existing gaming and POS systems. Player Elite’s four founders, who have collectively clocked up more than 100

you. Players will move around according to what’s in it for them.” In the gaming room, the main barrier to

“We drop in the tech and the human resources to actually drive their gaming operations and their loyalty forward.

loyalty has been a lack of expertise and a

We also offer guaranteed ROI, or your

lack of technology.

money back.”

Player Elite is tackling this head-on by

Player Elite also assigns a ‘Success

years of gaming industry experience, are

building inhouse expertise and creating

Manager’ to each client who assists in

led by CEO Bryan Te Wani whose industry

the first Digital Loyalty System that

the installation and running of the Digital

experience also includes senior roles with

allows for real-time rewards within an

Loyalty System driving growth

Diageo and Red Bull.

ethical framework.

and success.

“We came together after a couple of

“We don’t just focus on gaming, we

2015 specifically to build a solution that

The founders joined forces in late

big customers asked us to build them a

include food and other offerings, and

filled the glaring gap in the customer

digital loyalty system, which we did,” Te

we provide a 360 view of loyalty for

loyalty market.

Wani says.

the publican.”

In just six years in business, Player

Using the Player Elite digital loyalty

Elite has amassed around 60 clients,

system, a member gets greater value

suited to ambitious independent, regional

including Momento Hospitality, Harris

from visiting one pub over another.

and single venue operators that lack the

& Narvo Hotel Group and The JAGA

That’s because when playing on that

resources of their larger counterparts.

Group. Operators like these have sensed

pub’s gaming machine, they will earn

a revolution in the industry, and are in

real-time rewards such as EFTPOS cards,

system, work with market leaders to drive

turn seeking market leading solutions,

and these rewards are communicated to

their operations, and develop sustainable,

according to Te Wani.

them as they earn them via an SMS or

ethical rewards programs for hotel

through their app.

operators,” Te Wani says.

He says players today are more astute, they’ve got more money, and they’re

“The member can see the value just like

The company says this offering is well

“Essentially our vision is to deploy our

“We’re revolutionising the industry,

willing to travel, which means operators

they would on any loyalty program,” Te

and we’re changing the mindset. A digital

now need to differentiate their venue from

Wani says.

loyalty system is the future.”

the one down the road.

30 | Australian Hotelier

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© 2022 Tabcorp Holdings Limited. This document contains proprietary information belonging to Tabcorp Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries (MAX) and is being shared for the purpose of providing information in relation to MAX’s product and service offerings. MAX does not warrant or guarantee the future performance of the venue and accepts no liability for any loss or damage incurred as a result of any reliance on the information. It is recommended that the venue undertake its own due diligence and seek independent professional advice about the content of this document, as required.

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel.



A new CEO, a strategic rethink, and continued expansion into the NSW north coast have resulted in a busy year for The Sydney Collective. IT’S BEEN an important year of change

the identity of our pubs, our financial

for pub group The Sydney Collective

modelling, and our people and leadership

which appointed a new CEO, Brett

programs,” he says.

Brett Sergeant

CEO The Sydney Collective

and understand it well.” Sergeant says The Sydney Collective is planning for continued growth. “We are

Sergeant, in the middle of the year.

“Lockdown gave us four months to sit in a

open to all opportunities, and we look at

Sergeant, who has held leadership

room as an executive team and nut out what

dozens of pubs weekly, and when we see

we wanted to do and how to go about it.”

something that fits our model, we’ll have a

positions with Merivale and Colonial Leisure Group, says his appointment aims

The executive team worked tirelessly,

to free the group’s prominent director and

the culinary team worked tirelessly, and

publican Fraser Short to focus on new

the venue teams got to work in the venues,

we’re all about location, the architecture

acquisitions and growth.

Sergeant says.

it sits in, what we see when we walk

“Fraser has really ambitious plans

“It was a very productive four months.

crack at it. “There has to be enough upside in it –

into the business, whether we can make

for the group which are hard to act on

We came out the other side with a very

something spectacular or special – there is

whilst trying to wear the CEO hat, and

clear purpose and a roadmap for how to get

a chemistry that happens.”

with a degree in design, he’s also heavily

there. We’re really satisfied and really happy

involved in the design process, so this

with what we achieved, and guest feedback

What’s next

allows him to do what he’s really good

has been amazing since we reopened.”

In addition to acquisitions, the pub group

at and allows me to run the operation of the business.”

A productive pause

Northern expansion

is planning for more improvement around customer experience – the service, the

According to Sergeant, the group’s

ambience, the presentation – the nuances

expansion north into Byron Bay and

of all of the things that a customer feels

According to Sergeant, the second

the broader region in NSW has been a

and sees.

lockdown happened at a good time for the

real highlight.

group, as it offered the executive team an

“We’ve had The Balcony Hotel in Byron

“It’s certainly been a challenge, making significant changes on the portfolio given

opportunity to take a brutally honest look

Bay for seven years, and we’ve had

at the performance of the pubs without

enormous success there, and now we’ve

the everyday distractions and crises that

got four more pubs in the region, and this

of really good talent, and on a

can occur in venues.

will soon grow to five or six.

comprehensive people and leadership

“It was a blessing in disguise,” he says.

“It’s no good having one pub, you may

the staff shortages,” Sergeant says. “We’ll also be focusing on recruitment

program. It’s all about having great

“We were not happy with our product,

as well have a satellite of them in what is a

leadership programs happening that we

and we had some work to do around

growing part of the state. We love the area

believe will attract great talent.”

32 | Australian Hotelier



Quantaco – formerly PKF Hospitality – unveiled a new name and a number of new business solutions in 2021 as it looks to better times for its hospitality clients.

Anthony Sullivan Founder & CEO Quantaco


improvement, so too did Quantaco. “It

the daily takings sheet, benchmarking

the time out during lockdown to

was not any different at Quantaco. We

and data analytics dashboards; and

improve their businesses, which meant

worked hard at making our business

Rebate Reconciliator which tracks

professional services firm Quantaco was

better for when our clients got back to

supplier rebates.

also busy supporting them in this effort.

their business.”

“Most of our clients took the time through

In addition to a major rebrand

Bots boost

lockdown to renovate, rationalise and

from PKF Hospitality, during 2021

“We have also focused on the best use

improve systems and processes, maintain

Quantaco launched an insurance broking

of technology to deliver our advisory

relationships with their staff and in some

business and a discretionary mutual fund.

services so we can get the right

cases acquire new pubs,” says Anthony Sullivan, Founder and CEO of Quantaco. “The consumer is the winner. We

“Both have been extremely well

information to our clients as quickly as

received,” Sullivan says. “The uncertainty

possible so they can make informed

of insurance and risk cover is an area

decisions,” says Sullivan.

are now working with venues that are

that has plagued the industry for years.

continuing to diversify their offer in

Our solutions have gone a long way

platform now utilises robotics, significantly

innovative ways.

to providing a stable and sustainable

reducing the risk of fraud, increasing

“It’s not uncommon to hear of venues

“For example, our financial reporting

solution that will ensure the industry

accuracy and speed in the delivery of

servicing their customers with home

participants that take the right attitude to

financial data.”

delivery, making their own product,

risk management will have access to well-

building fantastic member offers,

priced risk solutions for the long term.”

or completely diversifying to new revenue streams.” Sullivan says, however, that one of the

Quantaco has also scaled up its debt

In 2022, Quantaco will also be helping venues reduce their carbon footprint. “We have identified a number of opportunities

advisory business. “The low interest rate

that we can focus on to help our clients

environment and liquid debt markets

reduce their energy consumption and

most valuable things to emerge from the

have enabled a broad range of choice for

move to a carbon-neutral position,”

impacts of Covid is a demonstration of

clients looking to maximise the efficiency

Sullivan says.

just how much communities value their

of their balance sheets,” Sullivan says.

local venues. “This support has led to further

“Both these financial services have

Going forward, he says, the staffing issues that are hampering recovery for

been very well received, this has further

clients will continue to be one of the

investment by owners and operators

enabled our scale and therefore benefit we

biggest issues facing the industry.

back into their businesses. It is now very

can provide to our client base.”

difficult to find a venue that does not have

Quantaco is also launching a number

“Even with the borders slowly opening staffing venues will be difficult. We

a thoughtful offer that is focused on the

of new software development initiatives

have worked closely with our clients on

community in which it operates.”

focused on helping clients better

strategies that helped clients stay close to

run their businesses. These include

their staff. This has paid off.

Insurance and risk

Salesline, which helps clients accurately

“Their staff have recognised the loyalty

According to Sullivan, just as the

forecast sales by shift in 15-minute

shown during lockdown and are now

company’s clients focused on

increments; Cash Up, which automates

remaining loyal to their employers.”

34 | Australian Hotelier

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MAX threw out the handbook when it came to navigating Covid, with agility proving to be the most critical skill.

Chief Operating Officer Gaming Servies MAX

IN ADDITION to navigating through

to keep our industry open and keep it

impact that this has all had on securing and

countless public health orders, ever-

that way.”

retaining industry talent.

around Australia, gaming products and

Satisfaction scores

we try to future-proof our businesses,”

services company MAX has spent an

One of the company’s biggest 2021

says Carew. “While we may not be able

enormous amount of energy ensuring its

highlights was its Venue Partner

to control those things, we can control

customers and partners were well informed

Experience Program, which was launched

helping to boost confidence for patrons

and supported.

in September.

to get back to venues and providing great

changing restrictions, and venue closures

“We’ve never seen times like this before

“Customers across the country were

“I think we’ve all had to look at how

experiences for them.”

or could have imagined the impact that

invited to share feedback on their

the pandemic would have on our industry,

experiences with MAX, so we can refine

experience has become a point of

and there certainly isn’t a handbook on

our servicing model and enhance our

difference and area of focus more than

how to tackle it, so the ability to remain

ability to provide the right level of

ever before. From a MAX perspective,

agile has been critical,” says Paul Carew,

support, when and where our customers

it’s about ensuring it provides stable and

Chief Operating Officer – Gaming Services

need it,” Carew says.

reliable solutions so that each part of the

at MAX. “Throughout the pandemic, we waived

“Pleasingly, the feedback we received

According to Carew, the in-venue

customer experience is a positive one, he

reinforced that our customers value our

says. “From EGMs, compliance, products,

over $180 million in fees for customers

partnership and the expertise we bring to

services and customer insights, we’ll work

nationally, helping them navigate long

the table, with seven out of ten customers

with venues to help them continue to

periods of closure and almost total

saying they would recommend our

operate at their best.”

revenue loss.

services to a colleague in the industry.

“We’ve received plenty of feedback

“As we move into 2022, we will use

Carew says operating within a responsible and well-regulated industry

from our customers, who have told us how

this feedback to finalise our key actions

should always be front of mind. “It’s

critical this support has been to them.

to innovate, improve and strengthen

crucial that our industry operates

Several have said without the suspension

what we do, so we can continue to strive

responsibly and ethically at all times, and

of fees, their businesses would have

towards greater customer advocacy and

that we are committed to delivering this

struggled to emerge from lengthy and

satisfaction in the future.”

for our customers.”

repeated lockdowns.”

Data, insights and analytics will also


become pivotal for customers, according

bottom line,” Carew says. “However,

The industry will continue to be affected by

to Carew. “We’re aiming to really take a

together with our customers, we’re

uncertainty, according to Carew, whether

lead in this space in 2022 and beyond with

getting back on track, and we will

that’s due to new Covid variants, potential

several key developments in our product

continue to comply with all health orders

further restrictions or lockdowns, or the

offering to help make that happen.”

“This decision obviously affected our

36 | Australian Hotelier


Escaping the RAT race

As Omicron adds to the pressure on an already chronically short-staffed sector, Hastings People managing director Luke Butler explores the longer-term impacts. Luke Butler is the BASED ON many recent conversations with

contact rules and their related isolation needs

operators in the pub sector, two key issues

have reduced the requirement for employees

are dominating our thinking right now.

to ‘in-residence’ exposure to Covid. The

The immediate focus is on managing the

problems caused by a Covid case visiting a

Covid wave and developing strategies to deal

venue are no longer as dramatic and staff

with critical staff shortages. The longer-term

no longer need to isolate if a colleague

issue involves coming to grips with what the

tests positive.

industry will look like once we finally get through this ordeal. So, first things first – what is the answer to staff shortages? Recent changes to close

As a result, there will be two factors that will combine to ensure a more stable supply of workers for venues. Many health professionals have stated that it is only a matter of time

managing director of hospitality recruitment firm Hastings People and emcee of Australian Hotelier’s upcoming 2022 Pub Leaders Summit which will be held in Sydney on April 4. For more expert tips on navigating the hospitality skills crisis, and much more, book your tickets now at February 2022 | 37


before most people get the virus. Once

who is not. This will help us all to

leader exiting your business, you’ll

the majority of your team members have

effectively manage isolation and help

understand the impact that has on

been exposed to the virus, their ability to

businesses monitor the virus in their

your ability to maintain consistency in

work will normalise.

staff base.

standards and approach. Until you train

Inhouse tracking

closing venues. When this happens,

the tasks of setting up a venue, writing

Many of our clients are already closely

more staff are driven from the sector

a roster, understanding the product and

tracking the infection status of their

as they seek alternate work to maintain

other day-to-day business changes.

employees, particularly across multiple

their income. RATs will help individuals

sites. This helps them understand which

manage their own infection status,

have not only left a business, but the

venues have the highest immunity base.

isolation requirements and that of their

sector entirely, meaning the industry has

It also helps them either group staff who

dependants. This in turn makes them

lost an incredible amount of knowledge.

have had the virus into specific venues

more readily available to work.

We will not be able to comprehend the

or spread them across a portfolio so

Our industry cannot afford to keep

that each site has enough staff to ensure

Tackling the knowledge gap

consistent trade.

Another major concern is how the industry

a replacement, you could be faced with

In some cases, entire leadership teams,

full impact of such a loss for many years to come. Dealing with this challenge will require

It’s an irony, but the ideal scenario

will deal with the Knowledge Gap that

a highly process-focused approach,

for a business is to know that all team

is already being widely felt across the

forcing businesses to review their training

members have had the virus. The medical

country. The skills gap is one thing, but

programs, process documentation and

experts tell us that this is likely to happen

the knowledge that has literally walked

internal communication procedures. The

over the next few months, noting that

away from the industry may not be

coming years will see a renaissance, and

through natural immunity, some may not

replaced for years.

it is an opportunity to build back better.

ever test positive! One important tool in achieving a

By ‘knowledge’ I am referring to

As an industry, we have the chance to

business-specific methodologies – ways

address issues that have plagued the

consistent supply of staff is the self-

of doing things that can only be gained

employment brand of the sector for years.

administered Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).

through experience and repetition of a

It is exciting. Despite the heartache

Soon to be readily available (hopefully),

process. It is the stuff of venue-specific

caused by this experience, I am sure the

RATs will help create a broad community

inductions, and ‘this is how WE do it’.

industry is going to be better and stronger

understanding of who is positive and

38 | Australian Hotelier

If you’ve ever seen one knowledgeable

for it.

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Put your venue on the map with MatchPint, Included as part of your Foxtel subscription. MatchPint’s easy-to-use tools promote events at your venue and also help fans discover where to watch the sport they love. Hear from four publicans on how they use MatchPint.

The London Tavern Hotel

Imperial Bourke Street

To get Foxtel in your venue Call 1300 761 056 Visit

Burleigh Town Tavern

7th Day Brewery

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Australia’s only dedicated Cricket Channel

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our website, and it came up. Now every time I go in and list my sports it magically updates. We also use it to make social posts like Instagram stories. I also use MatchPint to print out our sports schedule. Because we have so many staff here, and a lot that don’t follow what’s going on in the sport world, it makes it easier for them. I print out the pdf and put it up at the

Gina Cimarosti

start of the week.

General Manager

How much time has using MatchPint saved you?

The London Tavern Hotel Richmond, Victoria

It means I don’t have to spend time writing out the weekly sports

Tell us a bit about your pub.

calendar, I can just print off the pdf.

Our pub is only a few drop kicks from

Why did you start using MatchPint?

the MCG and the sporting capital

Our pub has traditionally been seen

on Canva and spend time creating

of Australia, so we have a strong

as an AFL pub, and we’ve always had

assets, we can just log on and

connection to sport.

a good crowd that comes in for the

show what’s going to be on the

footy. We saw an opportunity with

big screen.

What does live sport mean for your pub?

Also, if we want to put up a quick Insta story, we don’t have to go

MatchPint to show that we’re not just

Sport is engrained in all aspects of

everything we’re going to be showing

How is MatchPint benefiting your venue?

what we do. We’ve been working

on the big screen, we’re seen as an

We’ve had people come in to watch

on not relying solely on football.

avenue for all different sports.

the NBA and the NRL saying that

It’s no longer just the footy crowd

a footy pub. So now because we list

they’d seen us on MatchPint. It gives

that comes here. We’ve got the NRL

How do you use MatchPint?

crowd, and the soccer crowd. Footy

I’ve got it on our website. I’ve got

that we didn’t really have a hold on.

will always be here, but we’re now

no idea how I did it because I know

Everyone knows us as an AFL pub,

opening up to all the other sports that

nothing about coding or computers,

but since having MatchPint, we’ve

are showing too.

so don’t ask me to do it again. I just

been seeing other people coming

copied and pasted the code into

through to watch other sports.

us an opportunity to hit a market

Australia’s premiere sporting codes on our dedicated channels

online sports schedule and in-venue screen displays. The team also love the graphics feature and utilise this for social media posts.

How much time has using MatchPint saved you? Loads. We used to have to update

INTERMEDIA our sports schedule manually, but

Casey Andison

Giuseppe Lacava

Victoria, Australian Venue Co.

Imperial Bourke Street

Group Marketing Manager

Venue Manager

MatchPint has made everything a lot

faster. The graphics creation element

has also been exceptionally helpful for social media.

Melbourne, VIC

How is MatchPint benefiting your venue?

Tell us a bit about your venue.


As well as being the best place to watch


been a great

live sport in the CBD, Imperial Hotel

and every other

benefit to

is situated next to the historic Princess

sport you can

the venue.

Theatre, home of Melbourne’s best feature

think of – if

It ensures

plays. Imperial boasts an incredible

they’re playing,

rooftop bar overlooking the city and

we play it.

with spectacular views of Melbourne

MatchPint has

customers are always given up to date information

pubs in Melbourne and continues to be

Why did you start using MatchPint?

a favourite watering hole for locals and

We initially started using

visitors alike for sports and dinner after

MatchPint as it provided a quick and easy

some of Melbourne’s best plays.

solution to updating our ever-changing

Parliament House. It is one of the oldest

What does live sport mean for your venue?

and for the team, it saves so much time in creating the schedule.

sports schedule on our website.

Imperial Bourke is Melbourne’s home for

How do you use MatchPint in your venue?

sport. People join us for AFL, NRL, NBA,

Primarily we use MatchPint as our

Have you seen sports fans coming into your venue through MatchPint? We certainly have. Our MatchPint page is always one of the highest viewed in our group.

The best of the US

How much time has using MatchPint saved you? What used to take an hour or more can now be done in 15 minutes. I also have a full TV planogram of the entire hotel for staff to follow. MatchPint also saves a lot of time for our staff


who can simply look at the printed schedule at the start of their shift, so

Troy Williams Venue Manager

they know what’s on and when.

won’t miss any of the action here. Our Sports

seat and the experience for the customer and

How is MatchPint benefiting your venue?

the atmosphere it creates is sensational.

MatchPint shows local customers we are

Bar, however, is where it’s at. There is no bad

Burleigh Town Tavern Burleigh Heads, QLD

serious about live sport at the Burleigh

Tell us a bit about your venue.

Why did you start using MatchPint?

Burleigh Town Tavern – BTT – is a

MatchPint is used by all AVC Venues and

gets around the Gold Coast and even

large venue that was built in 1981

when I read about it and started using it, I

Northern NSW.

and is located on the Gold Coast.

soon realised this is the best tool all types

Unlike our competitors in nearby

of venues can use to help fully utilise the

tourist hotspot Burleigh Heads, the

technology we have in our venues when it

BTT has plenty of space with three

comes to offering live sport. For me it is

Have you seen sports fans coming into your venue through MatchPint?

defined large areas including a

about attracting new customers to our

Absolutely. We can see how many

250-seat restaurant with kids play

venue and for those that are here, getting

clicks we’ve had and searches we

area attached.

them to stay a little longer.

appear in etc, and we have recently

Town Tavern. They know we have every event on all the time and word

participated in a MatchPint food promo

What does live sport mean for your venue?

How do you use MatchPint in your venue?

Live sport is a very important part of

It is important to set up your venue profile

well and brought in new customers.

the overall package we offer at the

correctly and from there it’s easy. Every

As Burleigh Town Tavern trades from

Burleigh Town Tavern. The live sport

Wednesday I log on for about 15 minutes and

10am to 4am every day, we look

offering is found in all areas of the

update my schedule for the week by clicking

forward to the ways MatchPint can help

hotel, not just the sports bar. You

on the sports we will be showing.

us grow.

Over 50 sports live

deal exclusive to MatchPint users for our latest UFC Event – it went really

and see what we’re showing at the brewery over the coming weeks.

How much time has using MatchPint saved you? Sooooo much time. I’ve never been too good at knowing which big and important sporting games we should schedule to

Lauren Paterson Venue Manager

7th Day Brewery Brookvale, NSW

Tell us a bit about your venue.

show up on our only screen in the venue. MatchPint has given me all the sporting knowledge I otherwise wouldn’t have had. At a fast-paced venue, it is also super beneficial to look ahead and lock in as many fixed dates as possible.

How is MatchPint benefiting your venue?

7th Day Brewery is one of Brookvale’s

Why did you start using MatchPint?

independent craft breweries, hitting

As we’re located only 500 metres away

see what’s coming up in our venues, but

the scene three years ago this October.

from Brookvale Oval, we have a lot of

it also brings in customers who either

Being pup and family friendly, 7th Day

supporting Manly NRL fans amongst

haven’t been to our venue yet, or those

Brewery holds a big open space creating

the team and our local customers. We

wishing to organise a group booking in

a fun social vibe for all walks of life.

saw having MatchPint as an opportunity


What does live sport mean for your venue? Live sport has always been a big passion

to create a small community of sport watchers to join the ones that already come down on a weekly basis.

MatchPint not only helps our customers

Have you seen sports fans coming into your venue through MatchPint?

instilled within the team since conception.

How do you use MatchPint in your venue?

Being based in Brookvale, we’ve always

We have MatchPint QR codes on posters

a number of sports fans down to watch

had a lot of Manly fans amongst the team

in A-frames on the back of all bathroom

a game. We always see people coming

and our locals. There is always something

doors. We make sure a simple QR code

through the doors in their jerseys on big

to watch, whatever sport it may be, and

is plastered to our taproom/venue walls

sporting events, especially Manly Sea

our locals in the area are sporting fanatics!

to make it easy for customers to scan

Eagles home games.

of our founding directors and has been

The F1 FORMULA 1 logo, F1 logo, FORMULA 1, F1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing BV, a Formula 1 company. All rights reserved.

Yes, definitely. We once had a free pint promo running on our profile which led

Give your customers the ultimate sports experience.

When they can’t be at the game, make sure they get the next best thing by watching at your venue. With a massive line up of live sport, there’s never been a better time to get Foxtel.

Contact Foxtel today To get Foxtel in your venue Call 1300 761 056 Visit

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