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VOL. 36 no. 2 – MARCH 2019




Craig Hawtin-Butcher

Editor’s Note


fter our bumper edition last month featuring interviewees with key industry leaders, we return to our usual format bringing you the key news, features and numbers you need to help your business thrive. This month we hear how operators are responding to noise complaints (p6), Manly’s Hotel Steyne is up for sale (p7), and reveal how The Dolphin Hotel is further blurring the lines between pub, bar and restaurant (p8). Not only that, we’re building up to Brisbane’s AHGE conference with our focus on gaming (p10) and with a mammoth month of live sport kicking off, dedicate four pages to the business of live sport in pubs (p16) and what to screen this month (p30). In our one-off feature Team Talk, fellow editors reveal the key learnings from other sectors of relevance to Australian hoteliers (p22) and wrap things up with a design and build showcase of Colonial Leisure Group’s Portsea Hotel’s stunning new renovation (p26). To keep up to date with our fantastic plans for Pub Leaders Summit 2019 – coming to Melbourne 20 May – visit Cheers, Craig Hawtin-Butcher, Editor P: 02 8586 6201 | E:


Pub Leaders Summit preview | Foodservice | Family-friendly

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Contents | March Special Features


10 Gaming: The biggest stories ahead of the AHGE. ED’S 16 Selling sport: Big-screen action PICK has never been more important to the bottom line. 22 Team talk: Our panel of experts look at neighbouring industries to discover key learnings. 24 Accommodation: We reveal how to complete the food, beverage and accommodation triumvirate.

6 News: The most relevant stories affecting your business. 26 Design and Build: Colonial Leisure Group’s Portsea Hotel again centre stage on Mornington Peninsula. 30 Sports Calendar: Get set for a LIVE! Mega March of live sport.

PUBLISHER: Paul Wootton EDITOR: Craig Hawtin-Butcher PUBLISHED BY:

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Solotel’s King’s Cross Hotel in Sydney. Image © Google 2019

SYDNEY PUBS HAMMERED BY NOISE COMPLAINTS Restrictive regulations and new neighbours are killing the pub sector, say industry leaders, but a solution is on the horizon. “People who should know better need to understand a pub is a pub. Unless other restrictions are in place, that means if you want to have a beer outside and enjoy our great Sydney weather, you can.” That’s the verdict from AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing John Green. Green’s firm response follows from a number of restrictions recently placed on pubs in Sydney’s CBD as a result of noise complaints from newly-arrived residents. These restrictions are seeing venues including the 145-year-old Royal Oak Hotel in Double Bay, operated by the Maloufs’ Royal Hotels Group, prevented from allowing patrons to drink at tables on Bay Street, unless they also order food. Elsewhere at Solotel’s King’s Cross Hotel in Potts Point, the venue has opted to temporarily close its level three nightclub after noise complaints from residents living at a nearby apartment block, Omnia, which opened opposite the venue in November 2018. “Where we used to have a bar and a hotel next door, now we’ve got a new apartment block with really fabulous apartments in it,” says Solotel’s CEO Justine Baker. “Some of those apartments are selling for $2m. For us, we’ve never had a noise complaint at the King’s Cross [Hotel] and suddenly we’ve got noise complaints from residents.” “Generally speaking, the idea a person can move in next to a pub that’s been part of local culture since the 1800s,” says Green, “and not only complain about noise, but actually have some success in changing longstanding practices which impact many people should be a joke, but sadly the reality is that it’s all too often true.” Another Solotel venue, the 159-year-old Marlborough Hotel in Newtown, is in discussions with a neighbour over noise from its beer garden. It’s said the hotel is becoming a victim of its own success after lockout laws have encouraged patrons towards areas such as Newtown and Enmore. “Through Newtown becoming a lot busier over


the last couple of years,” says Baker, “the street noise has increased. It’s not just us, the whole background noise has increased. We can only control what we can control.” But Baker also admits controlling patrons on site is a tough ask. “We’re ensuring that our beer garden is compliant,” says Baker, “but a lot of the time the noise is actually people – it’s people talking and laughing and that’s very hard to control.”

‘AGENT OF CHANGE PRINCIPLE’ Baker is, however, hopeful that the proposed ‘Agent of Change Principle’ due to be discussed by the City of Sydney council in May will better balance conflicting needs. “[ACP] means the person coming into the neighbourhood has to adhere to the community, rather than the pub adhering to the neighbours,” says Baker. “It builds the onus on the new residents coming in and protects the community that is already there. “This is the first time in 10 years that the late-night DCP [Development Control Plans] process has been reviewed. It’s a really important piece of legislation for us,” says Baker. Baker, and other operators like her, are both hopeful and confident that change could be on the way. “Sentiment is moving away from heavy regulation and where we were,” says Baker. “Residents are now saying ‘we don’t actually want all the businesses and pubs and clubs going out of our neighbourhood, we want them to stay’. If you move into an environment that is bustling and busy, it should stay that way. Just because you move in, it shouldn’t have to change to a suburban neighbourhood.” At the Marlborough Tavern, Solotel is continuing to work towards a better solution. “What that means for us is more investment,” says Baker. “They’re really expensive measures and a lot of people may not choose to do those measures, they may choose just not to trade.” The Royal Hotels Group did not respond to a request for comment.

A recent report suggests illegal gambling in Australia is a bigger problem than previously thought, with current estimates forecasting it could hit $2 billion a year by the end of 2020. The report by the Hong Kong-based Asian Racing Federation (ARF), which included Australia among a number of other markets, suggested up to 6% of Australian wagers could be illegal, potentially costing the govemment just shy of $270m in lost tax revenue each year. The cost to publicans was not detailed but it is anticipated that they will be experiencing losses as a result of these bets entering the black market. The report shows unregulated gambling is growing faster than regulated gambling here in Australia, despite legislative changes introduced in 2017. The report also strongly suggests a link exists between illegal gambling, the black market, organised crime and corruption in sport.



Hotel Steyne in Manly is currently up for sale

MANLY’S HOTEL STEYNE UP FOR SALE Hotel Steyne was purchased back in 2010 by the current owners, a group of investors including hotelier Arthur Laundy, businessman John Singleton and investors Mark Carnegie and Robert Whyte. The group are now looking to exit from their one-off investment at a time of buoyant sales. HTL Property Asia Pacific MD Andrew Jolliffe is handling the sale, and said: “The Hotel Steyne is arguably the most prolific and

certainly well-known beachside hotel, with generations of locals and tourists frequenting this noteworthy institution.” Nominated last year for an AHA NSW Award of Excellence as 2018 City Hotel of the Year, the large format hospitality property spans three levels across a 1,948 sqm corner footprint 400m from the Manly ferry terminal, with a direct link to the Sydney CBD. The multi-level business includes six bars, two restaurants,

a designated gaming room with 30 poker machines and an accommodation level. In addition, the rooftop bar, Henry’s, accommodates up to 250 people with views across Manly’s beach. “When we sold the Beach Hotel in Byron Bay,” said HTL Property National Pub Director, Dan Dragicevich, “the volume of interstate and international enquiry was remarkable; and it is our firm expectation that this asset will generate the

REDCAPE RESULTS SHOW REVENUE UP 17.5% Redcape Hotel Group has issued its first earnings results for its 32 venues since listing on the Australian Stock Exchange on 30 November 2018. The detailed report makes for interesting reading. Key results include strong revenue growth of 17.5% and operating EBITDA up 13.8% for the last six months of 2018, with both primarily driven by acquisitions. The report summarised the period as a “strong first quarter performance followed by some variable trade at certain venues late in 1H19 extending into the current period”. Redcape did not detail which venues it believed were underperforming. The results show the group explored 15 venue acquisitions, eventually acquiring six, paying $158m in total for them, all off-market. Results show the group paid: • $20m in July 2018 for the Sun Hotel in Townsville; • $40m in August 2018 for the Vauxhall Inn, Granville;

• $48m in August 2018 for the Australian Hotel and Brewery; and • $50m in December 2018 for three South Coast venues. The group sold the Belrose Hotel for $20m in the same period, which represents a 5.1% premium to book value. The report also highlights growth capital expenditure of $4.9m due to the “major” renovations at the Leumeah Hotel and a $4.2m “material refurbishment” at the Eastwood Hotel. An estimate of costs for refurbishing the Cabramatta Inn currently underway of around $7m is also detailed, with a current completion date of June 2019. The group also moved its head office to Minskys Hotel in Cremorne during this period. The report also shows a focus on electronic gaming machine renewal contributed to capital expenditure costs of $2.2m. Gaming revenue contributed $90.7m

same widespread response.” “The fact that this extraordinary opportunity exists on the very beach TripAdvisor has just announced as the number one beach in Australia ahead of the Whitsunday’s hugely popular Whitehaven Beach, makes it all the more strategic and compelling an investment proposition” concluded Jolliffe. The Hotel Steyne will be sold via an International Expression of Interest sale campaign due to end in March 2019.

Renovations at the Leumeah Hotel cost Redcape Hotel Group $4.9m

against a total revenue of $142.6m. Sales costs were $67.6m, representing a gross profit margin of 52.6%. Concluding on the results, Redcape said “Management have implemented several operating initiatives aimed at optimising venue performance and minimising the overall impact that a softer economic environment might have on Redcape’s financial performance.”



ONE OF WORLD’S TOP RANKED BARS TO OPEN WITHIN SYDNEY HOTEL Sydney’s Dolphin Hotel will become the permanent new home of leading London cocktail bar, Scout. European Bartender of the Year, Matt Whiley (aka The Talented Mr Fox) and Icebergs’ Maurice Terzini are combining to launch the new bar within the pub’s Surry Hills home on Crown Street. The new opening will be the first international foray for Scout, which reached number 26 in the 50 World’s Best Bars list 2018. Slated to open on 28 February, the new ‘bar within a pub’ concept within the hotel’s top floor will have its own entrance and distinct design, but will further blur the lines between ‘pub’, ‘bar’ and ‘restaurant’. The drinks program will feature 10 cocktails, a number of them incorporating Whiley’s ferments, six beers, four wines and some small plates created in collaboration with Icebergs and The Dolphin Hotel’s head chef Monty Koludrovic. “There’s a lot of brilliant Australian produce. I want to focus on who produces it, work with the native products and be respectful of the land that gives us our food. I also want to have fun – after all that is what a bar is all about,” says Whiley. “The progression of The Dolphin and its people is one of the most exciting things I’ve been a part of over the last decade,” says Koludrovic. “To now develop a whole new offering with such a champion, and someone of Matt’s calibre is incredible.”

ROCKIN THE PUBURBS WINNER REVEALS NSW PUBS TOUR Winner of the 2018 AHA NSW Rockin’ the Puburbs competition, Spruced Moose, reveals six-date pub tour at six AHA member venues in Sydney, Newcastle and the Illawarra. Spruced Moose, from Sydney’s Inner West, last year beat just shy of 200 other acts in the second year of the AHA NSW’s competition in 2018. AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said the competition is all about supporting live music in pubs. “Many of Australia’s top music acts first got their start down at their local and the aim of Rockin’ the Puburbs is to support local music talent and give them a leg up in the industry,” he said. As part of the winner’s package the band received support of up to $12,000 towards a pub tour of AHA NSW venues, as well as a dedicated tour publicist and other prizes. Spruced Moose keyboard player

Scout’s Matt Whiley (l) and Dolphin Hotel head chef Monty Koludrovic (r)

AHA NATIONAL CEO STEPHEN FERGUSON EXTENDS CONTRACT The tour will start at Dicey Riley’s, Wollongong Nigel Malcolm said the band was looking forward to touring and had released a single titled: Ones Who Fly to coincide with it. “We are excited to be playing in great pubs where so many bands got a start,” said Malcom. Details of the 2019 AHA NSW Rockin’ the Puburbs contest – also backed by APRA AMCOS, Music NSW and Young Henry’s – will be announced later in the year.

COMPLETE TOUR DATES: 9th March – Dicey Riley’s, Wollongong 15th March – The Bayview, Woy Woy 17th March – Lone Pine Tavern 21st March – Newcastle Hotel 23rd March – Shoal Bay Country Club 24th March – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle


Current AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson has agreed to extend his contract for another five years. Ferguson joined the AHA in January 2014 and continues to be responsible for representing the nation’s 5,000 hoteliers, as AHA National CEO Stephen well as their partners and industry suppliers, Ferguson will remain with the at the highest levels. AHA until at least 2023 AHA National President Scott Leach said Ferguson had made a real difference to the Association across areas including workplace relations, tourism, taxation, competition, gaming and alcohol policies. “Stephen has proven to be dynamic in his role and I welcome the extension of his contract for another five years,” Mr Leach said at today’s national board meeting in Canberra. “He is a person of the highest personal integrity and an extremely effective operator, able to deal with politicians of all stripes on a regular basis. On behalf of the board I congratulate him on his reappointment.” Ferguson said he was delighted to continue in his role. “I have certainly enjoyed my time at the AHA – there’s no doubt the hotel industry is the best in the nation – and I look forward to continuing to work hard on behalf of members over the next five years,” he said. “I’m proud to represent a diverse industry with members stretching from the city to the bush and employing more than 200,000 hardworking Australians.” Ferguson was previously CEO of the Brisbane Racing Club.

IT’S ALL ABOUT what’s next

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AUSTRALASIAN HOSPITALITY & GAMING EXPO Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre 27 & 28 March. Visit us at Stand #1




AHGE AND AGE UPDATES The Keno AHG Expo will be held on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 March 2019 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition (BCEC), unifying the worlds of hospitality and gaming to showcase the latest in gaming products, entertainment, food and beverage, technology, construction, education, furniture, and innovative design. The food-and-beverage focused AHG Tastes element will return in 2019 with an even bigger Expo footprint featuring 50 per cent more exhibitors. Organiser Clubs Queensland’s CEO Doug Flockhart says, “Business owners must open their eyes and minds to innovation and change, while also being willing to lead and innovate.” Meanwhile the AGE has confirmed that with the largest gaming expo in the Southern Hemisphere due to take place in August, 82% of exhibition space has been taken up. The Gaming Technologies Association (GTA) and Asia Gaming Brief (AGB) previously announced a three-day seminar program during 13-15 August 2019. The seminars will again run across the three days of the Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE) at the ICC in Sydney during the expo’s 30th anniversary. The AGE’s 2019 program takes a look at the future of the gaming industry in Australasia, covering topics related to new technology, gaming, hospitality, service, and the customer. The 2018 AGE featured 237 exhibitors across a range of relevant sectors and set a new attendance record with 8,638 visits. This was a 7% increase over the 2017 expo, already a record year.


The Ambarvale Hotel’s new VIP lounge, by Paul Kelly Design

The AGE 2018 was the expo’s best attended yet

Keep an eye out for these fantastic titles appearing at AHG 2019.

PURRRFECT FOR QUEENSLAND. From the South American Mayan region, representing beauty, grace and knowledge, the black-jaguar’s intense power is set to make ACTION SPINS™ a commanding feature in any gaming room. ACTION SPINS is an exciting new game style from SG Gaming. Simple to play and stunning to view ACTION SPINS features mid and high denomination play selections and three progressive jackpots.

SG Gaming is proud to introduce a new multi-denominational standalone progressive game derived from the Macau smash hit JIN JI BAO XI™. Meaning to have great luck and good news while drawing inspiration from traditional cultural themes, Jin Ji Bao Xi Fortunes has been tailored to entertain and reward players.

Head Office and Showroom 4 Newington Road, Silverwater NSW 2128



VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT SHAKES UP GAMING REGULATIONS Last year, the Victorian Government made a number of changes to the Gambling Regulation Act 2003. The impacts are now filtering through to Victorian venues and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is reminding operators of what’s now in play. These amendments introduced new limits on EFTPOS transactions in gaming venues, prohibited cheque-cashing services in gaming venues and

changed requirements around Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct and Self-Exclusion Programs. New restrictions were also introduced on advertising gambling and wagering services so that, for example, placing billboards on the pavement within 150 metres of the perimeter of a school became an offence. Visit the VCGLR website to discover the changes in full.

KONAMI TO REVEAL ALL ABOARD ITERATIONS AND CONCERTO STACK IGT WILL SHOWCASE ITS BUBBLE BLAST LAUNCHES AT THE AHG IGT has revealed its key launch at this year’s Australasian Hospitality and Gaming Expo (AHG) will be Bubble Blast. The game builds on IGT’s Waterfall game play, adding giant bubbles for instant wins and prize multipliers. Initially available as a link, Bubble Blast will launch with two game titles – Treasures of Atlantis and Genie Uncorked – both offering with denomination driven bonus prizes. IGT’s systems team will also demonstrate IGT Advantage Club, the company’s customer loyalty program, at the AHG. “This year’s AHG brings together all the unique innovations we’ve been driving into the ANZ market in the last two years through our increased investment,” says Nigel Turner, head of marketing at IGT.

Konami have confirmed two key themes for their AHG presence this year. Highlighting All Aboard, with over 1,000 installs in Australia in the last seven months, Konami have focused on the popularity of hold ’n spin style features. This style is most prominent in NSW with an estimated market installation of this game type of over 25% currently, a Konami spokesperson told Australian Hotelier. Konami also say that while All Aboard The Lucky Link is approved in Queensland, it will be available in NSW in the coming months. New All Aboard games, Wild Mustang and Shinobi, will also be available to the NSW market at AHG 2019. These new games build on the All Aboard series and brand with the All Aboard Feature, and also include a brand new Free Games Feature and themes. Konami’s new 43-inch Concerto Stack machine

will exhibit various Concerto Stack exclusive content including Money Trails, a game which utilises the entire screen with prizes that continually stack up during the Money Trails Feature.

SG TO EXTEND JIN JI BAO XI FORTUNES TO ALL STATES Launched in NSW hotels last year, Jin Ji Bao Xi Fortunes is now available in all other jurisdictions. Meaning to have great luck and good news the Jin Ji Bao Xi games have been derived from the Macau game. This new multi-denominational standalone progressive game family introduces the ‘top up’ game model which collects, repeats and multiplies bonus prizes during the free games features as well as offering players an option of Free Game styles. Jin Ji Bao Xi Treasures is due for release after Easter. Action Spins is a new product line developed by SG for the hotel gaming sector. Backing up last year’s release of the first Action Spins title are two new themes, King of Babylon and Tiki Treasures aimed at the premium player segment with their rapid-action gameplay, high-frequency feature and a unique new wheel mechanism that can award lots of large repeating awards including multiple jackpots. Monopoly Hotel Tycoon, the latest iteration of the classic theme now includes high denomination play options and several new features that build on the successful foundation of the original title but will extend the appeal to a wider hotel gaming audience. Monopoly Hotel Tycoon will debut on SG Gaming’s stand at this year’s Australian Hospitality Expo in Brisbane.


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* Offer only available to eligible venues who activate a Foxtel Business Venues subscription by 11:59pm AEDT on 30 May 2019. The minimum term of an eligible Foxtel Business Venues subscription is date of sign-up to 29 February 2020. Availability of pay-per-view events subject to change. Due to cabling infrastructure, some channels and services as advised may not be available in all premises.

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The F1 FORMULA 1 logo and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing BV, a Formula One group company. All rights reserved. BUS0298







e know from surveys that sports fans want atmosphere in venues. Surprisingly, food and drink specials didn’t really feature that highly,” says Patrick Galloway, a sports journalist and founder of Sports Year, a sports scheduling service for venues. This appetite for ‘experience’ has been cited extensively in millennial reports as a key driver for potential pub patrons. With extensive reasons to stay at home, from streaming options like Netflix to Deliveroo food deliveries and cut-price alcohol available in the home, the trump card pubs can play to lure patrons away from their couches and into venues is the sheer spectacle of live sport on the big screen enjoyed with fellow fans. “We’re working with over 100 venues, mainly across the eastern seaboard,” says Galloway. “[They're telling us] the future of hospitality is about creating a venue that’s a magical experience for sports fans or any patron.”


AMBARVALE HOTEL It’s why venues such as the Ambarvale Hotel, NSW are investing heavily in renos that cater for these segmented sport-loving crowds. “Our goal was to create something pretty special for the sport-loving community that exists out in the Macarthur region,” says Damian Burcher of Parras Hospitality, the hotel’s owners. “To do that, we’ve broken it up into a number of different areas. Each has its own little identity and its own purpose. “The public bar has been put together as an everyman’s bar, there’s a couple of TVs that are sport-focused. But it’s not your traditional TABjammed-into-the-corner bar. It’s a dedicated public bar, with an outdoor area and its own balcony. It’s located right next to the TAB for die-hard racing fans. We’ve put in an eight-panel multiscreen video wall. That’s got a focus on racing but it has a sporting element too. “The gaming room we have a sports theatre. It’s a more reserved sporting area for those that

“Sport has been traditionally a male-dominant area. We think it’s moving away from that.” – Damian Burcher

SELLING SPORT Public House Level at Feros Group's Highfield, Caringbah venue


The Public House level at Highfield, Caringbah

Sports theatrette concept at The Ambarvale Hotel, NSW

In a ‘vertical venue’ in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire hosting a pizza joint, an American diner, a classic Aussie pub and a rooftop cocktail bar, live sport is a constant offer. We spoke with the Feros Group’s Chief Operations Officer Simon Johnston about the new Public House level inside their Highfield Caringbah venue. “Sydneysiders are passionate sports fans and therefore live sport provides a fantastic marketing opportunity to leverage visitation. Our goal in bringing this new concept to life was to build Sydney’s best sports bar and create an experience that could not be enjoyed at home. “We partnered with the TAB, LG and DJW Projects to develop and offer a suite of technology that is the first of its kind. It boasts four huge nine-panel screens, which are 3-metres wide and 1.8-metres in height (that equates to a 140-inch panel in the standard measurements!). It has a DJW Projects-developed control system that allows the screens to be configured to show one image or any variation of up to nine different sports channels at once. We have an unparalleled ability to feature multiple sporting events simultaneously and cater to every patron’s needs. These four giant screens are supported by a total of 82 other screens throughout the venue as well as a range of other best-in-class TAB technology to create a sports viewers' and punters' paradise. “Our key events are NRL, Super Bowl, UFC, boxing and of course AFL and the Hyundai A-League. The increasing popularity of UFC in recent years has given us some great opportunities to create events with stadium-like atmosphere within our venues. “Generally, live sport in pubs is associated with a cheeky beer and a burger, or a ‘Parmy’ or a rack of ribs so we have developed a menu that caters to these demands. We also feature a range of sharing options like our signature ‘Feast Board’ that means a group can put something down the middle of the table to pick at while they enjoy their favourite event.”

The Highfield menu features classic sporting pub finger food



“The future of hospitality is about creating a venue that’s a magical experience for sports fans or any patron.” – Patrick Galloway might want to come down on a Monday morning to watch the NRL final, or March Madness, or the NBA finals, but who aren’t that ‘public bar’ style of crowd. It’s all low loungers, meant to be that comfortable, bordering on luxury, style of seating. While it’s not cinema style, it’s certainly got some punch.” The changes they have made, with the guidance of Paul Kelly Design, aims to respond to changing sports consumers. “Sport has been traditionally a male-dominant area,” says Burcher, “we think it’s moving away from that and we wanted to ensure we had some spaces that are comfortable for anybody. We believe that everybody should have an area and breaking it up the way we have has succeeded in that.”

EVOLVING SPORT Design changes are a physical response to what the numbers are telling people like Galloway and his team about how live sport is changing. This includes the exploding popularity of US-based sports, the incremental rise of female leagues, and the onset of streaming providers. “Sports fans want big screens and volume,” says Galloway, citing survey results. “Communicating to fans what a venue is showing in those areas is really key. Sports fans really appreciate knowing ‘I’m going to see this game, live and loud’.

FOCUS ON: THE SHELLHARBOUR CLUB, NSW Operations Manager Jason Petrolo says: “We have seen the growth of live sport and the audience it attracts and that has driven visitation across the venue as a whole. “Our brand new, dedicated sports bar features more than 20 HD TVs plus a massive projection screen (6m x 4m) which takes the viewing experience to a new level for our patrons. State-of-the-art facilities coupled with a well-promoted live sports viewing schedule are key to maximising the impact of live sports. “[We are] in a NRL town so the FOX LEAGUE channel is key for us. In addition, UFC and boxing events always generate solid crowds. And because we have multiple screens throughout the venue we can showcase anything our patrons want to watch. We also find that due to the exclusive content available via our subscription people are leaving their house and coming to our venue to watch these events live and loud with their community. “[Pay-per view events] are critical in creating large showcase events. Major boxing and UFC events always attract a large number of sporting fanatics who want to experience them in our state-of-the-art facilities. “We have an American-inspired sports bar menu which includes wings, sliders, ribs and much more. The menu also features a grazing board designed to be shared amongst mates which takes the communal sports viewing experience one step further.”


The Ambarvale Hotel, NSW








FOCUS ON: THE SETTLERS INN, PORT MACQUARIE Publican Alistair Flower reveals: “We sponsor 14 different sports clubs across the region, which are made up of nearly 5,000 members, which includes over 2,000 kids. We provide the use of our facilities free of charge to these groups, which feature a board room for committee meetings, kids playground for registrations and a function room for after-match presentations and social occasions. We also provide weekly man of the match awards and kids’ meal vouchers and we work closely with clubs to support their fundraising initiatives by hosting their events. In 2018, Settlers was awarded the best community hotel in the country at the national AHA awards for excellence. We pride ourselves on being everything to everyone in our local community and with Port Macquarie being such a sportcentric town there is an absolute demand for Settlers to show live sport. We have over 30 screens, including multiple large ones, in the venue and our sports bar will always have the commentary available. We find the best way to maximise the opportunity of live sport to attract patronage is to build a brand of consistency. If it’s live, it’s on at Setts! People now simply know we will have it on. We also find a great way to build patronage is to be well planned in the promotion. We create Facebook events to really push the big events and then target and share to certain sporting groups and teams. We also have internal digital screens that advertise what’s coming up and also have many internal competitions like punters clubs and NRL tipping to help generate interest in certain sports. Settlers has always taken PPV events and this consistent approach has helped build a solid supporter base. We find running additional incentive-based social media posts like best seats in the house promos lifts the profile of these events as people engage and promote it through their own social networks. Generally speaking, when the big televised events are on, we find hand-held foods like hamburgers and chicken wings do well. Also, throughout the winter months, we find a Thursday night schnitzel and beer deal is a great incentive to get a few of the footy teams in after training to watch the NRL.

The Ambarvale Hotel, NSW “I’m seeing the rise of US sport as a major opportunity,” says Galloway. “We’re now seeing the NBA as the TAB’s most popular sport to bet on. It has this massive cult following among males in Australia aged between 20-30. It is huge. So big that the American basketball team are coming out here in August to play the Boomers twice. The NBA knows how important this market is for the future of its sport. Venues are seeing this appetite for US sport really coming through in that younger demographic.” There are however, Galloway believes, a number of venues struggling to cope with the sheer weight of sports broadcasts on offer. “I’m seeing a lot of venues [being overwhelmed] by the sports schedule,” says Galloway, “compounded by the fragmentation of broadcast – a lot of venues have the Fox Sports package but it won’t be long before streaming comes into venues, people like Amazon, Twitter, Facebook come into this space in Australia.” Key to succeeding in this space is ensuring your venue has a quality AV set-up, appropriate décor for your audience, a clear sports schedule and that your total offering is communicated widely and consistently.

The Settlers Inn, Port Macquarie


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SUMMIT 2019 SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED & PROGRAM REVEALED MONDAY 20 MAY 2019 MELBOURNE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE Among the star-studded speakers now confirmed are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.


Sand Hill Road executive team Colonial Leisure GroupÕs Lawrence Dowd Australian Venue Co CEO Paul Waterson ZagameÕs COO Jackie Booth Stomping Ground Brewery Co founder Steve Jeffares Open Arms HospitalityÕs Director Craig Shearer Three Pound GroupÕs GM Tim McLernon Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation AHA Vic

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✔ Should I stay, go or grow? How to call the next shot ✔ Putting the F into B: building a food proposition whatever your budget ✔ A year in 30 minutes: everything we learned in our first year, including The Camfield ✔ Winning with sports, gaming and entertainment ✔ Maximising media: nailing social media and digital ✔ Gaining, training and keeping staff in a high-turnover industry ✔ Grand Panel: everything you need to know about the year ahead Plus more to be revealed imminently

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FROM BARS AND RESTAURANTS TO BEER AND ACCOMMODATION, FOUR LEADING EDITORS EXPLAIN HOW THE TRENDS THEY’RE SEEING IN THEIR SECTOR WILL IMPACT YOUR BUSINESS. ANNABELLE CLOROS, EDITOR OF HOSPITALITY MAGAZINE 1. Underpayment of staff The topic of staff underpayments is rampant in the hospitality industry and it seems there’s a new story every week about another business taking advantage of chefs and hospitality workers. However, it is important to note the majority of businesses are doing the right thing. The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website has a range of free resources available to both employers and employees including up-to-date information on awards and penalty rates. 2. The impact of home delivery services on restaurants Delivery services have certainly disrupted the industry and Australians have taken to Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Menu Log with gusto. As convenient as home delivery is for customers, it’s not always the same for operators. Delivery companies can take as much as 35 per cent per order, leaving little to nothing for restaurant owners. Delivery can provide the opportunity for businesses to make money on quiet nights, but operators should shop around and find an arrangement that benefits them as much as the delivery service. 3. Finding skilled staff is a common issue that’s not going away any time soon Apprentice levels have continued to decline and the introduction of the TSS visa has made it harder for businesses to sponsor overseas workers. However, companies such as Merivale are taking things into their own hands. The group recently launched their own apprentice school which will provide students with a SIT30816 Certificate III in Commercial Cookery and the opportunity to work in a wide range of kitchens, from fine dining and Italian to Cantonese and modern Australian.

CHARLIE WHITTING, EDITOR OF BEER & BREWER 1. 4 Pines is collaborating with solar organisations for brewing energy 4 Pines Brewing Company is collaborating with two of Australia’s community solar organisations, Pingala and ClearSky Solar Investment, to brew its beer using solar energy. The local community has been asked to invest in the renewable energy project, with a return of up to 8% expected. It’s an interesting form of crowdfunding at a time when investment funds aren’t easy to come by. 2. Black Hops has reached its crowdfunding target for expansion Black Hops Brewing has raised $400,000 from 544 investors through its equity crowdfunding campaign. With some investors putting thousands of dollars and others “throwing in $50 to be part of it”, the make-up of the investors is diverse. The key point to take away is how effective some craft beer brands have been in establishing really strong brands and connections with their customers. This loyalty is something publicans can tap into by stocking appropriately. 3. Session beers are a growing trend in craft brewing Craft brewers and drinkers are coming around to the benefits of a beer that you can continue drinking. Session beers that eschew the high ABVs without losing the great flavours are the latest challenge that craft brewers are getting excited about. From an on-premise perspective, this means customers can linger longer and spend more.


MATT LENNON, DEPUTY EDITOR OF HOTEL MANAGEMENT 1. Marriott is putting its foodie foot forward with new dining website Marriott has launched a dining website that captures the food offering of all their hotels. It’s part of a wider trend we’re seeing of sleeping hotels becoming highly active in trying to keep their guests in-house and to offer a complete experience. This may be aimed more so at business travellers, who are generally timepoor and want a good meal at an affordable price. Naturally this will challenge the foodservice of nearby pubs and restaurants. 2. Deliveroo is now partnering with hotel brands to provide room service Why would hotels - mainly selectservice or midscale brands without the need for a high-end dining offering - spend money developing a menu and maintaining a kitchen and staff when they can offer dozens of cuisines and hundreds of dishes from local takeaway outlets and still present these dishes to guests with hotel cutlery, crockery, accoutrements and more? Deliveroo is asking exactly that. 3. Is your restaurant too noisy and turning guests away? A study by hearing loss solutions firm Bay Audio has found some restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have ambient noise levels around 90 decibels. This is comparable to eating next to a lawnmower. And customers are voting with their ears and seeking quieter pastures in which to graze. This sort of impact is being, felt across the hospitality sector.”


TAM ALLENBY, EDITOR OF BARS&CLUBS, SAYS: 1. Healthy living: no- and low-ABV cocktails Health is a trend that isn’t going away any time soon, and with many consumers becoming more aware of their alcohol intake, they’re looking for drinks that are low or non-alcoholic that still taste great. Non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ like Seedlip have emerged; the aperitivo and spritz movement keeps going from strength to strength, and more and more bars are incorporating kombucha (house-made or otherwise) into their cocktail lists. 2. Sustainability: straws and beyond With more and more pubs and bars banning the plastic straw in 2018, expect to see other waste issues enter into consumers’ minds, and the minds of bar owners, this year. Other small steps towards sustainability include minimising or eliminating the use of coasters or drink napkins. Going further, more and more cocktail bars are experimenting with zero waste – using every part of the produce that eventually ends up in cocktails – a practice that can also fuel bartender creativity and increase profits. 3. The ‘cocktail bar-within-a-pub’ model – an emerging trend? Popular Surry Hills gastropub The Dolphin made headlines in early February when it was revealed that top London cocktail bar Scout would be opening an Australian outpost on the hotel’s top floor. Further blurring the boundaries between ‘pub’, ‘bar’ and ‘restaurant’, one need only look a little further down Crown Street to the Solotel-owned The Clock Hotel – and its second-level Whisky Room – to see another venue which has adopted a similar model, among many others. Will there be more to follow?

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ou can’t have a good hotel with [poor] restaurants and bar. Everything leans off one another. It’s about making sure they stay on your property and don’t leave,” says Lawrence Dowd of Colonial Leisure Group of his prized guests. Dowd is articulating the obvious triangular connection between food, beverage and accommodation, particularly away from urban settings. Getting all three right, together, helps ensure you can drive multiple revenue lines at the same time. Guests overnight vastly improve your chances of shifting breakfasts and coffees in the early morning, while evening guests not concerned about getting home after a meal with drinks will also be contributing important revenue by lingering longer and spending larger in the evenings.


Colonial Leisure Group is currently renovating some accommodation-focused hotels, including Mount Mulligan Station west of Cairns and the luxury lodge at Orpheus Island in Queensland, where rooms run at $1,700 per night and up. Says Dowd, “the market for luxury lodges is competitive, you’ve got to do it well to go after that high-end luxury international tourist dollar.” While many pubs aren’t competing in those expensive realms, many of the principles for sleeping hotels are equally applicable to drinking hotels. “The days when hotels had pretty average restaurants and bars [are over],” says Dowd. “Now they’ve got to be a hero, as good as the accommodation itself.” This inevitably means a squeeze on pubs solely concerned with food and beverage. The answer,

for those in suitable locations and the right ethos, can be providing accommodation options.

BEACHSIDE HOTEL Bermagui Beach Hotel in coastal NSW was built in 1895 and is located in the centre of town. Owners Yannis Gantner and Luke Redmond re-opened the hotel in late 2017 having returned to their childhood home town to reinvent the town’s only pub. Luke had his first beer at the hotel and accommodation has become important to the overall proposition. “We have completed recent renovations to rooms since taking over with many more to come,” says Lou Redmond, Luke’s partner. “The pub is quickly becoming recognised for its accommodation offering with huge growth in occupancy compared with past data.” Year on year results show 130% growth in revenue, resulting from improved occupancy by

ACCOMMODATION The Portsea Hotel, Mornington Peninsula

Bermagui Beach Hotel, coastal NSW 14%. Part of this is attributable to the venue’s “fresh, youthful approach and outlook, with focus on good simple pub food” says Lou, partly it’s the hotel’s new focus on improved wine and beer quality, partly it’s the modern renovation, partly it’s the focus on being family friendly and partly to their new bookings engine powered by Pub Rooms. The 18-room accommodation offering is broad to attract as wide a base as possible, starting with basic accommodation for fishermen, backpackers to family motel rooms and ocean view king rooms with large balconies looking directly over Horseshoe Bay and Mount Gulaga. “Accommodation is so important for this pub,” says Lou, “and we will always continue staying relevant and progressing as the industry evolves.”  Dowd’s Colonial Leisure Group, well-known for its drinking hotels portfolio, has quietly set about expanding into accommodation options also. These include the Portsea Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula, (this month’s Design & Build feature), a country coastal casual hotel with affordable accommodation right the way through to rooms with both en-suites and shared bathrooms. Combined with sweeping views of Port Phillip Bay and a modern look and feel, early results show the recent renovations are having the desired effect. “While many hoteliers in the past had left their rooms unused, they are now looking for additional sources of income to complement the food and beverage offering,” says Jeannie Armstrong of Pub Rooms. “Guests in rooms also encourages more guests in the bar and to eat in the restaurant. To be successful in accommodation sales, selling your rooms via the online distribution network becomes essential.”

AIRBNB LISTS PUBS A year on from AirBnB launching their Siteminder partnership to now list hotels, including pubs with rooms, in addition to private accommodation, the whole dynamic of accommodation continues to evolve. Technology solutions now enable hoteliers to better connect potential patrons with underutilised spaces. Throw in millennials’ stated desire to accumulate

Bermagui Beach Hotel, coastal NSW experiences rather than possessions, and the opportunity for pubs able to offer impressive views, cultural experiences nearby and an authentic pub experience on site, will thrive.

PERFECT PARTNERS When considering your accommodation offer, Dowd believes that at the luxury end of things, “it’s all about your partners and product mix in those hotels. A lot of hotels are very selective about what goes into the mini bar, what food partners they use, all of that stuff is very important. “People are really interested in the layers of who you work with because it says a lot about the hotel. It’s almost an endorsement. From the mini bar to the design of the uniforms, it’s always a talking point. Through to events that we associate with. That’s important too, [when] working with fashion labels or premium beverages.”

“The days when hotels had pretty average restaurants and bars [are over]... Now they’ve got to be a hero, as good as the accommodation itself.”



A pub for



he big thing with the Portsea Hotel is it’s a bell curve as far as its trading is concerned,” says Lawrence Dowd, National General Manager at the hotel’s owners, Colonial Leisure Group. “It has a huge summer period, December, Jan and a bit of February is its peak period, and then it really comes off and it’s very quiet on the [Mornington] Peninsula over winter. Our challenge was to make the pub comfortable enough so that you’d want to visit in the low season.” Yet comfortable doesn’t even come close to describing the impact the renovations have had on the 142-year-old property, the only waterfront hotel in Portsea and a place its owners think is rather special. “Everyone has a history or memory of the Portsea Hotel,” says Dowd. “It’s been a part of people’s lives on the Mornington Peninsula, so for us it was about preserving some of that old character of the pub and just modernising it enough to ensure it has a long-term future, not just a summer trading pub.” As Dowd admits, “historically it loses money in that [winter] period, it’s that extreme. We make most of our revenue in the summer months.”


As interior architect and building designer David Dubois, founder and director of Dubois Design, explains, the extensive renovations exploded outwards from an initial brief for the pub’s stunning beer garden.

STUNNING BEER GARDEN “This is by far the biggest hospitality hotel project that I’ve ever done. It was a fantastic opportunity and challenge,” says Dubois. “In December 2017 Lawrence [Dowd] gave me a call and said ‘we’ve got an opportunity, we need to update this beer garden [at the Portsea], we’ve got a tight turnaround, are you available?’ “The initial brief was to tackle the beer garden. No money was to be spent on the interiors or building. We started work on that in January 2018 and quickly fast-tracked that. “We wanted to create a true beer garden experience. The location and experience that beer garden has, it has the most commanding position over Port Phillip Bay. It’s such an asset that Lawrence wanted to capitalise on. In the garden, Dubois has dealt with the different levels of the site, creating two separate areas to break up the space and arranged


“You can just imagine yourself there in winter, having a beer and a parma, watching the footy with the fireplace on” – David Dubois everything to best capture the stunning views across Port Phillip Bay. “The existing condition was astroturf, sloping grass, it was all on a bit of an angle. We bulldozed that whole area, introduced narrow board timber decking and raised the whole floor level almost one metre, lifting the beer garden and improving the views over the bay. “We incorporated long built-in bench seating,” says Dubois, “and huge built-in concrete planters, which we filled with established plants. As you walk into the space it really does feel like you’re walking into someone’s luxury private garden. “Lawrence’s initial briefing idea was that the design had to feel like it had always been there. We took that ethos into every design approach. We also introduced a very large pergola in the middle of the space, which allowed us to reduce the number of umbrellas because the pergola offers a huge amount of shade and coverage. The umbrellas previously blocked a lot of the view when you were standing at the back of the venue.”

The enclosed verandah adds 30% more floor space

The focus outside celebrates views across Port Phillip Bay

EXPANDED BRIEF “The brief then expanded. The CLG team realised they had a real opportunity to make this the best hotel on the Mornington Peninsula, if not Victoria,” says Dubois. “We explored what makes Portsea so successful, so exclusive for the high-rollers who live down there with their luxury lifestyles and that coastal beach holiday experience. “It’s a very unique place that has that prestige about it. It has a lot of similarities climatically and lifestyle-wise with Long Island in New York, and so we took inspiration from that part of the world. There are a lot of architectural similarities when you walk the backstreets of Portsea. It was quite a challenge because we wanted to lift the whole aesthetic and status of what the Portsea Hotel is. We wanted it to be what Portsea was all about. There were lots of ideas to distill into a single vision and at the same time not overstep the mark and make it seem too twee – too coastal, too nautical or too Hamptons-style. What we achieved was a very considered and sophisticated aesthetic. Inside, the team installed a brand-new kitchen, gutting the old kitchen and adding another 30% of floor space. They redesigned the pass and how the staff interacted with the kitchen and delivered to tables, to improve efficiency.

Pizzas compliment the classic pub food menu that also features seafood

FUNCTION AND FORM Front and centre was the Longshore Room, which was an enclosed internal bar with a large wraparound verandah with commanding views. Dubois’ team enclosed the verandah with French bifolding glass doors and removed all the existing internal doors to the verandah, which added almost 30% more floor area. Meanwhile they relocated the whole existing toilet block internally to the street side of the pub, which opened up a much larger public bar area, the RIP bar. “Strategically that allowed us to create an internalised, almost public bar area,” says Dubois, “which it didn’t really have before. It utilises three of the existing fireplaces, green leather banquette seating.” It’s this space that most clearly reflects efforts to attract a winter-time crowd, says Dubois: “It’s like a sports bar – there are hidden TVs, so you can just imagine yourself there in winter, having a beer and a parma, watching the footy


DESIGN & BUILD California-style burger spot Cliff's Bar on the outside deck

New pergola replaced previous umbrellas to declutter the view

with the fireplace on and a storm going on outside and being very happy to be there. Hopefully a lot of people will use it all year-round and not just come for the summer.”

WINTER GOOD TIMES To further encourage that low-season trade, “we upped the accommodation,” says Dowd. “Mostly for corporate groups, functions and weddings. We kept that boutique coastal country hotel feel to it but better air conditioning, better linen and overall amenities that make it a lot better.” The results speak for themselves, but the biggest challenge to the team proved to be timing. “The biggest challenge was the speed of this project,” says Dubois. Receiving a planning permit from the council in just one month is practically unheard of. “But because of the iconic nature of the venue, the council really got behind it,” says Dubois. “As soon as we got that planning permit, Lawrence and CLG said to me ‘we’ve got to get on it and do it by October, so hurry up!’ ahead of the summer rush.” With weddings booked in November 2018, “there was no possibility that it wouldn’t be open” says Dubois, “it had to be done, and well, and right, and on budget.” “This was a testament to the builder projects and project manager, David Miller from Directitude Management. That they could get this done, it’s truly amazing. At one point there were 60 tradies on site, all working well together. People really got behind it and wanted to see it do well.” While it’s too early to tell how winter will trade, the immediate response has been compelling, says Dowd. “We’ve had a record summer, it’s been incredibly well received. The amount of people that walk out and their jaws just drop at the view, is great. People are staying for a much longer period, not just a quick drink. They’re literally staying for hours, hanging out at the pub, treating it like it’s one of their back gardens.”


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Channel Nine screens each round’s Thursday Night, second Friday night and Sunday afternoon game. All games shown live in HD on Fox League. All three March rounds feature a Thursday night game, a Friday doubleheader from 6pm, Super Saturday triple-headers then back-toback clashes on Sundays from 4.05pm. When: Season opener 7:50pm 14 March, Storm v Broncos Channel: Fox League and Channel Nine

Footy is back on Thursday 21 March with every game live in HD on Fox Footy and many shown on 7, with Thursday and Friday night games, four clashes on a Saturday plus a triple-header Sunday available. When: Season opener 7:20pm 21 March, Carlton v Richmond Channel: Fox Footy and from 22 March, Channel 7



Super Rugby got underway in February and some key battles are already emerging ahead of March’s many all-Australian games. When: 15 March, Brumbies v NSW Waratahs. 23 March, NSW Waratahs v Crusaders, 30 March, Reds v Rebels. All at 7:45pm Channel: Fox Sports

F1 returns to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix, the season opener live on Network 10 and Fox Sports. When: 15 March, 11:30-7pm. 16 March, 11:00-7:30pm. 17 March, 11:00-6:30pm Channel: 15 March on Bold, 16-17 March on Network 10

NEXT MONTH A bumper month for footy sees 10 games in an 11-day period in April, including plenty across the long Easter weekend and Anzac Day. When: 25 April, Essendon v Collingwood Channel: Fox Footy and 7 *All times are AEST


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Australian Hotelier March 2019