Club Management Winter 2024

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Raising the bar on sports viewing and casual dining




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Signing in

As winter sets in, it’s the perfect time for clubs to keep the celebrations going with exceptional hospitality and unqie offerings.

AS WE DIVE into another exciting edition, there are a couple of noteworthy milestones that we’re celebrating in this issue. First off, it’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since The Bower Tree opened their doors. This lively space has quickly become a beloved social hub for Queensland’s Sippy Downs community.

Speaking of celebrations, we’re also shining a spotlight on Rebecca Riant in our CEO profile as she marks her first anniversary at ClubsNSW. Rebecca’s leadership and vision have been pivotal in navigating the dynamic club landscape, and her story is one of resilience and success.

While we revel in these achievements, it’s also crucial to address a pressing issue that should be on all of our minds: cybersecurity. The recent cyberattack on NSW clubs was a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities we face in our increasingly digital world. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that clubs invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect their operations and member data. Ensuring a secure environment is no longer optional; it’s a necessity.

On a lighter note, we take a look at how clubs are evolving to meet the diverse needs of their patrons. Gone are the days when events and

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function centres were just simple, one-dimensional rooms. Today, they are vibrant and multi-functional spaces where people celebrate their life’s milestones — whether it’s a wedding, a corporate event, or a casual gathering — in style.

And let’s not forget the beloved sports bars. Clubs are stepping up their game to create authentic atmospheres that offer more than just a place to watch the game. With enhanced bar menus and vibrant environments, these spaces are becoming the go-to spots for both sports enthusiasts and social gatherings.

If you’re short of ideas on how to keep your club looking fresh, don’t forget there’s the 2024 Australasian Gaming Expo in Sydney this August. As the dedicated media partner, Club Management is thrilled to provide an exclusive preview of some of the standout exhibitor will be showcasing the latest innovations in the industry. I hope to catch everyone there!

Signing out.

Aimee Chanthadavong

Editor, Club Management

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

Publisher: Paul Wootton

Managing Editor: Vanessa Cavasinni

Editor: Aimee Chanthadavong

Commercial Director - Hospitality Group: Simon York Tel: 02 8586 6163 Mob: 0431 219 328

Group Art Director –Liquor and Hospitality: Kea Thorburn

Production Manager: Jacqui Cooper

Ensuring a secure environment is no longer optional; it’s a necessity.

Cover image: The Bower Tree Photography: Scott Burrows Photographer

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6 / Club Management WELCOME / Ed’s Note WE ENCOURAGE RESPONSIBLE DRINKING Get the facts DISCLAIMER: This publication is published by Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd (the “Publisher”). Materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. All materials should be considered protected by Australian and international intellectual property laws. Unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. Any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. All express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any State of Australia or the provisions of Division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication. Copyright © 2024 - Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd

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10 / News Briefs:

Club news from across the country.

18 / The Foyer:

The best new products on the market.

20 / The Bar:

Fantastic new drinks products to stock behind the bar.

22 / On The Big Screen:

The sporting fixtures that will make visitors flock to your sports bars.

66 / Q&A:

Mother-and-daughter duo on how landing roles at West HQ have brought them closer together.

Winter 2024

Food And Beverage

44 / Bar Food and Drinks Menu: Expect to find more than just salty nuts, packet of chips and beer on tap.

52 / Chef Profile:

Evan Burgess is already shaking things up as Bankstown Sports Club’s new culinary director.

54 / Chef Apprenticeship Program: How Burpengary Community Club is teaching aspiring chefs the ins and outs of running a kitchen.


24 / CEO Profile:

Rebecca Riant shares her highlights, challenges, and what’s next in the top job at ClubsNSW.

36 / Sports Bar Essentials:

How an encompassing sports bar experience is getting punters through the door.

56 / Events and Functions:

From top-notch AV systems to well-considered furniture, how clubs are dressing up their function spaces.

60 / Cybersecurity:

Why safeguarding against potential cyber threats should be at the top of the to-do list.

Events and Awards

26 / AGE Preview:

Make the most of your time at AGE 2024, and check out some of the exhibitors.

64 / Clubs QLD:

Queensland’s best clubs have been celebrated at the 2024 Keno & Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence.

8 / Club Management CONTENTS / Winter
36 56 44

A sipping success:

One year on at The

Bower Tree

It was a five-year process before the soil was first turned, but now the Boldbridge Group CEO Suzanne Long reflects on the journey as The Bower Tree celebrates its first birthday.

“Chaos. But rewarding chaos.”

That’s how Suzanne Long has described the first year at The Bower Tree, which opened its doors at Sippy Downs on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on 3 April 2023.

The club is part of the Boldbridge Group, which also includes Nambour RSL Club, situated just 20 minutes away. It offers five dining experiences, four beverage outlets, function facilities, kids’ and youth room, and a gaming lounge.

The Bower Tree opened six years after the concept was first floated. While the completion of construction was due in 2020, Covid shutdowns put the plans on hold. But when the build resumed, the venue was completed in 18 months.

Long highlighted that the response from the community since The Bower Tree opened has been overwhelmingly positive.

“To see the way the community has embraced The Bower as a new venue to town, and a new business to town, with Nambour only 20 minutes up the road ... that’s been so rewarding,” she said.

Best foot forward

So, does that mean the club has been operating as planned?

“From a trade perspective, yes, I would say it has,” Long said.

Since The Bower Tree opened, Boldbridge Group has grown its membership base by 11,400, taking the total number of members to more than 35,000.

Long explained that the short-term goal was to always focus on growing the food and beverage offering at The Bower Tree. The food and beverage options, serviced by four kitchens, include Cafe Rubia, Arrows Bistro, Vine Wine Bar, and a pizzeria.

“My philosophy has always been to do food really well, build on it, and give the customer a great experience and the rest will naturally happen, and that’s certainly proving to be the case after 12 months.”

Long is optimistic that gaming will eventually achieve similar results.

“We’re starting to get really good growth in gaming, and I’m happy with that,” she said.

“When it comes to gaming, you’re changing people’s habits. We all know people go to their favourite venues, so I say to the gaming room staff, just give them the best experience, and talk to the customers.

“It’s up to you to build relationships with them and to have them want to come back to see you and what we’ve got to offer here.

“Is gaming where I want it to be? No, but I’m exceptionally happy with it and to build it in time builds better relationships from a gaming perspective.”

“To see the way the community has embraced The Bower as a new venue to town ... that’s been so rewarding.”
10 / Club Management NEWS / The Bower Tree
Above: Boldbridge Group CEO Suzanne Long (third from the left) and the team celebrating The Bower Tree’s first birthday.


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She concedes that like starting any new business, operating The Bower Tree has come with its challenges, highlighting the biggest has been staffing.

“That’s probably been the biggest challenge: bringing 75 people together that have never worked together in a new venue with new customers,” Long admitted.

“Expectations versus reality sometimes aren’t the same, but to stand there and watch the team work and try their darndest gives me immense pride.”

Onwards and upwards

Looking ahead, Long said the priority for the remainder of the year at The Bower will be focused on growing two areas of the business: functions and the Vine Wine Bar.

“They’ve been the areas [of the club] that we have, for the first nine months, just grown organically and now we’re really starting to turn our focus on them for the remaining part of the year to really build that and get those areas firing,” Long said.

She is determined to have those two parts of the business “running at optimum performance” by November.

Wine not?

For the wine bar, which is part of the club footprint but operates as its own external venue, Long said the plan is to run several activation events to draw the crowd in.

“It’s just a trendy, modern, lovely little wine bar,” she said.

“We have a lot of birthday parties there, but we’ve just booked our first paint and sip event, as well as clay and sips. The florist across the road is going to start some floristry classes with some wine and cheese packages too.”

Long continued: “Sippy Downs is a young and vibrant community compared to Nambour, so not everyone wants to go into the club space.

“The idea was to try, particularly with the university across the road and Youi headquarters just down the road, attract that younger generation that aren’t really into club land, and introduce them to a club and show them they’re great community spaces.”

Long also believes the wine bar has allowed the club to encourage patrons to stay around for longer.

“It’s been working well for us,” she said.

“People come into the club, go to dinner, and then they decide to go to the wine bar and sit in there to have a few cocktails; it’s a much quieter environment.”

In the long term, Long is hopeful the wine bar will also cater for residents. She explained that Sippy Downs is an up-and-coming suburb where new apartments are being built.

“They’ll want somewhere quiet to go on Sunday afternoon to enjoy some tapas, a glass of wine and music. I’m sure in time it will really take off, particularly as the population increases around us.”

NEWS / The Bower Tree
12 / Club Management
It was a week-long birthday celebration with patrons. Growing the Vine Wine Bar is a focus for the club for the remainder of the year.
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Carina Leagues Club fuels staff for success

While providing patrons with an outstanding selection of food and beverage offerings is a priority for Carina Leagues Club, the club has also turned its attention to the staff meals.

The club has teamed up with local sports dietitian Sean Cornish from Zealthier at Clem Jones Wellness Centre to help staff make more informed dietary choices. Cornish has worked with the club’s executive chef Avita to craft a new range of healthier menu options that are low in saturated fat for staff.

“In hospitality, the convenience of quick and easy meals often becomes the norm. Most of us were consuming bistro-style meals from our menu — delicious but large portions. Now, we’re enjoying lighter and healthier meals and feeling the benefits,” Carina Leagues Club general manager Adam Wienke said.

The healthier meals are currently available for the executive team, but the next phase of the program will see it extended to the wider management team and all staff members in due course.

According to Wienke, the executive team has been given dedicated time during work hours to participate in this program to help them make healthier choices.

“Even amidst our ongoing renovations, it’s inspiring to see our

Club Glenvale, Multicultural Australia bring heart to hockey

Club Glenvale has partnered with Multicultural Australia to develop the Belong in Hockey Program aimed to not only introduce local refugees to the joys of sport but also bolster their confidence and English proficiency.

A majority of the program’s participants are Yezidi refugees, a Kurdish-speaking endogamous religious group who are indigenous to Kurdistan, a geographical region in Western Asia that includes parts of Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran.

“It’s been so beneficial for them,” Club Glenvale general manager Martin Taylor said.

“Most have come into the area out of very bad situations, and this program has meant that they can get out and meet other people in a safe environment and enjoy some hockey.

team’s unwavering commitment spanning diverse fitness levels, ages, and motivation levels. We’ve observed our team’s collective dedication to enhancing their health and personal wellbeing,” he said.

The healthier options are expected to provide the team with the sustained energy they need to perform their best, no matter the time of day.

“It’s simple: healthier employees are happier ones. Improved wellbeing in our team leads to heightened energy levels, increased productivity, and greater motivation,” Wienke said.

“This is particularly vital amidst our significant club renovations; we want our staff to feel energised every day they come to work.”

In addition to this program, Carina Leagues Club has a weekly fruit supply available to all staff and has installed free filtered water stations in the staff room and designated staff areas.

On-shift ‘duty meals’ are available for all staff, with plans to incorporate them into the new healthier menu.

“We also put on some tea for them every time they come out. Our volunteers are also going out to pick them up and bring them here for training.”

He added introducing a program like this is just part of the club’s ethos.

“Like all the clubs in Australia, anything that we can do to help in the community is really what we’re about.”

The program, which is now in its second year, saw 20 refugees attend weekly Friday hockey training sessions last year. Each session is run by volunteer hockey coaches.

“They spend about an hour on the hockey field training, running around out in the sunshine ... it’s just a good outlet for them to get out,” Taylor said.

Out of the 20 refugees that came to training last year, three have now joined one of the local hockey clubs to play the sport competitively, which the Toowoomba Hockey Association is sponsoring.

Taylor said a benefit for the Toowoomba Hockey Association and its clubs is that the program can help bring in new members and players.

“We’re trying to see after a year of coming here and trialling it whether or not they’re interested in joining an actual club and playing for a club ... that’s the end game.”

Most recently, Club Glenvale was honoured with the Heart of the Community award at the 2024 Keno & Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence for their Belong in Hockey program.

“It was a new program that we’d never done before and it’s something we’ve never really looked into before. We often do a lot of work with kids, but this was a different area, so it’s been really satisfying,” Taylor said.

14 / Club Management NEWS
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St. George Leagues Club to undergo complete overhaul

St. George Leagues Club inches closer to receiving local council approval to go ahead with its major renovation plans that are expected to cost the club somewhere between $50-$60 million.

Under the proposed plans, the club will build a new entrance to the foyer and reconfigure the ground floor layout to accommodate a new kitchen, new bars, and a separate dining, lounge, and sports lounge. A large 14-metre-deep alfresco balcony suitable for 240 people will also be added to the front of the building.

The first floor will be stripped back to create multiple function rooms with new bar facilities. The club’s existing Chinese restaurant will also be relocated to the southern end of the building and feature new private dining rooms, a small terrace, and a new kitchen. The final piece of the renovation will be the club’s auditorium.

“We just want to create a good food and beverage facility and a great gaming facility that people want to come to time and time again for any occasion,” St. George Leagues Club CEO Craig Epton told Club Management

One of the most anticipated parts of the renovation for Epton will be to restore the look and feel of the club as the home of the St. George Illawarra Dragons.

“When I started there was nothing that resembled the Dragons here, and the biggest screen we had in here was a 16-inch,” he said.

“There was nowhere to watch the football ... so one of the things I’m trying to get across to the architects about the sports bar is that this is us ... this is actually about celebrating who we are.”

If the club is given the green light, work is anticipated to commence next February and will take two years to complete.

The major project would follow on from the work the club is currently undertaking with the gaming floor, which has been partially moved into an underutilised part of the club to free up space for food and beverage ahead of the major renovation plans. The gaming floor is slated to be completed in mid-August.

A welcomed reunion

At the end of last year, St. George Leagues Club amalgamated with Arncliffe Scots Sports and Social Club. St. George Leagues Club CEO Craig Epton described the merge as if it was like “welcoming back a family member”.

“The clubs have had an intertwined history for years ... so when their members voted for us to take them on, [Arncliff Scots secretary] Glenys Ellis, whose dad was the original secretary of the club, went across to me and said that ‘Dad would be so proud’,” he said.

“It was a little bit different to the normal amalgamation. It felt a bit real like welcoming an old friend back into the room.”

Epton said despite the gaming floor only being partially complete, the makeover is already paying dividends.

“In February, we achieved an all-time record in gaming revenue,” he said.

Behind the scenes

But it’s not just the look and feel of the club that is undergoing changes. Epton is also focused on improving staff training and morale. He commends the Board for being extremely supportive of the process so far.

“The next couple of years will be about people and process,” he said, adding that “this is about creating an environment from below and working with above, not the other way around”.

Epton said it will require a combination of factors to see St. George Leagues Club succeed, once again, as a premier club.

“We want to be the pillar of the community that’s always been there, particularly given that there are so many new developments happening around the area.”

16 / Club Management NEWS
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The Foyer

Brand news and promotions

Wood’s gives tomato relish a delicious twist

Wood’s is excited to announce two bold additions to its relish range: the creamy Tomato Relish Mayonnaise and the fiery Spicy Tomato Relish.

Two perfectly crafted twists on its award-winning classic Tomato Relish. These new gourmet condiments are ready to elevate your dishes with unparalleled flavour and quality.

Wood’s award-winning original tomato relish just got a whole lot hotter. The Wood’s team has infused fiery jalapeno peppers and sriracha sauce to add an invigorating burst of spice in its new Spicy Tomato Relish. Made with all Australian tomatoes, its turning up the heat on a favourite recipe to bring you an all new flavour where heat meets sweet.

For the creamy Tomato Relish Mayonnaise, Wood’s has taken its original recipe and created the perfect pair. Combining it with mayonnaise in a spreadable, spiced tomato blend that solves all your problems in one go. Delicious and smooth, Wood’s tomato relish mayonnaise is the perfect addition to all your paninis, salads, sandwiches, tacos, and more.

Both new products are Gluten Free, Halal and Kosher Certified and Australian Made; and the Spicy Tomato Relish is Vegan Australia Certified. Available from all good food wholesalers.

ERDI launches ERDI Academy in Melbourne

Located within the heart of Melbourne at the Mercure Welcome Melbourne on Little Bourke Street and adjacent to sister-hotel, Pullman Melbourne City Centre, ERDI Academy stands as a beacon of innovation. As a hospitality academy uniquely situated within a working hotel environment, ERDI Academy provides students with immersive experiences on a daily basis, fostering practical skills and offering opportunities for real-world placements.

“We are thrilled to introduce ERDI Academy, a testament to our enduring commitment to excellence and community empowerment,” remarked Ricky Jeffs, CEO and Executive Director of ERDI. “With ERDI Academy, we aim to redefine hospitality education, nurturing the next generation of industry leaders while giving back to our local community”.

The flagship program at ERDI Academy is the Diploma of Hospitality Management, a nationally accredited qualification covering essential topics such as customer services strategies, conflict management and operational planning. The Academy also offers short courses in Food Safety Supervisor Training, Food Handlers Training and Responsible Service of Alcohol training.

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18 / Club Management

Anzac Day 2025 tours from Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours

Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours’ 2025 Anzac Day tours have opened for bookings, as hundreds of Australians continue to follow in the footsteps of the Anzacs at Gallipoli and on the Western Front in commemoration of their service.

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Cyber Wardens initiative helps protect your business

The Cyber Wardens program is a national initiative of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA), supported by the Australian Government and an industry alliance led by Telstra, CommBank and the Australian Cyber Security Centre, to help protect Australia’s 2.3 million small businesses from online threats. The free, online cyber security education program takes just 45 minutes to complete and is available to all small businesses across the country.

Cyber Wardens are the digital equivalent of first aid officers or fire safety wardens. They are equipped to prevent, prepare, fight and help recover from a cyber attack such as the theft of customer data or intellectual property. Just as we physically protect ourselves by locking up our businesses and homes at night, the Cyber Wardens program will give small businesses the skills to shut their digital doors to lurking cyberthreats.

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Mytico: The art of coffee-making redefined

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Winter 2024 / 19
Dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux

The Bar

Drinks news and promotions

Campari’s new bottle design

Campari has launched its first bottle redesign for a decade, with the new look being inspired by the drink’s birthplace, Milano.

The bottle features lines cut into the glass, which Campari says symbolise the journey of the Aperitivo ritual from Milano to the rest of the world. In addition, the dynamic movement and the tapering of the lines reflects the vitality and transformation over time that Milano and Campari have undergone together.

Paolo Marinoni, marketing director of Campari Australia shares: “Since its creation, the Campari bottle has evolved alongside Milano, continuously drawing inspiration from its resourcefulness and its excitement, traits we feel are deeply bound to the spirit of our brand. We wanted to continue to pay homage to Milano through the design of the new Campari bottle and we could not be happier with the story it tells.”

The new look Campari is available now.

Doozy mixes it up with Half & Half

Focused on pushing the boundaries of innovation in the RTD category, Doozy has launched a new 50:50 flavour profile, blending vodka iced tea and lemonade.

Doozy Half & Half is available in two flavours: Vodka Iced Tea & Lemonade with Raspberry, and a classic Vodka Iced Tea & Lemonade with hints of peach.

With RTD consumption now accounting for 13 per cent of total retail liquor sales in Australia, the team behind Doozy believe that the new flavour combinations will capture consumer interest, responding to demand for full flavour pre-mixed adult beverages.

Will Hayward, Doozy co-founder and Sydney Swans crowd favourite, commented: “With Doozy Half & Half, we’re not just mixing drinks, we’re mixing things up. We’re taking two already awesome things and creating something entirely new and exciting.

“We’re sticking to bold flavours and simple, impactful branding to create a unique and memorable brand and experience. Here’s to daring to be different and embracing the doozy spirit.”

TWØBAYS Brewing Co. launches GFB Aussie Ale

after being named world’s


Victorian brewer, TWØBAYS Brewing Co. created the GFB brand to cater for beer drinkers who want that classic Aussie beer taste but can’t stomach the gluten in barley beers. The GFB brand pays homage to the classic, easy drinking Aussie beers that dominate the retail and on-prem marketplaces, but is brewed with gluten-free malts. With up to a quarter of Aussies claiming to avoid gluten at various times in their diet, the need for good gluten-free beers has become even more important.

And now TWØBAYS Brewing Co. can claim the title of the best gluten-free beer, winning gold for it’s mid-strength Session Ale at the 2024 World Beer Cup. Off the back of that success, TWØBAYS has just launched its newest product in the GFB core range, the GFB Aussie Ale. Lightly hopped and with low bitterness, GFB Aussie Ale ticks all the boxes for when you need a thirst quenching, refreshing beer, no matter if you are avoiding gluten or not. Available at wholesalers nationally, or email

20 / Club Management

Guinness 0.0 lands in Australia

Lion has announced the national rollout of Guinness 0.0, a new nonalcoholic version of the famous Irish stout, in Australia.

Guinness 0.0 boasts the same beautifully smooth taste, perfectly balanced flavour, and unique dark, ruby red colour of Guinness, now without the alcohol. It’s also a low-calorie option for those choosing to moderate, with just 16 calories per 100ml, or just 70 calories per can. The Australian release of Guinness 0.0 comes as stats indicate the continuing trend of drinkers seeking no or low alcohol alternatives.

Albertus Lombard, Lion brand director of premium beer, said: “As one of the world’s oldest and most loved drinks, Guinness continues to remain at the forefront of innovation. The launch of Guinness 0.0 is catering to consumer needs, without compromising on the signature Guinness flavour profile that its drinkers know and love.”

Guinness 0.0 is now available in 440ml cans.

Yalumba celebrates 175 years of family ownership

This year, Yalumba celebrates 175 years as a family-owned winemaker, and to mark the milestone anniversary the winery will be unveiling several unique releases throughout the year.

As Yalumba builds momentum toward the occasion, it presents its new vintage Rare & Fine collection releases for 2024, and notably the winery debuted its inaugural Yalumba Museum Collection in May.

The Yalumba Museum Collection features a limited selection of the great vintages of its finest wines, aged up to 20 years, including The Caley Cabernet & Shiraz, The Octavius Old Vine Shiraz, The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon, and The Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz.

Robert Hill-Smith, fifth-generation proprietor, describes the anniversary as a genuinely momentous milestone. He says: “This anniversary is not only a nod to years passed. It is a reflection of our resilience and a commitment to mastering our craft, generation after generation.”

The Paloma’s popularity on the rise

The beloved Margarita has introduced many Aussies to tequila in the last couple of years, but the Paloma, another tequilabased cocktail, is on the rise in the Australian on-premise scene.

“Tequila is so much more than Margaritas and shots, and that’s reflected by the fact that the Paloma is actually Mexico’s most popular cocktail, even over the Margarita,” explains a Proximo Spirits representative.

To bring the Paloma to more venues and patrons across the country, two esteemed brands – 1800 Tequila and Fever-Tree – have partnered up on the optimal Paloma serve that’s a premium, refreshing and versatile option, using 1800 Tequila Blanco and Fever-Tree’s Pink Grapefruit Soda, plus a splash of lime juice.

With three ingredients and a garnish, adding this Paloma to your club’s repertoire is an easy way to both satisfy Margarita lovers looking for something different, as well as entice patrons new to the tequila category with a refreshing and accessible cocktail. Contact your Proximo Spirits Representative or and your Fever-Tree representative or to order.

Winter 2024 / 21

On The Big Screen Olympics edition

Fixtures and matches that will pack out your sports bars

The Paris 2024 Olympics are on this winter, giving sport-loving Aussies another reason to gather at clubs to cheer on Australia and other nations at this once-every-four-years event. Held on the other side of the world, the majority of sports will run from 5pm-5am, making it perfect for your dinner and late-night crowd. And with Stan Sport’s venueonly 24/7 channel, your club will have access to highlights throughout the day, until the live action kicks off again. Check out some of the Olympic sporting events that Club Management thinks will do well in your venues.

The new medals designed for Paris 2024. Image: Cyril Masson


Arguably our strongest Olympic sport historically, Australia has won 71 gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1900, as well as 73 silver and 77 bronze medals. It’s a sport we’ve always excelled in, from Dawn Fraser’s four gold medal wins starting at the Melbourne 1956 games, to the dominant era Ian Thorpe and beyond. Most recently, Emma McKeon became Australia’s greatest Olympic medal winner at Beijing 2022 when she took her medal tally to 11. McKeon has announced that the Paris Olympics will be her last, so Aussies will be watching to see what her medal tally ends up being, as well as cheering on the rest of the Aussie squad.


One of the most memorable moments of Beijing 2022 was the Boomers, Australia’s men’s basketball team, claiming an historic bronze medal, ending a 65-year draught. The third-place match against Spain went down to the wire, and the win meant a lot to both the basketball and the wider Australian communities. The image of legends Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut embracing showed us all just what the win meant.

At Paris 2024, the Boomers will be trying to top their bronze medal win, while the female team, the Opals, will also be looking to get in on the action. More eyes will be on Australia’s basketball games, as they strive for more success.

Canoe Slalom

Australians love a water sport, and canoeing is one we’re particularly good at. Australia has maintained a four-decade streak of winning medals in canoe events. Interest in the broadcast of canoe events has ramped up since Tokyo, where Jessica Fox won her – and Australia’s – first gold medal in the discipline. This year, Australia is bringing its largest squad of canoe sprint paddlers to Paris, including six debutants and a pair of brothers – so it will be another excellent sport to watch.

Women’s Rugby Sevens

After a 92-year absence from Olympic competition, rugby returned for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with the Sevens format making its debut. The Australian women’s team quickly made its mark, winning the first rugby sevens gold medal, after defeating New Zealand. The team were unable to repeat their success at Tokyo 2020 finishing fifth, but will be looking to redeem themselves in Paris this year. In what is a quickfire and engaging format of the game, Rugby Sevens will attract a lot of Aussie footy lovers in clubs.

Olympic action 24/7 on Stan

The Paris Olympics will be held from Friday 26 July until Sunday 11 August. Stan Sport will offer four streams of live sport across the 16 days, in addition to a venue-only 24/7 channel, which will run highlights of all the action throughout the day.

At the time of publication, the Olympics schedule was not yet available, but you can find timings at

Some of the Australian athletes competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Australian Olympic Committee

Rising to the challenge

It’s been a year since Rebecca Riant took on the top job at ClubsNSW. She chats to Club Management about the highlights, challenges, and what’s next on the agenda.

WHEN REBECCA RIANT took over as chief executive of ClubsNSW in July 2023, she had already spent almost three years dipping her toes in the sector, but on the gaming side. Two of those years at Tabcorp and nine months at The Star, both of which had gone through material structural changes and faced industry perception challenges. Prior to these roles, she had spent 30 years in financial services, including as an executive for Westpac and Commonwealth Bank.

This meant Riant was well-versed in crisis management, financial crime remediation, designing and executing strategic pivots to better focus on a customer, and dealing with complex sets of stakeholders in challenging industries with reputational complexities. So, stepping in to head up the NSW peak body for the licensed clubs industry wasn’t too dissimilar to what she had done before.

“This role was certainly in my bailiwick,” she remarked.

Her appointment followed the dismissal of Josh Landis, before the NSW state election, over inflammatory comments he made about the religious beliefs of then-NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet influencing his decisions over gaming.

Now, a year into her role, she expressed how she’s enjoyed the ride so far. While she considers it a little

“One thing I’ve learnt in my career is that you don’t learn anything new if you only surround yourself with people who agree with you and your perspective.”

too premature to specify any achievements, she highlights last year’s ClubsNSW Conference on the Gold Coast as one of the standout moments of the role so far.

“I’d only been in the role for about 10 weeks, and I was blown away by the quality of the whole event — the speakers, the engagement, the large attendance — and it was a great opportunity to engage directly with our members,” she said.

Getting the conversation going

According to Riant, when she assumed the chief executive role, she initially focused on two things. The first was getting out to meet as many member clubs as possible to understand what they’re looking for from their peak industry body, and where ClubsNSW could be more relevant and ensure its members are getting value from their membership fees.

“I also wanted to ensure they felt they were being represented in a way that aligned with their values and objectives,” she added.

The second objective was to meet as many as what she describes as “detractors” as possible. She clarified it’s those that disapprove of either ClubsNSW, the club industry or gaming more broadly.

“I’ve certainly had a number of challenging conversations, but one thing I’ve learnt in my career

24 / Club Management CEO Profile
/ Rebecca Riant

is that you don’t learn anything new if you only surround yourself with people who agree with you and your perspective,” Riant said.

“It’s important that leaders seek out alternative perspectives so they can better understand their competitors, their stakeholders, their detractors — only then do you really learn what you need to do differently. I always welcome constructive challenges and a good debate.”

She also recognises clubs are constantly met with challenges, which she hopes ClubsNSW can assist with. Riant highlights two of the most imminent challenges the industry is facing: the deterioration of the macro-economic environment and what that means for the clubs industry, and the evolving regulatory landscape.

“The first one is tough,” she admitted. “We are not best placed to tell clubs how to run their businesses, but we are working hard to ensure that the path for diversifying their revenue is smoother than it previously was.

“That might be through working with government on vibrancy reform, cutting red tape, reducing the regulatory burden, or connecting clubs with the right resources so they can seek appropriate, independent advice at a reasonable price point.

“Regulatory reform and the increased expectations of regulators are only just starting to impact our part of the industry, though some will say it has been impacting us for a while. We should expect the impact to be large, over a long timeframe and costly — ensuring that we have a good relationship with government so that clubs are able to transition their business models to adapt will be crucial.”

The ups and downs

But like any job, especially any leadership role, it comes with its challenges, Riant admitted.

“The hardest part is around making people-related decisions,” she said.

“ClubsNSW is a small, not-for-profit organisation that exists to service its members — I’m very clear about that. But with that comes an obligation to ensure that we use our limited resources wisely and to ensure that we have the right people, with the right capability, in the right roles doing things that really add value to our clubs’ memberships.”

Interestingly, she detailed how while she thought engaging with government and regulators would be the most challenging part of her role; it’s worked out to be quite the opposite.

“[Government and regulators] have been so welcoming of a different approach, and many knew me from my previous roles, that in fact, that has been the easiest and, in many ways, the most rewarding part of the job so far.”

Looking ahead, Riant’s focus is fixed on a couple of priorities. This includes ensuring ClubsNSW is clear on its purpose and has the right capability and capacity to execute on strategy; improving the organisation’s member net promotor score; and building on the good relationships that already exist with stakeholders.

Riant also wants to work hard to ensure there is a clear,

sustainable path for clubs when it comes to gaming reform.

Currently underway in NSW is the NSW government’s expanded cashless gaming trial. The club leading the charge as the first venue to participate in the trial is Twin Towns Services Club in Tweed Heads. There are 27 clubs and hotels approved by the Independent Panel on Gaming Reform to take part in the expanded trial. Under this expanded trial, cashless gaming technology will be installed in over 4,000 gaming machines across the state.

The cashless gaming trial is being overseen by the Independent Panel on Gaming Reform, which was established by the NSW Government in July 2023. The trial aims to evaluate the feasibility and acceptance of adopting cashless gaming technologies across all clubs and hotels in NSW.

The Independent Panel on Gaming Reform is scheduled to deliver a gaming reform report to the NSW government in November 2024.

ClubsNSW had previously welcomed the NSW government’s launch: “Our Association has been a strong advocate for digital payment options on gaming machines since 2016, and we are committed to strengthening protections for those who experience gambling harm.”

Outside of work, Riant can be found pottering around the house in her slippers with her “very needy” Jack Russell, Spot, catching up with family and friends, or getting stuck into a book while savouring a good drop.

“My husband Andy and I hang out with our boys, Billy (13) and Charlie (10) when they let me, when I’m not being too ‘un-cool’ for them!” she said.

“We like to travel a bit, have friends over, and burn some food on the BBQ. I enjoy reading — I’m fascinated by geopolitics (don’t get me started on the US election) and economics — so my reading list is probably unappealing to most people. I’m currently reading a book about the history of risk management. I also love a good South Otago pinot noir or a single malt whiskey.”

Winter 2024 / 25 CEO Profile / Rebecca Riant
ClubsNSW CEO Rebecca Riant hosting a panel at the 2023 ClubsNSW Conference

Putting on a show

The Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE) 2024 is gearing up to be another massive one, with every facet of gaming and hospitality operations covered in this premier event.

IN THE EVER-EVOLVING world of gaming and hospitality, staying ahead is essential for club managers. The Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE) 2024, set to take place from August 13 to 15 at the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), offers a prime opportunity to gain invaluable insights, explore cutting-edge innovations, and engage in unparalleled networking.

AGE 2024 is more than just another trade show; it’s the premier event for leaders in gaming and hospitality. With a legacy spanning over 30 years, AGE has become a cornerstone for industry professionals across Australia and beyond. This year’s expo will feature over 200 exhibitors showcasing a diverse range of products and services tailored to the needs of clubs and pubs.

Gaming Technologies Association CEO Jinesh Patel discussed the continued importance of AGE to club operators.

“AGE 2024 is an essential platform for industry stakeholders. As always, the event provides innovation and technology advancements tailored to enhance your venue’s operations and customer experiences, helping operators stay competitive in the rapidly evolving hospitality market,” he said.

“The AGE is not just an event; it’s a hub for knowledge exchange and industry networking. On the show floor and in the seminar rooms, you will find answers to

the sector’s most pressing issues, including regulatory changes, customer engagement strategies, and sustainability practices. These insights and tools are crucial for successfully navigating the industry’s complexities.

“Given the challenges of the past few years, AGE 2024 is an opportunity for rejuvenation and community rebuilding. Our attendees greatly look forward to the collective atmosphere of collaboration and support, which is a hallmark of the AGE.”

Explore the future of gaming and hospitality

A highlight of AGE 2024 is the chance to discover the latest advancements in gaming technology and hospitality solutions.

From the newest gaming machines and sophisticated point-of-sale systems to eco-friendly venue designs and advanced kitchen equipment, AGE provides a handson experience with the industry’s future.

In-depth educational sessions

AGE 2024 also boasts a comprehensive educational program designed to offer practical insights and strategies. Industry experts will lead seminars on enhancing customer experiences, navigating regulatory landscapes, and implementing digital transformation. These sessions are essential for managers looking to keep up with the latest industry trends and best practices.

Networking at is best

Networking is a key feature of AGE 2024. The event offers a unique platform for club and pub managers to connect with suppliers, peers, and industry leaders.

The AGE Networking Lounge and themed events provide the perfect setting for building new relationships and exploring potential collaborations. Whether seeking new suppliers, reconnecting with industry colleagues, or pursuing partnership opportunities, AGE 2024 delivers unmatched networking potential.

Register for AGE 2024

Dates: Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 August 2024

Expo Location: Halls 1-4, ICC Sydney, Exhibition Building

Seminar Location: E3.1-3.2, ICC Sydney, Exhibition Building Register at:

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This year’s AGE will build on the success of the 2023 show

Exhibitor Spotlight

Here’s a sneak peek at what some of the AGE 2024 exhibitors will be showcasing.


Konami is a leading innovator of slot machines and gaming enterprise management systems for the global gaming market. Konami has been creating big waves in the gaming industry for more than 20 years.

Konami will be showcasing a range of new concepts and proven performing series like its top performing Bull Rush/Bull Rush Blitz games. It will have a strong line up of games at AGE 2024 at Stand 390 that proves why Konami is a leading gaming industry partner.

To learn more, visit


Meris Food Equipment

Offering food around the clock can attract patrons to purchase more and enjoy your gaming and entertainment facilities for longer – all leading to increased revenue and happier customers.

Discover how easy it is to offer great food even when the bistro is closed, without a chef, skilled staff, or without a kitchen, at the Meris Food Equipment Stand 495.

The popular Perfect Fry ventless deep fryer will be on show, that requires no hood or canopy, and cooks 1kg of chips in less than three minutes!

For more than 25 years, Meris has been an indispensable partner for pubs, clubs, bars, and venues offering an extensive range of front-of-house and commercial cooking equipment. Empowering operators of all sizes to increase their menu offering, boost productivity and serve food around the clock, our global leading equipment brands are backed by our reliable service network and a range of consultation services.

Player Elite is a powerhouse in Digital Loyalty Systems which transforms data into realtime marketing strategies, as trusted by 70+ pubs and clubs in Australia.

Debuting at AGE in 2024, Player Elite will showcase three game-changers:

1. PEM4CURV: Australia’s most powerful loyalty kiosk.

2. HYDRA: The market leading digital membership system for pubs and clubs.

3. VIC: The most powerful platform in the market incorporating CRM and BI on one solution to rule them all!

Book ahead for your demo at AGE on Stand 810 by visiting request-demo/ or call 0406 991 441 today!

Winter 2024 / 27


Join Letizza at the ultimate pizza paradise at its stand during the upcoming AGE tradeshow at Stand 495! Indulge in a tantalising feast of incredible handstretched pizza bases, where every slice is a slice of heaven. From its Classic pizza bases to thin, Gluten-free, cauliflower pizza bases, Italian flat breads, and dough balls.

SENPOS Point of Sale

A reliable point-of-sale partner is essential to maximising efficiencies, business profitability and customer engagement, which is essential in your club or pub.

SENPOS Point of Sale creates tailored point-of-sale ecosystems featuring the new handheld POS device SENPOS GO, POS terminals, member kiosks, tablets and integrated online ordering.

SENPOS has pioneered point-of-sale technology in Australia for over 30 years, collaborating with its customers to enhance front and back of house operations, while keeping pace with industry relevant software integrations – such as staff management, accounting and purchasing software, among others. Additionally, our customers also benefit from an Australian support team for training and timely help year-round, crucial for peak trade periods, plus in-house software development. From first demonstration through to installation, our team create a seamless experience that makes transitioning to SENPOS simple. Meet our team at the AGE Expo at Stand 497 to see a demonstration and discuss your tailored solution.

Mint Furniture

At Mint, the philosophy is simple; we’re made for you! Mint Furniture is family owned and operated with over 15 years industry experience designing, manufacturing, and sourcing high quality commercial and custom made furniture for the hospitality market. The company’s strength lies in its passion for creating beautiful furniture for beautiful spaces.

Mint Furniture works directly with venues to offer a bespoke service that is tailored to you. The business can also liaise directly with your design team, working together to create dynamic and comfortable spaces that your customers will want to return to time and time again. Each project is unique, and is treated as such, continually striving to meet customers’ specific briefs and budgets every time. Join the Mint Furniture team at Stand 320, as they showcase a glimpse of their latest range including:

• favourite pieces from local and international brands,

• exclusive Mint house range designed specifically for the hospitality industry,

• custom manufactured joinery made in Australia.

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Club Rivers

Next Payments

Explore Next Payments’ innovative range of technologies at the upcoming AGE, from its cashless gaming solution to business intelligence software, harm minimisation tools, and more!

The following products will be on display at the Next Payments Stand 840:

• Premium ATM

• TAB Enabled ATM

• Cash Redemption Terminals

• Cash Recycler

• Concilio Reconciliation Software

• EAGLEi360 Business Intelligence Software

• Cashless Gaming Solution

• GSL Loyalty Program


Be sure to register your details at our stand to go in the running to win one of four luxurious magnum bottles of Veuve Clicquot up for grabs.

The AGE will be here in no time! Get in early and schedule a personalised product demonstration with one of Next Payments’ dedicated Business Development Managers by emailing

The Next Payments team can’t wait to show you what they have in store!


Create an exciting gaming room visitor experience by harnessing the power of TV, video and digital signage to entertain and engage with your guests so they stay and play longer.

Market-leading IP video and digital signage solutions from VITEC enhance the entertainment service casinos can offer by distributing high-quality live TV, video, advertising, jackpot alerts and more to any screen around your venue.

The VITEC system is fully customisable, with brand TV screen interfaces for your venue that easily adjust the overall look and feel from a central location. Plus, VITEC can assist with creating your own content with its VITEC Design Services. This enables you to commission a set-up of customisable designs that will give you step-up to create well designed signage or interactive IPTV portals, no matter the size of your venue, management team or location.

Come and meet the team at Stand 554 at this year’s AGE to create an exciting guest experience.


Generating real-time notifications, Cognitec’s FaceVACS-VideoScan solution can detect known persons within seconds, enable fast response times and intervention, and act as a deterrent for banned persons who consider entering again in the future.

Clubs and pubs can also use the technology to quickly check-in members and preregistered guests without looking at ID documents, eliminating long lines at entrances and providing swift transactions without touching devices and surfaces.

As a bonus, the software analyses faces to produce statistics about people count, age, gender, and movement. Monitoring visit lengths, for example, enables casinos to fulfill their host responsibility, as the system identifies and alerts staff to persons who have overstayed their time in the gaming areas.

Cognitec’s products deliver industry-leading face-matching speed and accuracy, and are supported by an Australian expert team located in Sydney. The German technology is used extensively by both the Australian government and commercial enterprises.

Visit the Cognitec team at Stand 670

Winter 2024 / 29 FEATURE / AGE Preview

Melitta Professional

With over a century of heritage and a deep passion for exceptional coffee, Melitta Professional is set to captivate attendees at AGE. As a System Solutions Partner, they provide a broad range of products and services tailored to meet the specific needs of each business. Experience a showcase of coffee machines, each engineered to extract the optimal flavour from their carefully selected beans.

Beyond their extensive product range, Melitta Professional is renowned for its unparalleled service. They are dedicated to meeting the unique demands of the hospitality industry with bespoke financing options, comprehensive maintenance, and expert training designed to ensure optimal operation and complete customer satisfaction.

Join their coffee experts at Stand 627 for a memorable journey through their commitment to quality and service. Engage in interactive demonstrations and discover why they stand out in the coffee world. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the Melitta difference firsthand!


Brighton Technologies Group (BTG)

Brighton Technologies Group (BTG) is an industry-leading provider of various technology solutions to the gaming and hospitality markets. Providing gaming and food and beverage solutions, BTG products are found in Australia’s leading pubs, clubs and casinos.

BTG’s Connect Gaming system is the cornerstone of the gaming paging system market, with user-friendly messaging, alert systems and reporting, ensuring guests and staff enjoy a seamless experience.

Now, Connect features BTG’s innovative Responsible Gaming Welfare Check system. With this tool, be assured your guests’ welfare is being monitored, and that your compliance obligations have been met.

• Instant device alerts to Responsible Gaming Officers

• Complete checks on App or PC

• Customisable questionnaires

• Carded and uncarded checks

• Detailed reporting

Enquire about BTG’s Connect System, and its revolutionary Responsible Gaming Welfare Checks, to experience ease of use and peace of mind you never thought possible.

Visit, email or call 1300 367 177.

Visit Brighton Technologies Group at Stand 565

Infosign specialises in providing customisable, electronic visitor and contractor management solutions to a number of hospitality venues, Australia wide. No more paper sign-in books. Replace your paper-based membership application with a digital sign-up process, direct to your membership software, plus ban, self-exclusion and underage alerts via sms, email and paging systems, direct to duty managers.

Record contractor attendance, including online inductions. Club bus bookings and directors voting are also part of the Infosign suite of products, plus a number of hardware options, including portable, desktop and kiosk options. Infosign’s data security meets best practice standards as well. Come and see the Infosign team at Stand 410.

FEATURE / AGE Preview 30 / Club Management


AusComply is a mobile digital incident register (DIR) and compliance platform that helps customers efficiently meet their legislative obligations, demonstrate a culture of compliance, and minimise risks. AusComply has put compliance management in the palm of your hand with a powerful and easy to use mobile application.

Compliant with both liquor and security legislation, AusComply eliminates the need for paper-based registers and double entry.

AusComply can be accessed anywhere on any device to make monitoring activity and real time analytics quick and simple.

AusComply now fully integrates the power of the world’s leading facial recognition technology. Using your existing IP based camera systems, AusComply technology identifies troublemakers with unmatched accuracy and speed, replacing the need for outdated ID scanning technology or the need to actively monitor your CCTV. Sharable watchlists within liquor accords, groups, or neighbouring venues means real-time updated data.

Call 1300 22 66 75 or visit Check out the products in person at Stand 250


AVIP is emerging as Australia’s leading LED Display brand, offering a comprehensive selection of LED Display and AudioVisual solutions. The AVIP team specialises in designing tailored solutions to meet your specific needs, ensuring a seamless experience from design to installation.

AVIP provides a wide range of custom LED Display and Audio solutions, catering to individual space requirements. Its integrated iPad platform simplifies AV system operations and enhances user experience by seamlessly integrating device control.

At AVIP, the team prides themselves on their commitment to customer service. AVIP’s after-sales support sets it apart, as it offers remote assistance to ensure the fastest response times for all of its clients.

Meet the AVIP Team at Stand 893 to discuss your requirements and discover how AVIP can help redefine your venue.

BK Packaging

New to market – your cutlery pouch specialists.

Yiassoo cutlery pouches are a practical, user-friendly and stylish hygienic solution to present your cutlery in your venue. The napkin fold at the opening of the cutlery pouch not only makes it easier to insert your cutlery but also easier to remove the napkin.

The Yiassoo cutlery pouch range is available with a 2ply or 3ply napkin, or pouch-only option. Simply add your cutlery to style your table setting or to enhance your cutlery service system. Yiassoo is available in a chic range of colours manufactured from quality paper offering many environmental benefits: biodegradable, recyclable and compostable. With the option of choosing your own colour or customised design such as personal prints, Yiassoo can turn your pouch into a powerful cost-effective marketing tool with unlimited potential.

Yiassoo is distributed by BK Packaging, an Aussie owned and operated company based in Sydney, importing and distributing cutlery pouches and packaging solutions across Australia.

Visit Stand 770 and take advantage of a 10% discount offer for all orders placed on the day! For more details, visit

Winter 2024 / 31


The Franke SB1200 professional fully automatic coffee machine offers maximum beverage choice to boost self-serve coffee business and share delicious coffee experiences with customers. Customise your beverage menu and serve a vast variety of specialties so your customers come back for more of everything – from espresso based and milk-styled beverages to iced coffee, cold brew, and flavoured drinks.

The SB1200 is packed with Franke coffee technologies which ease operational tasks and ensures each beverage is perfect. Unique iQflowTM technology is integrated as a stand feature for consistent high in-cup quality, all day, every day. The FoamMasterTM Technology serves hot/cold milk and milk foam just like a barista would make it, and Franke’s fully automatic CleanMaster cleaning system delivers optimal hygiene with minimum effort.

For more information, visit Stand 812 or


Founded in 2016 and used by over 50 leading venues, OK2PLAY? can help your club meet state regulatory requirements with a complete solution.

• By introducing OK2PLAY? at your venue, your staff can:

• Avoid paperwork and manual process failures: with a digital Gambling Incident Register.

• Instantly notify the RGO: with 3-hour/instant alerts to your dedicated Responsible Gambling Officer.

• Real time records: Access and export all incidents and responses through the Management Portal.

Don’t miss your opportunity to visit OK2PLAY? on Stand 810 and see how its market-leading compliance solutions can transform your club. Call 0455 588 786 or email today!

Register for AGE 2024

Dates: Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 August 2024

Expo Location: Halls 1-4, ICC Sydney, Exhibition Building

Seminar Location: E3.1-3.2, ICC Sydney, Exhibition Building Register at:

32 / Club Management

A lasting impression

Elevate your venue’s game day experience with Foxtel’s expert tips on how to deliver seamless sports broadcasting and create an unbeatable atmosphere.

THERE’S NOTHING WORSE than patrons showing up to a club’s sports bar in anticipation of watching a live game, only to find there’s no atmosphere — or worse, technical difficulties with the sound or screen. It’s game over before anything has started.

But clubs can take several steps to prepare for the next big sporting event. Foxtel has developed a checklist that offers valuable insights and practical tips to help venues maximise the return from their Foxtel service.

“The only place you can watch every minute of every regular season NRL and AFL game this winter is Foxtel,” says Greg Bohlsen,. National Manager – Licensed Venues.

“But you can only offer an enthralling atmosphere if your staff are optimising your Foxtel broadcast, especially during major opportunities like Main Event Boxing, UFC, and many marquee fixtures that are included in all Foxtel Venue subscriptions.

“As part of our commitment to ensuring you receive all the support your club can get out of your Foxtel service, we are pleased to share this checklist designed to enhance the sports viewing experience at your venue.”

One of the checklist’s key recommendations is appointing a Sports Captain from the team to oversee all things sports-related. Another is that it’s important to perform an equipment check on the morning of any major event. This includes ensuring all screens are operating correctly, conducting a sound check, and checking that the right channels are accessible.

“Your patrons will appreciate it, especially during Main Events,” Bohlsen says.

But what’s a Main Event without atmosphere? To achieve this, according to Foxtel’s checklist, it means creating a superior viewing experience to what people can get at home, through comfortable seating, ambience, a good view of the screens, and a good volume level for hearing the commentary.

Foxtel also suggests promoting popular sporting fixtures through social media and capitalising on US sports during lunchtime trade to attract new and repeat customers, as well to growing an engaged database.

Utilising food and beverage promotions before, during, and after popular fixtures will also encourage customers to come early and stay longer. For instance, happy hour during the gaps between events, such as UFC in the afternoon and an evening football match, can help link the different sporting broadcasts together.

“I hear it all the time from clubs that when they execute key sporting events well, they see results,” says Bohlsen.

“If you do it consistently well, it can result in increased patronage, longer dwell times, higher spend per patron, and repeat visits. Your venue will become known for it, presenting an opportunity to build on that reputation.”

Find the full checklist on the next page.

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Tips to help maximise return from your Foxtel service

We’ve gathered these helpful tips from some of our most successful licensed venue customers, to serve as a checklist for your team, when preparing to show sporting events at your venue.

Appoint a Sports Captain from your team to be responsible for all things sport

Prepare in advance, your patrons will appreciate it, especially Main Events

Utilise the helpful resources available to your business: FOXTEL channel guide | Our weekly sports eDM | Monthly sporting highlights poster & eDM | Main Event marketing assets | Foxtel Business Website (foxtel.

Prepare for major sporting broadcasts

Book your Main Events early so you have time to promote it to your customers to let them know they can plan to watch it at your venue

For Main Events, check your booking on the Friday beforehand

Perform an equipment check on the morning of any major event, prior to opening time (TV / channels / volume etc.)

Create an atmosphere

Create a superior viewing experience to home, with comfortable seating, ambience and a good view of TVs

Viewers appreciate dedicated viewing areas with good volume to hear the commentary

Make sure the most popular fixtures are on your biggest, best screens, in HD

Promote to your customers

Use social media to attract new and repeat customers with popular sporting fixtures you’re showing

Consistency matters to customers - keep showing popular sports at the same times each week

Grow lunchtime trade by taking advantage of US sport times (NBA is one of the fastest growing sports to watch in Australia)

Utilise offers & promotions

Engage your customers and grow your database through tipping comps

Run food & beverage specials before/during/after popular fixtures to encourage customers to come early and stay longer

Run happy hours during the gaps between events to link different sporting broadcasts together eg UFC in the afternoon can link into the twilight/evening football.

Get Foxtel today. Call 1300 761 056 or visit

Game on

Immersive screens, modern designs, and exclusive content are just some of the ways clubs are attracting sports fans through the door, reports Aimee Chanthadavong.

NOTHING BEATS WATCHING a game in person: the atmosphere, the crowd, and the merchandise — all of which make for an exciting experience. But attending every live game is not always possible. Understanding this, clubs aim to recreate this similar experience in their venues.

Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL in Sydney’s inner-west, for instance, recently completed renovations on its sports bar, known as The Park.

Chief executive Dean Thomas described the revamped space as “welcoming, fun, and cheeky where members can feel at home while having a meal, catching up with friends and family in one of the booth seatings, or watching the games live and loud”.

“Holistically, we have updated the look and feel from your more traditional club members lounge to a space with a more modern sports bar feel,” he said.

“The area has been cleverly designed, using different floor finishes, booth seating, planters, and screens to break up a long rectangle lounge into several different seating zones without closing up the space.”

There is also a larger emphasis on watching sports in the new space, with multiple screens

placedcarefully , including a six-metre LED screen in the main area, complemented with another five-metre LED screen in the TAB.

“Having a big screen is always a ‘thing’ for sports bars, then there’s how many other sports you can watch simultaneously, which is why creating different zones is important,” Thomas said.

He believes that for any sports bar, the point of difference comes down to how well a club can create an overall experience, especially for big sporting events such as State of Origin or Melbourne Cup.

A richer and livelier experience

“Creating a sports bar experience that is unparalleled with the at-home experience; that’s at the center of what we are focused on when we work with venues,” stated Mark Sturdy, managing director of Entain Venues.

Entain Venues, which supports licensed establishments with Ladbrokes and Neds sponsorships, as well as provide in-venue entertainment products to almost 1,500 venues across Australia, has recently launched a live sports broadcasting business, Entain Venues Live,

36 / Club Management
FEATURE / Sports Bar Essentials
A large emphasis has been placed on allowing patrons to watch sports at The Park.

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“If you go back 10 or 15 years ago, no one had a big screen but now everyone has high definition at home, so you have to provide a higher level of service.”
Nathan Young, Club Yeronga GM

that is focused on bringing global sports into venues at a competitive price point.

“Accessibility to sports has never been easier for consumers, whether that be on device, at home, compressed bites on socials, or in a venue. Consumers are now spoiled for choice and are more mindful of their discretionary spend. Creating value for customers is fundamental in influencing customers to choose a venue for their additional spend,” Sturdy said of current market trends.

“Upon entering the market, we quickly realised that merely focusing on outcomes isn’t enough anymore. Today’s sports bars need more than just screens for watching games, the transaction on a betting terminal or over the bar can’t be the focal point. They must offer a combination of essential features that create an inviting atmosphere, drawing like-minded people together to share in the communal joy – and sometimes heartbreak – that only sport can deliver.”

Sturdy added: “The critical role we play

with venues is identifying points of difference that bring the atmosphere, social engagement, and immersive experience together. That is what defines a Ladbrokes or Neds venue as the standout choice for customers to watch their favourite sport or team.”

Creature comforts and fostering fan interaction

While there is always a place for high bars and stools in sports bars, Entain Venue also looks to how Ladbroke venues can elevate the level of comfort for patrons by bringing people together with seating booths, as well as low tables and chairs.

“Ensuring a comfortable environment for all can keep people in for longer,” Sturdy enthused. The trend of building fan interaction in sports bars, already a major hit overseas, and is now emerging in Australia, centres on crafting interactive sports experiences for customers.

Sturdy shared some examples of this, including F1 simulators, interactive darts, golf,

AFL winning the hearts of sports fans

The latest insights from CGA by NIQ has found that AFL not only tops the charts as the most-watched sport in venues for almost half of consumers when out for drinks, but it’s the overall preferred sporting choice in general, with 26 per cent favouring AFL over other sports. This is in contrast with Rugby League, where only 17 per cent of consumers watch when they’re out.

The study also showed that 44 per cent of consumers specifically go out for a drink while watching the AFL Men’s Grand Final, with a similar interest shown in AFL Men’s events overall.

At the same time, half of consumers surveyed admit to preplanning or booking their on-premise visits to watch live sports.

“The game is indeed changing when it comes to sports viewing, and the latest OPUS survey underscores the power of live sports, particularly AFL, in creating vibrant on-premise experiences,” CGA by NIQ ANZ client solutions director James Phillips said.

“For this reason, it’s now necessary for brands, operators, and suppliers to understand and cater for the nuanced preferences of sports viewers. While the market remains competitive, the hospitality sector can tap into new levels of engagement, loyalty, and growth by aligning their offerings with these insights.”

38 / Club Management FEATURE / Sports Bar Essentials

and baseball experiences, which he said are setting a new standard for fan engagement.

“By making fans the star of the show, these innovations are transforming the ways that customers interact with their favourite sports and have become the drawcard for new profitable demographics into venues,” he said.

Sports broadcast access

The fragmentation of sports vision and fierce competition for broadcast rights are driving up costs for venues to showcase sports in their spaces.

“We have heard venues paying more than double what they paid only a few years ago to have the same content for their customers, which is a real concern for business sustainability. This is why we launched Entain Venues Live as a vehicle to help solve this problem,” Sturdy said.

In May, DAZN signed on Entain Venues as the first broadcast partner to bring global boxing matches to venues for as little as $250 per fight.

“This is only the beginning. We will explore further opportunities in the market to continue to create new competitive tension on winning the business of clubs,” Sturdy said.

As sports broadcasting fragments to multiple suppliers, there is the increased need for customers wanting to know what is on, when, and where they can find it. Services such as SportsPick are now becoming more central to help sports fans find venues that show their sports.

“With the popularity of international and US sports in Australia increasing, sports are now a 24/7 business. Customers want options and knowledge they can view any and all sports in their sports bar of choice. If you’re not listing your schedules, you’re missing out on opportunities to draw patrons in for key events and dates,” Sturdy stated.

“Having a big screen is always a ‘thing’ for sports bars, then there’s how many other sports you can watch simultaneously, which is why creating different zones is important.”
Dean Thomas, Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL CEO
Winter 2024 / 39
FEATURE / Sports Bar Essentials
The Park at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL has been broken up with different seating zones.

Form and function

It’s these same considerations that ran through the mind of Matthew Hewer, general manager of Palmerston Golf and Country Club in the Top End, when it came to building the new sports bar as part of its clubhouse renovations. For him, one of the priorities was to create a dedicated sports bar space that was both comfortable and functional.

“The old clubhouse was built a long time ago, and it was very small, and we never really had a dedicated sports bar there,” he explained.

“It was more of a combined space where you had the guys come around after work on a Friday or Saturday afternoon and they’d get a bit boisterous. At the same, we would have families coming in for dinner at five o’clock in the afternoon and walking through that.

“Now, we’ve separated those two areas, so we can keep the children away from the noisy adults.”

The other important aspect for Palmerston Golf and Country Club was retaining the social characteristics patrons expect at a club sports bar. Hewer explained by introducing long tables, rather than small individual tables, punters can still catch up with friends without missing out on watching sports.

“The way we’ve done this is we’ve situated all furniture so that you could sit there either facing your mates and have chat, or you can turn your head to the right and you’re looking at a big five-by-two-metre screen, or you can rotate your head to the left, and you’ve got the TAB wall.”

Hewer also made the conscious choice to keep the sports bar at a 60-person capacity.

“We didn’t want to make it too big because if you’ve got a really big bar, it’s very hard to pack it out to get the atmosphere in there,” he said.

“The way this is designed is that you can stick 10 people in there and you’ve got an atmosphere; you don’t feel like you’re scraping.”

Go large

According to AVI Projects managing director Roger Delmore, there are a few ways venues can optimise their sports bar space and their investment in large screens.

“The main thing about a sports bar is they’re trying to cater to everybody. They’re not just trying to cater to Steve who likes NRL, or John who walks in and he likes AFL and you’ve got to switch it to AFL,” he said.

“To combat that, venues are finding that if they can put more than one image on this screen then we can get more people in at once and we’re catering to more people.”

But it’s not just about the screen either. Sound quality is equally important, Delmore said.

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes technology that goes into audio designing. We have software that lets us map the venue or the space, and it will produce a map of where the speakers are needed so that everybody has a similar sounding experience, rather than just that one person at the front who can hear everything, and the people at the back who can hear very little.”

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FEATURE / Sports Bar Essentials
There’s now a dedicated sports bar for punters at Palmerston Golf and Country Club

Over at Club Yeronga in south Brisbane, the sports bar takes on what general manager Nathan Young has described as a more upmarket look and feel.

“A lot of people think sports bars are all about cheap beers, lots of screens around the place, and shouting, but we’ve created a more sophisticated environment. The focus of the room, if you look away from the bar, we’ve got an LED screen, which takes up an entire wall – it’s eight metres long and resembles something you’d see in Las Vegas,” he said.

“The bar has got a range of products, which means a sophisticated taste. Everyone who goes to a sports bar these days wants boutique-style beers and cocktails; we’ve got plenty of that. We’ve also still got your typical TAB and pool table down the end, so it’s not your standard sports bar.”

Young acknowledged how times have changed and that a sports bar experience needs to be suitable for socialising and watching sporting events.

“There are times when big events are on, and all the yahooing is expected. But, on a week-to-week basis when you’re just going to watch your team play, you want a pleasant, secure environment

that’s serviced quite well and you can get whatever drink you want,” he said.

“If you go back 10 or 15 years ago, no one had a big screen but now everyone has high definition at home, so you have to provide a higher level of service.”

Tim Fishwick from Stan Sports agreed that sports bars need to provide patrons with an all-encompassing experience.

“Dragging people out of the comfort of their homes, with big screen TVs and all mod-cons is really where you see venues that are getting it right succeed,” he said.

“Before Covid, the club was the hub of the community naturally. But post-Covid, people are more discerning with their choices when leaving home. A TV with no sound on is not good enough.

Customers want activations, along with the best comforts in your sports bar.”

With the Paris Olympics just around the corner, Fishwick emphasised it’d be a fantastic opportunity for clubs to get more punters through the door.

“Have as many streams of Olympic content as possible,” he said.

During the Paris Olympics, Stan Sport will offer four streams of live sports across 16 days, in addition to its venue-only 24/7 channel that will be curated to have all of the best sports.

“As your members are having dinner at the club, they won’t miss a minute of the Paris 24 Olympics. As it’s not perfect timing [given the time difference between Australia and France], Stan Sport’s 24/7 channel will have all the action and highlights non-stop during the day until live coverage starts again.”

/ Club Management
FEATURE / Sports Bar Essentials
Cocktails are in high demand at the sports bar at Club Yeronga.
FEATURE / Bar Food and Drinks Menu 44 / Club Management

Behind the bar

From gourmet bites to crafty cocktails, clubs are transforming bar menus with extensive options to cater to modern tastes and preferences. By Aimee Chanthadavong

IN THE PAST, bar food offerings were often limited to salty nuts and packets of chips. For clubs, the attention was focused instead on getting patrons to purchase more drinks.

“A bar snack from yesteryear was to encourage drinking,” according to chef consultant Paul Rifkin.

“The salty nuts and other assorted freebies would make the customer thirsty, hence they would purchase more drinks.”

However, this has changed dramatically. There are now as many food and drink options at the bar as there are at the club bistro or cafe. Rifkin pointed out that hygiene and a decline in excessive drinking behaviours have been responsible for this shift.

“Today, there is an expectation that more variety is available, although the salty chips and nuts are still sold at most bars,” he said.

Catering HQ founder Steve Sidd agreed that bar food menus have diversified significantly. Catering HQ is the hospitality partner of several NSW clubs including Cronulla RSL, Club Parramatta, Castle Hill RSL, and Pittwater RSL.

“We still offer deep-fried items because it’s just the food that people want, but we’ve introduced things like spicy chicken wings, baos with pulled pork and slow-cooked beef, as well as steamed dumplings and dim sums,” he said.

Sidd emphasised the importance of designing a bar menu that’s easy to eat. “It can’t be anything too big that people can’t pick up with their hands and it can’t be too messy or dirty, especially because in clubs if a patron is going into the gaming room with food, we don’t want dirty greasy fingers touching machines.”

He added bar food options don’t necessarily have to be unhealthy either. “Some of our clubs are connected to swimming pools and gyms,

FEATURE / Bar Food and Drinks Menu
Winter 2024 / 45
“People’s standards for food and quality of staff have increased, especially these days where people are more cautious about how they spend disposable incomes.”
Marc Thompson, Currumbin RSL marketing manager

and so quite often we get a lot of people who are actually health conscious coming in, especially in the afternoons, and they want healthy options such as protein balls, which we make in-house, and we sell them as snack items.”

For Sarah Rowe from Birch & Waite Foods, she’s increasingly seeing Asian flavours infiltrate bar menus.

“At Birch &Waite, we’ve noticed Japanese and modern Asian are common cuisines that feature heavily in the casual dining scene,” she said.

“Our new Miso and Roasted Sesame Dressing has premiumised the popular, creamy, and nutty dressing with a new authentic, multidimensional dressing featuring miso, tamari and rice vinegar to round out the dressing’s rich umami quality.

“With freshly roasted deep flavours, this dressing is perfect drizzled on soba noodle salad, poke bowls, or grilled meats. Its rich umami flavour will also enhance any roast vegetable or fish dishes.”

Filling the gaps

Offering a wider variety of food at the bar has meant clubs can cater to those seeking a feed in between typical lunch or dinner services.

“The 2.30pm to 5.30pm gap doesn’t cater for the tradies and morning shift workers, who often arrive in this time slot. With a similar situation occurring later when the late shift workers pop in for a drink,” Rifkin said.

“This presents a great opportunity for those clubs to create an offering that fills these gaps.”

Currumbin RSL is one club that has capitalised on this opportunity and has developed a bar menu that boasts “delicious food all day”. There are plenty of substantial food items including a crowd-favourite sticky chilli koji chicken wings with fermented chilli and crispy onions, loaded pulled brisket nachos, as well as snackable popcorn cauliflower and salt and pepper calamari.

Patrons can also order pizza from the club’s La Bocca pizza restaurant.

FEATURE / Bar Food and Drinks Menu
46 / Club Management
There are over a dozen cocktails to choose from at Currumbin RSL.

“We’re trying to uphold that no matter what time of day you come here, you’ll have a good meal,” Currumbin RSL marketing manager Marc Thompson said.

“People’s standards for food and quality of staff have increased, especially these days where people are more cautious about how they spend disposable incomes. If you’re going somewhere, you want to ensure you’re getting the best value quality.”

Sidd concurred, noting the rising cost of living means clubs need to create an exceptional bar dining experience to attract patrons.

“I always used this analogy with my team where if I’ve got my last $50 to spend, am I going to go to a restaurant where I get served by a waiter … or am I going to go to a club where I have to go up to order my food and drink. Of course, I know where I’m going – I’m going to a restaurant because I want to be served on,” Sidd said

“So, what I say to my staff is we need to provide the best food and the best service at a really good price, so those customers choose our venues over a restaurant.

“When they come to us if that customer is going to spend their last $50, we need to make sure that we give them the best possible experience because if we give them a mediocre experience and underperform, they’re going think that was the worst experience and they’ve just wasted their last $50.”

He added that growing competition has increased pressure on clubs to deliver quality bar food.

“Clubs have changed in a big way; clubs are now competing with the local cafe, the local restaurant, and health bars,” Sidd said.

“We’ve got a lot of competition, so clubs have to up the ante to really have a point of difference so that people know they can come to a club and not get the typical experience they’ve seen in the past.”

Getting well-equipped

While bar staff might not have the same skills or access to the same equipment as a commercial kitchen, it shouldn’t stop them from producing quality food, according to chef consultant Paul Rifkin.

“With the proliferation of instant cooking equipment now available, almost anything can be cooked by the bar staff at the bar,” he said.

His suggestion is to install a highspeed oven and a self-contained fryer unit that can be both easily programmable and operated by all staff with simple training.

“This upsells the bar snack items that can now be served in 60 seconds to a few minutes,” he said.

“Food that sells is the uncomplicated and comfort style; customers want to understand what they are ordering.”

Rifkin highlighted, for instance, some of the most popular food items that clubs can feature on their bar menu include pizzas, spring rolls, toasted sandwiches, and fries.

He added using the same units, bar staff can also prepare more upmarket bar food such as pork belly boas, wagyu sliders, buffalo chicken wings, corn ribs, popcorn cauliflower, and fish tacos.

“The sky is the limit,” said Rifkin. In a bid to further help bar staff create speedy but delicious meals, CP Authentic Asia recently introduced a fully-cooked boneless fried duck product to the market that can be used to create dishes such as san choy bow and crispy Vietnamese salad.

“These products offer easy alternatives for pubs, clubs, and restaurants that are looking for something special on their menus, whilst offering speed, versatility, consistency and most importantly value,” said Andrew Turner, CPF Australia general manager.

48 / Club Management FEATURE / Bar Food and Drinks Menu
Fresh Mooloolaba king prawns is one of the best sellers are The Surf Club Mooloolaba.

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Currumbin RSL has placed a similar emphasis on quality in the drinks it offers. While there are always the favourite mainstay beers, the club’s bar prides itself on supporting local breweries and wineries.

“There are beers by Burleigh Brewing, which is 10 kilometres down the road, Balter, which is just a kilometre around the corner,” Thompson said.

“And it goes with our wines as well. We source all different ones from Australia and New Zealand, as well as internationally. Some people only like to drink New Zealand wines, so we try to make sure we have a spread and interesting ones from Spain and Argentina.”

Currumbin RSL even has a generous selection of creative cocktails. In addition to old favourites such as the espresso martini and Aperol spritz, other options include a tiramisu martini, spiced mojito, and a pineapple and chilli margarita.

“We’ve always had this many cocktails and I think this is what sets us apart from other venues. If you were to go to another local venue around here, you might have a list of eight to 10 cocktails only, but we’ve got some really interesting ones and ones that get you excited where you actually want to order it,” Thompson said.

“There’s something for everyone, even for someone who might not be that keen on a cocktail. They’ll probably just want to trial one because they just look really great and taste good.”

For Catering HQ, it’s about appealing to health-conscious drinkers when it comes to designing new cocktails.

“In our cocktail lists, we’re using fresh flavours and juices, and we’ll spice it up a little bit or do something a little different like use native herbs, which is becoming a real trend, and that can really bring the beverages to life,” Sidd said.

“It also makes it really palatable without needing to use lots of sugar. It’s also about letting the natural flavours shine.”

Sidd believes clubs have an opportunity to service the pre- and post-dinner crowds with a more extensive drinks menu offering.

“We’re starting to see clubs offer aperitif to start or pre-dinner

cocktails. Wine lists are also starting to grow by introducing more premium and boutique wines,” he said.

“We’re also starting to see after-dinner drinks happen as well, with fortified wine or a dessert wine options. Clubs are changing more into that restaurant environment rather than your typical club.”

According to Rifkin, clubs are pursuing to provide patrons with higher-quality drink options. He said that although the volume of alcohol being consumed is lower, younger people and professionals prefer to drink higher-quality alcohol.

“Drinks menus have developed to include good whiskies, bourbons, gins and other spirits,” he said.

It’s a similar story at The Surf Club Mooloolaba. General manager Bryan Jones explained how some of the club’s best sellers are its cocktails and fresh Mooloolaba king prawns.

“Espresso martini, frozen cocktails, New Zealand wines, and Great Northern Super crisp on tap are popular. The buckets of large Mooloolaba king prawns are one of our best sellers along with steaks and our seafood marinara,” he said.

He adds that beverages have moved toward craft beers and that there’s been a resurgence in cocktails. In saying that, wine sales are still very strong, Jones noted.

He adds offering all-day dining is also a must. “Being in a tourist location, patrons are less governed by the time of day they eat. This initiative is extremely popular.”

“Clubs are changing more into that restaurant environment rather than your typical club.”
Steven Sidd, Catering HQ founder
50 / Club Management FEATURE / Bar Food and Drinks Menu

Australia’s best relish range just got bigger.

Pushing the limits

He might only be new to the role, but Bankstown Sports Club’s newly appointed culinary director Evan Burgess is already putting his grand plans for the club in motion.

F&B / Chef Profile
52 / Club Management

“I’M NOT REALLY one to take it easy. I really like to challenge myself,” confessed Evan Burgess, the newly appointed culinary director at Bankstown Sports Club.

In his new role, he’ll oversee a dozen food venues housed in the Western Sydney club. But for Burgess, the number of venues he’ll be managing doesn’t intimidate him — he welcomes the challenge.

“I really enjoy the pressure, being able to get out of my comfort zone, and being pushed to achieve more,” he said.

Burgess credits his early days as a young chef working in fine dining restaurants — including Pier, Quay, The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay, and London’s Michelin-star restaurant The Ledbury — for teaching him how to work well under pressure.

It’s also not his first rodeo in managing multiple food outlets. He previously ran the kitchen of No.1 Martin Place for Macquarie Bank. More recently, he was group executive chef for Vardis Group, which operates restaurants in Sydney including Steersons Steakhouse, Kingsleys Australian Steakhouse, Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill, and Vessel Bar and Dining.

“Throughout my career, having done everything from pubs, restaurants, cafes and catering and fine dining, this role really encompasses all my skill sets that I’ve learned over my career, and I can use all of them simultaneously.”

Despite moving from where he first started in fine dining, Burgess still holds himself to the same high standard and hopes to bring that to Bankstown Sports.

“We’re by no means wanting to become a fine dining venue,” he said.

“For me, that background in fine dining has instilled a set of standards in me that no matter whether you’re serving a schnitzel and chips or a very glamourous meal, you still hold yourself to that standard.

“It gives you a lot of respect for produce as well, and I guess working throughout those different venues, you gain all the different knowledge of all the different cooking techniques and cultural influences.”

Right off the bat, Burgess is already working with the head chef of the club’s rooftop bar Lady Banks to develop a new menu that will feature chef specials to highlight seasonal produce and to make the menu “more interesting”. He’ll work closely with suppliers including Haverick Meats, FoodLink, and VFD Food to source the seasonal produce.

Burgess added that come winter, there are plans to introduce an Inspired by Fire activation to bring what he describes as warmth and homeliness to the rooftop venue.

Dishes will include whole legs of lambs cooked for five hours over the fire, whole pumpkin cooked in ash, and whole chickens smoked over fire for six hours. For desserts, there will be spitroasted pineapple with coconut tapioca, and scorched and smoked strawberries with yogurt parfait and torched meringues. There are also hopes to collaborate with local American barbeque venues.

To complement the food, the beverage team will be creating

“I really enjoy the pressure, being able to get out of my comfort zone, and being pushed to achieve more.”

fire-inspired cocktails using ingredients such as smoky whiskies, for instance.

Seasonal specials will also be a feature at the club’s Italian restaurant, La Piazza, according to Burgess.

“La Piazza is a definitely a crowd favourite… we’ll be introducing some seasonal specials to cater for those people who would like to have a bit more of a rotating menu, but all the favourites will stay.”

Besides the menu, Burgess wants to create higher efficiency at La Piazza. “We want to seat people quicker and serve them quicker.”

Refreshing the cafe menu at the club’s Cornerstone Coffee and Kitchen is another item on Burgess’ to-do list.

“There’ll be a greater variety of breakfast options, as well improvements to the sandwiches, salads options, and our grab-andgo offering,” he said.

“Creative variety is very important for such a large venue with so many different people wanting different things.”

Burgess also teased that in the next 12 months, there’ll be new food venues opening at the club.

“They’ll be unlike any other venue we have but to create further mass appeal,” he said.

“We want to become a dining destination to the local area but also the wider area … we really want to become a venue that’s a one-stop shop for families and all different age groups and have something for everyone’s budget, everyone’s taste.”

Winter 2024 / 53 F&B / Chef Profile

Getting down to business

The Burpengary Community Club chef apprenticeship program is teaching aspiring chefs to not only master the art of cooking but to also excel in managing a successful culinary enterprise, writes Aimee Chanthadavong.

DISHING OUT DELICIOUS food is only one part of a chef’s responsibility. The other part is knowing how to run the kitchen like any other business. But it’s this business acumen that Burpengary Community Club general manager Nick Brabham realised was lacking among his chefs when he asked them to cost out the price of new dishes for the restaurant menu — and they couldn’t. He believes it’s an inherent problem that arises when chefs are not taught or given the opportunity to learn.

“We were finding the modern fleet of chefs who are just qualified have no business sense or no skill sets to make money out of food, which in clubs land is probably one of the biggest frustrations from a CEO point of view,” he said.

Dishing it out

Brabham has now taken it upon himself to fix this problem. He’s introduced a three-year chef apprenticeship program at Burpengary Community Club to give those just starting a chance to learn the ins and outs of running a kitchen.

Each month, an apprentice chef is given full reign to create a new recipe to be sold at the club’s restaurant. During this process, they are responsible for calculating the costs involved in creating their dish, designing it, marketing it, and then analysing the sales from it.

“We talk to them about sell-price, profit margins, and just training them to know that if we put a fancy garnish on the dish, can get an extra $4 per dish so it costs $24, as opposed to just pumping them out at $20,” he said.

“We’re trying to teach them the tricks of the trade from day one.”

Brabham added that the apprentice chefs are shown

NEWS/ Chef Apprenticeship Program 54 / Club Management
Emerald is one of the apprentices in the program who came up with a crispy skin salmon dish.
“We’re trying to teach them the tricks of the trade from day one.”

Ready for duty

But it’s not just apprentice chefs who are being trained at Burpengary Community Club. Burpengary Community Club general manager Nick Brabham has developed a secondment program for the club’s duty managers to spend time in different departments, including purchasing, stock control, rostering, human resources, and analysis, so they can gain a better understanding of every part of the club.

“We rotate them every six months and see where they land. It’s so that if they do become an operations manager somewhere else … they’re ready and know what they’re looking at ... so just trying to break down the barrier to become an ops manager, general manager, or CEO,” he said.

“My aim is to just grow the business and if you’ve got people who know how you work, you’ve taught them the skill set, then you can reward them with a better roster and better pay is my theory.”

how the profit earned from the sales of their dishes is invested back into the business.

“In March, one of our apprentices, Blake, made a chicken and mushroom risotto, and that dish made $1,200 in profit. I then showed him how that amount pays for running the kitchen, such as napkins, gas, and cleaning chemicals,” he said.

“I show them how much things cost because if nobody shows them, they’ll have no idea. It also teaches them what’s acceptable, what’s not acceptable, and where they can do better.”

The apprentice chef special is available every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and is capped at 40 servings a day.

“If we do sell out, which has happened a couple of times, it’s a fantastic result. It’s just changed their mentality of what a chef apprenticeship is and really opened it up to what it can be,” Brabham said.

“Rather than an apprentice showing up to work and peeling potatoes, they can now take pride in what they do and face a little bit of pressure.”

While it’s still early days, Brabham hopes to see the program expanded to the club’s other food and beverage venues.

“For as long as I’m around, I’d be looking to implement this in our other venues and give the apprentices different challenges,” he said.

“We operate a breakfast menu, we operate a pizza menu, we do takeaway dining, we have a cafe, and I want to start pushing for the apprentice special to be in the cafe or start telling them I want a dish here, or I want an Asian dish.”

Climbing the ladder

Brabham’s ultimate intention is to begin promoting people within the club.

“For me, I’d love to see one of these guys become our sous chef,” he said.

“If I want them to be that then I’ve got to give them the skills quick enough to get them there. I can’t put them in a job and then teach them. I need to teach them the skill sets at the start.”

But Brabham also understands the reality of hospitality where “not everyone wants to do schnitzel and roast pork all day every day.”

Whether they choose to stay on or to move on, the apprentices have a complete portfolio of recipes when they finish the apprenticeship.

“When they leave, they’ll have a set of fully costed recipes in a digital format that they can take with them, so that if they want to open their own food truck, they’ll know what’s going to cost what, and they can update the spreadsheet with a per kilo price and it can calculate it all for them.”

NEWS / Chef Apprenticeship Program
Winter 2024 / 55
The chicken and mushroom risotto by Blake, one of the apprentices, was a hit among patrons.

Form and function

Function and event spaces in clubs have evolved from being merely just blank canvases to centres where everything from the furniture to AV system matters, writes Aimee Chanthadavong.

CLUBS ARE ONE of very few hospitality venues that have the versatility to accommodate different types of functions and events. These can range from conferences and business meetings to people celebrating life’s key moments such as birthdays or weddings. But the difference between a mediocre and a brilliant function room can make or break a party.

It’s even more crucial for clubs to get the set-up right, as the hospitality sector is experiencing a surge in spending on functions and events. The Commonwealth Bank’s Household Spending Index recorded hospitality as the second highest performing sector in February, after there was a 115 per cent increase in spending at function and event centres.

It’s this growing demand that drove Canterbury League Club in Sydney’s western suburbs to give its function spaces a makeover. The club wrapped up construction in March after realising it had outgrown its former function spaces. Before the renovations, the club was able to cater for up to 270 people in its showroom. Now, this has almost doubled to 500.

“This room was also nearing 20 years old. The club required a larger space to meet the needs of our function clients, as well as to

56 / Club Management FEATURE / Events and Functions
“The new Showroom will allow us to attract entertainment that was previously unavailable to the club due to our limited capacity.”
Greg Bygraves, Canterbury League Club sales and marketing GM

attract high-quality shows for our members,” said Greg Bygraves, Canterbury League Club general manager for sales and marketing.

But increasing capacity wasn’t the club’s only requirement. The spaces needed to be “more than blank canvases for a hirer-to-dress”, they needed to have all the bells and whistles of a premium function room — minimal sightline obstructions to the stage, terrific acoustics, and a high level of finishes — so they could “stand alone on their own without embellishment”.

Factoring this in, the club incorporated a high-quality AV fitout in the room. There are two 3.6m LED screens on the front wall and the sound system features premium equipment from “some of the world’s leading suppliers”. Lighting throughout the room is all selectable multi-colour LEDs and everything can be controlled from the rear AV desk or remotely via an iPad.

“The result is a room that requires very little additional overlay for customers wishing to hold their event at Canterbury, and this ultimately means cost savings for our clients,”

Bygraves said. He adds that based on initial feedback “everyone has been blown away” by the new space.

The new Showroom, as it’s known, was constructed in an unused area of the club on the first floor, alongside another 150-person events room called the Terrace. The opening of the Showroom and the Terrace completes a full-scale refurbishment of level one of the club’s northeastern wing.

In addition to hosting functions, Bygraves hopes the Showroom will attract new highquality shows for members.

“The Showroom continues the club’s strategy of building facilities that not only cater to existing members but broaden the appeal of Canterbury to new markets,” he said.

“The new Showroom will allow us to attract entertainment that was previously unavailable to the club due to our limited capacity. Moving all our function facilities to level one, will also afford us the opportunity for more exciting development.”

Winter 2024 / 57 FEATURE / Events and Functions
Canterbury Leagues Club’s new Showroom completes the club’s refurbishment north-eastern wing on level one.

If you build it, they will come Gosford RSL CEO Russell Cooper is equally optimistic about the club’s new multifunctional conference and event centre, known as The Gallery, and the potential it has for the local community and economy.

“It’s a great opportunity for our community. We’re providing meeting spaces for our local community organisations … but there are a lot of other events such as school formals and work functions and we’re providing a great facility for them too,” he said.

“We’re also very conscious of the fact we’ve created an opportunity to bring investment into the local area through the conference and events centre. Being located between Sydney and Newcastle there are a lot of great opportunities for corporate events between those two areas.”

dedicated professional conference centre. We have one large room that can fit up to 500 people seated for a banquet dinner or 900 people seated theatre style. It’s flexible in that it can be divided into five separate rooms. It’s a very flexible and professional conference space.”

It’s this same reason Carina Leagues Club looks forward to its new 200-person function centre that is currently being built as part of stage one of the club’s $15 million renovation.

“For too long our community have had to travel a long way for a decent function space. We wanted to ensure the community and our local sporting teams had a beautiful new space to hold their awards nights, special events and team celebrations,” Carina Leagues Club general manager Adam Wiencke said.

“Clubs have become a lot more rational about event spaces. A traditional auditorium is not practical.”
Russell Cooper, Gosford RSL CEO

The Gallery has been built on the top level of the new three-storey $45 million Gosford RSL Club. It features five event spaces and displays artwork by the local art society to “really embellish the gallery ethos and feeling”.

“Clubs have become a lot more rational about event spaces. A traditional auditorium is not practical… so you need that flexible space that can accommodate for corporate events during the day but flexible enough for weddings and shows at night,” Cooper said.

When compared to the old function space, Cooper described it as if they were like “chalk and cheese”.

“We had a traditional club auditorium and meeting rooms before, but now we’ve got a

He highlights the new highly anticipated events and function spaces will be contemporary and stylish to be suitable to host various functions and events.

“We’ve seen everything from white and ultra-simple, to wall-to-wall intricate designs and mood lighting. The new function space at Carina Leagues Club will cater for everyone and provide a unique space for events of all sizes,” he said.

“We didn’t want to limit any type of event in our design, especially when guests booking the space have different wants and needs. The new function centre, and the major renovations currently underway at Carina Leagues Club, will be like nothing you’ve seen in a Queensland club before.”

58 / Club Management
FEATURE / Events and Functions
Above: The Gallery at Gosford RSL can be divided into five separate rooms.
“This incredible venue will be South Australia’s newest toptier asset in attracting events and conferencing revenue to the state.”
Grant Mayer, SA Jockey Club CEO

Investing in the future

For the South Australian Jockey Club (SAJC), introducing the Wolf Blass event centre to the Morphettville Racecourse was an opportunity to diversify the business. The SAJC has owned the Morphettville Racecourse for the last 150 years.

“While racing has been and will continue to be our core activity and event content, the reality is, when running a venue, a club, a business… it’s absolutely crucial to make the best use of assets and facilities,” SAJC chief executive Grant Mayer said.

“That means ensuring our venue that caters for all kinds of functions and events generating visitation and revenue which in turn can be reinvested into the future of our venue and ongoing support of the thoroughbred racing industry.”

The $20 million Morphettville event centre was constructed in just under 12 months by Kennett Builders. Housed over two levels, the centre features an expansive balcony overlooking views of the Morphettville Racecourse’s finish post and

racetrack, as well as the Adelaide Hills. It can accommodate up to 1,150 guests.

Mayer added developing the event centre will help future-proof the business, as the space has been designed to cater for everything from intimate gatherings to large-scale occasions for groups from the local community, interstate, and overseas visitors.

“By investing in this contemporary and highly anticipated event centre, the SAJC has strategically secured the financial sustainability of racing at South Australia’s premier metropolitan racecourse while providing a much-needed point of difference in the local conferencing and events landscape,” he said.

“It’s an impressive and versatile stand-alone function venue the likes of which south-western Adelaide has never seen. Meticulously crafted to celebrate the rich history of racing in South Australia as well as endlessly adaptable and unbeatably accessible, this incredible venue will be South Australia’s newest top-tier asset in attracting events and conferencing revenue to the state.”

FEATURE / Events and Functions
Winter 2024 / 59
Below: The Wolf Blass ‘The Man’ event centre offers stellar views of the Morphetville racecourse.

Safeguarding the digital frontline

Clubs are often considered a safe refuge for the community to socialise and celebrate. But lurking in the digital shadows is a real cybersecurity threat. If it’s left undetected, it can lead to devastating consequences, reports Aimee Chanthadavong

EVERY OTHER DAY there’s another story about someone losing their life savings because they unknowingly clicked on a link that they thought was sent from a trusted source, whether that be their financial provider or telco company. Or, another large corporation that’s responsible for millions of customer data falls victim to a cyber attack. And when these victims realise what has happened, it’s often too late.

This was the case for Upwey-Tecoma Bowls Club which fell victim to a vicious scam, costing the local community club $120,000 in the process of rebuilding its facilities after it was severely damaged by floods in 2022.

Covered by insurance, the repair work was carried out by a contractor, and while the club had paid an initial $50,000 deposit, an

outstanding amount was due upon completion of the work.

Upwey-Tecoma Bowls Club secretary Les Lane explained: “Work was finished, and the contractor said they’ll send us an invoice, so we were expecting the invoice. The invoice arrived and we paid that invoice, but then the contractor phoned me a couple of weeks later and said, ‘Les, you said you were going to pay me immediately, where’s the money?’”

“I said, ‘We’ve already paid you’, and he said, ‘No you haven’t’. I sent through the documentation, and he told me they don’t bank with the National Bank, they bank with ANZ. I realised then what had happened.”

After engaging an IT forensic specialist, it was discovered the club was the target of an email

IN FOCUS / Cybersecurity 60 / Club Management

Be armed with knowledge

With human error as one of the leading causes of cybersecurity breaches, the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA), together with the Australian government and an industry alliance led by Telstra, CommBank and the Australian Cyber Security Centre, has developed the Cyber Wardens program.

It is a national initiative aimed to help educate entire teams about cyber safety risks and give them the tools and skills they need to help detect and ward off cybersecurity attacks.

The free, online cyber security education program takes just 45 minutes to complete and is available to all small businesses across the country. Cyber Wardens training is led by expert advice and research from the Australian small business community.

The Cyber Wardens program launched in November 2023 and is expected to train 50,000 Cyber Wardens over the next three years.

“We urge all small businesses to complete the free, online Cyber Wardens training course to ensure they’re taking essential steps to help protect themselves from cyber attacks,” COSBOA CEO Luke Achterstraat said.

“We’re also warning small business owners to be extra vigilant in watching for scams and secondary attacks that follow major data breaches.”

compromise scam, where hackers had tracked the club’s email history, deleted the original invoice that was sent by the contractor from the club’s inbox, and replaced it with an identical copy — the only difference in the doctored document were the bank details.

“The invoice was the invoice from the contractor, but all they had done was change the BSB and account number, so when our treasurer got it, he looked at it and said that looks like the same one and he paid them,” Lane said.

Unfortunately, the club has been unable to retrieve the money they lost, and despite fundraising efforts by the local community have been unsuccessful in recouping the total amount.

“It’s still a blow,” Lane said, noting that this incident has been a “huge lesson”.

Lane said the club no longer makes bank transfers over $2,000 without the treasurer phoning the company to confirm the account details are correct. He strongly urges other clubs to do the same.

“Once you get that confirmation, you can then go ahead and make payment knowing that it’s going to go to the right person.”

Bowls Australia reported a similar incident in December 2022, where another club lost $20,00 to a business email compromise scam.

“It’s important for clubs to know what personal information is being stored, where it’s being stored, how long it’s being stored for and whether it’s still needed.”

Alex Hoffmann, CyberCX retail and entertainment industry lead

The threat is real

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released in February its latest data breach statistics showing that cyber attacks continue to rise. During the July to December 2023 period, there were 483 data breaches reported to the OAIC, up 19 per cent from the first half of the year.

The OAIC also found during the period the risk of outsourcing personal information handling to third parties grew significantly. The number of secondary notifications was 121, compared to only 29 secondary notifications in January to June 2023.

“The increased occurrence of incidents that affect multiple parties is a reason we are seeing data breaches grow in complexity, scale and impact,” Australian Information Commissioner Angelene Commissioner Falk explained.

One of the most obvious and recent examples of this occurred just in May when Outabox, a third-party IT provider used by clubs including for their front-of-venue sign-in systems, suffered a major data breach, impacting over a dozen NSW clubs and putting at risk over a million customers and their personal data.

In NSW, it’s a requirement for registered clubs to collect personal

Winter 2024 / 61
/ Cybersecurity
“Whenever an organisation stores information, that information can be vulnerable to criminals.”
Alex Hoffmann, CyberCX retail and entertainment industry lead

information from patrons on entry under the Registered Clubs Act 1976. However, off the back of this incident, NSW gaming minister David Harris has confirmed that Liquor and Gaming NSW will investigate whether this section of the legislation needs to be revised.

Fortunately, NSW Police arrested a 46-year-old man and charged him with demand with menaces intend to obtain gain/cause loss.

As CyberCX retail and entertainment industry lead Alex Hoffmann puts it, cases like these should serve as a stark reminder for clubs to proactively audit their third-party relationships, so there is a clear understanding of exactly which third parties hold their data and review their agreements to ensure good cyber practices are in place.

“We know that third party data breaches are something more and more companies are grappling with. More companies are outsourcing key parts of their business processes and relying on third party companies to deliver key services. But the reality is, all of this connectivity creates risk,” he said.

“This is an important reminder for all organisations to constantly review their third-party relationships. Organisations should be asking themselves: what data on our organisation, our staff, our customers do our third-party relationships hold? Is someone in our organisation actively monitoring this? What protections and processes do we have in place to ensure this data is deleted when it’s no longer required?”

Hoffmann also warned that clubs are potential targets for cyber criminals given that they typically store enormous amounts of sensitive personal data on patrons including addresses, credit card details, signatures, and driver’s licenses. He said most of the time clubs are holding onto data they don’t need, or for longer than they need it.

“It’s important for clubs to know what personal information is being stored, where it’s being stored, how long it’s being stored for and whether it’s still needed, and to ensure there are clear protocols for who may access what personal information and under what circumstances,” he said.

Power up your privacy

According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), there some practical tips on how to avoid falling victim to a cyberattack.

• Be transparent. “If your business or organisation is collecting personal information from people, you must be open and transparent about how you will handle it.”

• Be accountable. “A strong privacy posture and culture across your organisation supports customer and consumer trust, as well as protecting against harms.”

• Be secure. “Power up the security of personal information in your organisation by using the right tools and guarding against known and emerging threats. Having the right processes in place will help you keep your customers’ (and other) personal information safe.”

IN FOCUS / Cybersecurity
62 / Club Management

AUSTRAC outlines general minimum requirements for clubs to store information. However, clubs ultimately have the choice to determine how best to retain patron information.

“Simply put, whenever an organisation stores information, that information can be vulnerable to criminals,” Hoffman said.

“Not only can a club suffer reputational damage and operational disruptions if this information ends up in the wrong hands, but it can also cause significant reputational, financial, and emotional damage to the patrons whose data has been stolen.”

More support needed

But more cybersecurity support for clubs is needed, according to Clubs Australia. In its submission to the Department of Home Affairs in response to the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy discussion paper and the proposed changes to the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018, the peak national industry body for licensed clubs outlined more guidance is needed about how clubs can handle cyber incidents.

It revealed it’s particularly crucial given that some clubs that are trialling cashless gaming technology have already experienced attempted data breaches.

“Clubs that have been impacted by cyber events indicate there can be better clarity about the immediate steps that businesses are expected to take in response to cyber incidents, including relevant authorities to contact, and how a business can secure their own networks,” wrote Clubs Australia.

“Businesses of all sizes, whether they are subject to proposed ransomware reporting obligations or looking to make a voluntary report, would benefit from immediate assistance or guidance to ensure that continued exposure to cyber risks is minimised quickly and effectively.”

Protecting against cyber crooks

The federal government has announced that it will invest $11 million in an online register so that Australians will be alerted in real-time if their personal identity is being used to commit fraud.

The Credential Protection Register was initially set up after the high-profile Optus data breach in 2022, allowing Optus customers who were caught up in the incident to check if their personal credentials were being used maliciously. The government said 30,000 hacking attempts were blocked.

With this new investment, the government wants to expand this service to all Australians, including those who have never been caught up in a data breach, so that they can proactively check if their details have unknowingly been stolen via a mobile app.

“The register enables people who have had their personal details stolen to quickly lock down their information to prevent their data being used for identity crime and theft,” Dreyfus said in a statement.

“This in turn disrupts black market sales of stolen personal documents and illegal activities that rely on those stolen credentials including scams, money laundering and fraud.”

The app, which is scheduled to be operational by the end of the year, would allow individuals to know in real-time if someone has used their passport or Medicare, for instance.

“Individuals will then be able to act immediately to control their identity credentials by enabling or disabling their use for verification,” Dreyfus said.

“These changes will give Australians full control of when and how their identity credentials are being used and allow them to disrupt illegal use of their identity.”

Winter 2024 / 63
IN FOCUS / Cybersecurity

Clubs Queensland’s night of nights

The outstanding achievements of the Queensland club industry were celebrated at the 2024 Keno and Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence.

CARINA LEAGUES CLUB for the second year in a row took out the top gong as Club of the Year (Large) at Keno and Club Queensland Awards for Excellence that was held in March.

“[The] 2024 Queensland Club of the Year (Large) award is an honour that we do not take lightly,” Carina Leagues Club general manager Adam Wiencke told Club Management

“The success and recognition of our club can be traced directly to the performance of our biggest asset: our staff. The dedication, teamwork, commitment, personality, customer service focus and care for our members and guests certainly stands out and is widely acknowledged by the greater community.

“2024 is an exciting time for the club with the biggest renovation in its history that we believe will take the community club experience in Queensland to a level not seen before, and therefore we cannot wait to see what our club will look like in the future.”

Other Club of the Year winners included Kirwan Sports Club for the Medium category, The Waves Club Caloundra for the Small category, and Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for Non-Gaming.

Alongside Carina Leagues Club, Norths Leagues and Services Club walked away with two awards. The club’s flagship restaurant, The Precinct, was crowned Best Dining (Large) for the third year

in a row and now enters the Clubs Queensland Hall of Fame, while the club’s executive chef Hossein Moshtaghi won Club Chef of the Year. To wrap up the night for Norths, it was also named finalist for Best Gaming (Large).

“We are thrilled and so very proud of our team. They put in so much hard work, day in day out, and this really is a reflection of this,” said James Bennett, marketing manager of Norths Leagues and Services Club.

“What makes it even more special is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for The Precinct. It was a revolutionary dining experience when we launched it, and the accolades, in addition to the ongoing support from our members and patrons, makes the hard yards totally worth it.”

Clubs Queensland CEO Kelly Egan said these accolades are a testimony to clubs in Queensland and their sense of community.

“The Excellence Awards put the spotlight on all the behind-thescenes work that goes into making these clubs a vital part of their community,” he said.

“The Awards night recognises outstanding achievements in civic contributions, sporting camaraderie, exceptional hospitality, community mindedness and individual professionalism.”

64 / Club Management AWARDS / Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence

AWARDS / Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence

And the winners are:

Best Licensed RSL and/or Services Club: Club Parkview

Best Bowls Club: Club Pine Rivers

Best Football Club: The Lion Richlands

Best Surf Life Saving Supporters Club: Coolum Surf Club

Best Sports Club: Caboolture Sports Club

Best Cafe: The Cafe, The Lion Richlands

Best Dining, Small: Bayview Bar & Bites, The Surf Club Mooloolaba

Best Dining, Medium: Atrium Bistro, Gympie RSL

Best Dining, Large: The Precinct, Norths Leagues & Services Club

Health & Wellbeing: You Ok Boo?, Booroodabin Community & Recreation Club

Community Support Services: People, Not Just Names, Kedron-Wavell

Support Of All Abilities Sport: Creating Magic On and Off The Field, Brothers Leagues Club Cairns

Heart Of The Community: Belong in Hockey Program, Club Glenvale

Special Achievement Award – Responsible Gambling: Kedron-Wavell

Special Achievement Award – Responsible Service of Alcohol: Coolum Surf Club

Young Manager Of The Year: Brayden Young, Kedron-Wavell

Club Chef Of The Year: Hossein Moshtaghi, Norths Leagues & Services Club

Club Director Of The Year: Terry Doolan, Harrup Park

Club Manager Of The Year: Justin Hall, The Lion Richlands

Best Gaming Venue, Small: The Sands Social

Best Gaming Venue, Medium: Club Parkview

Best Gaming Venue, Large: Cowboys Leagues Club

Club Of The Year, Non-Gaming: Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron

Club Of The Year, Small: The Waves Club Caloundra

Club Of The Year, Medium: Kirwan Sports Club

Club Of The Year, Large: Carina Leagues Club

Winter 2024 / 65
Carina Leagues Club won Club of the Year (Large) for the second time in a row. Norths Leagues & Services Club was recognised for its flagship restaurant. Coolum Surf Club won Best Surf Life Saving Supporters Club. Clubs Queensland CEO Kelly Egan


Joob and Min

New Town Thai demi chef and CHU Restaurant front of house member

After immigrating from Thailand in search of new opportunities, mum and daughter Khun Joob Jutathorn Kesboot (Joob) and Maythawee Suksom (Min) are both working at West HQ and are now closer than ever.

Tell us about your background.

Joob: I was born in Kao Lak, Thailand. In Thailand, I worked in many jobs including in factory, in retail, and a restaurant. We moved to Australia in 2011 to live with my sister in search for a new life and new opportunities. At the time, we didn’t speak any English — we only spoke Thai. When we moved here, I enrolled to study English at Mount Druitt TAFE for two years. During that time, I didn’t work. I went on to study hospitality and then cookery. I always loved cooking when we lived in Thailand.

Min: I was born near Bangkok, Thailand. When we first arrived in Australia, I started primary school in grade three. There were no other Thai children in my class. I had a tutor who taught me English for two hours every day. I was so proud of mum when she was studying and found her vocation. I remember mum coming into my bedroom wearing her chef’s school uniform and she was so happy.

How did you start working at West HQ?

J: I joined West HQ in July 2019 as a casual at New Town Thai. It was my first job after I finished studying English and hospitality at Mount Druitt TAFE. I love everything about my role and the people at West HQ, so I suggested to Min that she apply for a role here.

M: I started working at West HQ in 2022 after my mum told me to apply. I’m now a member of the front of house team at CHU Restaurant by China Doll. I love food, but I am not one who really enjoys cooking it.

How has working with each other helped your relationship?

M: We haven’t always had a strong relationship, but working together and now living together, our relationship has become really strong. I guess it has been forged over our love for food.

Outside of work, how do you spend time together?

M: Mum would always cook for us to mark a special occasion or to reward us, with my favourites being a whole barramundi or pad thai.

66 / Club Management
Q&A / Joob and Min

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