We visited the beautiful Bendigo again this year which was highlighted (for us) by visiting two really fantastic venues that have just received huge makeovers – The Foundry Arms (now with Mister Bob’s!) and the Windemere Hotel. Both hotels look absolutely fantastic.
We were hosted for dinner by pub veteran Pat Sheehan at the Rising Sun Hotel which was a great looking classic-style pub with really good food. The next day we traveled down to Marong where we were hosted at the Marong Family Hotel which was a gorgeous little hotel on the outskirts of Bendigo.
Paddy kicked things off and talked about the AHA’s pushback on the potential broadening of the definition of intoxication to include illicit drug use. Also for licensees who extend past 1am, the VCGLR is taking feedback on potential changes to their licenses, which could move them into a high-risk category meaning potentially more security, more cameras etc. We were helped along by Paul Ryan from Ryan’s Commercial Lawyers who knows more than a bit about liquor licensing.
Nick from CUB presented some feedback they had received from a recent survey, identifying some on-premise insights. People aren’t just looking for cheap drinks and meal deals any more, and are prepared to pay a premium for a better experience. Food is now central to the offering. And the need for smaller environments and personal spaces is again a big criteria for customers when choosing their night out destination.
Andrew from Cooking The Books broke down the menu, which is the key document that drives sales in your venue. Use data from your sales and purchases register to make informed decisions about what to put on a menu and when. Keep it seasonal and make sure the meal LOOKS good. Let the eyes eat first!
Jason from Oscar Hospitality gave a great presentation on food allergies and what it means to serve gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, etc and how to be compliant with the food regulations. Read your ingredients list, have an allergy policy, and keep everything separate – that’s the key.
Damian from the OMC group got us in a positive frame of mind, using the power of positive psychology. Then we learned how to create raving fans (happy helpful staff) and talked about the five key questions for leaders. Speak to the AHA about joining one of his leadership seminars to really shift you thinking as an owner.
Lastly the Publicans Panel was headed by Andrew Clark (the awesome Cremorne in Geelong), Dan Cronin (Western Hotel Ballarat) and Nick Murary (Exchange Hotel Horsham) who discussed the ability to get feedback from your customers, ensuring that you keep your pricing honest, and how to be a part of the local community to help drive sales and be that centre-of-town establishment the pub is known for.
Next stop, the Pub Performance Form in Ballarat on the 18th July – see you there!