After a great start to the Pubs Pots and Profits year in Inverloch, the second event this year took us up to one up through some of the most sensational parts of Victoria to get to sunny Thornton. There we were met by Darren and Shireen Thomas at the wonderful (and our client!) Rubicon Hotel-Motel. They have really done a great job with the hotel – the food on Monday night was sensational and the work they have done to turn around the accommodation is amazing. It was a timely reminder that good food, good service, clean accommodation – that’s what brings the guests in.
Kimberley and Paddy got us going with a reminder to everyone to make sure your RSA registers are up to date, as they are the number one infringement found by licensing inspectors. The AHA are working to enable publicans the flexibility to the treatment of smoking areas under the new regulations coming in August, as well as continual work on potential government intervention in the pub space.
Mia from CUB showed off her great presentation on some of the trends that are taking place around the country in regards to food and beverage. Some of the ideas include creating smaller ‘spaces’ to give customers their own place in the pub, making your staff your brand, the drive to easy to drink beers with lighter flavours, and making sure your product offering is really speaking to the female audience. A study has also shown that going to table service can increase food turnover by 16-22% which had a lot of publicans thinking!
Andrew and Nelson from Cooking The Books teamed up for a bit of banter when discussing the menu. It was agreed however that you should only put food on the menu that you can actually do well – focus on your strengths! Keep it simple – do six dishes well, not twenty poorly – and get your staff to sell the dishes you need to move and communicate this between the chefs, management and floor staff.
Like in Inverloch, we had a moving message from a beyondblue ambassador who gave us a very real and jarring story about depression, it’s effects, and the warning signs you need to watch for in your staff and yourself.
John Sweetman gave us the upshot from the Fair Work Commission findings, and the reduction in some casual and full time penalty rates. The work is not yet over, as employers still seek more flexibility in part-time arrangements.
Chris and Laure from AVTES talked about recruiting for attitude – not just a flash resume. It’s important to get right as the cost of turnover (hiring, training, termination, productivity losses) takes a long time to recover.
Finally the Publican’s Panel with Dan Cronin, Chelton Crow and Peter Williams covered off on some great advice:
- Communicating with staff via a closed facebook group is proving effective.
- Staff induction is crucial and shouldn’t be short-cut
- Engage your employees by involving them in the decisions and operations.
- Turn customers into ‘raving fans’ and let them do your advertising. Interract with them online!
- Respond to feedback, both positive and negative.
- Be a part of the community, from local sports clubs to charities and ‘karma kegs’.
- Do things go wrong? According to these experience publicans it was a resounding YES – but you’ve got to keep trying new ideas and evolving!
Big thanks to Paddy and Bill Bell who gave us some great company on our road trip from Croydon to Coldstream to the Black Spur to Marysville and Buxton. Great trip!