Home' Australian Hotelier : AH FEBRUARY 2016 Contents AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER FEBRUARY 2016 | 17
AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER FEBRUARY 2016 | 17
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO
START UP A PUB GROUP
My business partner James Bodel and I joined
forces in late 2014. We met through a mutual
mate and quickly found we were well suited.
He was looking to enter the industry from an
investment stand point and I was looking to
go out on my own and build a new hospitality
brand. We came up with Goodtime Hospitality.
I look after operations, food and beverage
concepts, and marketing; James looks after
high-level business and strategy decisions. With
both of us learning more about the other, it’s a
WHAT WAS YOUR
ASSESSMENT OF THE STATE
OF THE INDUSTRY IN 2015?
It’s booming. Low interest rates coupled with
increases in investor activity saw monumental
sales in the pub sector. New groups were
acquiring at pace, well known groups were
divesting big assets and everything in between.
freshly renovated West Village in Petersham, in
the old White Cockatoo site, to great customer
feedback and response from media. We were
really excited about Goodtime’s first foray in
to the market and have been more than pleased
with the results. We have lots planned for 2016
for the venue also.
WHAT WERE THE KEY
FACTORS IN FINDING
YOUR FIRST VENUE?
We looked at quite a few venues. In the end it
was finding that right mix of revenue streams.
The White Cockatoo site had accommodation,
gaming, food and beverage and a bottle
shop. It was on a substantial block, with a
basement, rear-lane access and right next to
a train station in an up-and-coming suburb.
It’s funny, we looked at it at the start of our
journey but were keen for something east. We
went back to it later in the year (2014) and
are glad we did because the opportunities to
utilise all its assets were screaming out. After
an extensive renovation of the ground floor,
which has seen a quadrupling of food and
beverage trade, we are now activating the
accommodation in January and have many
top-secret things planned for the rest of the
site throughout the year.
WHAT WERE THE
CHALLENGES YOU FACED
IN OPENING THE WEST
VILLAGE? HOW DID YOU
There weren’t too many now that I reflect on it.
A 130-year-old building was sure to present some
challenges in the build but nothing crazy. The old
girl still had it in her to take on new structural
steel to open up the ground floor without falling
down (it has four levels)! The renovation was on
a super tight turnaround to open before the silly
season, so that was probably the main challenge.
An eight-week build time for a major renovation
meant high-level stress situations which are
always tough on your ticker, but through lots of
long days and hard work we opened in the last
week of October. Ideally in the name of sleep and
sanity we will aim to not turn something around
that quick again.
WITH THE VENUE?
We put a new open-air courtyard on the
front facade of the pub, right across from the
train station. This area just screamed cafe,
coffee and grab and go for the commuters.
We have teamed up with the Will & Co boys
from Bondi and have a new cafe product
called ‘Patio’ opening in the mornings in our
courtyard in March. Pubs generally don’t utilise
the mornings, however we saw reason to use
them to our advantage. No booze until 10am
but doing a pub style breakfast has a good ring
to it. Accommodation as mentioned before is
also a big one. Pub accommodation is a big
opportunity, especially in a city like Sydney.
Again, with such a close proximity to the train
and a 12-minute ride to the city, we see a big
opportunity to create a cool accomodation
solution for young students, over-nighters and
what better to be below you than a great pub
with high quality food and beverage options!
WEST VILLAGE HAS ONLY
BEEN OPEN FOR A FEW
MONTHS NOW, WHAT IS
YOUR ASSESSMENT OF
HOW IT IS OPERATING?
Great! We’ve experienced unprecedented
food trade. The kitchen was inundated for
the first month, hitting numbers we would
have expected after 12 months. It was crazy.
The response from locals has been the most
satisfying, with people who never used to
step foot in the pub coming in 2-3 times a
week. It has a real community/local pub feel,
but we’re serving quality food and booze
using only the best suppliers. With other
revenue streams still to add to the mix and
develop we are really happy with the first
couple of months of trade.
WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE
TO ITS SUCCESS?
I think a strong vision for where we want
to be as a group. We focus on a great design
and aesthetic helped along by our architects
Alexander & Co. Correct lighting and music,
to me, are as important as food and booze. We
made sure time and effort went into this side
of the renovation. We had a good lead-in time
while we waited for council approval for our
plans, so we got in the kitchen and bar and
spent a good few months getting the food and
booze product the way we wanted. We had six
months in the old venue talking to locals and
trying our best to figure out what they wanted.
We think we have delivered.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM
GOODTIME HOSPITALITY IN
2016? ANOTHER VENUE?
Yeah I think so. We have lots of things
happening at West Village which are ready
to go but will be spread throughout the year.
We are definitely looking for a new venue
so fingers crossed for early 2016. We would
love to get one in the East, but don’t discount
anywhere really. All the opportunities for a
group like ours are in the suburbs. We want
to steer Goodtime into new directions other
than venues also. Drinks production, catering,
delivery to name a few. Exciting times.
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