Kickon Group founder and director Craig Shearer spoke to Australian Hotelier for the 2024 Annual Industry Leaders Forum on upcoming plans for the group.

2023 was another landmark year of transformation for Kickon Group with new venues being a key focus, from settling the acquisition of The Dock in Mooloolaba, to the opening of Pincho Disco in Melbourne, a new direction for the group with a bar-restaurant concept.

“We went to Dubai last year recruiting some chefs across to the group and had exposure to some great restaurants that stuck with me and our executive chef Jake. When we first saw the space [at Pincho Disco] we thought it lended itself to more of a bar vibe than a pub,” says Kickon Group founder and director Craig Shearer.

“It’s a real high energy bar that does amazing quality Latin-American inspired food. We have introduced a concept that is relatively new to the area, partying while you eat. It’s not a bar or a restaurant, it’s somewhere in the middle.”

Having exchanged on Sunshine Coast venue The Dock back in August last year, settlement of the venue took place in November.

“The Dock was one of those where we felt it the moment we walked through the front door, it just felt like a Kickon venue.

“There’s a separate space on the second floor of The Wharf precinct we have also leased from the landlord which is a blank canvas. We’ll commence fit out in early 2024, we’re looking to create a premier function or event space that will service the Sunshine Coast.”

Up next

Kickon Group claimed victory at a recent VCAT hearing regarding planning permission for a permanent beer garden at The Terminus Hotel in North Fitzroy. Shearer says with the permit issued the group will bring the space to life this year.

“The Terminus is currently the reigning Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan at the AHA VIC Awards; we think this expansion will enable us to better cater to our existing client base and hopefully take out the national award somewhere down the track.”

Following the acquisition of the Grandview Hotel, Queensland’s oldest licensed hotel, in 2022, plans are waiting on development application approval.

“It will be the biggest project that Kickon Group has undertaken so far, and we’re excited to make our mark on this beautiful old pub. It is so uniquely Queensland that we need to tread carefully and create something that pays tribute to its heritage.”

As big as the Grandview Hotel project is, the group’s Queensland plans don’t stop there.

“We will soon be in a position to announce further acquisition and growth into North Queensland. We’re certainly looking to add a few bolt-ons to our portfolio of assets and continue our growth.”

Looking further ahead, the group plans to expand its footprint back into New South Wales.

“Sydney is a fantastic city with great ambience and we feel the concept [of Pincho Disco] would work there, it comes down to finding the right site. It’ll be a little bit different to the Melbourne site, more in line with Dubai.

“2024 for us will not only be about new venues and renovations, our biggest investment will be back into our people. We’re launching a revised leadership program for 2024 which is something we’re really proud of as we continue to change the game of hospitality in Australia.”

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