Key openings made for a prosperous 2022 for Kickon Group, which is now looking to further expand its holdings over the next 12 months.
In 2022 Kickon Group opened a brand new venue in Victoria, and completed the purchase of another two in Queensland.
“We had a huge year of growth, opening the Continental Sorrento, as well as [purchasing] both the Watermark Townsville and Grand View Cleveland,” says Craig Shearer, founder and director of the Kickon Group.
And early performance, particularly at the Continental, has been sterling.
“We’ve had no shortage of demand, from the second we opened the doors. All of our revenue and patronage expectations were well and truly exceeded… It’s been enormously successful.”
Nevertheless, the construction and opening of the Continental was not without its challenges.
“The launch of the Continental combined with industry-wide labour shortages have been our biggest challenges of 2022,” Shearer details.
“We had challenges primarily around attracting the right labour force to the venue, and being able to grow a team down there, and the venue’s culture.
“But I’m pleased to say that we’re well and truly on the way and can see some real light at the end of the tunnel.”
Kickon Group also has a real affinity for the Queensland market, as shown by the two recent pub acquisitions of Watermark and Grand View.
“They are different assets, but both have a heavy focus on food and elevated customer experiences. We really love operating in Queensland which can be seen by our growth over the past few years.
“The Queensland regional market is above all else very genuine. Great food paired with friendly service usually hits the mark,” the director adds.
The group has no intentions to rest on its laurels, and Shearer revealed exciting plans for the next 12 months.
“Our plan to renovate and relaunch the Grand View is a huge project for us in 2023,” Shearer comments.
“There’s a lot of pressure to get this right, because it’s not a new build – it’s Queensland’s oldest licensed premises, and we just want to make sure we get this one right.
“It’s such a beautiful old building that just oozes culture and history – so the renovation will certainly grab hold of all that history and pay tribute to it, but also open up the external areas of the venue, looking out over Moreton Bay, to provide what we think is going to be Queensland’s most iconic beer garden.”
Moreover, the group has plans for a new bar-restaurant concept in Melbourne (slated to open mid-year), and is “actively seeking additional assets to grow our portfolio,” according to Shearer.
Currently, Kickon’s venues are entirely found within Queensland and Victoria, but the group is happy to look at pubs further afield.
“We’d look anywhere. We’re open to any and all opportunities, we’ve just found the greatest amount of success, and been able to unlock those opportunities in those two markets,” Shearer outlines.