By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor of Australian Hotelier

While the lockouts were the big topic of the Pub Leaders Summit, there was one other subject that kept coming up throughout the day: that staff are a hotel’s best asset.

“You can’t think of staff as a cost,” intoned Andy Mullins. It was a big point for him during the Maximising Your Pub’s Potential session, where he stressed the view that your staff are an asset. He explained that in his business model he focused on three things: staff, systems and risk management.

The importance of staff were referred to again and again throughout the day. Esther La Rovere, publican at The Palace Hotel Broken Hill, and director of the regional tourism festival, Broken Heel, explained how she spent 40 per cent of her entire budget for the festival – with her pub at the centre of it – on labour.

In his keynote speech, Paddy Coughlan explained that the most useful skill to have in the current pub market is to “know what you don’t know, and delegate that to someone who does.” Greg Walker, owner and director of Hotel Palisade – who admitted to some unconventional yet successful practices – stated that every person he hired for his one-year-old pub had not been in that position before, a policy he put into place so that his staff could reach their potential and feel more involved in the hotel’s success.

Solotel demonstrated the importance of empowering staff at the Pub Leaders Summit, by bringing along a 28-strong delegation, with the aim of empowering their licensees with some great ideas to take back to their venues with them.

It was evident throughout the many discussions during the conference that investing in and empowering staff, through training, delegation of responsibilities and opportunities, allows for the best return on investment for any venue.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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