In November last year, Chris Feros and the Feros Hotel Group were named as the Group Operator of the Year at the AHA NSW Awards, arguably the converted and most prestigious gong to win at the annual awards.
The ever evolving and increasingly complex compliance regime, increased competition, tightening margins and diversified offering has created the need for a smart and sophisticated operating strategy.
FHG employs 450 people across four large format hotels and multiple property interests. In the last two years the group has completed two greenfield pub sites, one major renovation and assessed other opportunities on a monthly basis.
Both the recent greenfield sites have been nominated for Hotel of the Year and in 2017 The Prince won the award. All the Hotels in FHG are diversified businesses with strong food, beverage, catering and gaming offerings, firmly positioned as community assets in their relevant areas.
Chris Feros, CEO of the group, has always emphasised the importance of completely understanding every component of his growing business.
“There is not one aspect to my business that I can’t completely understand to the current day, if not hour, within an hour of the query,” Feros told TheShout. It has taken years of building the right management team, ensuring that everyone is focused and utilising the right systems to achieve this outcome. Each year the senior leadership team, which consists of Independent Chair of the Advisory Board, CEO, CFO, COO and CMO, have a two-day off-site planning session.
“This is where we think big and we set our five-year goals,” Feros said. “The road blocks to achieving these goals are critically analysed and we determine the action required to overcome the road blocks. At the end of the two days each member of the leadership team has relevant areas of focus for the coming 12 months.”
Feros explains that there is no point in having a good operating strategy unless its implemented.
“I am very happy with the governance of our overall company. We have implemented a strong communication framework which ensures transparency from the Advisory Board level down to the most junior employees. At any point in time any employee can see where discussion of a particular issues take place,” he said.
FHG embraces technology. Feros explains that technology is a catalyst of efficiency.
“We are a people business, technology enables us to better serve our customers by giving us the right information quickly. One of the challenges with technology is that it changes quickly. We work with the right partners to make sure we have the right technology doing the right things within our business.”
Technology has also enabled FHG to outsource certain business process offshore. Working with the specialist hospitality team at PKF business advisory FHG have been able to increase efficiency and decrease cost across many of the operational functions of the business freeing up resources to focus on growth and customer service.
Like many publicans Feros’ career has been with his family business. He has had learnt and developed as a business person from his experience with his Father whilst driving and developing the business over 25 years.
“Critical to success of business is surrounding yourself with the right people, both employees and consultants,” he said.
“There are fantastic people that are industry experienced that have significantly helped the development of the FHG over the years. Choosing the right people is not easy but critical to the success of your business.”
FHG is looking forward to an exciting year of growth in 2019.