By Triana O'Keefe – Editor, Australian Hotelier

20 years after the last revamp, the Subiaco Hotel, Perth, was starting to show its age. As pub goers are very discerning, the competition was fierce with fabulous venues coming on stream in the city and peripheral suburbs, abound in new small bar licences.

As expected, and allowed for by way of contingencies, some nasty surprises were uncovered during renovations of a 117 year old building.

The floor of the front bar was rotting and had to be totally replaced. The floor of the old courtyard, now being excavated to put down lift-well footings, was unstable. A geo thermal engineer drilled 16 feet down and declared it still unfit to support the weight of the upper floor. In the days before council rubbish collection, rubbish was apparently buried or burned in that location. 

Solution?  Engineering rethink, delays and dollars.

Taking on a major building project is not without its challenges, both financial and organisational. The decision was made to continue operating, renovating section by section.

“This decision was driven by a recognition that many locals would miss having their regular eating and drinking hole closed and the commercial imperative of retaining our most valued and qualified staff, not least being our executive chef, Brad Burton, and his head chef, Jason Floyd,” Judy said.

“It is a minor miracle that albeit with a reduced menu the quality of food coming out of this temporary kitchen was first-class."

The chefs confessed to enjoying the intimacy of their donga, noting that it offered an opportunity to closely monitor and mentor junior chefs.

“One of the challenges in undertaking a project like this was maintaining the level of experienced staff while culling staff numbers to reflect the reality that during 16 months of building the hotel had half a business needing half the staff,” Judy said.

“Upon opening in July, there was a furious recruiting and training programme and it is fair to say that has taken months to bed down.”

For the full story on the Subi’s renovation check out our next edition of Australian Hotelier.

The Shout Team

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *