PUB GIANT ALH RETURNS TO MORE “HANDS ON” STRUCTURE
Image: ALH recently completed Stage 1 of a massive overhaul of flagship, The Crown Nest Hotel.
With over 330 licensed venues and more than 550 retail liquor outlets across the country, Australia’s biggest “publican”, AHL, is returning to a more ‘hands-on’ management structure with Bruce Mathieson Jr resuming his role as national operations manager.
The partnership between the Mathieson family and Woolworths that resulted in Australian Leisure & Hospitality (ALH) has seen some shake-ups in line with the supermarket giant’s proclaimed major restructure, following the appointment of new chief executive Brad Banducci amidst falling profits and market share.
This, and the re-appointment of Roger Corbett as Chairman, has brought about the decision to re-install Mathieson Jr to his original role of national operations manager with ALH veteran Steve Howarth to retire from the position.
Officially a ‘forced redundancy’, Howarth told PubTIC he saw the writing on the wall and realised it was his “opportunity” to try something new.
Howarth noted the group has seen “staggering” growth over the past ten years and the uniformity of a large corporation has meant a constant challenge to keep the assets in line with their communities.
“One of the good things about the Mathiesons is that they like to keep things fairly simple. With Bruce Jr back as national operations manager, he will be able to control the operations of the group more directly.”
A return to a pub-family focus, with Mathieson Jr liaising with state managers and spending more time at the 330 pubs in the portfolio, could be a prudent step amid Woolworths battles with public relations and Australia’s attitude toward tall poppies.
FITZROY PUB ASKS NON-PATRONS $4.50 TO USE TOILETS OR P-OFF
One Melbourne pub has gotten the sh*ts with hordes of people off the street using its amenities and has instigated a $4.50 ‘fee to pee’.
Nearly a year ago Tom Tshul bought Fitzroy’s The Stone Hotel, which is located on the busy corner of Fitzroy’s Johnston and Brunswick streets, next to a well-patronised tram stop.
Since taking over Tshul has experienced a steady increase in passers-by ducking in to use the pub’s toilets, and a corresponding decrease in the condition of the amenities, with corresponding resources required to keep them up to standard.
Fed up with the burden of what was truly becoming a ‘public’ toilet, Tshul took the step of posting a patrons-only policy on use of the toilets, suggesting that for those that “must” use them, it would cost $4.50 (the price of a soft drink) to ‘spend a penny’.
“We needed to do something, as paying customers were complaining,” Tshul told PubTIC.
“No-one was ever charged the $4.50 – and if someone had paid, we probably would have given them a free soft drink anyway. It was really just a deterrent. A few people came in and asked if they could use them, and we said ‘of course’.”
The social media response to the pee-fee, which was only in place for two weeks, and is a common practice in Europe and the USA, came as some surprise to Tshul.
“You never know, we may have restarted a trend.”