Natalie James, Fair Work Ombudsman, will join Alex Hawke, assistant minister for Immigration and Border Protection on a panel discussing staffing in the hospitality sector at the upcoming Restaurant Leaders Summit.

After a successful inaugural year in 2016, the Restaurant Leaders Summit will return on 31 July, taking place at the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Randwick Racecourse.

The one day conference will offer restaurateurs, chefs and other foodservice professionals a day full of advice, inspiration and operational best practice, with the day broken up into a series of panel discussions, Q&A sessions and presentations.

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Topics will include Proven Strategies for Keeping Costs In-Check; How, When and Why to Franchise; Are you China-Ready; and How to be Visible Online; amongst others.

The day will also include a panel on staffing. Solving the Staffing Saga will see Alex Hawke, assistant minister for Immigration and Border Protection sitting alongside restaurateurs and discussing the recent axing of the 457 visa scheme, which is to be replaced with a new visa requiring workers to have previous work experience, and better English language skills.

The panellists will discuss the best ways for operators to overcome the challenges associated with recruiting and retaining staff members, a key challenge for the hospitality industry.

Natalie James, Fair Work Ombudsman, will also be on-stage, discussing business’ obligations when it comes to their workers’ remuneration, and addressing the hospitality industry’s reputation for being a serial offender when it comes to staff underpayments.

Other confirmed Restaurant Leaders Summit speakers include:

  • Josh Niland, owner, Saint Peter
  • Tony Panetta, executive chef, International Convention Centre Sydney
  • Lisa Margan, co-owner, Margan winery and restaurant in the Hunter Valley
  • Nino Zoccali, owner, The Restaurant Pendolino and La Rosa
  • Andrew El-Bayeh, director of Example PR and former marketing director at Merivale
  • Jason Jelicich, partner and senior business coach, Barmetrix
  • Matt Fickling, general manager, Huxtaburger
  • Paul Rifkin, executive chef, Campbelltown Catholic Club
  • Clovis Young, founder, Mad Mex
  • Palisa Anderson, founder, Chat Thai
  • Sarah Holloway, founder, Matcha Maiden
  • More will be announced over the coming weeks!

Early bird tickets for restaurant trade (operators, managers, chefs, etc) are on sale until 30 June 2017 priced at $249 + GST. From 1 July 2017, tickets will be priced at $349 + GST. Suppliers may purchase tickets for the early bird rate of $499 + GST until 30 June 2017. From 1 July 2017 tickets will be priced at $599 + GST. Restaurant operators who buy eight tickets or more tickets will get a discount of 20%.

To view the video packages from last year’s Restaurant Leaders Summit, click here.

The Restaurant Leaders Summit is brought to you by Comcater, RATIONAL, OpenTable, Conga Foods, FLAT, H&L Australia, Scotchmans Hill Wines, Intrust Super and Oracle Hospitality.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Dan Shipley on (02) 8586 6163 or at


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