Highlights from the Restaurant Leaders Summit 2018

31 July, 2018 by
Brittney Levinson

Hospitality hosted another successful Restaurant Leaders Summit on Monday 30 July, taking the premier industry conference to Melbourne for the first time.

Over 275 hospitality professionals attended the full-day summit at the Park Hyatt Melbourne, where they heard from leading operators, chefs and experts on the biggest issues facing the industry.

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The Summit kicked off with an energetic keynote presentation by business specialist and author Chris Helder, who shared his tips on how to adopt “useful belief” and achieve greater success in business.

Scott Pickett (Saint Crispin); Liz Rodriguez (Grossi Restaurants); Jonno Forbes (Dinner by Heston, Melbourne) and Hannah Green (Etta) spoke on nailing recruitment, training and retention.

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Sharing insight into the recruitment process across his restaurants, Pickett said cultural fit is extremely important when hiring staff.

“These days, it’s really about giving people opportunity,” he said. “We can train someone how to cook…but I think it’s more about the person themselves. We really look for the right candidate.”

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A highlight of the Summit was a Q&A session with Chris Lucas (The Lucas Group), who shared insights on how he has created one of Australia’s leading hospitality empires and his thoughts on the current state of the industry.

An important discussion on mental health and wellbeing in the industry was another highlight of the 2018 event. Melissa Leong (TV presenter/journalist); Shaun Quade (Lume); Kate Reid (Lune Croissanterie) and Mal Meiers (R U OK?) shared their personal stories and provided practical tools and tips for delegates to implement in the workplace.

Peter Gunn (IDES); Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters); Frank Camorra (MoVida) and Simon Blacher (Commune Group) discussed how and why you should diversify your offering. Together they shared how catering, pop-ups and collaborations have helped boost their brand and bring in additional revenue.

Bertrand Jeanpierre from Simon-Kucher & Partners discussed how to increase profitability through pricing and psychological intelligence.

Delegates took a marketing masterclass with Jeanine Bribosia (The Cru); Monica Brown (Lotus); Abby Islas (Huxtaburger) and John Flower (HotHouse Media & Events) and learnt how social media marketing has become an essential tool for hospitality venues.

Fiona Perkins (Bacash); Thi Le (Anchovy); Carlo Grossi (Grossi Restaurants) and Alex Herbert (Bird Cow Fish) made their case in the old-school operators vs millennials panel. They discussed how the industry has progressed, as well as the fundamentals of hospitality that continue to be relevant in today’s industry.

Delegates later heard from Joe Jones (Romeo Lane); Michael Madrusan (The Everleigh); Loic Avril (Dinner by Heston, Melbourne) and Christian McCabe (Embla) on how to supercharge alcohol sales and how to create an experience for customers.

Finally, Veronica Fil (Lume); Eleena Tan (HWKR); Tim Domelow (OpenTable) and Nathan Cause (Tyro) closed the summit and predicted future trends for 2019 and discussed how technology is shaping the industry.

The Summit concluded with networking drinks, where delegates had an opportunity to meet with their peers and make new industry connections.

The Restaurant Leaders Summit will head back to Sydney in 2019.

Image credit: Mark Avellino