Home' Spice Magazine : SPICE MAY 2015 Contents Who started the Trippas White Group and why?
Celebrating 25 years in 2015, the company was founded by our exec-
utive chairman, Brien Trippas. We’ve undergone various mergers and
leadership changes to form one of Australia’s most significant food
and beverage groups; managing restaurants, cafés, events and ca-
tering facilities nationally. Our company motto remains the same: to
deliver an exceptional experience. managing director, Joseph Murray
leads the company fostering a culture of innovation, customer focus
and operational excellence. His vision is to increase our footprint in
both geographical reach and the breadth of industries we service.
How did you get into venue management?
Trippas White Group has a long history of managing exclusive
hospitality contracts for organisations in prestigious, iconic and
cultural locations such as: Sydney Tower, Royal Botanic Gardens,
Centennial Parklands, Australian Institute of Sport, National
Portrait Gallery and Brisbane Powerhouse. We currently have 13
venues of this calibre under our portfolio.
What are the key challenges in your business?
Hospitality is a high volume industry with low profit margins due
to the significant operating costs. Aesthetics are key, but keeping
interiors on trend and up-to-date with the latest technology is
costly and premium produce can come with a premium price tag.
Finding the balance between delivering a superior product that
meets with our clients’ needs and expectations relies on our team
of talented venue managers, chefs and support teams.
And the big opportunities you see ahead for 2015?
We’ve experienced major growth over the past few years and our
strength and stability enables us to capitalise on emerging trends
and actively seek new business opportunities. The market is increas-
ingly price sensitive so we see collaboration as essential, partnering
with complementary groups to combine products and services.
What excites you about the industry?
Hospitality is a dynamic and ever-changing industry. We love the
diversity of our food, venues, customers and people, and enjoy the
stories behind each of these elements. We connect people through
food and events, and celebrate the seasons through innovative
menu design and creative seasonal campaigns.
And what are the downsides?
The industry is highly competitive and the investment required
to establish and operate venues can be challenging. Staffing is no
mean feat – our 650+ employees serve more than 2.6 million cus-
tomers annually. In the events space, rising costs in the Australian
event market risk driving more events overseas.
Where to next? What are the next big
projects you will be working on?
This June/July we’re launching three new venues: Avalon on the
Beach, our first beachfront venue that encompasses Australia’s
relaxed lifestyle and love of good honest food; The Look Out, Echo
Point in the Blue Mountains, that offers breathtaking views of the
Three Sisters; and Roslyn Packer Theatre, previously the Sydney
Theatre Company, in the growing precinct of Walsh Bay. We’re also
reinvigorating two of our existing venues: Centennial Parklands
Dining to better meet the needs of park users through the rede-
velopment of the kiosk; and Watt Restaurant and Bar to embody
Brisbane Powerhouse’s urban and artistic vision for the future.
And where would you like to be in five years’ time?
Our business focuses on three areas: Venue and Retail Services;
Business and Industry Services; and Tourism Services. Each pillar
reflects a key segment of the industry we recognise as essential for
future growth. As we grow, our goal is to still maintain a ‘boutique’
feel to our clients’ experience. We also aim to host more large-scale
events following the sell-out success of last year’s New Year’s Eve
Under the Stars event in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens.
What is your company culture like?
We are a fast-paced and vibrant organisation. Our venues are diverse
but are tied together by our food and service philosophy. Our clients’
experiences drive organisational change as we foster ideas from our
front-line. Innovation and creative thinking, along with genuine
passion and ambition, is key to remaining leaders in the industry.
And what measures do you have
in place to retain staff?
We place emphasis on training programs that foster employee engage-
ment and develop our staff’s food and beverage knowledge. We take
our chefs on farm visits and invite winemakers into our venues to train
service teams to provide them with an opportunity to meet directly
with producers and suppliers. Our diverse venues provide opportuni-
ties for meaningful careers and variety in the exciting event space.
What are the biggest trends you are
seeing in catering and venues?
Farm-to-fork, paddock-to-plate, nose-to-tail; as a society we’re
really considering the origin of our food. In line with our com-
pany’s food philosophy to source local and sustainable produce,
we’re putting our own stamp on the movement with initiatives like
Centennial Parklands Dining’s grazing lunch where farmers min-
gle with guests to share first-hand insights; and Botanic Gardens
Restaurant’s ‘Produce to Plate’ experience, where menus are crafted
around a single, seasonal, local ingredient. n
Spice talks to Trippas White Group’s Rebecca Skeete
about what it takes to succeed in the food game.
WHITE HOUSE RULES
48 Spice May 2015
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