In this bizarre year we have had many experiences we simply never imagined. From bush-fires through to shutting down cold-rooms (and getting them to re-start!), none were on our agenda as we closed out 2019.

The annoying platitudes that get said during these times wore thin quickly. We aren’t “all in this together” and we are all sick of hearing the words “pivot” and “unprecedented”.

However, whilst we can all become cynical at times in the hotel and hospitality business, I have had cause to take a few lessons from new publicans recently. Three I met in the last few weeks across the state reminded me of how important their businesses were to their communities. All took over their pubs only three or so months before COVID-19 closed them indefinitely.

For most businesses this could be a death blow, however, these publicans decided to stick with it. They critically assessed their business and concentrated on those parts that meant most to their community. Yes, it hurt their bottom line, and yes, there were plenty of sleepless nights as they wondered if they could survive. However, there are lessons for all of us to learn from these young risk-takers.

Find what matters most to your customers and strip back your business. Do that to the best of your ability. Ask for help, talk to your industry association (of course), and co-operate with your suppliers.  This year has never been “business as usual”, and I always value the wisdom of the old hands in our industry. However, these young publicans remind us all of why hotels are truly the fabric of life in every part of Queensland – and they will only get better.