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A Recap | Hospitality Magazine Leaders Summit 2023

On Monday 31st July, we were lucky enough to win tickets to attend the Hospitality Leaders Summit by Hospitality Magazine. Hosted by  Tawnya Bahr from Straight to the Source and food journalist Nerida Conway, we were delighted to enjoy a range of talks from leaders in the hospitality industry including Nathan Toleman from The Mulberry Group, Felicity Rodgers from Cargo Crew and Alejandro Saravia from Farmer's Daughters to name just a few.
The morning provided us with the wisdom of Telina Menzies from the Australian Venue Co who discussed the importance food and culture - offering some insight to her role as Executive Chef and what her day-to-day looks like, how she learned the ins and outs of the industry and the many different people that she works with in her role. Following Menzies, we learned about staffing strategies, how to recruit and keep talent engaged - including how the panel (consisting of Sarah Douglas form Trader House, Nathan Toleman from The Mulberry Group, Lee Smith from Stokehouse and Adam Brownell from Hector's Deli) retain their staff, incentives that they provide and support the offer to make sure that their talent is cared for, heard and trained to keep up to date with relevant skills and team culture. 
Cargo Crew presented us with the importance of presentation and supporting local business. They showcased their most recent uniform launches for Spring/Summer and how they got to where they are today - a wonderful story dating back to the early 2000s. Once we were able to meet with the wonderful team at Cargo Crew  and browse through their rack of beautifully crafted uniforms during our morning tea break, we discussed uniforms that would work well for our team, personalisation options and then visited their showroom the following week to place an order for our kitchen and wait-staff. We are receiving our uniforms this week which we are really looking forward to!


A major sponsor of the event was Impossible Foods who provided us with delicious breakfast burgers and a wide spread of lunch foods containing meat-free options. Benjamin Ewens from Impossible Foods presented us with some information on where they thought the meat industry was heading in the next decade or so and the place that Impossible Foods holds in the future of food. 


A really valuable portion of the day was the Marketing Masterclass panel where leaders in the industry from Canned Goods, Bread & Butter Media, Belle's Hot Chicken discussed social media strategies, current marketing trends, traditional print media and personality/connections relating to customer experience and of course... hospitality. They highlighted the importance of having brand pillars and understanding your 'why' as a business.
The remainder of the early afternoon featured some insight from KCL Law about staffing, contracts and best practices with business, followed by a Food System case study by Shannon Bell from M&C Saatchi Group which was my favourite part of the day. Shannon broke up some big umbrella items including sustainability, social media trends, roles in the business and presenting those routines and processes, using local ingredients and suppliers and the future of food and what they thought food will look like in the next 10-20 years. This discussion was followed by The Digitalisation of Hospitality and the future of AI in this industry - presented by Adam Theobald from Ordermentum. Adam's talk covered the impact that AI has had on the hospitality industry so far and how there's tools available to assist with the processes in the kitchen and at the front of house. And of course there were discussions and questions from the audience about things like the robot waiters - which forged discussion about how there are some things that AI will not be able to replicate - such as the warmth and personality that guests receive from front of house staff. An insightful and exciting afternoon to be a part of.
The final section of the day provided us with a cocktail masterclass by Sara Ramadan from Omnia. She showed us how to make a spicy margherita which we all got to enjoy a glass of while she was showing us her techniques and recipe for the perfect one. Following Sara was Ian Curley who discussed how to plan cost-effective menus. He discussed this with a hilarious and casual tone that appealed to so many of us - keeping us laughing, but delivered some valuable information to best equip us with monetary planning for our businesses. The final two panels were surrounding sustainability and the future of food/what they all thought upcoming food and beverage trends would be for 2024 onwards. 
The day was finished off with some networking drinks where we got to meet with some old friends and colleagues and enjoy some beautiful canapes and drinks provided by the event sponsors.
Overall, we had a really wonderful and informative day - a big thank you to Hospitality Magazine for bringing together some of the most insightful and warm leaders in the industry.
*All photos were from the official gallery of the Hospitality Magazine Hospitality Leaders Summit 2023.
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