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With the changes to liquor licensing which came into effect on 1 July 2016, many licensees are facing changed trading conditions.

The full effects of these changes will play out in due course, but these changes and those interstate are another reminder that your venue strategy is not a set and forget proposition.

Reduced trading hours, restrictions on service of “rapid intoxication drinks”, proposed lock-outs, and bans on sales of takeaway drinks affect the top line revenue, and hence the gross margin for different hours of trading. Such changes means that your highest variable cost, wages, needs to be carefully looked at to ensure that you are staffed correctly and profitably for each stage of a trading day.

But more broadly, the changing legislative landscape is a trigger to revisit where your venue stands in terms of its target market and your offering across your bars, food, gaming, functions and/or accommodation.

Each venue is unique in terms of its mix, but the seismic shift provided by the changes to licensing laws provides an opportunity for you to capitalise by moving quickly to adapt to the changed environment.

Key questions for you to consider are:

  1. Why do patrons visit my venue versus a competitor’s venue?
  2. Will they continue to do so under the new licensing environment?
  3. What does my venue product mix look like in the post 1-July 2016 legislative environment (and potentially 1 February 2017 lockout if in a Safe Night Precinct)?
  4. Can I alter that offering to capitalise on unaffected trading areas such as gaming or food?
  5. What cash flow impacts can be expected over the coming months? How does my next 12 weeks of cash flow look now?

Once you have considered these vital questions, your weaknesses and your strengths should become apparent.

It is these weaknesses and strengths that are vital in re-formulating your strategy for the year ahead.

Your strategy is an evolving document which requires an objective and disciplined analysis so that you and your management personnel drive the venue forward into the changed environment facing all licensees. Our hospitality specialists can assist in identifying the cash flow impact as a result of the licensing changes and provide you with the right framework to respond to the changes in a way that capitalises on your strengths and addresses your weaknesses. For assistance formulating your strategy contact, Peter Maletz on 07 3218 3900.


Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.