The Stag Hotel is bouncing back – again – ditching fine-dining for pub dining to “get the numbers up”.
The heritage-listed Stag Hotel closed in March last year, and was taken on by a group of four businessmen, who banded together to revive it. Philip Speakman, hospitality veteran Chris Kenny and Melbourne hotelier Dean Grant oversaw the big-ticket renovation of the hotel, with a new upscale dining offering called Vardon, featuring celebrated chef Camillo Crugnale.
Less than nine months after re-opening, the business has seen the departure of Crugnale and a new look at what patrons of the area want from the hotel.
“The Vardon was a great concept, but unfortunately wasn’t quite right for what we are, which is a pub,” Stag general manager Robby Lippett told Adelaide’s The Advertiser. said.
“It produced some great food, but we need to keep in the back of our minds that we are a pub and the prices were a little bit scary.
“We sat down as a team and thought, ‘what can we do to get the numbers up?’”
The result was a decision to shut down the expensive restaurant in favour of a pub-style bistro menu throughout. Areas of the hotel have been redesignated for casual dining, and upstairs will see a greater focus on functions and groups.
Lippett said the switch in menu saw immediate results.
“We instantly doubled our figures in number of meals sold. We’re going in the right direction, which is good. We’re back to just being a good, food-driven venue.”
Prior to re-opening last year, the owners cited awareness of the negative perceptions of its recent closure, and their intent to work hard to entice patrons and decision to not operate poker machines.