DIXON GOBBLES DRINK ‘N’ DINE TO BEGIN NSW EXPANSION

In Property by Clyde Mooney

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One of the most acquisitive pub groups of 2015 has burst into NSW with the purchase of the Drink’n’Dine portfolio.

After rapid expansion including the lump purchase of all 17 pubs and head office operations of Open Door Pub Co (ODPC) in September, Dixon Hospitality Group (DHG) has made good on its plans to move north by acquiring the three venues operated by Jaime Wirth’s group.

The leasehold pub businesses are Petersham’s Oxford Tavern, Surry Hills’ The Forresters, and Redfern’s The Norfolk.

DHG is Bruce Dixon – former Spotless CEO – and son, Michael Dixon. The Group began tentatively with the purchase of South Melbourne’s Wayside Inn, and after establishing its no-gaming food-based leasehold formula has quickly expanded to now reach 28 venues, in Victoria and South Australia.

Dixon (Jr) has previously spoken to PubTIC about the Group’s business model, lauding the value of dining-driven patronage in the era of the gastro-pub.

In a statement, Bruce Dixon, who has recently begun working with Michael in DHG, champions the value of solid business practises and marketing to create a fleet of go-to venues.

“We can really use our procurement strength to deliver value in terms of fresh local produce across all our venues,” he said.

“However, we are very committed to ensuring each venue retains its individuality.

“Put simply we’re focused on doing the simple things well and making sure it’s a sound business that continues to grow.”

Drink’n’Dine founder, Jaime Wirth, has built several successful venues with a decidedly similar food-oriented no-gambling philosophy.

Wirth will continue working with DHG, and says he looks forward to taking some of his ideas to Victoria.

“Our philosophy was always simple … food and booze … we created pubs where people go to eat and drink, and we spent a lot of time in getting that mix right.

“We started each pub because we had a creative concept, then we worked hard on menus and service and quality. Each pub is unique, with a great following and strong operational team, so the time feels right for me to let go.

“In 2016 I’ll be working with the crew at Dixon to introduce some interesting food concepts into their Melbourne venues, so hopefully Melbournians are excited by the ideas we’ve got too.”

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