Michael Cherote is the Licensee of the Coast Hotel. The hotel has had an amazing amount of growth and success over the years. FOCUS grabbed a lager with the man himself, to find out about his background and future plans.
What is your connection to the Coffs Coast?
I was born and bred in Sydney. Over ten years ago I decided to buy a hotel; however, Sydney was too expensive. So, I spent eight months scouting NSW for a venue that suited what I was looking for and found the Coast Hotel in Coffs Harbour. I have travelled back and forth from Sydney to the Coffs Coast over a ten year period. The Coffs Coast has a great deal going for it and a better paced lifestyle as you get older. I’ve met a lot of good people up here and enjoy being close to the beach and hinterland.
What background experience do you bring to your current role?
I have been in business for the past 30 years, and in that time have gone through many ups and downs. My previous business was a nightclub in Kings Cross (Sydney) and was quite profitable. That’s what urged me to buy a larger business, even though it wasn’t in Sydney.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your role?
It is a very complex business these days, with all the rules and regulations. Staff management and responsible service of alcohol are very challenging in the way you run your business. What satisfies me is when you see all the patrons enjoying themselves at your venue and the staff are all harmonious, and you actually turn a profit at the end of the day.
Business/personal goals for this financial year?
My business goal for this financial year is to draw new clientele to the hotel and improve turnover in all areas. Personally, I’ve been here for over 10 years and if I do decide to sell, I would like to leave knowing I have done my best.
How does your business give back to the community?
It’s very important to be involved with the local community. I sponsor all sorts of sporting teams, we have raffle nights to raise money for junior development, and we’re always donating to different charities and functions. e.g. Children’s Hospital, Westpac Lifesaving Helicopter.
Best advice for someone starting out in your industry?
Be prepared to work hard. It’s an industry that you seem married to. Live, work and breathe the venue, until you have it running smoothly; if that’s possible. You always have to reinvent yourself and keep things exciting. Before signing up, whether it be freehold or leasehold, check all the pitfalls. If you succeed in this business, it can be very satisfying.
What creative things do you do to develop a likeable company culture?
It’s a great challenge to be creative and keep people interested. We don’t do it enough … However, staff Xmas parties, nights out for dinner and drinks. Keeping up with the times in music, food etc. Staff are your front line, so it’s always good to get their input.
What is the point of difference between you and your competitors?
It’s important to have a point of difference. I sincerely believe that the Coast Hotel is the most up-market hotel on the Coffs Coast. We have a good selection of craft, premium and normal beers, along with a wine list that should please all. Our new menu comes out this month, with something to satisfy everyone. We have live music and we’re the only hotel in the area with three levels to entertain the patrons with bands and DJs. Our pricing is competitive, and you can wine and dine in the relaxed atmosphere.
Most rewarding part of your job?
In summary, it’s very rewarding in any industry to see people enjoying themselves. The hospitality industry gives you the chance to make that happen. It allows you to be creative and try many different things on all different levels.
What do you enjoy most about the Coffs Coast?
I mainly live on the Coffs Coast these days and after living in Sydney for most of my life, I can see why city folk move for a sea change. Less is more, as they say, and up here you have less noise, less pollution and less traffic and less stress.
I thank you, and look forward to seeing you all at the Coast Hotel.