A Hospitality Worker On Looking for a Silver Lining and Using This Time to Upskill


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We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand

Epic DJs, live music, good food and a quality drop is the formula for success for our local bars, clubs and restaurants.

For the managing director of boutique hospitality company Hostique and group music and entertainment manager of The Sydney Collective, Phil Burriel, it’s the perfect recipe to bring the house down and throw a great party.

One of Sydney’s emerging and most exciting hospitality companies, Hostique specialises in providing the ultimate in customer experiences. Partnering with some of Sydney’s leading bars, nightclubs, hotels and restaurants, the venues it works with are as diverse as they are impressive, catering for a wide range of clientele.

“I have worked in the hospitality industry since I was able to wash dishes in restaurants,” Burriel said in an interview with TheLatch—.

“I have been around experience venues since I was 18 and love providing a service and creating memories for people.”

Since its inception in 2015, Burriel’s company has seen a year on year growth, driving late-night culture and launching new events around key dates in the social calendar.

But because of his love of the industry, he says he’s never worked a “day in his life”, calling his job a “passion project”.

With the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, the 29-year-old’s business has had to close temporarily — with both industries he works for being the first to be hit.

Burriel spoke to TheLatch— about how the hospitality and DJ music industry has been affected and what the workers will do now.

Phil Burriel
Phil Burriel and Matt Hyrniuk, owners of Hostique and FRNDS Events.

AL: How have you personally been affected by the coronavirus?

PB: The hospitality and music industry come hand in hand and with that, I saw the collapse of both our industries from the pandemic.

Both were the first to be affected and will likely be the last to recover.

Personally, I have had my entire company on hold but the majority of our staff are contractors and they will struggle to get financial assistance from the stimulus package.

“The majority of our staff are contractors and they will struggle to get financial assistance from the stimulus package.”

AL: How has your industry been affected by the coronavirus?

PB: Hospitality venues experienced a sliding scale of rules and regulations handed down to our industry bodies. Starting with capacity restrictions and then to just take away and delivery. Some friends have been able to make it work, however, lots of our venues have too many overheads to do takeaway so it’s best to just shut completely.

The music side of the business, for now, has collapsed. Some musicians, brands and agencies have been able to tap into the live stream and digital aspect, focusing on bettering the brand and product; but unfortunately, it’s hard to monetise these things right now.

AL: What do all of these changes mean for people in your industry and for yourself?

PB: Personally I have some savings and I am also eligible for government support so there are some positives for myself.

I have enrolled in two online TAFE courses to upskill. I’m working on myself, my health — both physically and mentally and planning for short and long-term goals.

I’m trying to stay positive and use the tools we have at our disposal like social media and other resources to set myself up for when we get back to normal.

AL: Have you taken a financial hit and how bad has it been? 

PB: My company will have lost tens of thousands in income and business revenue by the time this is over.

“My company will have lost tens of thousands in income and business revenue by the time this is over.”

AL: Have you put any immediate plans in place to pivot your business?

PB: Yes, I am lucky to have a great business partner [Matt Hryniuk]. We are somehow feeling OK right now and will see how the next few weeks and months play out.

Obviously, it’s not an ideal situation but we need to look at what we do have and be grateful to live and operate in Australia.


AL: Are there any immediate plans to pivot the industry?

PB: Yes, I believe there are key opinion leaders and industry bodies working on these initiatives and we are led by this.

We will work harder than we ever have before to make up for the windfall after isolation.

AL: What would you like people to know about how this is affecting you and how can people support your business in the short-term?

PB: Support your local venues and dance floors when this is all over, but for now, listen to Australian musicians, buy Aussie products and of course, support local business.

Find out more about Hostique and follow Frnds Events on Facebook and Instagram.

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