19/10/2018 - 13:13

Irvine writes his menu for On The Point

19/10/2018 - 13:13

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Mining services entrepreneur Neil Irvine has doubled down on his investment in the hospitality sector to take full control of the $40 million-plus On The Point precinct.

Irvine writes his menu for On The Point
Neil Irvine says he is hoping to emulate the steady growth of his company, Rapid Crushing & Screening Contractors. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Neil Irvine is an experienced and successful business operator, who is determined to make his new ventures work.

Mining services entrepreneur Neil Irvine has doubled down on his investment in the hospitality sector.

The Rapid Crushing & Screening Contractors founder moved to full ownership of Beaumonde Catering and the $40 million-plus On The Point hospitality precinct in East Perth this month.

Both deals were formulated under similar circumstances.

Melbourne-born Mr Irvine, who once worked as a boilermaker, half-owned the catering business with former managing director Brian Leyden.

Mr Leyden’s company, Leyden Catering Consultants, was placed into administration in June.

Mr Irvine’s business partner at On The Point, Steve Palmer, suffered a setback in July when his part-owned restaurant Ku De Ta, the anchor tenant at the precinct, also went into administration.

Mr Palmer subsequently sold his stake due to family health reasons.

On the Point was developed as a venue for eight restaurants, four bars and a rooftop lounge, with Ku De Ta Perth being the best known of these.

The facility was completed in 2017.

After months of deliberation, Mr Irvine told Business News he had secured a deal to gain full control of the precinct, and had signed on Embargo Bar to move into the Ku De Ta building.

“We’re really excited to have Embargo on board and we’re going to be running a lot of events in conjunction with them,” he said.

Mr Irvine said the new tenant was aiming to be up and running for the start of summer.

Embargo has until now focused on pop-up bars, having previously set up at a number of locations across Perth, including Elizabeth Quay, South Perth and Victoria Park.

Mr Irvine said an advertising campaign focused on the whole precinct would begin this week.

“I’ll make this work – I’m a person who likes to succeed,” he said.

“I have to go like the clappers to do a lot of advertising and get the place back on the map again.”

He is also hoping to rejuvenate Beaumonde Catering.

The company employs about 300 people in Western Australia, servicing major events throughout the state, including mining conference Diggers & Dealers and Polo in the Valley.

“I’m excited to take over Brian’s share and the whole team’s excited about where we take the company from here,” Mr Irvine said.

“We’ve got a fair bit of work and streamlining to do to get this company flying high.

“We see we’ve got some doubling up, we know we’re going to have to trim some areas and that’s because the whole industry is really tight.”

Mr Irvine said he was hoping to emulate the steady growth of his mining services business, which he established in 1978 and now employs about 150 people locally.

“Rapids has been a humble beginning to a very good business and everybody’s come along for the ride,” he said.

“I want Beaumonde to be the same thing so everyone feels a part of the team and everyone can have an input.”

In building up his company, Mr Irvine said he had formed a strong bond with his workforce.

“I don’t tolerate fools and idiots in business; at Rapid Crushing I’ve got people who have been working for me for 30 years,” he said.

“Just having a human attitude and a good working relationship with your employees goes a long way.

“If you can get 75 or 80 per cent output out of someone you’ve done well.”

Another policy Mr Irvine is aiming to replicate with Beaumonde is profit sharing.

Rapid Crushing shares 10 per cent of its profits with its employees.

“When we get this place humming and buzzing we’ll start to do the profit sharing,” Mr Irvine said.

Outside interests

One of Mr Irvine’s passions is horse racing, which has now become a business venture.

“I started off with one horse and now I’ve got 54,” he said.

He also bought Balmoral Park in 2014, a horse stud previously owned by Perth businessman Laurie Connell, which Mr Irvine said was close to breaking even.

Mr Irvine has an interest a number of land developments, including the Mauravillo Estate in Wundowie and in Margaret River.


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