29/10/2009 - 00:00

Monaghans make their point

29/10/2009 - 00:00

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With 65 years’ hospitality experience between them, Judy and Michael Monaghan show no sign of slowing down. Adam Orlando reports

Monaghans make their point

LOCATED an hour south of Perth in Mandurah, M on The Point is the latest venture driven by the Monaghan family, who are credited with developing the iconic Subiaco Hotel and Llama Bar in Perth, and the Golden Grove Hotel in Adelaide.

Michael and Judy Monaghan opened the contemporary pub-designed restaurant in May as part of the $230 million Mirvac development at the old Peninsular Hotel site.

Mr and Mrs Monaghan – who have a combined 65 years’ experience in the hospitality industry – told Gusto they are “bringing a little bit of Subi” to the coastal town with their latest project.

“It’s the same kind of philosophy with M on The Point; a focus on food, accessibility, quality service and good staff,” Mrs Monaghan says.

While a popular holiday destination for families and those with a penchant for fishing and blue manna crabs, Mandurah has been short on quality restaurants.

Mr Monaghan says with M on The Point, locals can get friendly, quality service similar to that of the Subiaco Hotel, as well as a sophisticated interior with a contemporary menu designed by executive chef and shareholder, Ivan Mather.

“I think it’s fair to say that we put a great deal of emphasis on our staff and the training of our staff, and it’s been a very successful business model,” Mr Monaghan says.

Mr Mather has just returned from a five-year working trip through Europe, picking up new culinary skills and ideas along the way, having worked in a five-star property in Dubai and some of London’s cutting-edge restaurants.

Having bought the Subiaco Hotel in 1972 when the area was a semi-industrial suburb, Mr Monaghan sees similarities in Mandurah and recognises an opportunity to develop M on The Point to a landmark status.

“The hospitality industry in Perth over the 50 years I’ve been in it has changed dramatically,” Mr Monaghan says.

“I’ve had the Subiaco Hotel now for the past 37 years, and when I first moved here it was a working-class suburb by far with 70 per cent of business coming from the public bar, and it was semi-industrial around the area.

“Gradually we’ve moved with the suburb; the suburb changed and became trendier and it attracted nice houses and people began moving out, and so Subiaco now compared to Subiaco 40 years ago is chalk and cheese.

“We saw a market emerging and took advantage of that.”

Mrs Monaghan says with Mandurah among the country’s fastest growing cities, it offered similar opportunities to Subiaco in the 1970s.

“People saw the charm in the cottages that were around Subiaco back then but we saw that habits were changing and we consciously took the decision that food was going to be what people wanted, so we looked to attract the families in the district,” she says.

“The market was out there but there was nowhere to go, the cafe culture wasn’t established. It’s a similar thing in Mandurah with quality restaurants.”

Although son, Tim, and daughter, Bianca, have been brought into the family businesses – making them fourth-generation hoteliers – Mr Monaghan shows no sign of losing his passion for the hospitality industry.

“Well, I don’t want to retire, I love the industry and always have. I love people, and you meet all sorts of people right across the spectrum so I really enjoy it,” he says.

Mrs Monaghan is of a similar sentiment.

“We absolutely still have the passion, otherwise we wouldn’t have opened our new venue in Mandurah,” she says.

“Hospitality is ever-changing, that’s what keeps us going. You are dealing with people who are in their leisure moment, which always makes it enjoyable.

“I love dealing with chefs and I have a real passion for food.”

 

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