From $400K to $50M: Stephen Hunt on Building a Pub Empire

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About Our Guest

Stephen Hunt is the Australian publican with hospitality management in his genes. With a business degree and over 30 years of industry experience, Stephen is a certified professional determined to share his knowledge with the world.

Commencing with several well-established hotels, Stephen’s company has expanded into a multi-branded private equity firm with 250+ employees and a 7-venue portfolio, which prioritises community engagement along with commercial viability (including via growth and innovation).

With multiple successful venues and many innovative projects in development, Stephen has blended entrepreneurial spirit with local business. Savvy at executing multimillion-dollar deals, he has evolved his enterprises into a capital investment, local grassroots powerhouse.

Recently, Stephen has been named Business Leader of the Year in 2021 by Business NSW. Hunt Hospitality was also recently placed Top 3 in the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies Award in the Entertainment, Tourism, Retail and Hospitality sector.

About this Episode

From $400K to $50M: Stephen Hunt on Building a Pub Empire

Stephen Hunt knows a thing or two about beer. Entrepreneur, author, and successful publican, he built a $50M hospitality group from $400,000 that focuses on buying, flipping, and selling your local watering hole.

With a targeted growth by acquisition strategy and focus on diversified streams of revenue, Stephen was able to grow at scale in an industry not used to seeing big margins.

Besides that, his group was able to weather the COVID storm while also continuing to build community hubs where all walks of life could congregate.

What you will learn in this episode

In this episode we’ll cover everything from:

  • The importance of revenue diversification
  • How to build a business model on the back of community need
  • Developing a growth by acquisition strategy
  • How to encourage your employees to act more like owners

Connect with Stephen Hunt

Show Notes

(2:00) From a $400,000 investment to a valuation of $50M, here’s how Stephen Hunt kickstarted his pub empire.

(9:13) Going into business with family is tough, but Stephen’s family seemed prime to be business partners. However, that’s not to say they didn’t draw up agreements between parents and son down the track.

(18:26) Hospitality was arguably one of the hardest hit sectors during COVID-19, but by diversifying his revenue streams across the portfolio of pubs, Stephen was able to ride the wave.

(25:38) Growth by acquisition is central to Stephen’s growth strategy, but a major roadblock that could have hindered his growth was needing to raise $1M in 8 hours or risk being sued.

(37:30) With an active fund, exiting is never an easy process. But here’s how Stephen’s group manages this in three stages, including talks of an ‘inter-species’ transfer that keeps liquidity in the fund.

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