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10 October 2022

Hospitality Industry expert Steve Sidd on current trends & staff retention

Founder of Catering HQ shares his insights into the hospitality industry

Whether it's catering or hospitality management services, Steve Sidd and his business Catering HQ is your go-to if you're looking to enhance not only your menu but your venue too. 

As a long-term client Cargo Crew caught up with Steve to learn more about his business and what he believes are the essential ingredients for the clubs of the future. 

1.    To kick things off, can you introduce yourself and tell us about Catering HQ?

Catering HQ started in 1996 establishing cafes and restaurants throughout Sydney, however today we now run 11 catering contracts within NSW Clubs which includes 26 different dining concepts, more than 40 events spaces and employ over 350 staff. We also have a production kitchen, logistics company and a successful software company also.

Our motto is we don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the best at what we do!

2.    What are the up and coming food trends that should be on every pub and club menu in 2023?

It might seem counterintuitive to write about food trends when we are living in such uncertain times, but regardless of the environment we find ourselves in, people always have to eat.

One area that is becoming much more popular and expect to see it a commonplace on menus will be accessible Aussie ingredients such as saltbush, pepperberry, lemon myrtle and wattleseed.  

People will also become with more familiar with different varieties of mushrooms and while plant-based burger patties has been huge for us and extremely popular, plant-based chicken will be the next big thing in the next 12 months.

Key ingredients for a clubs success

"The key is to offer the very best food quality, excellence through customer service standards and creating the right ambience, which in return will bring your customers back, time and time again.

Give them the quality they deserve without sacrificing on food standards."

Founder of Catering HQ

3. You were an early adoptor of the Cargo Crew range and we are so proud to see our uniforms in so many of the venues you work with. What role do you believe a modern uniform can play in a venues' success? 

We are a huge fan of Cargo Crew, not only is it simple and easy to get your orders, there are no minimum order quantities required. Cargo Crew is always coming up with new modern designs.  

We love the variety and choice available. As we have 26 different dining concepts, we can adapt our uniforms and style guide around what uniform styles are available. We love to keep our uniforms fresh, so we are always changing them up to keep our staff looking sharp, hip, modern and on point. That’s what we love most about Cargo Crew.

4.    What industry technology can you not live without? 

We are all about automation and our software company called “Hospitality Genie” is amazing and is our holistic management tool across all aspects of our business. At the end of the day this provides us with control, consistency, time management, compliance standards and most of all profitability which we are all after.

5.    Post COVID, what do you feel has been the best change in the industry? 

Tough question! However COVID taught us to implement the best practices through food, service and control over our business. It enabled us to take the time to sit back and look at the gaps in our business and how to bridge them.  

So once we came out of lockdown, we opened with much tighter controls within our business, far better staff performance and efficiencies. We just do things far better now.

6.    Do you have any tips on attracting and retaining great staff?

We do many things to ensure we are the employer of choice. All of our key employees have the opportunity to join our succession plan, by providing employment shares within our business and for the venue they work at. All Catering HQ employees receive free financial advice by our bank.

We also offer transport, accommodation and relocation benefits for staff that move to our more remote locations. We offer plenty of progression and opportunities for our staff, through our traineeship programs and training plans.

Lastly we offer referral visa cards for our staff, that refer a friend to work for Catering HQ, $100 per referral.


"We love to keep our uniforms fresh, so we are always changing them up to keep our staff looking sharp, hip, modern and on point.

We review them quarterly to ensure that we continue to strive to be the leaders in the industry."


Founder of Catering HQ

7.    How important is a strong branding and venue experience in today’s venues?

Absolutely huge. We emphasise on branding across all our 26 dining concepts and event spaces. We also ensure it is kept fresh, modern and refreshed when needed.  

In todays market you need to represent yourself as being on point and with the current times. We never get stale, as we don’t want our patrons to also get bored of what we offer, how we present ourselves through our brand, staff presentation and menus.  

We are always keeping things fresh and review quarterly to ensure that we continue to strive to be the leaders in the industry.


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