A Moreton Bay publican has been named the best in the state after taking out the top gong at the recent Queensland Hotels Association (QHA) Awards for Excellence awards night.
Melinda Tait from the Murrumba Downs Tavern was named Queensland’s Hotelier of the Year for 2022, making her the fourth female in the award’s history to win this category.
Mel has worked for the Amarandos Pippos Group more than two decades and has worked at the Murrumba Downs Tavern since it first opened in 2010.
Speaking to Moreton Daily after her big win, Mel said she was shocked but also very humbled by the win.
“This is an award category that you don’t enter, you have to be selected by a panel,” Mel said.
“No one knows they have been selected, so it’s always a big surprise.
“Winning the Hotelier of the Year Award is like the Gold Logie of the hotel industry.
“It’s a very special award and never in a million years did I think I would be considered for something like this.
“I am very humbled to receive this award because I love the hospitality industry so much and have a very big passion for it.”
As outlined on the QHA website: This award aims to recognise a single Queensland hotelier who, by virtue of his or her service to the liquor industry, community or industry leadership, or overall business acumen, has been an outstanding example to QHA members and the liquor industry, in the year in question.
Usually, the recipient will still be active in the hotel trade, and well known in hotel industry circles.
The recipient will be a person who has brought credit on themselves and the hotel industry through their service to the community or the hotel industry, and will be “representative of the breed”.
The award is not for long service, a substitute for QHA Life Membership, or Hall of Fame entry. The award will not be presented if no nominee meets the award criteria, but is reserved for outstanding individuals with a track record of achievement and success. The award is only available to a licensee, hotel manager, or hotel owner or co-owner, and is not available to other industry figures or stakeholders.
Within the QHA, this award is next in prestige only to the award of QHA Life Membership.
According to Mel, to win an award like this you need to have a supportive team behind you.
“There are three gentlemen I would like to thank for their love and support in helping me to win this award,” Mel said.
“I would like to thank my husband Michael and my business partners Nick Amarandos and Lucky Pippos. They have all been extremely supportive of my career and help my ideas and passions come to fruition.
“Working in roles like this, you can’t do what you do without the support of your team and the people around you.”
When the Amarandos Pippos Group first floated the idea of a new hotel in Murrumba Downs, Mel was excited to oversee the design.
“When the opportunity came to build a new hotel from the ground up in Murrumba Downs, I was very excited,” Mel said.
“It’s not very often you get to be part of the initial design and then the turning of the sod, the build and then opening, so that was a very big deal.
“It gave me a real sense of accomplishment because there are so many different layers which go into the entire planning stage – it’s phenomenal.”
What Mel loves the most about working in Murrumba Downs is the community who support them.
“We have always been a big part of the community, and a space where family and friends can get together to enjoy a good meal and a drink,” Mel said.
“I know COVID was hard for a lot of industries, especially the hospitality industry, but I think it also cemented how important our venue is for the community.
“We were supported by people in the community who felt safe when they came to visit us, and ensured we were able to keep our doors opened and people in jobs.
“We also have a local philosophy, in the same sense that we buy local and employee locals, so that community spirit is never ending.”
Having made a successful career for herself in hospitality, Mel would like to encourage others to make their way into the industry
“Hospitality is a great industry to work in and is a great career choice,” she said.
“I don’t see it a secondary choice. Many people think hospitality is just a uni job that people work at for a few months or a year, but that’s not the case.
“There are many different avenues you can go into.
“You’re also part of something special. When you work in a hotel, you’re not just the bartender, and you’re not just the waitress. You’re the person that is there to ensure people enjoy themselves. You’re the person helping customers celebrate something special, or someone who can turn someone else’s day around.
“I always say it’s a great way to have fun without the hangover the next day, plus you’re getting paid!”
The Murrumba Downs Hotel is located on the corner of Dohles Rocks and Ogg Roads, Murrumba Downs.