Graduate Matt McLauchlan knew from the outset he would follow the Food and Beverage path in his hotel career, ‘having grown up in a food-mad family and working as a kid in the family’s restaurants’.
But little did the experienced food and beverage hotelier and restaurateur imagine this would lead to coffee and his role at the helm of Common Man Coffee Roasters, a Specialty Coffee Roaster and Wholesaler, Academy and Café in Singapore.
‘Coffee is where it’s at in Food and Beverage’, says Matt.
After graduating from ICHM in 2009, Matt took time out before starting his career, to study in and explore China and learn more of the language and culture. This included cycling through the western-most province of Xinjiang and into Kazakhstan.
He told students, ‘Life is an adventure, and taking a risk is a really rewarding thing’.
With a father an hotelier, Matt lived the hotel lifestyle from an early age. His mother and the family’s restaurants provided additional food and beverage inspiration.
Part New Zealander (his father) and part Filipino (his mother), Matt grew up in Hong Kong and then New Zealand, where he did a year of music studies at the New Zealand School of Music before hospitality lured him back.
After meeting Gerald Lipman in Wellington, New Zealand, Matt attended Career Week in 2003.
‘I had no doubt once I made the decision that ICHM was the place for me. I had a great time, I learnt a lot, got invaluable support from lecturing staff and made some great friends along the way.’
Common Man is a wholesaler and produces its own coffee brands, and has ‘a bunch of outlets’. Before joining as Wholesale General Manager in 2015, Matt’s food and beverage ‘adventure’ included:
- Team member, restaurant complex ‘1949’, Beijing (during the Beijing Olympics)
- Team leader, Radii Restaurant, Park Hyatt Melbourne
- Pre-opening team member (with iconic Vue de Monde), to open Rialto Vue
- Food & Beverage Manager, reconceptualising and refurbishing the Bolton Hotel, Wellington
- Owner, China CV
- Partner, The Hospitality Practice
- Food & Beverage Manager for QT Hotels in Falls Creek and Canberra
In his presentation, ‘Managing Your Own (Coffee) Business in Asia’, Matt set out the principles behind establishing a corporate culture, describing it as the framework for driving a business forward.
Life is an adventure
You are your own set of experiences
There will be incredible challenges
Hospitality is almost always about the people; it’s a service industry
You’ll learn a lot
Rely on your lecturers and career development staff
Never stop asking questions
Matt is the first of three speakers scheduled for this semester and ICHM extends warm appreciation for first-hand experiences shared.