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Australian Open Spotlight

With the Australian Open Tennis Championship having recently wrapped up, we are featuring a few of the 2,000-plus Delaware North associates who contributed to our massive food and beverage operation at the two-week-long event.

jendunkley-4566363Jen Dunkley, human resources business partner
Recruiting the team for the Australian Open (AO) is an enormous task. How many people do you recruit and over what period of time?
Planning and recruitment for the AO begins in June of each year. Over the following six months, the HR Department will recruit between 800 and 1,000 staff. There is a large breadth of skills and roles that we are recruiting for, from casual to full-time contract roles. We are also consistently on the lookout for those star performers with our organization to set into an AO role.
phildavenport-6963434Phil Davenport, purchasing officer
What makes purchasing for the AO different from other events?
The scale of the event is huge. The number of suppliers and volume of products never cease to amaze me. There are always lots of last-minute changes and demands that make it a challenge – some of the suppliers and sponsors of the event don’t really understand the logistics. The AO has about 80 suppliers and not all of them are used to big events – we have to unload their trucks, check their inventory and make sure the food temperature has been maintained.
mel-9145638Mel Burrows, food and beverage manager
Can you give us some specific examples of how you have incorporated GuestPath into your operations over the years?
GuestPath is at the forefront in everything we do as we are all guests to each other. This year we have incorporated Tennis Australia’s service promise of “making it memorable” by leveraging ours: “Creating special experiences, one guest at a time.” We achieve this by providing the staff with the tools to be able to answer any question, whether it is related to food and beverage or other facilities within the precinct. All staff complete a one-minute observation on themselves on day one, which reminds them of how to achieve the service promise, and throughout the tournament we recognize and reward those who are going above and beyond.

guycook-3858718Guy Cook, projects and development manager
Your team works in challenging conditions – extreme weather, forklifts and cranes. How do you ensure their wellbeing and that safety is always top of mind?
Aside from many months of planning, the site build begins on Dec. 1 each year and continues right up until the commencement of the event itself. Add in the tournament and bump-out period, all up it’s a 12-week marathon to ensure that all of the infrastructure, equipment and services are delivered and installed to meet the operational requirements to deliver hospitality. We are constantly challenged with the operating environment changes to the site overlay, physical terrain and of course the unpredictable Melbourne weather, which keeps safety, team morale and well-being front of mind.