Back of House, Front of Mind
“Back of House, Front of Mind” is a podcast presented by Healthy Mind Menu, an industry-led initiative that aims to improve the lives and normalise conversations around mental health for those working in the hospitality industry.
Welcome, Greg Leaver
Join us as we sit down with Greg Leaver, who has been part of the hospitality industry for 25 years. From humble beginnings as the owner of a small book cafe on Wray Avenue, X-Wray Cafe in Fremantle, Greg has grown to co-own four successful venues, including Strange Company, Ronnie Nights, Al Lupo, and a local cafe.
With a team of 35 employees spread across these venues, Greg shares his insights on building a Hospo Family and fostering a culture of fun and respect. From menu development to staff welfare, we delve into the life of a hands-on hospitality entrepreneur.
What is your current Occupation? Tell us how you spend your days.
Co-owner of three bars and one cafe. I move between the venues doing a bit of everything. From maintenance to menu development to staff welfare… Quite a bit of fixing broken stuff.
Tell us more about your experience in hospitality.
For the past 25 years, I’ve been in the thick of the hospitality world. I started a tiny cafe in Fremantle about 24 years ago and it’s all just grown from that modest little book
cafe on Wray Avenue.
Explain the reasons why mental well-being has become important to you.
With around 35 employees in over 4 venues, there are always people dealing with issues in their lives and it’s important to know what’s happening and be able to help if possible.
How do you handle stress, negative thoughts, and emotions?
I start by focusing on the small things that I’m able to control and then everything else somehow comes back into line.
How do you prioritise self-care and balance it with other responsibilities in your life? Work-life balance. (Sleep, nutrition, connectedness, physical activity, downtime)
I find that if I do some kind of physical exercise every morning I can reset and start fresh every day. It generally involves getting in the ocean -which invariably helps to put the day into perspective. Coffee helps as well…
Can you tell us about a person who has had a significant impact on your life?
A young chef that I employed over ten years ago changed the way I think about the hospitality industry.
What is something you’re currently working on that you’re excited about?
I’ve recently opened a new bar so of course I’m obsessed with making it the best it can be.
If you could simplify your philosophy on life, how are you living? What do you tell yourself each morning when you wake up?
I’m excited about every day – I guess because I’m doing something that I enjoy. Even though it can be stressful and hard…
How do you approach goal setting and achieving success?
I treat each day like an event with a beginning, middle, and end. And then each new project with the same approach.
How do you inspire well-being in those around you?
By being positive and enthusiastic. Even when it doesn’t seem to make sense.