Welcome to the RD Jones Group. A family business established for over 35 years, our group encompasses a diverse range of companies with holdings in hospitality, gaming and the technology industries; including hotels in South Australila and Victoria, Worldsmart Retail, Worldsmart Technology and the Jackpot Club.
Richard and Denise Jones founded the RD Jones group in 1982 with the Grosvenor Hotel, a country hotel in Victor Harbor. It was a significant gamble, particularly as Richard didn't know how to pour a beer, let along tap a keg, but after working there for three years and tripling the trade, they decided to buy another hotel, the Colonnades Tavern in 1985.
Richard always wanted to grow, and was looking for the next opportunity. He went into many ventures with a variety of partners including Faheys, Teos, Warbonoffs and Steven Shoobridge. One hotel became two, two became three, and 37 years on today, the RD Jones Group own 11 hotels across South Australia and Victoria.
The number one thing Richard learnt while working behind the bar at the Grosvenor many years ago was that service was the top priority with customers; something that has become integral to every hotel the RD Jones Group own today. Richard learnt that understanding their needs and wants was also very important. "I looked at service being a point of difference in hotels. We all sell the same products, but it's the service that really counts", he said.
"If you go back and look at history, Hotels never really made a lot of money out of food. They made their money from gaming, front bars, saloon bars and drive in - food was just a bit of a service. I think it started in the Eastern states, where a lot of Victorian hotels started to put a different style of food out and people warmed to that. I think what the general public look at is they want value for money, but they want a good meal - not your standard Hotel fair."
With this in mind, the RD Jones group decided to re-develop four of their thirteen hotels; recreating each venue to have a new feel, menu, drinks list and somewhere that the customers were proud to call their local. Beginning with the renovation of The Dublin to The Moseley Bar & Kitchen in 2014, the once tired, dark venue was transformed into a premium beach-side destination - taking out the 2016 AHA|SA award for Best Overall Hotel in SA. Next was the Tea Tree Gully Hotel, becoming the Gully Public House & Garden after a two-million dollar renovation; transforming this historical site into a national award winning venue, inspired by its natural surroundings and focused on its local community.
2015 saw the renovation of The Woodcroft Tavern into The Woodcroft Hotel, a renovation that revolutionised the venue into a lifestyle destination, with a Southern, original, urban feel. Most recently The Bartley Tavern was transformed into The Bartley Hotel, an iconic local that has been reinvigorated with a fresh and inspired new look. The new Bartley is all about embracing the good things in life - delicious food, great wine from South Australia and beyond, while unwinding with fantastic entertainment.
"We first started that with The Moseley. The way we changed the food was so different, it was like an expectation when people walked in - they thought they'd get the 'normal' hotel fair, but ours was completely different; they absolutely loved it. Then of course we went to The Gully Public House & Garden, where we re-did the venue under the same emphasis - it was all about the food. When we went out to The Woodcroft, we completely changed the way we did food, and it's just going through the roof. People are loving it," said Richard.
Along with the RD Jones' successful hotel ventures, Richard and Denise began the Jackpot Club and J Card in 1995, creating a loyalty system for customers that combines great service and looking after people. The loyalty card was made to be very user friendly, proving to be a success with hotels around Australia. "At first the J Card was only used in 5 hotels and at one stage it was in over 100. So far, we've issued around 200'000 cards out there", said Richard.
To support the technology behind the Jackpot Club, Richard created WorldSmart Technology in 1997, a company that now employs 120 staff members across Business Intelligence, Loyalty Programs, eCommerce, Point of Sale, plus Training and Support, both in South Australia and Queensland.
Richard was passionate about his industry and spent a lot of time mentoring and sharing his insights with the next generation of publicans. He was a visionary that thrived on innovation. In July 2016, Richard Jones suddenly passed away whilst following his passion cycling in the French Alps. However his legacy will live on through the key stakeholders in the business, including his wife Denise, daughter Danielle, son Ryan and son in-law Luke.