Amidst a pandemic, Workers Geelong found a creative way to survive – and even thrive

Amidst a pandemic, Workers Geelong found a creative way to survive – and even thrive

Since replacing the old Kitty O’Shea’s on Little Malop Steet back in 2015, The Workers Club has become one of Geelong’s most iconic live music venues, attracting some of Australia’s most renowned musicians and performers over the years, including Mojo Juju, The Bennies, LANKS, Hein Cooper, Lime Cordiale, Abbe May, Client Liaison, Northeast Party House, Luca Brasi, and British India – just to name a few.

Not only has the venue played host to a seemingly endless list of Australian and international talent, but The Workers Club also prided itself on promoting the local acts that were well on the way to making themselves known across the country, including the likes of Famous Will, Sweethearts, The Kite Machine, The Run, Ocean Grove, Modern Divide, Alice Ivy, and Lash78.

While a mecca for original live music in Geelong, The Workers Club (or Workers Geelong as it is affectionately known) very quickly earned themselves a solid reputation as the home of smoked meats, with a menu featuring the likes of mouth-watering ribs, beef brisket, chicken dippers, and macaroni balls.

Now it’s no secret that the hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the lockdown measures enforced to slow the spread of COVID-19, with consumers across the country ordered to stay home and pubs, restaurants and cafes told to shut their doors.

But after the initial shock of the sweeping shutdown, and the realisation any return to normal could be (and would be) months off, businesses were faced with a stark choice: adapt or face the consequences.

With coronavirus derailing the live music and touring industry and live music being their major source of income, Workers Geelong opted for the former, finding a creative way to survive – and even thrive – during the coronavirus pandemic with their new hustle, Workers Barbecue.

“Well we kind of had an inkling that things were going to (logically) get really bad for the hospo and entertainment industry a couple of weeks before lock down,” Worker’s Club owner Steven Nichols explains.

“We were scrambling behind the scenes while gigs were being cancelled and postponed left, right and centre to work out how to pivot into a food focused business.

“We’ve sadly lost the majority of our Workers Fam, trivia friends, door staff, engineers, security and of course musicians. We’ve had to focus all our energies with a small crew of three onto food to make sure there is the slimmest of chances that there will be live music again once this comes to an end,” Steven continues.

An extension of their already established operations as a smokehouse, Workers Barbecue kept their virtual doors open through contactless pickup and delivery, allowing loyal customers to tuck into the charred, succulent and profoundly flavoursome barbecue meats from the comfort of their own homes seven days a week.

If you’re peckish for beef brisket, pulled pork, or some of the best buffalo wings in town, Workers have you sorted with their selection of American barbecue packs which come complete with slaw, potato salad and bourbon BBQ Sauce. These are served cold for you to reheat when you please, requiring minimal effort.

While the smoked meats are their forte, the Workers team have also been slinging juicy, stacked creations and satisfying our hunger cravings and undying affection for meat in a bun. There’s the Philly cheese beef burger, the beef and bacon burger, a southern fried chicken burger, and a pulled pork burger, amongst others. Our pick though is the Mac N Cheese burger, completed with more cheese, slaw and chipotle mayo… big yes.

If you were keen to truly step up your Workers Barbecue experience, finish off your order with the crunchy, fully-loaded fries or tater tots, the cheesy mac bites, juicy boneless chicken or give the BBQ jerky a whirl.

Even before the Coronavirus crisis hit Australia, it was already a concern about the service commissions charged by meal delivery platforms like Deliveroo and UberEats, which range from 14 – 35%. Already fighting to survive amidst the pandemic, Workers Barbecue decided to do their deliveries independently, a clear reflection of their dedication to both their future and willingness to provide Geelong and surrounds with kick-ass barbecue.

“With the help of our former Spinning Half partner, Andre Trosky and his food ordering app WHOODS we’ve been able to stand on our own without the “big guys” and monitor our own orders and deliver our own food.”

While from this Monday, June 1, restaurants can finally reopen following the reduction of COVID-19 restrictions with 20 pax in each separate space, the dining experience is probably never going to be the same… Luckily though, we’re betting that Workers Barbecue is going to be here to stay for a very long time.

“Workers Barbecue has always been the second love for us, after music and being the first barbecue joint in Geelong meant we had to try and make that live on.”

Workers Barbecue is located at 90 Little Malop Street, Geelong and open for delivery and takeaway 5pm-9pm. You can place your order via the Workers Barbecue Website.

*Please note that their recommended distance for hot food deliveries is up to 15km.