MOOLOOLABA restaurant The Lounge Bar & Dining has a new manager at the helm.
Hospitality veteran Allan (AJ) Maticic came on board in September.
"The restaurant was created for locals, to give locals what they wanted - the best food and service in Mooloolaba," owner Leigh Slade said.
"We believe we are achieving that with three industry awards already won in the first eight months of operation."
AJ, who has worked at the Story Bridge Hotel and Port Douglas Combined Clubs, said the secrets of his success were head chef Mitchell Smith, dedicated staff that look after each other like family and offering discounted prices to locals.
"I have really concentrated on local business," he said.
"We have been packed on Friday and Saturday nights, mostly with local businesses doing parties or functions.
"And I have a talented chef in Mitchell Smith...I go out and make these promises and the boy delivers. He's brilliant."
AJ, who is also an emerging artist, has a painting of his on the wall that he is raffling for the Mater Hospital Little Miracles Foundation.
Charity identity June Upton will host a New Year's Eve cocktail party where the winner of the painting, and a host of other auction/raffle prizes donated by local businesses, will be announced.
The $49 a head function runs from 6pm until late and offers an eight-course canape menu.
The Lounge Bar has 15 staff and AJ expects to add to that number as it gets busier.
He said the key to getting staff performing well in hospitality was simple.
"Be fair and direct with them and encourage them," he said.
"And give them feedback; I make sure they see every single TripAdvisor review or email from a customer."
The Lounge Bar & Dining has won: Restaurant and Catering Association's Best New Restaurant 2013, Chicken & Chablis Club Restaurant of the Year 2013 and the Sunshine Coast Gourmet Clubs Dinner of the Year 2013.
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