An Employer’s Perspective

How House Made Hospitality put inclusion on the menu

“Having an inclusive workforce has always been part of our DNA,” says Scott Brown, Founder and Co-Owner of House Made Hospitality, operator of seven high-end food and beverage venues across Sydney. “We’d been playing around with what we could do and how we could create opportunities in our team for a while, but it was all quite new to us.”
In late 2022 Scott was casually watching The Project on Channel 10 when he found himself suddenly staring at the solution. “There was a story about the Omnia Inclusive pop-up restaurant program (‘Lettuce Eat’) on TV and I thought, ‘well, this is the opportunity’.”
"What do you Google?"
Like many Australian employers, Scott and his management team had an idea what they wanted, but they were unsure of the best way to achieve it. “For about two years we’d been thinking about building a more inclusive work environment, but it’s quite hard to know where to start,” Scott reflects. “I actually remember sitting down one day and even asking ‘what do you Google’? So when I saw the story on TV, the light bulb went on. I immediately got my phone out and typed in ‘Omnia Inclusive’. I shot off an email to them the very next morning!”
A natural fit
“Having never done this before, we were quite nervous at first. It really was very new to us, but the team at Omnia Inclusive were wonderful,” says Scott. “Both parties were really willing to work with each other and it was a very natural fit. Anthony Workman (Omnia Inclusive Area Manager) and his team came in, they guided us through us the process, they talked about the opportunities they could support us with and we just took it from there.”
Six months later, House Made Hospitality has two highly motivated team members in its Sydney CBD kitchen – Darren who is autistic and Robbie who lives with an acquired brain injury – both placed and supported by Omnia Inclusive. “Robbie and Darren have been fantastic additions, they’re both doing a great job,” enthuses Scott. “It’s been wonderful to see them grow and bloom, they’ve very quickly become integral parts of what we do.”
Darren, who confesses to being a bit of joker in the kitchen, has nothing but good things to say about the welcome he’s received from Scott and the wider team. “I’ve always been interested in hospitality and watched lots of cooking shows when I was young,” he says excitedly. “When I got the email from Scott to tell me I had the role it was great. I was very happy and I still am very happy!”
Settling in
“We try to treat all of our staff with a lot of love and respect and we work hard to create a nurturing environment,” explains Scott of the induction process for Darren and Robbie. “Initially we were quite careful, for the first couple of shifts they were a bit tentative as you’d expect. But they both settled in very quickly and now they’re full of confidence, making jokes, working hard. Robbie has even picked up some extra shifts, he’s almost a full-timer these days. Sometimes we actually have to curb his enthusiasm and remind him it’s a marathon, not a sprint each day!”

“I really enjoy the atmosphere here, it’s such a friendly environment,” says Robbie, who continues to thrive in his role as a Kitchen Hand. “I do the best I can with the skills I’ve been given, but I also get a lot of support from the other chefs. For instance, if there are things I can’t reach or I have trouble with, I just ask and they’re always happy to help me.”

Support across the business
Scott explains the ongoing support from Omnia Inclusive has also been a big part of their successful first foray into inclusive employment, both at an individual level for Darren and Robbie, but also for the wider management team at House Made Hospitality. “We all know if there’s ever an issue or a question, there’s always somebody at the end of the phone at Omnia Inclusive who can assist us, or even drop by if necessary,” he says.
“It also thrills me to see our other leaders really embracing Darren and Robbie. Having an inclusive workplace is quite personal to me, but one of my fears was that perhaps we wouldn’t get buy-in from everyone. But I can honestly say from our HR people to our kitchen management team, they’ve all really embraced it. In fact, in many ways they’re taking the ball and running further than I ever thought they would!”
"The world is their oyster"
Looking ahead, Scott feels nothing but positivity for Darren and Robbie at House Made Hospitality. “They’re already amongst our most trustworthy, reliable, courteous and happiest employees,” he says proudly. “I really think the world is their oyster. I’ve got no doubt they could be running a shift in one of our businesses before too long. They have the capabilities and the communication skills, they just seem to be taking on more and more each day. I definitely see a bright long-term future for them both.”
“Having a diverse workplace is so important and we’ve had nothing but success working with Omnia Inclusive,” Scott adds. “We’re fortunate to have a strong and sustainable business and we feel a real obligation to give back to our community. There are a lot of people out there like Darren and Robbie, who just need that start, that confidence, that opportunity to kick start their career. We’re so happy that we’re now in a position to be able to do that.”

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