Being at the helm of the Queens Arms Hotel, Callum Francis and Corey Howard know what their punters want and make it their job to ensure they get it. 

By Sue Turpie

Going by history and the number of pubs that used to line the city’s streets, it’s fair to say that Bendigonians have always enjoyed sinking a few at their local watering hole. However, with cultural shifts, changes in hospitality trends, a more worldly population, the city has farewelled a number of historic hotels arguably in favour of cafes and hipster bars. Although thanks to the passion and perseverance of today’s proprietors, many of the city’s favourite pubs are still going strong. Including this one …
The philosophy behind the current success of the historic Queens Arms Hotel is to know what the punters want and to deliver it well. Given the experience of Callum Francis and Corey Howard, it’s no surprise they’re doing just that and more.
Callum works the front of house. He brought into the pub some six years ago, going into partnership with Bruce Morcom, John Russell and Budge (Peter) Russell. It was late last year that Corey also came on board as a partner. Essentially, Callum and Corey are at the helm of the Queens Arms while the other three run the National Hotel, another well-known establishment just down the road.
It seems fate stepped in to bring these two together.
“Corey was head chef at the National Hotel for many years until he had a sea change down to Mornington,” Callum says. “When he was ready to come back for the family, a position came up here for someone with his experience and abilities.”
Callum is full of praise for the chef and their working relationship, and understands that changes in people’s expectations mean greater expectations for Corey in the kitchen. Although it seems Corey puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform well…

Read the full story in the autumn issue.