“The Fiddler has been trading since 1826 when it was owned by the famous transport company Cobb & Co,” begins Mark Bylsma, manager of the Rouse Hill institution that, up until recently, was known far and wide as The Mean Fiddler Hotel. “Recently, a decision was made to re-brand and renovate, taking the ‘Mean’ out of The Fiddler and changing the focus from vertical drinking and night clubs to a food-driven gastropub. The hotel’s currently licensed for 2300 people, seats almost 700 at capacity – with 85% of those seats outside – and has 108 beer lines between its 8 bars, so those numbers give you an idea of the scale we operate on. The renovations gave us the opportunity to reconsider a lot of things – including our heating system – and after inviting Bromic Heating’s technicians to tailor a solution specifically to our needs, we couldn’t be happier!”
“Out here at Rouse Hill it can be -3°C in winter and 43°C in summer,” Mark explains. “We’ve had a cooling system in place for a while, which is fantastic, but we didn’t have a cold weather option. We used to rent temporary mushroom heaters, but they were dilapidated from years of use and it got to the point where we’d have to break a few down to make the others work. There was no capital investment in the longevity of the equipment and we were turning over 80-100 bottles of LPG every week! You literally don’t have the time to fill them up and of course; they never run out when it’s quiet, only when you’re busy and need them.”
“I was put in charge of finding an effective heating solution for The Fiddler and spent a lot of time going to clubs, pubs, restaurants, cafes and a bunch of other venues to see what was out there,” he continues. “It all came back to the fact that a lot of places had spent the money up-front on high-quality Bromic Heating products that they wouldn’t have issues with in the future, and that’s exactly what we wanted for The Fiddler. Bromic seemed to have the best gas, electric and portable heating products on the market so after looking through a few of their case studies to get my head around the different combinations they offer, I liked what I saw and got in touch.”
“No two areas are identical,” Mark adds, “so there’s no point copying off someone if their requirements aren’t exactly the same. We decided to get Bromic’s technicians in to help design and implement an effective heating system specific to our needs that would be sustainable for many years to come, and the result was absolutely phenomenal!”
As with most outdoor applications, Bromic’s heating experts predominantly specified gas heating at The Fiddler due to its superior spread of heat. Almost three dozen 500-Series Tungsten Smart-Heat™ Gas heaters were chosen for their ability to reach deeply into open areas, evenly creating customer comfort throughout the venue’s sprawling central courtyard. Of course, such a comprehensive gas heating solution required adequate plumbing and in some places, such provisions simply weren’t practical.
“The entire hotel has been renovated, so some of the gas got built over the top of and some of it didn’t,” Mark mentions, highlighting why Tungsten Smart-Heat™ Portable heaters were specified over their fixed counterparts in some areas. “I’ve used heaps of those portable mushroom heaters in the past where you stand there pumping the system and the ignition just doesn’t work properly. The Tungsten Smart-Heat™ Portables, on the other hand, only require you to turn the knob, hold the pilot, hit the pump once and off she goes. They’re quite different from traditional mushroom heaters. Yes, they’re easier to use and more efficient, but I’ve never heard a heating system described as ‘sexy’ until it came out of the mouth of one of my customers!”
“The way heaters look is something that often gets overlooked when you’re purchasing a product purely out of necessity,” Mark adds. “The Fiddler’s owner is in the building game and decided that Tungsten Smart-Heat™ Electric heaters would look better under the awning of what is probably the longest veranda you’ll ever see inside a hotel. They’re a white colour that matches the roof and they’ve blended in perfectly. You can’t even see them unless you see the red bars when they’re on. They’ve been quite cost effective too as I haven’t noticed a spike in the power bill at all, and I’m the one who signs them!”
It’s clear from a simple running cost comparison that fixed gas heating offers considerable savings over traditional LPG mushroom units for venues with heavy heating demands, closely followed by fixed electric alternatives and the highly-efficient Tungsten Smart-Heat Portable. In the case of The Fiddler, a $50,000+ yearly reduction in running costs will practically pay-off the new Bromic Heating system before the second winter warms while offering improvements in reliability, performance and staff labour to boot!
“With such a large venue, you have to have a permanent heating solution, especially during the bitterly cold nights of North-Western Sydney,” says Mark. “If someone’s come out to dinner and they’re sitting down with a beer or a glass of wine after they’ve finished their meal, all it takes is for the wife to say she’s cold and they’ll head home. But if they’re comfortable, they might order a dessert, they might have another bottle of wine, and they might even decide to hang around for a while and get a cab home. That sort of thing obviously makes the pub busier; it’s making more money and it’s evolving the business.”
“At the end of the day, our Bromic Heating solution was an investment in the future,” Mark concludes. “The performance of the heaters is exceptional and the figures show so far that they’re working a treat, so if we can continue to create comfort and extend the time our customers choose to stay, it’s only going to get better for us.”