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Over one hundred cafes, restaurants and bars have closed since October last year, according to The Hospitality Association. How the individuals are coping within the industry depends on “where you are, how good you are, how you respond to the market” says HANZ CEO Bruce Robertson.
Aunt Daisy’s Boathouse, New Orleans Dinner Club, and Calypso Cafe have all closed in the Wellington region recently. A lot of other places are limiting hours and shutting their doors for parts of the week.
“Bottom end” eating establishment that would once have been able to trade through rough times and then sell up, are being forced to shut down because there are no buyers, according to Mr Robertson. He also says that “Part of the closures have been the result of unrealistic rents.” Landlords are raising rents because they feel pressured to make properties look valuable to prospective investors.
During winter, people have a tendency to stay at home when it’s cold. The cold snap came early this year so restaurateurs have to find ways to entice people out of their cosy homes, he said. “A lot of people think they should be conservative, when they can afford not to be. It’s a matter of giving them an incentive.”
The owner of Auckland’s Horse and Trap Restaurant, Warren Stewart, said reward systems were now quite standard along with specials & events to keep the regulars returning. “It’s now a buyers’ market in the hospitality industry. If people shop around, they’ll see good benefits.”
Suburban restaurants are now picking up according to Mr Stewart, and that was gradually flowing-on into the “party areas”, however most businesses were already “doing things smarter”.
On average, the worldwide restaurant industry average for restaurant turnover, is twenty months, according to Mike Egan, the well respected Wellington restaurateur and Restaurant Association President. He pointed out that while there may be an increase in closures, those restaurants and venues leave behind them fixed equipment and furniture, making them easy pickings for new business entrepreneurs. Egan thought it likely that new entrants would be of better calibre due to more stringent scrutiny on the part of banks and suppliers lending credit.
“It’s a good thing. When times become good again, I hope we are running our businesses with the same leanness and strategies, so we’ll keep doing it.”
Source: The Dominion Post22/7/09
It’s apparently a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ when purchasing ‘cheap’ fish at some NZ fish & chip shops.Vietnamese catfish or ‘basa’ is an ultra-cheap species of fish farmed in the highly polluted Mekong Delta. Since March 20, MAF Biosecurity has approved imports of the cheap fish.
In June 2009, 15,000kg was imported by Shore Mariner, one of New Zealand’s largest seafood suppliers, and has been largely bought by fish & chip shops and producers of ready-made meals and crumbed fish.
Director of “Talley’s” Andrew Talley, campaigned against the imports, saying basa is farmed in the “most putrid and polluted waters anywhere in the world”.
“It’s harvested with slave labour, with no environmental regulations and no health and safety regulations, which enables them to produce a product at about a third of the cost of New Zealand product.”
He said Vietnamese catfish was sold as orange roughy, sole, tarakihi and also ling in various countries, which meant that people could be eating basa without knowing it.
NZ Herald reports that none of the fish and chip shop owners in Auckland they spoke to said they sold basa.
Source: NZ Herald.co.nz 5 July 09