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Five star Pullman Rotorua opens
The first international five-star hotel in the Bay of Plenty region, Pullman Rotorua has been officially opened and promoted as a dynamic and cosmopolitan hotel for the high-end domestic and international traveller.
The hotel has been in the works for close to five years, after the Chow brothers bought the former Zen Centre historical glass building, in the Rotorua CBD in 2015.
The ceremony was opened by Reverand Tom Poata with a karakia, before Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa representatives led two moving waiata that echoed throughout the foyer. Mayor Steve Chadwick said the opening was “incredibly exciting” and every aspect of the building had been designed to reflect the city’s identity.
Pullman Rotorua has a range of upscale accommodation options for guests to choose from, including superior king rooms, superior twin rooms, deluxe rooms and executive suites.
Locals and visitors alike can start or finish the day with the very best tastes of New Zealand at the hotel’s modern brasserie, Barrel & Co Bar and Grill.General manager Richard Bungeroth is ready to deliver the five-star experience to Rotorua and lead a team of over 100 staff.
“Pullman Rotorua is perfectly suited for travellers, especially families, couples and business leaders looking for a world-class stay in one of the country’s most attractive tourist destinations”.
“The city has beautiful forests and lakes for mountain biking, luging and water sports, spas for relaxation and wellness, and renowned geothermal attractions. No matter what visitors are in Rotorua to experience, we’re in the centre of it all at the Pullman and we’re addressing a need at the top end of the market which wasn’t being met before,” says Bungeroth.
The 130-room hotel has panoramic views of the city and lake area and also features a bar, gym, an executive lounge as well as conference facilities including four private event spaces for 120 people, theatre style, and a boardroom/private dining room.
Barrel & Co Bar and Grill will deliver an entertaining dining experience centred around an intimate open kitchen and a focus on locally sourced produce, a premium grill selection and an impressive craft beer and local wine menu showcasing every growing wine region in New Zealand.
Rotorua’s tourism economy is substantial with approximately $828 million spent by visitors in 2019.
Anthony Bourdain’s final book to be published
World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, which the late chef and television host, Anthony Bourdain was working on when he died, is due out in October 2020.
The final book by renowned chef, travel writer and television host Anthony Bourdain will be published in October, more than two years after he committed suicide.
An illustrated collection of Bourdain’s reflections on his favourite places to visit and dine around the world, the final book has been finished by his longtime assistant Laurie Woolever and will be published by Ecco on 13 October. Alongside Bourdain’s tips on “what to eat … and, in some cases, what to avoid”, the book will also contain writing by members of his family and friends.
Woolever, who worked with Bourdain for close to a decade and co-wrote Appetites with him, has already written about the emotional experience of working on the new book. “It’s been a wrenching, lurching struggle to get back to that manuscript, as I grieve the enormous loss of his kind, profane, surprising and brilliant existence,” she wrote for CNN in 2018.
Announcing the book, Woolever said: “It’s been my honour and pleasure to create a book that includes stories from his loved ones and colleagues. I was lucky to work closely with Tony, and I’m so pleased to be able to share his reflections and insights about the world as he saw it in this guide.”
After training at The Culinary Institute of America, Bourdain rose to fame in 2000 with his behind-the-scenes exposé of high-pressure restaurant culture, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. He later became a television host, travelling the world to make several award-winning documentary series about food and travel, including A Cook’s Tour and No Reservations. He killed himself in June 2018 while filming an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown in France.
Made to order menu features on Fiordland cruise
Boat renovations, a string of awards and a brand-new menu launch for summer — Milford Sound’s scenic cruise boat is offering tourists New Zealand on a new level. The new-look Milford Haven from Go Orange has launched its second season with a new menu and award-winning brews from sister company Canyon Brewing Queenstown. Travellers on board Haven can now choose from a freshly-cooked café-style menu with vegan and vegetarian options.
They can dig into cooked-to-order fish burgers or a crispy tofu roti generously covered with toppings, or browse a patisserie section filled with cakes and sweet treats paired with barista-made coffee.
Breakfasts and lunches are catered for and can be enjoyed inside, upstairs or out on picnic-style benches on the top deck. For those who fancy a tipple, an artisan cheeseboard including some of New Zealand’s favourite cheeses is paired perfectly with a Mount Rosa 2019 rosé.
New Zealand’s favourite cheeses pair perfectly with Central Otago wine on the Milford Haven cruise experience.
The Milford Haven is the only boat in in Milford Sound offering made-to-order menu items and café-style table service, standing out from the crowd with its marriage of impeccable design and outstanding hospitality.
The Haven features velvet-soft seating in jewel-like shades, café-style booths, eye-catching artwork, chilled music, and an AstroTurf top deck with wooden bench seating, an outdoor bar and 360-degree views.
“We’ve created a whole new model of how guests can experience Milford, and they’re loving it!” says Cruise Experience Manager Tim Wells.
“The fiord hasn’t changed for hundreds of years but we have, delivering a cruise experience that goes above and beyond in creating the perfect day out for our guests. We know we’re getting it right, with nearly 25% growth in guest numbers last year and rave reviews.”In 2019 Go Orange was named Fiordland Tourism Operator Of The Year as a result of the work put into Milford Haven and its Fiordland experience. Go Orange also won the Best Activity New Zealand award in the 2019 Adventure Tourism Awards across Australia and New Zealand.
NZ hotels record solid year in 2019
New Zealand hotels recorded a solid year in 2019, with the same national occupancy level as 2018, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says. New statistics from TIA’s 190 member hotels show the average national occupancy level was 79%, the same rate as in 2018. The only region to record a small growth (+2%, to 69%) was Central Park, which covers Taupō, Hawke’s Bay-Te Matau-a-Māui and Gisborne-Tairāwhiti.
Auckland-Tamaki-Makaurau hotels reported a small drop of 1% to 82%, the lowest occupancy in the city for the last five years. This was partly due to a drop in air crew room nights reflecting a small reduction in air capacity out of Auckland Airport.
“These figures confirm that the recent spectacular growth of our visitor economy has come to an end,” TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.
“Along with flat occupancy, the average hotel rate was slightly down at the national level. No growth in hotel income will eventually impact on employment and reinvestment. The challenge will be compounded by new hotels that are due to open around the country, with more than 1200 new rooms expected to become available in Auckland alone by the end of 2020.”
Across New Zealand, three-star hotels were the only star band to record occupancy growth in 2019. Fifty-two percent of hotel guests were New Zealanders. Among our major visitor markets, New Zealand, USA and UK all increased their share of nights in hotels compared to 2018. China was static while Australia and Japan decreased their share of room nights for the year.
With no new major events scheduled in New Zealand this year, hoteliers are not expecting to see any significant improvement in their bottom line, Mr Roberts says. In 2021, New Zealand will host the America’s Cup and APEC but the impact of these events will be felt less in regional New Zealand.
With the end of the government’s Commercial Accommodation Monitor last year, TIA’s monthly hotel statistics are now a vital measure available of what is happening in the valuable hotel sector. TIA is looking forward to an announcement shortly from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment about what is planned to replace the CAM, Mr Roberts says.
Year ending 31 December 2019 statistics for each TIA Hotel region
|Region||2019 occupancy||2018 occupancy||No. of rooms|
 On average, 79% of all available hotel rooms were occupied each night in 2019.
 Aggregated room rate information is provided to participants in the TIA survey.
Summer refresher drink challenge returns
Fancy a ‘pie in the shake’, an iced banana drink topped with pancakes, bacon and banana chips or a dual coloured fruit slushie that will freeze the brain? These are just some of the crazy and delectable drinks up for grabs when New Zealand’s only cold drink challenge kicks off in Lower Hutt this month.
The “Cool As” Summer Refresher Drink Challenge, into it’s fifth year, will see 15 hospitality operators including cafes, restaurants, bars and a bakery in Lower Hutt create their own limited edition signature summer refresher drinks for people to enjoy over two weeks. Customers will be the given the chance to vote for their favourite drink by ballot or on “Cool As” Summer Refresher’s Facebook page, with the winner declared at the end of the challenge which takes place from 16 – 31 January, 2020.
The challenge, founded by the Hutt City Council as a way to inspire local cafes to be creative and attract people to the Lower Hutt CBD, has grown in popularity since it was launched in 2016. It was also the direct result of the successful Sweet As Hot Chocolate Challenge, in which Central Hutt cafes create signature hot chocolates for customers to taste and rank over three weeks in winter.
Council’s CBD Development Manager and organizer Cyndi Christensen says the challenge has a significant impact on
‘Scoff a Banoff’ by Tūtaki Cafe
the local economy, driving huge sales in participating cafes and increased foot traffic in the CBD.
“Last year there was also a 19% increase in votes – from 1100 in 2018 to 1344 in 2019 which shows people are really taking advantage of the signature drinks on offer. It’s wonderful for the Hutt City because it helps create a sense of community, and brings new people into the cafes. There are hospitality operators who are participating for the first time because they have seen the impact the challenge has had on businesses,” said Christensen.
There is no restriction on entries for the challenge – they just need to be cold and refreshing. To find out more about the challenge visit the “Cool As” Summer Refresher’s Facebook page
Entries now open for NZ Champions of Cheese Awards
Entries are open for the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2020, which will for the first time have three Supreme Champions.
To ensure the Awards represent all the country’s cheesemakers from boutique producers through to the very large cheese companies and every producer in between, three Supreme Champion Awards will be made this year. The Countdown Champion of Champions Commercial category for producers making more than 100 tonnes annually and Puhoi Valley Champion of Champions Boutique for companies making less than 10 tonnes per annum will be joined by the New World Champion of Champions Mid-sized category for producers who make between 10 and 99 tonnes annually.
The Awards have been run by the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) since 2003 and NZSCA chair Neil Willman said the Awards constantly evolve to reflect the changing industry.
Another significant change for 2020 is how the Champion Cheesemaker will be judged. “To be eligible cheesemakers will now enter three styles of cheeses, which are assessed in the one entry. The winner will be the cheesemaker who received the highest aggregate score across their three cheeses,” he said. Previously the Award had been made for the cheesemaker who won the most medals across the whole competition.
A new Chefs’ Choice category has been included this year too. Additionally in 2020 a Greek/Cypriot Cheese Category has replaced what was formerly known as the Feta Category and the Cheddar Category has been split into two sub categories, Bulk and Retail Cheddar.
Willman explained these changes follow those made in the 2019 the Awards, when the judging panels increased to three judges and two new categories were introduced; Champion Fresh Italian Style Cheese and a category to champion retailers offering a unique shopping experience for New Zealand specialty cheese, the Favourite NZ Specialty Cheese Shopping Experience.
Master Judge Russell Smith of Australia will again preside over the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards judging, which will also include butter and yoghurt. Judging will take place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February 2020 with medal winners announced in March. The announcement of trophy winners will be at a gala dinner – featuring a selection of winning cheeses – at Sky City Hamilton on Wednesday 6 May 2020. NZSCA is expecting 300 guests from throughout the country at the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2020.
The NZ Champions of Cheese 2020 Trophies are:
- Countdown Champion of Champions (Commercial)
- New World Champion of Champions (Mid-sized)
- Puhoi Valley Champion of Champions (Boutique)
- Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker
- Fonterra Co-operative Group Champion Original Cheese
- ECOLAB Champion Blue Cheese
- NZ Food Safety Champion New Cheese
- CHR Hansen Champion Soft White Rind Cheese
- Kiwi Labels Champion Greek/Cypriot Cheese
- Cheeselinks Champion Fresh Italian Style Cheese
- Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese
- AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese
- Delta Wines Champion European Style Cheese
- Sabato Champion Farmhouse Cheese
- Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind
- Big Chill Distribution Champion Flavoured Cheese
- Champion Retail Cheddar Cheese
- Champion Bulk Cheddar Cheese
- Champion Goat Cheese
- Champion Sheep Cheese
- Champion Export Cheese
- Curds & Whey Champion Homecrafted Cheesemaker and Cheese
- New World Cheese Lovers’ Choice
- Ignite Colleges Chefs’ Choice
- Favourite NZ Specialty Cheese Shopping Experience
- Innovative Packaging Champion Butter
- Champion Yoghurt
Online entry is via the NZSCA website https://nzsca.org.nz/
The post Entries now open for NZ Champions of Cheese Awards appeared first on Hospitality Business.
Diversification a winner at Ellerslie Event Centre
Balls, weddings and conferences have historically been bread and butter for Ellerslie Event Centre (EEC) but it’s diversification that is ensuring a profitable future for this popular venue.
Harley Davidson enthusiasts, Clydesdale horses & their riders, Spartan Auckland City Sprint contestants, Lions rugby supporters and Deep Hard & Funky concert-goers are just some of the guests who have contributed to record profits.
This hasn’t happened by chance. It has been part of a conscious strategy to push diversity, encouraged by Paul Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer of Ellerslie Event Centre and Auckland Racing Club (ARC).
Paul Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer of Ellerslie Event Centre and Auckland Racing Club (ARC).
“Our team ethos is that there is no such thing as ‘no.’ If it helps build our income to support racing, which is our identity, let’s put it in the mix,” he says.
Diversification has been a big part of EEC’s financial success. In 2018 it achieved a record profit of $11 million and in 2019 sustained growth has continued.
The variety of event customers has contributed to their high staff engagement and retention rates according to Paul, who has been at the helm since August 2017.
“We love the challenge of adapting our venue spaces to meet ‘out of the box’ customer requirements and the last 18 months has certainly see us do that!”
Other events not normally associated with traditional event venues have included Zirka Circus, the Covi Motorhome Caravan and Outdoor Supershow, the Dance for Disabilities (charity) Fashions in the Field party and of course, the Pop-up Globe which has been onsite for three seasons.
Mainstream events have included 285 weddings, 64 seminars, 30 Christmas parties and 23 school balls between 1 August 2018 and 1 July 2019.
EEC also rents out parking and houses the Golf Warehouse & Driving Range in its racecourse infield. All up the property, which is owned by ARC (who owns Ellerslie Event Centre) spans some 56 hectares.
Paul says, “I am simply a caretaker and hope to leave the assets of land and cash in a better position than when I found them. If I do that, I have done my job right.”
That means enhancing the environment too. “I was on a conference call the other day and looked out the window and there were two kingfishers and a wood pigeon… how cool is that right in the centre of the city? You look at them and know, ‘that’s what we have to protect.’”
The local community is also welcomed to walk their dogs or just themselves, in a safe, picturesque environment surrounded by 100-year-old trees.
ARC & EEC also have a solid base of money invested that returns an income. The income allows both security & financial independence and is invested back into facilities. Recent investments have included a $7 million stabling complex to rival any in Australasia; plus the introduction of all-new venue hire space, Tote on Ascot, which was the result of a painstaking redevelopment of what were most recently the Club’s stables, but originally the Club’s totalisator building that has been standing since 1885.
Also new are several raceday hospitality precincts, including The Enclosure, Martini Henry Lounge, The Paddock and mini marquee villages. Each new space is targeted towards a particular consumer group and all of which have been positively received, with sell-outs across racedays they feature on.
The future is looking bright for Ellerslie Event Centre and Auckland Racing Club – that old cliché “no two days are ever the same,” could not be more apt! And it’s paying dividends.
The post Diversification a winner at Ellerslie Event Centre appeared first on Hospitality Business.
Meat lovers rejoice
The agenda for the Meatstock Barbecue and Music Festival, to be held at the ASB Exhibition Centre in Greenlane next month includes:
Saturday 15th February – 11am-9pm
Culley’s King of the Que
New Zealand Barber Wars
New Zealand Butcher Wars
Live Bands on Stage – Katchafire, Sola Rosa Sound System, Cookin On 3 Burners, Jessy & The Volunteers + more to be announced
Meat and Barbecue Expo
Barbecue Food Trucks
Free Barbecue and Butcher Demonstrations
Beverages by Jack Daniel’s and Liberty Brewing
Sunday 16th February – 10am-6pm
A&E Melbourne Barbecue Wars
Melbourne Butcher Wars
Live Bands on Stage – Cookin On 3 Burners, Swamp Thing, Recliner Rockers Abby Wolfe + more to be announced
Meat and Barbecue Expo
Barbecue Food Trucks
Free Barbecue and Butcher Demonstrations
Beverages by Jack Daniel’s and Liberty Brewing
Three key food trends identified
Research giant Mintel has identified three key trends they are forecasting to shape the global food, drink, and foodservice industries over the next 10 years.
- Change, Incorporated:Successful companies will be those that improve the health of the planet and its population.
- Smart Diets:Technology will enable consumers to construct hyper-individualised approaches to physical and mental health.
- High-tech Harvests:Consumer trust in food science and technology will strengthen as these become vital tools to save the food supply.
Their latest report says we should expect to see consumers further prioritise plants in their diets, with the planet’s health in mind as much as their own. From beer made from rejected cereal pieces to containers made from organic mushroom waste, food waste will lead the way for more sustainable consumption and innovation.
Consumers will gain a better understanding of what makes them unique using health testing services, artificial intelligence-enabled apps, and increased personal data collection. Meanwhile, with consumers expected to live longer, many will want to learn how their diet can benefit long-term cognitive health.
Following in the footsteps of molecular whiskey, expect to see brands use science and technology to create new products, shorten production time, and confirm trustworthiness. Meanwhile, new ingredient growing regions, such as those in Africa and India, and agricultural innovations, including floating farms, will emerge to tackle global food insecurity.
Looking ahead, Alex Beckett, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, discusses how issues of health, technology, and trust will inspire formulation, packaging, marketing, and more in the years to come.
“In the next decade, consumers will be hungry for leadership and demonstrable change on environmental issues, ethical business practices, public health, and other important causes. Consumers will reward brands that take action and improve important societal issues. The companies that will win in the next 10 years will be those that fuel the new era of conscious consumption. Tomorrow’s conscious consumers will be looking for eco-friendly packaging and products, while also seeking guidance on how to make their diets more sustainable.”
“Looking ahead, more consumers will be able to gain in-depth knowledge of their biology through personal health testing kits which will empower them to personalise their diet and health regimes. Analysis of these tools will inform consumers of the steps they need to take to address every aspect of their health, including brain and emotional wellbeing. As a result, in order to succeed over the next decade, brands will need to offer more personalised product offerings, develop smart home solutions, and assist consumers in addressing mood and brain health.”
“Science will interlace with the food supply chain to boost yields and combat climate change. Celebrating the sustainable, health, and cost benefits of lab-grown food will be crucial in educating consumers about nature-identical alternatives. But the food and drink industry will be compelled to elevate the role of nature, and humans, in the storytelling of these new, modern solutions. Transparency of information is essential to building trust in a future where scientists play as integral a role as farmers. And championing the people behind the food—whether it is grown in a laboratory or a field—will remain a timeless way of building trust with consumers.”
Vegan collaboration underway in UK
UK catering company Amadeus has pledged to put an increasing focus on vegan food throughout its venues in 2020. As one of the UK’s leading venue caterers, serving 10 million visitors a year, the business has seen vegan options double over the past two years, increasing its vegan offering to cope with demand.
Research suggests that there has been a fourfold rise in the number of vegans in Great Britain since 2014 and during this time vegan alternatives have become increasingly commonplace at Amadeus’ venues, which include the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and Birmingham’s two arenas, Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena.
As well as introducing a range of new vegan options in the past calendar year, the caterer is looking to collaborate with leaders in vegan food to make sure it is providing the best and most innovative menus at its venues.
Marc Frankl, food and beverage director at Amadeus, said: “Veganism is here to stay, and we are really excited to be putting it really high up on our agenda for this coming year.
“Our research shows that our vegan offering has grown year-on-year, supporting the demand we’re seeing from visitors to our many venues across the UK.
“In the past 12 months we have developed a range of new vegan offers and concepts into our venues, including the all-vegan ‘Str-EAT No Meat’ concept at our Arenas, which includes vegan kebabs and cauliflower wings, as well as vegan options at every outlet. We’ve also introduced a new range of vegan and beyond meat burgers at the NEC.
“The idea for ‘Str-EAT No Meat’ came from a food tour in London – and just a few months later we introduced it at our Arenas, completely selling out on the first night. We’re also serving vegetarian menus as vegan in the hospitality section of our arenas due to the demand we’re seeing. We’re always looking at ways to innovate as the demand for vegan options increases.
“It’s important for us to keep options varied but not lose sight of what visitors to our venues want when it comes to food and drink: quality, speed and value for money.”
Vegan options are also being developed in the conferencing strand of the caterer’s business, with the ICC and VOX, Birmingham’s cutting-edge conferencing centre.
Marc continued: “Throughout 2020 we’re looking to work with leaders in veganism to make sure we’re offering new and exciting options for customers.
“It’s been an ongoing process, working closely with clients to develop all vegan menus and we’re seeing that this is a growing trend in the industry. Our vegan revolution is also well underway at The ICC. We’ve introduced concepts such as hummus pit which has proved extremely popular, as well as adapting our service style with live cooking stations.
“Moving forward we’re looking to work even closer with suppliers. They are an important part of the Amadeus family and we’re always speaking to them about new products and ideas. There is no sign of the vegan movement slowing up and we’re really excited to see how we can innovate in this space.”
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