Hospitality in West Auckland is undergoing a revolution, and The Trusts are leading the way with a comprehensive modernisation and upgrading of eight of its key restaurants and bars.
This massive make-over not only modernises the venues but also re-positions them with décor, food style and prices tailored to the community in which each is located. It follows on from the multi-million modernisation of the liquor stores, and just as that made our retail operations a market leader in this country, so the newly revamped eateries are aimed at making the dining out West experience as delicious and delightful as any in Auckland.
Re-energising “the scene” in West Auckland shows that the West is increasingly regarded as a great place to live work and relax in. And not just by Westies. People are starting to travel from all over Auckland to find out “what’s going on” out here. And they keep on coming back.
We welcome this new blossoming of the West because we’re proud Westies here at The Trusts. Indeed, once we’re through refreshing our existing venues, we’ll start looking at where we might be able to expand our businesses. Growth is bringing competition which is good. More variety and choice expands the whole market while quality competition sees the bar set ever higher, which is good news for customers. It’s also good for jobs. As the scene grows there are more and better jobs.
It’s a great outlook and we can’t wait to see the current refurbishments finished and our hospitality business going full throttle in the not too distant future.
What sort of future awaits? Well, it’s massive if “The Flagship” is our guide. Everything Guy Randall, our General Manager Hospitality, researched, planned and built for when he re-positioned West Harbour’s Marina restaurant as “The Flagship”, has come true beyond even our expectations. Business at “The Flagship” is up 144% on the same time, last year, the approval rating is high and a lot of the business is repeat business. It’s a pretty big compliment.
Now Guy, who moved here from Christchurch at the beginning of last year, has completed his research into the demographics, “culture” and preferences of our other communities and started the roll-out of modernisation of another seven hospitality venues. This programme will not produce “one size to fit all”. Just the opposite; each venue will be styled to suit the community it serves and the menu and pricing will be built accordingly. People in different suburbs have different wants. Guy says and he’s aiming to give them what they want in an attractive, efficient and affordable environment. Value for money wins the customer’s approval which in turn encourages more business and then repeat business.
That’s what Guy was aiming for at “The Flagship” and now the same formula is being applied to all the venues.
First was Kelston’s The Korner Bar which has been re-built as Workshop, a modern community bar. The gaming area has reduced in size and is located more discreetly. There’s a raised pool table area and a stage. The kitchen is half the previous size while the manager’s office is not much bigger than an old fashioned phone box. Guy explains it’s just a matter of making space work better. The modern manager, for example, works mainly from a go anywhere laptop and doesn’t need a big office.
In significant contrast is June’s planned refurbishment of Takahe in Titirangi, the former Longdrop Bistro bought by The Trusts in May last year. It will re-merge as a café-restaurantbar called “Iti” (or “small” in Maori). Recognising the unique creative nature of the Titirangi community the design team, which includes well-known Titirangi designer Rachel Lovelace, actually went and interviewed Titirangi residents in their homes. This was to capture a flavour of what local people valued about the interior of their homes and also the environment around it. Because the environment and views are incomparable, the interior of ”Iti” will be natural, minimalistic and sympathetic to the surroundings and to draw attention to them.
Customers can look forward to some ”really cool architecture” and an interior and menu that are bespoke. Even the porcelain lampshades are made especially for Iti. It will be the only place in the west serving Kokako organic coffee and the menu might be considered a little ”eccentric”.
The logic behind the Hangar Bar refurbishment in July, is different again and influenced by the fact that it sits in a very commercial environment and the customer profile reflects that. All the surfaces will be replaced, the dated colour scheme replaced and overall it will be softer and more “female friendly”. Indoor/outdoor flow will be enhanced and hours might be extended.
The soft furnishings at Bricklane will be replaced and the décor will, to an extent, be more reflective of the New Lynn area’s association with ceramics and notably Crown Lynn.
The Glen in Glen Eden will get a spruce up, and New Lynn’s Black Salt will get new outdoor furniture and the upstairs function area will be significantly improved.
Finally and the biggest project of all, will be the conversion of Bar 159 at the Quality Hotel Lincoln Green to the “Good Home” theme. The Good Home concept is one of a number of bar concepts developed by Lion Breweries; others include the well-known Speight’s Ale Houses and Cleaver and Co. Guy judged that The Good Home theme with its attractive home-from-home comfort was a good fit for Bar 159 and will help to meet the objective of making the bar “the local” for patrons from outside the hotel as well as guests.