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Reflecting on 2018

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As we reflect on 2018, there is a feeling that it was a transformative year for hospitality; a year where the existing norms of the industry have been challenged, where new alliances have formed and where we can see some exciting new developments unfolding for the industry on the horizon.

At the end of 2017 the Association came to the realisation that we needed to front foot a drive to promote the wellness and resilience of people in the hospitality industry – both employers and employees. While the industry can be fast paced and exciting, it is also at times stressful and we need to do all that we can for those that suffer as a result of this. This was an important area of focus for the Association in 2018. We’ve introduced a number of industry initiaitves, including a wellness forum, workshops and seminars, and industry-specific resources produced in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation.

The Restaurant Association has also been an active advocate for the hospitality industry in 2018, representing the industry point of view on a number of the Government’s tourism and food and beverage working groups and preparing submissions on areas impacting our businesses. It’s important that an industry that contributes so much to the nation’s economy has a voice when key decisions are being made. In our advocacy work recently we have been arguing for café and restaurant manager skill shortages to be officially recognised. We are waiting to hear if we have been successful in getting this role onto Immigration New Zealand’s immediate skill shortage list (ISSL) and will let members know when we hear more. There is much more work going on as we prepare for some more employment legislation changes in 2019.

2018 was a year of collaboration for the Restaurant Association, with one of our key new relationships being with Eat New Zealand. Restaurant Association members now receive dual membership for both organisations and we partnered with Eat New Zealand on the new website and to present the inaugural hui, a 2-day gathering that considered some of the most important questions, challenges and opportunities in New Zealand food and hospitality at the moment.

We have also collaborated with Lexis Nexis to introduce RA ComplyHub to members – an online tool for business owners and managers to understand and stay on top of their legal obligations. RA ComplyHub has core compliance information and guidance for our members in one central place. We have launched a partnership with Takeaway Solutions, a free online ordering and table booking solution.

A new research partnership with AUT which will assist us to finalise an accreditation programme in 2019 that recognises employers who are achiveing at a level above the rest. We look forward to bringing you more information on this next year as we finalise the elements of this programme.

No matter who we are conversing with, Restaurant Association conversations always emphasise the great things happening in the industry and one of the ways we celebrate our amazing businesses and the people in them is through our Regional Hospitality Awards platform. We grew our number of regional hospitality awards to 11 in 2018, with events now held in Auckland, Bay of Plenty (bi-annual), Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Nelson (bi-annual) and Rotorua. New Awards will be launched for the Taranaki and Waikato regions in 2019.

Thank you to all of you that support the Restaurant Association. My team and I will continue to work hard to support you in your businesses.

Marisa Bidois

CEO, Restaurant Association of NZ

Here are some of our highlights of 2018.

  • We grew our Restaurant Association team to 19 people, with 15 located at the Auckland head office, 1 in Rotorua, 2 in Wellington and 1 in Christchurch. We increased the size of our helpline team to 3.
  • We have welcomed over 450 new members to the Restaurant Association, with 2,300 members now located around the country.
  • Through the Association’s HospoStart programme, where we train unemployed New Zealanders in basic employability skills for the industry, we have helped to train 116 students, assisting them to find employment in our industry.
  • We created a platform for awareness of hospitality business owners and employees wellbeing and resilience, including a wellness forum, workshops and seminars, and industry-specific resources produced in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation.
  • We partnered with Eat New Zealand, so hospitality businesses can access dual membership with each organization. We joined forces to present the country’s inaugural food and hospitality hui – a two day annual gathering that bought together the best local and international leaders in food and hospitality to share ideas, tools and stories, to educate and inspire!
  • We introduced new member savings programmes with iMonitor, Lexis Nexis ComplyHub and Takeaway Solutions.
  • The Association actively advocated on the industry’s behalf on employment, immigration, food safety and more. Chief Executive, Marisa Bidois met with 20 Ministers in government to ensure the industry’s position was clear on many issues facing the industry.
  • Our helpline assisted over 600 members who called for advice and support.
  • Our MentorMe programme assisted over 100 members.
  • We hosted over 50 events – meetme’s, webinars and professional development seminars.
  • A new research partnership with AUT has been formed to assist us to finalise an employer accreditation programme.
  • We grew our regional hospitality awards platform to 11, with events in 2018 in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Manawatu and Rotorua. Bi-annual events in Bay of Plenty and Nelson will be held in 2019 along with two new regional awards in Waikato and Taranaki.
  • We hosted international keynote speakers, Nelly Robinson and over 20 local presenters at the 2018 hui, which was held in Christchurch in October. The event will move on to Auckland in 2019.
  • Our Restaurant Association gift vouchers and restaurant gift cards look set to reach sales in excess of $1,500,000 to directly benefit Association members.
  • We represented the industry on over 15 national and regional steering and advisory groups.
  • We conducted research on the industry – from remuneration to minimum wages, immigration and more – providing benchmarks for members and assisting with media comment.
  • We supported the DineAid charity, helping to raise money for those who need it.
  • And much more!



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