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Our Highlights of 2019!

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It’s a wrap for 2019 and for a decade!

Another year and another decade is coming to end! We want to thank you for your valued membership and being a part of the Restaurant Association family. We’d love to share with you some of our success and what we’ve been up to this year.

  • We’ve welcomed over 450 new members to the Restaurant Association in 2019, with 2,300 members across the country.
  • To aid and support our growing membership base we’ve also grown our team to 20 people, with 16 located at the Auckland head office, 1 in Rotorua, 2 in Wellington and 1 in Christchurch.


  • The Association has been represented in the media over 1,000 times during the year – in local newspapers, radio, TV and through online media – representing a voice on matters of importance to the industry.
  • We actively advocated on the industry’s behalf on employment, immigration, food safety and more. Chief Executive, Marisa Bidois met with 12 Ministers, MP’s and officials in government to ensure the industry’s position was clear on the many issues facing the industry, through consultation with you, our members, who participated in over 20 surveys.
  • We made submissions for consultations on Employer Assisted Visa proposals, Vocational Education, Fair Pay Agreements, Migrant Exploitation and Wellington Alcohol Fees.
  • We represented the industry on over 15 national and regional steering and advisory groups and joined the Go with Tourism board.


  • We grew our key Association partnership relationships to over 20 and collaborated with over 100 Association partners and sponsors in 2019.
  • We introduced a new member savings programme with Maurice Trapp health insurance.
  • Our Restaurant Association gift vouchers and restaurant gift cards reached sales in excess of $1,600,000, with growth at 8% over last year, all of which directly benefited Association members.
  • We’ve been working on our Dinefind website, which will be relaunched early next year with a fresh new look and updates to improve user experience.
  • We’ve continued support of charity, DineAid, which raised over $150,000 in response to the Christchurch attacks in March and over the 2018 Christmas campaign.
  • Our MentorMe programme assisted over 60 members in 2019.

Our mission continues to be serving our members and being the bridge between good food and good business so that your hospitality business can become great. We’re passionate about our vibrant industry, which is full of interesting, talented and entrepreneurial people…people just like you. 

Our helpline team grew to four advisors and assisted over 3,600 queries from members who called for advice and support in 2019. The team have developed new resources, letters, guides and policies available free of charge to our members. Hot helpline topics this year have included, 90 day trial periods, performance, disciplinary processes, holiday closedowns and how to handle unexpected resignations.

We’ve hosted over 75 events – MeetMe’s, webinars, first aid courses and professional development seminars.

In 2020 we’ll be hitting the road and travelling the country to bring the new Leadership Development Workshop to you. This workshop is focused on developing leadership skills in managers (and owners) of all levels. All attendees will receive a one-on-one follow-up, one hour session in their business within the following week of completing the workshop. 

The assessment team has completed 40 commercial competency assessments for Chef apprentices working in industry in 2019. 2020 will also see the planned launch of our regional apprenticeship programme, starting in Northland.

We grew our New Zealand Hospitality Awards platform to 11, with 8 events taking place across the country in 2019 (Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, along with two new regions: Waikato and Taranaki) the awards give the industry time out to celebrate its success and acknowledge it’s achievements. 165 hopso professionals took home awards, with 3,800 nominations across the country!

With media interest around the winners, it gives local diners the opportunity to hear about the best local places to eat out as voted for by those in the know.

But just as importantly, it gives the hospitality community a much-needed opportunity to down tools, celebrate achievements of the industry and share a drink or two with their peers.

In 2020, along with 5 other awards, we’ll be running the bi-annual events, Rotorua Hospitality Awards and Manawatu Hospitality Awards and the launch of the Northland Hospitality Awards and will continue to support the Lewisham Awards in Auckland.

Food Hui 2019

Check out the action from #FoodHui2019!Food Hui will be back in 2020, hosted in Wellington on 19-20 October!Eat New Zealand

Posted by Restaurant Association of New Zealand on Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Food Hui

We partnered with Eat New Zealand to present the 2nd food and hospitality Food Hui. This two day annual gathering held in Auckland at Taste of Auckland this year brought together over 400 people. Marco Pierre White headlined as our international keynote speaker and over 50 local presenters, representing the best local leaders in food and hospitality, to share ideas, tools and stories, to educate and inspire! Check out the video above.

Auckland Golf Day

The Auckland Branch hosted their Hawaii 5-0 themed Golf Day on Thursday 28 February, 2019 at Akarana Golf Course. 144 players had a great day of fun, relaxation and some good networking! Enhanced by the offerings on each hole thanks to our associate members and partners.

Check out the 2020 Auckland Golf Day, sure to sell out so get in quick! 

We’re committed to assisting our member employers who are challenged to find people with the right skill set to enter our industry.  In partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, our Hospo Start programme introduces students to the basics of hospitality. They graduate with a great attitude, basic skills and a desire for a career in hospitality.

We ran 6 programmes in 2019 and trained 140 students, assisting them to find employment in our industry.

Maria Kaneri
Maria embraced every opportunity to learn and try new skills. Despite being in her sixties and much older than most of the students, she fitted in well and demonstrated how to be a team player. Her enthusiasm for hospitality was evident and after her interview at The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron she was hired immediately. They recognised her willingness to learn and positive attitude and decided to hire her despite her lack of hospitality experience.

Maria is loving her position and is receiving compliments daily from Yacht Squadron members. She is putting into practice all she learned from Hospo Start and more.
She is excited about her future and proud of achievements so far. Looking forward to The America’s Cup and the opportunities in front of her.

“Thanks so much, we have really enjoyed how much success your programme has brought us and all of the girls get frequent compliments from our members and guests”.

Mark Sorenson – Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

Our goal in 2020 is to grow Hospo Start with the aim of running the programme across the country.

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