A new family-friendly cafe and restaurant called The Foxhole Cafe opens at the Mount Maunganui RSA next Saturday following alterations and additions costing more than $500,000.
It's part of a nationwide initiative for RSAs to offer licensed cafes to the public in a bold bid to reverse the trend of club closures and amalgamations.
The Mount RSA and Christchurch's Sumner RSA are the first to herald this change of direction for the 100-year-old community organisation, with 18 to 20 other RSAs interested in joining the franchise.
Sumner's Foxhole Cafe opened today while the Mount RSA's cafe opens next Saturday in order to finish construction of an outdoor deck.
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Mount RSA manager Andrew Buenter said the club had been in the throes of planning its own refurbished dining area and putting in a new cafe and bar when it heard about the Foxhole Cafe concept being promoted by the national organisation.
The project rapidly grew legs until it finished up as a full public cafe and restaurant open breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"Coffee is the new beer," Mr Buenter said.
Foxhole cafes were a direct response to the demise of RSAs and although the Mount club was the largest in New Zealand with over 5000 members, the sight of other clubs folding or amalgamating made them nervous, he said.
Foxhole Cafe will have a separate access for the public, with an internal link to the club which members could access using their swipe cards. Its focus was on food, coffee and table service.
Royal New Zealand RSA chief executive David Moger said the hospitality sector was enjoying a boom and the RSA needed to show a modern and progressive approach to changes in the sector.
"The Foxhole concept is one of the key ways in which we are doing this. It represents a major step forward for us."