Vine with potential for growth

By Colin Taylor

Busy Taupo restaurant and bar can be kept going as it is, or developed to broaden its appeal in a thriving location

The Vine Eatery and Bar is in a prime location at the heart of Taupo.
The Vine Eatery and Bar is in a prime location at the heart of Taupo.

A Taupo restaurant and bar, owned and run by some of the town's hospitality stalwarts, is being sold as a going concern operating from leased premises in the centre of town.

Vine Eatery and Bar at 37 Twharetoa St was established in 2011 by a syndicate of Taupo locals, some of whom have been in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years.

The business, which evolved out of the wine store Scenic Cellars, turned over $1.4 million in its first year of operation. It was awarded a certificate of excellence by the world's largest online travel site, Trip Advisor, which placed it in the top 10 per cent in the world for customer satisfaction last year, based on guest feedback.

"The business is a near-new set up with high quality chattels and clear target markets," said Yvette Westerman of Bayleys Taupo who is handling the sale of the restaurant and bar. Expressions of interest must be received at Bayleys Taupo by 4pm on April 10.

Westerman said an entrepreneurial new owner could walk in and run the Vine Eatery and Bar as is, or take it to another level.

"The Vine is a comprehensive and competitive hospitality venture which has more than held its own in Taupo dining and social circles with an innovative approach to menu planning, beverage selection, and responsive customer service," she said.

"The business could evolve even further to offer a broader selection of wine, or a delicatessen-type adjunct to the food and beverage range.

"Given the 462sq m of space over two levels that the leased premises provide, a new owner could also sub-let, with the approval of the building owner, part of the ground floor for a complementary business such as a homewares outlet or florist."

The business' 10-year lease runs until July 2021, with two-yearly rent reviews.

The most recent was in July last year, and the rent is now $90,000 a year plus GST.

Westerman says that when the syndicate set up the business, it identified its market as professionals, empty-nesters and women's groups, saying there was a gap in the existing hospitality landscape to cater for a more discerning clientele who appreciated good food and wine in a sophisticated environment.

"While the Vine's regular client base tends to be local, the visitor market is also important to the business," Westerman said.

"There has been an increase in commercial visitor arrival numbers and visitor night stays for Taupo, and a rise in total visitor spending."

An increase in local economic confidence had resulted in average customer spending at the Vine rising.

The Vine has many dining options including standard table seating, booth seating, long tables which seat up to 70 people and a bar area with leaners, standard tables and couch seating.

"There are also two private dining areas - the balcony which seats up to 22 people and the vintage room with seating for 12," Westerman said.

The Vine was open seven days a week from 9am until late.

"The catering options are also adaptable to client needs, and range from a conventional breakfast menu, through to shared plates (tapas-style), bar snacks, cabinet food, platters and one-off menus for large, long table dinners.

"The Vine has secured the services of an internationally-focused chef who has embraced the challenge of providing innovative and exciting food.

'Allpress coffee is served and craft beer from some of New Zealand's trendiest brewers which sets the business apart from other operators in Taupo."

The premises of the Vine Eatery and Bar had been customised to provide a welcoming and interesting space with double stud height and an industrial look ceiling offset by high-end chandeliers and furniture.

"The business has accrued a loyal and steady following of Taupo business people who utilise the Vine for social functions, business meetings and fundraising events," Westerman said.

"The current owners have a well-defined and proactive marketing plan which includes radio, print, website and a Facebook page, all managed by marketing professionals enabling them to focus on the day-to-day running of the venture."

Close to $250,000 worth of chattels form part of the business sale. They include security cameras and recorder, an antique champagne rack, Matai table and chairs, a beer keg cooler, air conditioning units, display cabinets, a full kitchen fit-out and office equipment.

- NZ Herald

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