Jane Shaw, owner of the new Boatshed cafe/restaurant at the Frankton Marina, talks to Gill South about how to market your seasonal tourism business.
Shaw is also co-owner of the Provisions of Central Otago food brand and cafe in Arrowtown until the planned buy out on January 31 when she becomes full owner. Provisions of Central Otago is on the market.
How seasonal is a cafe/restaurant business in Queenstown? Is there more than one season down there?
Yes, Queenstown is extremely seasonal. We have two off seasons - May and June until the ski season opens. This is the time when many locals leave town for a holiday in a warm spot. And then it gets quiet again at the end of the ski season before summer tourist numbers pick up. The busiest time of year is Boxing Day until end of January but it stays busy through until the end of Easter.
How do you market your businesses to tourists coming in?
We are already getting tourists finding us from local recommendations and I would anticipate that they will make up a good 15-20 per cent of the Boatshed's business. At Provisions cafe in Arrowtown we get all our regular locals bringing in their friends and family over the holidays so we are actually quite seasonal.
At The Boatshed in Frankton, we will be a little more seasonal and also there are some busy apartments at the end of the lane who are directing all their customers to us.
Also we are right on the newly opened Queenstown cycle track and this is bringing us lots of customers keen to climb off their bikes and stop for a sticky bun and a coffee.
I have had lots of publicity about us opening in Frankton in all the local newspapers and as well I have a several stories coming out in magazines over the next few months. I will also be working with local hotels and apartments, water taxis, cycle tour companies and I'm getting a website up and social media on the go.
How easy is it to organise staffing for particularly busy times? Do you employ students or more experienced types who are looking for something part time?
Staffing up is a problem. I am finding it difficult to get enough cooks but there are lots of travellers who can wait on tables and I have a quite a few local students.
When do you get to take a holiday?
What's a holiday again?