Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Pizzeria owner slams bad fast food

Jonny Rudduck, owner of Il Buco on Ponsonby Rd, says Kiwis are picking up bad habits. Photo / Dean Purcell
Jonny Rudduck, owner of Il Buco on Ponsonby Rd, says Kiwis are picking up bad habits. Photo / Dean Purcell

When Jonny Rudduck set up Il Buco - a Roman-style pizza joint - on Ponsonby Rd in 2002 a Pizza Hut store was operating next door.

It closed soon after.

"I like to think we pushed them [Pizza Hut] out of town but they were probably going to move anyway," says Rudduck, who once worked for KFC but has little time for mass market fast food these days.

He says "Americanised" restaurants are educating New Zealanders to eat bad food just because it's cheap.

The kind of prices being offered by the big players suggest they've "lost their way", Rudduck adds.

"They're driving consumers into this low end market where they're all buying on price."

Il Buco serves traditional Roman Pizza al Taglio (pizza by the slice) and espresso coffee.

One to nine slices are sold at $6 a slice, with the price dropping to $5 if more than 10 slices are ordered.

Rudduck says the pizzas are made on site from fresh ingredients every day. Customers order their slice from a display cabinet on the counter before they're finished off in the oven and delivered to their table.

"It's slow food, fast food style," he says. "People come in here and have one or two of our slices and walk away feeling satisfied because it's real food."

Rudduck says the number of firms offering high quality fast food has grown in this country.

"We were one of the first, 10 years ago, to start doing high grade takeaway food that wasn't noodles or rice," he says.

"I've come away from that whole corporate marketing mentality of dealing with competition and combating competition," he says.

"I want to be part of a local neighbourhood."

Rudduck says sales have seen a 10-fold increase since he opened a decade ago, but he doesn't have any plans to open more stores or franchise the business.

"The more [stores] you open the more you dilute your brand, lose focus on your product and become this kind of formula food," he says. "We're not about formula food."

- NZ Herald

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