New jobs on horizon as Carl's Jr eyes Rotorua

By, Abigail Hartevelt

Fast food restaurant Carl's Jr is looking for potential sites in Rotorua but remains tight-lipped about exactly where.

And resource consent has been granted for a 48-seat restaurant and drive-through on Te Ngae Rd but it is not known what restaurant will go there.

Rotorua District Council planning services manager Liam Dagg has confirmed they had been in "discussions" with Carl's Jr last month about coming to Rotorua.

"They are scoping somewhere in the CBD and they are talking to the New Zealand Transport Agency."

Mr Dagg said he was not prepared to disclose where the site was but said he expected a resource consent application would be lodged within the next month.

Carl's Jr is an American fast food restaurant chain. It was founded in the 1950s and is the fifth largest fast food chain in the United States. Its first restaurant in New Zealand opened in 2011. There are six restaurants in Auckland and one in Palmerston North.

An eighth restaurant is set to open on Auckland's Queen St at the end of this month.

Each of the stores employs about 70 people.

Restaurant Brands operates the New Zealand outlets of KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks Coffee and Carl's Jr.

Restaurant Brands said it expected Carl's Jr to become a major brand in New Zealand with the company planning to invest around $10 million per year to develop new restaurants.

"Over time we expect to have around 35 to 60 Carl's Jr restaurants around the country and are looking at potential sites all over New Zealand including Rotorua. Until a site has been confirmed and those negotiations completed we are not in a position to disclose any further information."

Meanwhile, an application was sought and has been granted for a restaurant at 542 Te Ngae Rd next to Bidvest and the Z service station, the council's team leader of resource consents, Portia McKenzie, has confirmed.

Mrs McKenzie said the restaurant would seat 48 and would have a drive-through. The application did not have to be publicly notified as the site was in a commercial D zone.

PNF Partnership owns the site and its co-owner Wayne Parry confirmed it had sought and at the end of last year was granted resource consent for the restaurant.

The partnership was now looking for a fast food operator.

He said an old shed and derelict house currently on the site would soon be removed.

Mr Parry, who owns the Subway franchise in Rotorua, said they had been "in discussions" with fast food operators but did not want to confirm who or how far along the discussions were.

However, he said the restaurant would not be a Subway and they wanted to confirm a restaurant as soon as possible.

A neighbour of the property, who did not want to be named said what was there at the moment was an eyesore.

"I think it [a restaurant] would be quite good depending on what it is. Anything's better than what's there now."

Restaurant Brands has confirmed that 542 Te Ngae Rd is not a site it is looking at for any of its brands.

Meanwhile, Nosh Food Market has confirmed it had been negotiating for several months with Tony Bradley, the developer of Redwood Centre - the city's newest convenience retail complex on the corner of Tarawera and Te Ngae Rds.

However, Nosh Food Market founder and owner Clinton Beuvink said the timing was not right.

"It was not to do with them [the developer], it was to do with us and other commitments we had. The timing didn't quite work for us for Redwood Centre."

Mr Beuvink said they would love to set up a store in Rotorua and that could possibly happen next year.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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