A kind gesture involving a young electrician and 15 bacon butties has sparked a "pay it forward" special at a struggling cafe.
Earlier this week customers at The Apothecary Licenced Eatery in Howick were treated to a free breakfast butty - paid for in advance by Michael "Beefy" McBeath - a local sparky whose business card was popped in with the savoury treat.
That day three people called and booked jobs with his business, Choice Electrical.
Cafe owner Ted Waters said the kind gesture was met with such gratitude McBeath did it again - and other local businesses followed suit.
"It was Beefy's way of paying it forward, giving something to our cafe and something nice for people in the community," Waters said.
"He got a few jobs from it which we are really happy about, he's just a young guy with a family and a young toddler."
McBeath said the boost to business was welcomed but unexpected.
"I did it to do something nice for the cafe because Ted has always supported my business when he can," McBeath said.
"I wanted to put a smile on people's faces during lockdown and it seemed to have worked because I had a lot of emails from people who said it brightened their day."
Waters said other local businesses heard about McBeath's good deed and wanted to do their bit.
The local Barfoot and Thompson office bought $500 worth of sandwiches and today coffees and doughnuts are free - paid for by Mt Wellington businesses AGB Stone and Award Carpets.
"It's International Coffee Day which is perfect timing for free coffee and doughnuts," Waters said.
"Our doughnuts are old-school yeast-risen so we are going to be busy all night and all day."
The Apothecary Licensed Eatery had set up a barbecue outside its shop to cook meat for the butties and was going through 30kg of ham and 25kg of bacon each day.
The croissants or buns are filled with a choice of ham or bacon and topped with hollandaise, mayonnaise, mustard or traditional brown sauce.
"We have got the barbecue outside and it is bringing in the customers. We are trying to show people we are hustling to save our business," Waters said.
"We know a lot of hospo owners aren't opening at level 3 because it is hard but we are giving it a crack."
Waters said the wage subsidy kept his staff employed during level 4 but the cafe was still operating at a loss, with Kiwisaver and leave paid for by the business.
Level 3 brought some relief, he said, but takings were still down with no alcohol sales, a reduced menu and Covid-19 protocols labour intensive.
"We are doing what we can and we have music going and having a bit of socially distanced fun.
"People love coming down to have a break from their home office and let's just say we have made a lot of friends with people who have dogs."