South African restaurant chain Spur has been operating in New Zealand for a year and is gearing up to launch a string of new restaurants.

The steakhouse franchise restaurant, trading as Spur Steak Ranches, started out in South Africa in 1967 and has 361 restaurants worldwide.

Spur New Zealand operations manager Jaco Jordan said the company would roll out a number of new stores in New Zealand over next five years.

Jordan opened the first store in Albany in Auckland's North Shore in October last year with his business partner and Spur Group deputy director Mark Farrelly.


A second Botany store will open next year and a Queenstown store in 2019.

"When we opened at first we were overwhelmed by all of the customers coming through," Jordan said. "Spur Steak Ranches are huge in South Africa - the biggest restaurant group in South Africa, for sit-down service. We have established ourselves in the market for our in-store promo specials."

Jordan, who was formerly regional operations manager for the company in Cape Town, has opened a number of international stores, including in the UK and Australia.

It was Farrelly's vision to start the brand in New Zealand, he said.

Spur is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and owns a number of food brands including pizza-pasta brand Panarottis.

In Australia, there are six Spur restaurants and five Panarottis.

Spur intended to open stores all over New Zealand, Jordan said.

"Our approach is to take it slow, open and set it up properly, get the clientele base - make sure we run operationally sound - and give food and service that can compete against other restaurant groups," he said.


Similarly to Denny's, Spur wants to establish itself here as family-friendly restaurant.

"The big thing for this brand is to celebrate your birthday as a kid, or an adult, in our restaurants," Jordan said. "We want to establish ourselves in the New Zealand market as the go-to family restaurant so when people think of where to go to dine out with their families, we are that number one option."

Allen Ambor founded Spur and opened the very first restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa in 1967 with R4000 (NZ$400).

Spur Group has 600 food outlets worldwide.