A Havelock North cafe's recent accolade comes down to the ethos of the business, its owners say.

Maina was awarded the Best Regional Town Lower North Island Region in the 2018 Meadow Fresh New Zealand Cafe of the Year awards.

The judging team said they picked Maina for its great selection of delicious food with a good mix between counter and menu items as well as its service.

"We loved Maina ... the sweets are to die for," the judges said.


"It's a popular spot for locals and certainly has the x-factor as far as service and professionalism goes."

Husband and wife Stu Wilkins and Katie Green, who own Maina, said the key to their success was focusing on the cafe's ethos.

They also won this award last year and have received several others since opening two-and-a-half-years ago.

Mr Wilkins said the awards were a byproduct of the focus on hospitality and how they treated their staff by teaching them never to feel they were beneath a customer.

Ms Green said choosing the right staff and treating them well was important because when staff were happy and accommodated for this flowed to the customer.

"Hospitality is a love language.

"We don't always employ people that have the greatest skill set, we hire somebody that we think will fit in with our ethos."

The couple moved to Hawke's Bay for a fresh start after losing their home in the Canterbury quakes and the cafe is named after Mr Wilkins' mother.

The business is a family affair with two of their children working there and other family members having been employed at times.

The national winner for each category and the supreme award will be announced in Auckland in February.