Cherie Hogan is looking for a dish that will draw people from far and wide to her latest business, the reopened cafe at Whanganui Airport.
South Beach Cafe at the airport closed on March 26 as the Covid-19 lockdown began. It didn't reopen when lockdown ended and the Whanganui District Council sought to lease it. Hogan has taken on the lease for three years.
"I'm not here just as a flash in the pan," she said. "I'm pretty driven. Once I have committed to something I will go the full hog."
She's planning to have the renamed Airport Cafe Whanganui open from 6am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 7am to 1pm on Saturday and 12 to 5pm on Sunday. It will open to the public at 6am on October 1.
She has another business, Ezy Az Munchies at the Imlay meatworks, but plans to spend the first two weeks at the airport in person.
"That will give me time to look at what needs to be changed."
The cafe will sell "pretty much everything" including coffee, full breakfasts, a range of snacks and hot and cold cabinet food.
Hogan is adding a small deep fryer to its kitchen.
For lunch there will be fish and carvery meals, a salad and a pasta of the day, and there will also be specials.
"What we are trying to do is get one dish that brings everyone here. That's the dish that we have to find."
She said there were 250 to 300 people around the airport on week days - pilot academy pupils and staff, and people from Air Wanganui, Aerowork and Mid West Helicopters.
"They're pretty supportive," she said. "We are having an opening just for them on Wednesday."
There will also be Air Chathams passengers, plane spotters, visitors to the airport control tower and visitors to South Beach.
"There's people around. We have just got to get them in here," Hogan said.
Her company is Astarte Ltd, and her other business is the cafe at Affco's Imlay meatworks.
Six staff will be needed at Ezy Az during peak season.
Hogan has been in the hospitality business for 20 years. For the first 12 she was behind the counter at KFC.
Then she worked for Spotless, preparing and serving meals in the kitchen at Whanganui Collegiate School.
After five years there she spent three in charge of the school's cafe. She went out on her own with Astarte Ltd 13 months ago.