The Local shuts up - not!
We made the local rag! Taking a stand wasn't easy, but we just couldn't stay open through the lockdown and hope for the best. We're looking forward to a (hopefully) busy summer with the traffic light system about to launch on December 3rd and will be counting on Aucklanders to head across the water to our sensationally sunny deck for some awesome food, drinks, and a very welcoming and happy to see them team!
Saturated takeaway scene sees locals shut up shop Simon Pope, left, and his team stuck it out for school holidays and Labour weekend but he says they did a tenth of the business they would typically do on the long weekend. Last week’s announcement, which saw the Government boost payments to businesses affected by Covid-19 lockdowns, was met with sighs of relief from operators struggling to stay afloat. But for many, keeping their doors open to customers seeking takeaways just isn’t
proving economical. Simon Pope of award-winning fish ‘n’ chip restaurant The Local temporarily
shut up shop this week. He says Waiheke’s takeaway scene is saturated and it’s not viable for his eatery to stay open under current restrictions. “With just 9000 or so people on Waiheke and more than 50 restaurants, food carts, vineyards and cafes, there just aren’t enough people living here and regularly buying takeaways to keep all of us going. “It’s totally uneconomical to operate at the moment. The locals try their best, but they can’t take up the slack – the whole place is over shopped.”
Pope says although he and his staff worked hard to provide takeaways, the uncertainty of not knowing exactly how much to order paired with rising costs was difficult to manage, and closing his doors
will save the team thousands. “There’s the uncertainty of how much fresh fish we should buy from Auckland, the cost of our raw oil has gone up, Sealink put their prices up for freight, everything is getting hellishly expensive.” Pope and his team stuck it out for school holidays and Labour weekend but he says they did a tenth of the business they would typically do on the long weekend.
Meanwhile, Waiheke Island Tourism Inc (WITI) chairperson Christina Hyde says members welcomed the increased resurgence support payments announced last week. The traffic light system also went down well with many in hospitality who are keen to welcome vaccinated guests as soon as possible, says Hyde. “Finally we have a vaccination target New Zealand can work to."
Written for The Gulf News by Sophie Boladeras