The strong sales growth in 2015 carried across all sectors, including the dominant café and restaurant group which experienced 9.4% growth.

The mood was upbeat at the Restaurant Association’s annual Hospitality Summit this year and recently released stats on New Zealand‘s hospitality sector seems to support the generally positive mood, although there have been reports of a tough winter period for many.

A recent report showed that our sector has experienced encouraging growth with nationwide sales for the hospitality industry in 2015 (year end March) increasing by a significant 9.7 per cent, to exceed $8.3 billion dollars. The strong sales growth in 2015 carried across all sectors, including the dominant café and restaurant group which experienced 9.4 per cent growth.

Regionally, revenue growth in the Otago district was the highest for the second year in a row, at 20.2%, followed by the Waikato, at 13.9%. The Restaurant Association’s Hospitality Summit drew people from around the country. It brought together an auditorium full of passionate and creative individuals, to share ideas, offer varying perspectives, and to establish meaningful connections. It was a pleasure to host our key note speaker Larry Nadeau formerly from the French Laundry.

For nearly 20 years he worked with Thomas Keller at the renowned restaurant in California which has been consistently voted in the top 50 restaurants in the world over the last decade. Larry truly inspired the audience with his insight into the world of restaurants and his knowledge of operational excellence.

As part of the action packed two days we also held our annual dinner which was a sell out this year with nearly 300 attendees. Where four talented chefs, Jinu Abraham (Hectors at Heritage Auckland), Tom Hishon (Orphans Kitchen), Daniel Wilson (Huxtable and Huxtaburger) and Catherine Adams (Whitebait) wowed us with their creative interpretations of New Zealand cuisine, the theme for the evening.We awarded three very prestigious titles at the dinner.

In particular, our prestigious Hall of Fame award which recognises individuals who have given and continue to give exceptional service to the hospitality industry. This award went to our very deserving National President, Mike Egan. Mike, is one of the hospitality industry’s true leaders and it is with great pleasure that we welcome him to the Hall of Fame.

Michael Meredith was awarded the ‘Good Neighbour Award sponsored by American Express. He has deep community involvement most recently in the Eat My Lunch school lunch project and through his Mt Eden restaurant’s dine-bydonation nights.