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Spoiled for choice

Felicity Dear
Little High Eatery Christchurch
Little High Eatery Christchurch   Felicity Dear

The Christchurch hospitality scene is thriving despite long-term impacts of Covid-19, staff shortages and the cost of living crisis.

Since the earthquakes it seems hospitality businesses have been popping up all over Christchurch. From Riverside Market, to Little High and The Terrace - the choices seem endless, and despite some menu similarities, residents seem to love it. 

Wayde England, Head Chef at restaurant ‘Botanic’ on The Terrace, said while the never-ending options may be nice for customers, it creates a lot of competition for the chefs. 

He said restaurants are limited in what ingredients they can use due to the cost of living crisis and seasonality.

Christchurch regional manager for Hospitality NZ Nikki Rogers agrees.

"You may find many hospitality businesses have slimmed down their menu to account for staff shortages, availability of goods and other issues as they recover from the effects of Covid-19 in the hospitality industry.”

While England said the competition with other restaurants is tough as a head chef, he does believe as a customer, having many choices is a great thing. 

Business owners are happy with the level of customers at the moment too. Louis Vieceli owns three restaurants on The Terrace and said although he would always like fewer competitors and more customers, having many similar businesses in the same spot is a good thing. 

He said Riverside Market does create a level of competitiveness but it also helps to bring foot traffic to the location of his businesses. He thinks a cluster of venues with diversity in their menus is a good thing for the city.

He ensures his businesses have a point of difference and stick to doing what they do best. He believes this is why his three businesses are trading well despite the many food places surrounding it. 

Steak Felicity Dear

Rogers thinks we need a variety of hospitality businesses to keep the city vibrant and have the capacity to provide for locals and visitors.

She also said the Parakore Recreation and Sport Centre and Te Kaha stadium are set to open within the next three years, and they will attract even more people hungry for Christchurch kai. 

She said locals are proud of local businesses, go to them on a repeat basis, and the visitor economy is thriving going forward.

Local David Silley said he re-visits his favourite restaurants on a fortnightly basis sometimes - even though he feels he probably shouldn’t, given the cost of living crisis.

Another local, Joben Singh, said he loves how Christchurch hospitality showcases different cuisines from a huge variety of cultures. 

Overall the variety of businesses brings vibrancy and liveliness to the city post earthquakes and businesses are doing well. Despite Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis, locals enjoy being spoiled for choice.