As the Editor of Cuisine I have a lot of opportunities to attend events and happenings to celebrate the hottest new chef or a fabulous new dining concept. As I watch the relentless race to Instagram the latest restaurant opening or innovative dish, there is always a nagging thought in my mind of the long-term players; those restaurants and chefs that have stood the test of time. I’m just as guilty of posting the latest food-news snippets, so far be it for me to judge the food media. It’s human nature to want to be in the know, yet there has to be a way to recognise those establishments that have been consistently putting bums on seats over the decades. These restaurants are obviously doing something right or they would not still be in business.

With all of this in mind, I asked renowned NZ chef and good guy Martin Bosley to put his thinking cap on to identify the places that have staying power; the chefs and restaurateurs that have not only shaped the New Zealand food scene but have also inspired and trained today’s bright young things. Martin didn’t have to think too long. He immediately had a list of incredible players and their signature dishes to choose from. You can read the first of our series to celebrate the determination, knowledge and skill of these chefs and their restaurants on page 86. To help define what these restaurants are doing right I asked Marisa Bidois, Chief Executive Officer for the Restaurant Association of New Zealand to weigh in with what she thinks are the main ingredients of a recipe for success.

“Remaining profitable and sustainable can be a challenge but passion, paired with the love for food and service, keeps people strong in our sector. Sadly, this isn’t always enough to crack the average three-year life span of businesses in our industry. Equal parts passion and solid business sense are essential components of longevity in the hospitality industry. Too often there is an abundance of passion but a lack of basic business skills. These days there are so many options available to upskill and improve knowledge in the different areas of business that it shouldn’t stop people dreaming of the day they can open their own restaurant or café.

Upskilling needs to be a priority before opening a business, and building on established skill sets should be an ongoing process. Many business owners can get caught up with the daily grind and don’t find the time to step back to view the business from a different angle, but it is imperative to take time away from the business to work on the business.

Connection with local community is another common trend we see in businesses that have remained successful over many years. These business owners invest in their local area, often making an effort to be a part of local community and engaging with their neighbourhood. Creating connections with your surrounding suppliers and customers ensures that you have local community support behind you.

Creating generational memories means customers have an emotional connection with your business and reinforces the experience of being there. Generations of customers visiting is a story that is often told by long-term businesses. Longevity is an attraction in itself.

Finding your niche and staying true to your identity, but not being afraid to include elements of ‘new’ is another theme we see in successful well established businesses. This doesn’t mean jumping on the bandwagon of every new trend but, instead, making strategic decisions on what to include while keeping true to the brand and core business to keep the offering fresh and innovative.

Creating an organisational constitution that outlines core values and confirms reasons for being. Outlining a system to put these values into action is equally important. Include the team in the overall strategy and goals set for the business. Creating a strong team culture is an important part of creating a successful platform for longevity.

Learning from mistakes as well as celebrating successes go hand in hand. Some of our most successful entrepreneurs have learned from experience and come back with outstanding and extremely successful future businesses.

With strong visitor numbers backing our growing industry and a nation that continues to embrace all of the incredible offerings available today, I have high hopes for our industry and am extremely proud to be a part of it.” restaurantnz.co.nz