25 Apr 2020

Wellington eatery showcase to launch Monday

11:02 am on 25 April 2020

A new digital hub showcasing Wellington eateries has been created, with all businesses that sign up eligible to receive a subsidy of up to $500.

The money - set aside by the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, or Wellington NZ - will be used to cover the costs for every business which is offering to deliver over the two weeks the country is planned to be in alert level 3.

The subsidy comes from a total pot of $250,000, which has been repurposed from the agency's marketing budget.

Each business will be able to claim $10 per delivery, up to the $500 total.

The Agency said if the total is used up before the end of the two weeks, it will be dished out on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Chief Executive of Wellington NZ, Lance Walker, said they had been looking for ways to be able to support the industry.

"One of the things we realised was a lot of the existing delivery services do take a commission," he said.

"We can understand that, but we want to make sure that as much of the money being generated goes to the restaurant and the meal outlets.

"That was really one way where we thought, if we can offset some of that charge, the effect of that is we can encourage more restaurants to want to get out and do some delivery work through level 3 and just remove one of those barriers."

The money will be dished out as a flat rate, not taking into account where the meal is coming from, nor the price of the meal.

The only conditions for restaurants to be eligible for the subsidy is they have to sign up to the new digital platform 'At Yours'.

So far, 86 restaurants have signed themselves up, including Burger Liquor and Logan Brown.

Wellingtonians urged to eat out 'At Yours'

The platform - developed by Wellington Culinary Events Trust, which runs Wellington On A Plate (WOAP) - will be launched on Monday in time for the change to alert level 3.

It's intended to be a centralised platform, that will showcase all businesses from across the region: Wellington city, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Kāpiti and Wairarapa.

A directory, hosted on the event's website, will feature a map of each locality depending on the user's location, with each place geotagged.

Each business will be able to upload a description of what they're selling, as well as how customers can collect their food - whether via delivery or through a contactless pick-up.

"We're really feeling for the hospo community who've been hit so hard by the lockdown," said Sarah Meikle, chief eecutive of the Culinary Events Trust.

"We wanted to do what we could to support business - At Yours is our way of helping and showing our aroha."

She said they had been working on the concept for this year's WOAP as it was.

"We had this amazing tool sitting there, and we thought, how could we repurpose it to help them right now solve some real problems they've got. The first thing for them is to get customers back so what we're using it for is to get customers to them."

Registration is free and open to any cafe, restaurant, takeaway, caterer, food and beverage producer or supplier in the greater Wellington region.

Rachael Ferguson, the owner of Wellington restaurant Field & Green, said WOAP's profile would be useful in driving customers towards them.

"They already have an audience, and a huge presence on social media as well, and they're a known entity, as a provider of events.

"I think their close links to the hospo community is important, so they have that personal touch, rather than, 'Well here's another website to list your name and your product'. They know all these places."

Meikle said they understood how important the hospitality sector is to the capital, and that it was on them to help it kick back into action as soon as they could.

"We've got the tools to make it happen, but they are actually delivering it, and they're the guys that are really feeling it. We're very keen to support them as much as we can because they are very important to Wellington."

The president of the Chamber of Commerce, John Milford, said it was a great idea, and

"As we transition into the lower alert levels, we'll need more creative ways of working like At Yours and the rebate scheme to help businesses get back on their feet in the new post-Covid environment.

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