Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg has opened a new Wahlburgers restaurant in Queenstown and there is a promise for more, having only opened the country’s first store earlier this year.
Wahlburgers boasts itself as the fastest-growing burger chain in North America, with the Queenstown franchise the newest of its 112 stores around the world.
Wahlberg co-founded the company in 2011 with his brother Donnie Wahlberg, of New Kids on the Block fame, and Paul Wahlberg, the chef behind the restaurant’s menu.
New Zealand’s first Wahlburgers opened on Auckland’s Princes Wharf, in Shed 22, on March 1 this year.
A sample of the menu at Wahlburgers in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
When the Herald visited on opening day, hamburgers were priced around the $20 mark and fries were around $7.
The restaurant also serves salads, chicken wings, crispy calamari, meatballs and R18 alcohol-laced milkshakes.
Wahlberg said the company would also introduce new menu items in the coming weeks: a breakfast burger and a bacon and egg roll.
“Kiwi customers can expect a dining experience which is all about food, family and fun where we share my family’s delicious recipes brought to life by my brother Chef Paul,” Wahlberg said.
Actor, producer, entrepreneur and former model and rapper Mark Wahlberg partnered with his two brothers, Donnie and Paul, to create Wahlburgers restaurant chain, now in NZ.
“The opening of our store in the adventure capital of the world is something we are immensely proud of, and I am looking forward to seeing it in person.”
The store is operated by the Mustaca family, the founders of the Australian cinema chain United Cinemas.
Five more Wahlburgers store are in the pipeline around New Zealand, United Cinemas chief executive Sam Mustaca said.
Mustaca said he planned to employ over 150 local staff and earn millions of dollars in revenue as the businesses expanded in the country.
The planned new stores would be in a smaller, kiosk format, he said.
“The new kiosks occupy less real estate space and have a more streamlined menu of our top-selling items. This allows us to have a presence in smaller retail sites with a reduced footprint,” Mustaca said.
He said the first new kiosk store would be in United Cinemas’ theatre in Tauranga’s Bayfair Shopping Centre, " where wahlburgers will be served to your grand reclining seat while you watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters”.
“As we approach our first peak summer trading period, we are confident of achieving solid and consistent revenues across Queenstown and our flagship Princess Wharf Auckland site,” Mustaca said.
“We want to open a critical mass of stores in New Zealand to achieve the required economies of scale and plan to open in all major cities across the country.
“The appeal of the Upper Village [Queenstown] location was the ability to attract high volumes of overseas visitors - including Americans who have an attachment to the brand.”
He said Americans often wanted to visit Wahlburgers stores while they visited Australia.
“The venue, food and beverage offering and atmosphere has also been designed to appeal to the needs of Queenstown locals,” he said.
Mustaca said the spot in Queenstown’s Upper Village “is great from a foot traffic perspective”.
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