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Auckland restaurants continue to collapse from Covid-19 pressures

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 19 Jan 2022, 3:09pm
Misters Real Food was placed in liquidation this month, having revealed to customers in November that it closed due to "ongoing difficulties as a result of Covid". Photo / NZME
Misters Real Food was placed in liquidation this month, having revealed to customers in November that it closed due to "ongoing difficulties as a result of Covid". Photo / NZME

Auckland restaurants continue to collapse from Covid-19 pressures

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 19 Jan 2022, 3:09pm

More Auckland restaurants have joined the growing list of closures as Covid-19 continues to hit the hospitality industry hard. 

Elijah Blue, an eatery overlooking the water near Hobsonville Marina, was placed into liquidation on December 21, according to documents filed with the New Zealand Companies Office. 

Having only been incorporated in September 2020, the restaurant and bar's insolvency was because of "the effect of Covid-19 on the hospitality industry" and issues with the lease, where the business was unable to operate to capacity, liquidator Grant Reynolds' first report stated. 

Elijah Blue is one of several Auckland eateries to close its doors in recent months after the city spent all of spring in lockdown. 

Sustainable and organic cafe Misters Real Food in the city centre were also placed in liquidation this month. 

In an online update to customers in November, Misters Real Food said it was closed due to "ongoing difficulties as a result of Covid". 

In liquidator Kelera Nayacakalou 's first report, dated yesterday, it said the company blamed its failure on Covid-19 and city road works which resulted in less foot traffic. 

The collapse of more cafes follows two leading restaurants on the Auckland waterfront, Euro and Saxon + Parole, closing its doors due to Covid-19 pressures. 

Euro was home to celebrity chefs like Simon Gault and was legendary for its long lunches. 

Saxon + Parole was described as a "modern steakhouse from New York" and opened in the retail hub of Commercial Bay at the untimely start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. 

Prominent Auckland restaurateur Leo Molloy, who owns the Viaduct's HeadQuarters, warned after the closure of Euro "it's just the tip of the iceberg. Wait till you see the iceberg!" 

The Restaurant Association has said it was devastated the industry was excluded from the Government's re-activation package for Auckland, which is intended to pump $37.5 million into Auckland's economy through 100,000 discount vouchers for residents to use on certain activities. 

The economic effects of the pandemic have also hit restaurants and cafes hard in other New Zealand cities, forcing the closure of popular establishments such as Espressoholic in Wellington last year. 

In Northland, the only regions still at the Government's traffic light red setting, restaurants and cafes are feeling the pinch this summer with fewer domestic tourists than normal. 

The Duke of Marlborough, a popular hotel, restaurant and wedding venue in Russell, had been hit in the pocket hard, co-owner Riki Kinnaird told Radio NZ this week. 

"With the red traffic light restrictions, and the noise around the roadblocks, meant we're probably 30-35 per cent down in trade," Kinnaird said, adding 10 booked weddings had also been cancelled. 

"It's day-by-day, which means it's really hard to plan, and anxiety levels are high. Actually, some people will go broke over this period of time." 

Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod wrote today there has been a "sizeable pickup" in hospitality spending but the industry is still "wrestling with challenging demand conditions". 

Hospitality sales are still down about 7 per cent on the same time last year, he explained, as spending in the sector continues to be dampened by Covid-related restrictions on trading activity. 

Ranchhod added that uncertainty about new Covid variants continues to be a significant headwind for many customer-facing businesses such as bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.