Hospitality guru wins award
She may have opened a staggering seven new ventures last year but Hip Group director Jackie Grant says the hospitality company's growth spurt is not yet over.
The Diocesan School for Girls' old girl from Kumeu was honoured on Monday for her achievements in the hospitality industry with the school's Alumna Merita award.
The Hip Group, which Ms Grant runs with her partner Scott Brown, started in 2004 with Cafe on Kohi on Tamaki Drive and has since grown to employ 450 staff and turn over $30m a year.
Its establishments include the St Heliers Bay Cafe and Bistro, Cafe on Kohi, the Richmond Road Cafe, Rosehip Cafe in Parnell, the Takapuna Beach Cafe and city joints Ortolana and Milse.
But there is little time to sit back and coast if the company is to reach the scale required to sustain its goal of a sustainable farm-to-table supply chain.
"It seems to go faster and faster every year and we do more and more," Ms Grant says.
"There is a master plan and it is all about getting that scale so we can have the farm and we can have all the back of house as we call it."
The ‘back of house' refers to the company's production arm, which includes a farm in Kumeu, a recently opened butchery and storeroom.
Also on the cards is a creamery to produce cheeses and a craft brewery to supply the rest of the group.
Both those operations will be run from the Waihi Beach Hotel and Eatery, which opened in December.
"So it's all about finding that base so we can do all those other things to support the farm-to-table experience.
"There's no-one that's doing it to our scale. . .
"One or two restaurants might have their own garden or something like that but we're sort of trying to be totally sustainable. That would be a wonderful goal if we could ever reach that.
"That . . .will keep us busy for the next 50 years."
She says her time at Diocesan School set her up with good values and lifelong friends.
East And Bays Courier