Eichardt's owners in expansion mode
The Australian owners of Eichardt's luxury hotel in Queenstown are looking at opening further hotels in New Zealand and bringing the TGI Fridays restaurant chain to this country.
Eichardt's, widely regarded as one of the most luxurious boutique hotels in this country, is operated by Australian private investment company Imperium Group. The group also owns the Australasian franchise for the TGI Fridays restaurant chain.
Imperium Group owner Andrew Cox is in New Zealand this week looking for suitable locations for the first TGI Fridays restaurants on this side of the Tasman.
Texas-based TGI Fridays is one of the world's largest casual dining chains with about 1000 outlets in 61 countries.
Imperium acquired the TGI Fridays master franchise for Australia and New Zealand in 2002 and has nine outlets in Australia.
Cox is evaluating two potential sites in Auckland for the first TGI restaurants here, one in the downtown/waterfront precinct and the other in a suburban location.
The company estimates that each new restaurant will create about 80 full and part-time jobs.
Cox is also looking at expanding the Eichardt's operation in Queenstown to increase its capacity, and opening a new hotel in Auckland.
He is in discussions with building owners in Auckland with a view to opening a boutique hotel that would be of a similar standard to the existing Eichardt's operation.
He is also talking to boutique hotel and lodge owners around the country about taking over the management of their establishments and operating them under the Imperium Collection banner.
Cox is a New Zealander who grew up in Christchurch and moved to Australia in 1994.