New Plymouth's Bubble Waffle closing, but not leaving New Zealand
New Zealand's only Bubble Waffle restaurant has shut its doors after just over a year in New Plymouth, with the franchise possibly heading to a warmer city.
The shop, which opened in December 2015 to sell the sweet and savoury waffle treats, closed last Wednesday. But franchisee Kirill Polishchuk said he was looking to reopen in Auckland or Tauranga.
Bubble Waffle has branches in Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and America, and when the Devon St East branch opened last summer, business was booming.
"We had a huge amount of customers. For the first couple of weeks we had to shut our shop early because everything was sold out," Polishchuk said.
Business had dropped off over the winter months and never picked up in 2017.
"It is a summer, we're still getting people, it's still profitable but it's not good like last summer and I expect suffering towards the winter," he said.
"That's why I decided to shut it before we start suffering."
The weather played a big part in whether people bought the waffles, he said, as did the number of shoppers out and about.
"The problem is that there are no people on the street, we don't have customers walking past the street," he said.
"Last summer people were out, but last summer was a proper summer; this summer is like a new winter."
Polishchuk listed the premises, which he rented, and a large range of chattels that had made up the cafe including fridges, benches, tables, a display fridge and even the vacuum cleaner on TradeMe with an asking price of $16,000.
He said he had received inquires from a few people but there were two main buyers who were interested.
One was a group from Auckland looking to set up a youth centre while the other group was looking at setting up a restaurant in the building.
"Definitely I will open a new Bubble Waffle shop soon in Auckland or Tauranga, so I want to open it in both cities but I don't know where to start from first because Auckland is much more expensive and it can cost me much more rather than Tauranga," he said.
"Tauranga is still good and has sunny good weather, much better than here."