Bars and restaurants up for awards

21:41, Aug 16 2012

Four Nelson and Tasman hospitality businesses are finalists in the industry's national awards for excellence.

The Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco leads local businesses as a finalist in three categories. The awards are spread across 16 classes with a total of 38 finalists from the Bay of Islands to Northland and Southland.

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson said the finalists represented a consumer trend, with a "flight to quality".

The public was choosey before parting with less discretionary money in the harsh economic climate and expectations of quality had increased.

"Recovery from the global financial crisis has seen disposable household incomes come under greater scrutiny. Consequently consumers have become far more discerning about where they eat, drink and stay."

''A trend which was reflected in the high calibre of Nelson entrants into this year's awards, Mr Robertson said.

"By raising the bar higher from an operational perspective - whether that's in the level of customer service, marketing, the food/beverage or accommodation offerings, or by refurbishing or redeveloping
premises - the Nelson finalists in this year's awards have stayed well ahead of their competition."

Entrants into the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence are judged over a six week period by a panel of independent industry professionals who assess competitors on commercial and operational criteria - staff training, human resources, customer service, marketing, promotional activities, and the demonstration of business growth.

Winners will be announced in September.

Nelson finalists are:

Excellence in Host Responsibility

Little Rock Bar and Nightclub

Best Restaurant

The Orangerie, Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

Best Accommodation Hotel

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

Best Environmental, Sustainable and Ethical Practice

Peppers Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasman National Park

Best Bar

Sprig and Fern Milton St, Nelson

Excellence in Marketing

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco