Batch first cafe to be named NZ supreme champion

17:00, Sep 27 2013
Batch Cafe
THRILLED: Batch Cafe co-owner Kate French, chef Mark Heffer and co-owner Gareth Hamilton celebrate an accolade of awards, including the supreme winner, which they won at the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence.

Batch Cafe staff could not hold back tears when they heard the Invercargill cafe had won top honours at the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence.

A post on the cafe's Facebook page after it won supreme champion said staff were "in shock" at the win.

There were tears of joy but also sadness because co-owner Donna Hamilton was unable to attend the ceremony in Queenstown on Thursday night. Co-owner Gareth Hamilton said his wife was undergoing her second bout of chemotherapy and was resting at home.

They were both over the moon when they heard about the win. Mrs Hamilton was the driving force behind the lengthy submission to enter the awards, he said.

"There were some long nights putting together that application but she has the gift of the gab for putting things on paper," he said.

"The Batch is a fun and special place to work, with a great customer base, where everybody does know your name," he said.

Advertisement

Co-owner Kate French, who attended the awards, said it was Mrs Hamilton's passion and work that got the Batch to the position it was in.

"We consider ourselves a small fish in the hospitality industry and to win such a prominent award was a shock, but wonderful."

The cafe, which opened in 2011, also won the award for Excellence in Training and Staff Development and the award for Best Cafe.

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson said it was the first time the Supreme Champion award had been presented to a cafe.

The Batch had battled it out with some of the biggest players in the country's hospitality sector to deservedly take out the top title, he said.

It was one of three southern businesses recognised at the event. Central Otago hotel Chatto Creek Tavern won the Best Country Hotel title, and Ascot Park Hotel, in Invercargill, won for Best Environmental, Sustainable and Ethical Practice.

Entrants were judged over six weeks by a panel of independent industry professionals who assessed a range of commercial and operational criteria, including staff training and human resources, customer service, marketing and promotional activities, and the demonstration of business growth.

collette.devlin@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times