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Popularity drives revamp

Popularity drives revamp
Customers line up at the servery in the South Taranaki Club’s Caledonia Restaurant, which is serving more and more meals.

An increasingly busy South Taranaki Club has completed a major kitchen refurbishment and extension of the club’s Caledonia Restaurant kitchen.

Club manager Raewyn Mitchell says this will enhance the restaurant’s capacity to cater with its growing popularity as more and more members take advantage of “quality meals and regular specials at great-value prices”.

“The busiest night we’ve had was 600 meals; on Thursday nights we can regularly have 400 people in for dinner.

We do cater for them, but sometimes with extreme difficulty.

Not everyone appreciates they may have to wait at times for their dinner to be served, as most of the diners are walk-in customers and this puts immense pressure on our resources.” .

The reconfigured kitchen will ease a lot of that pressure, she says.

While the 100-seat dining area has remained the same, there are plans to extend the seating space to allow for extended dining and function options.

“We have extended the floor area of the new kitchen by taking some area from the adjoining boardroom and services areas,” Raewyn says.

“Most of the kitchen plant and equipment has been upgraded, and the kitchen has been fully finished in stainless steel, with easy-clean walls and
ceiling, ensuring our compliance with all regulatory food requirements.”

The building process was reasonably simple and easy, she says. The restaurant closed for a week after Christmas, and local building firm Arthur Brown Construction worked every day.

Restaurant manager and chef Pam Watkins, who has been running the restaurant for two years, has seven staff on a roster system in the kitchen.

Caledonia is open from 6pm Wednesday to Sunday, and lunchtimes Wednesday to Saturday.

A $10 roast-pork meal on offer at lunch and dinner every Wednesday has proved a drawcard for the club’s overall activities, says Raewyn.

Club membership continues to increase: “When we came to this Caledonia St site 20 years ago, we had just 700 members; today, we have more than 2100.”

Popularity drives revamp

Views of the reconfigured kitchen, which has been redesigned to ease ‘a lot of the pressure’.

New members have joined through recommendations from others, and over the past five years, there has been an influx of younger members, she says.

“They didn’t frequent the club because they thought it was more for the older age-group and a place for Mum and Dad to socialise.But nowadays they enjoy what we have to offer them.They enjoy coming here because they can play pool, snooker and darts, and enjoy a nice dinner.”

Three years ago the club bought a courtesy coach, which has proved a successful asset in helping bring members and guests safely to and from the club.

“Our slogan is ‘The place to be in South Taranaki’, and it’s something we are very passionate about,” Raewyn says.

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