CAPE TOWN – Being recognised as a leading restaurant in the industry is a big achievement for chef Arno Janse van Rensburg’s restaurant as it is set for further growth.
Janse van Rensburg was awarded the Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year award at the Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2018, a spectacular event which took place at the Grande Arena at the Grand West Casino on Sunday.
Janse van Rensburg who opened his first restaurant in Kloof Street, Gardens restaurant, Janse & Co, in December last year, said the focus from the start was always to have a successful restaurant with a strong team and to lead them to be part of a great restaurant at the end of the day.
“This award means a lot because it means that we have been doing the right thing and that we are on the right path, being recognised by our peers and other chefs in the industry. So that is a positive note and I think we will get more feet through the door with word of mouth going out there, all those kind of things,” said Janse van Rensburg.
He added that the restaurant has created employment for 21 people, 11 in the kitchen and 10 in the front.
Janse van Rensburg said the restaurant has had quite a big staff turnout during the first year, citing the first year as always the toughest.
Having been in the industry since 2003, Janse van Rensburg advised people entering the industry or chefs opening their first establishment not to shy away from hard work and to take chances.
Karl Westvig, chief executive of Retail Capital, which provides funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across South Africa and one of the main sponsors of the event, together with Mercedes Benz, said businesses in South Africa are grappling against the rising cost of living and the state of the economy.
Westvig said that that while it might seem easiest to increase prices to cover cost increases associated with petrol and VAT, this would be the wrong move as with any business, raising prices only pushes the local customer base away, making for an unsustainable business model outside of a busy tourist season.
“In these tough times, consumers are either reducing their restaurant visits or scaling down to just main courses and drinks, avoiding starters and desserts to reduce the overall spend,” said Westvig.
Westvig added that many great locations outprice themselves, which may be acceptable to foreign tourists but erodes the local, regular support base and that restaurants can take a cue from retailers in this regard or frequently develop promotions to get feet through the door and then use the opportunity to upsell by offering additional value in-store.
“The restaurants that are busy right now are bundling burgers with drinks or running other attractive specials. And they’re letting people know about these specials through social media platforms or flyers and adverts,” said Westvig.
He said that last year’s Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year, La Petite Columbe, has navigated this balance successfully.
“They had the benefit of being in a recognised location and the backing of a larger brand, having the La Columbe and Foxcroft credentials behind them,” said Westvig.