Business Profiles

by Valentines Buffet Restaurants

last updated 08/12/2019

Valentines Days

by Valentines Buffet Restaurants

last updated 08/12/2019

Rebirth brings success to buffet restaurant Valentines

Valentines was once New Zealand’s best-known family restaurant brand. In recent years, it had shrunk to just four outlets, ‘But that’s all changing rapidly,’ says Valentines compliance manager Cathie Timmins. ‘We re-opened Rotorua in November 2017 and it’s flying,’ she says with pride. ‘Two years later we opened the first new-look Valentines in many years, in Christchurch, and the feedback has been outstandingly good. Now we’re ready to grow again all round the country.’

The rebirth began a few years ago when new owners Ron and Ravi Lal bought the Valentines on Auckland’s North Shore and realised that while it was an excellent concept, the franchise had failed to keep up with the times. There was little consistency between the restaurants, food offering, franchisees and the franchise system itself.

‘The first task was to bring back the food quality, ambience and great customer service,’ Cathie explains. ‘People used to love it – there are so many tales of childhood memories, family gatherings and birthday parties at Valentines. Clearly those are treasured experiences for Kiwis and we want to bring those days back. The success of the Rotorua re-opening convinced us we were on the right track. Even before it opened we were getting enquiries, and such has been the demand that we’ve had to increase the capacity to 200-plus seats. By creating the right combination of people, product and place, we proved that Valentines could attract the new generation, too.’

Brand new

After dedicated investigation of sites and systems, and a lot of hard work, Valentines opened the new-look, state-of-the-art outlet in Christchurch in July 2019. ‘Our mantra is good food, great ambience and friendly service,’ says Cathie. ‘We’ve retained the things people remember – including the variety of seafood, chocolate fountain and the ice cream machine – but updated the menu and recipes. Our model ensures there’s something for everyone, while delivering a sustainable and profitable return for franchisees.’

Valentines is planning to open a restaurant in every major city in New Zealand. The new-look Valentines will give customers the change that the brand needed, while at the same time bringing back the experiences and memories of the past.

Cathie says that new franchisees will require capital of $300,000-$400,000, depending on location. ‘Full training and support will be given, and there’s ongoing marketing to inform customers that Valentines is back.

‘We are looking for people dedicated to building a brand that will benefit us all. If you have that drive, come and talk to us.’  

See this advertorial on page 14 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 28 Issue 3

Contact details for Valentines Buffet Restaurants

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