Top restaurant in Ponsonby’s hospitality hive

5:00 AM Saturday August 8, 2015 Colin Taylor

The dining area in Toru restaurant and bar at 136-138 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby.

A highly acclaimed restaurant and bar business in one of Auckland’s popular suburban hospitality hubs has been placed on the market for sale.

Toru at 136-138 Ponsonby Rd, within the Ponsonby Central food and beverage precinct, is a licensed hospitality business serving a cafe-styled breakfast and lunch menu during the day, then morphing into a modern New Zealand cuisine establishment at night.

It is the first site within Ponsonby Central to come up for sale since the hub opened in 2012, and is one of only two dining  venues in the complex with frontage and seating facing onto the high foot traffic catchment of Ponsonby Rd.

The business operates within leased premises on a 142 square metre floor plan encompassing 55 square metres of kitchen and food preparation with bar service space, 81 square metres of covered dining space and six square metres of outdoor dining.

“Toru is an award winning establishment,” says Lean La Hood, broker with Bayleys Auckland, who is marketed the going concern business for sale through expressions of interest closing on September 16.

“It was selected among Metro magazine’s 50 Best Cafes in Auckland in 2013 and 2014 and is part of a stable of award-winning cafes within the V & M Cafe Group including the Teed Street Larder, Wai Kitchen, and Scratch Bakers,” La Hood says.

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The bar area in Toru restaurant and bar.

She describes the venue’s decor as “a blend of character industrial” with exposed high stud steel beams, metal rod ceiling framing and fire sprinkler system piping. “It has skyward-facing saw-toothed windows blended into contemporary minimalist chic through polished wooden floors and concrete block walls.”

La Hood says Ponsonby Central operates a ‘beehive’ marketing approach designed to create a “a buzz’ of activity” with customers attracted to the destination as an entity rather than individual venues – thus spreading discretionary spending across multiple outlets.

She says the floor space within the café and restaurant segregated Toru into several zones encompassing standard café table settings, bar stool seating and a lounge style area.

“As a dining facility offering contemporary New Zealand cuisine, Toru sits alongside more ethnically specific choices within Ponsonby Central that offer Latin American, Italian, South-East Asian and Japanese dishes.”

Like all the businesses operating within Ponsonby Central, Toru is levied a marketing fee by the landlord equating to four per cent of the base rental which pays for the marketing and advertising of Ponsonby Central as an urban drinking and dining brand within broadcast, print and digital media.

“This marketing philosophy unites the 15 food and beverage operations within Ponsonby Central to collaboratively attract customers to its location - in preference to other competing individual Ponsonby Road destinations or to those in The Viaduct or Britomart precincts.

“This concerted marketing approach is one of the reasons why Toru, and other hospitality businesses within Ponsonby Central, show better than industry average revenue figures.

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Outside tables at Toru restaurant and bar in Ponsonby.

“As a result of high foot traffic volumes, particularly at night, Ponsonby Central was fully tenanted within months of its completion, and has gone from strength to strength on the back of its levy-funded marketing campaign along with promotional activity by the individual outlets and public awareness.”

La Hood says the Toru premises operate under a restaurant licence allowing for the seven day service of liquor between 11 am and midnight. It also displays a desirable A-grade food service certification from Auckland Council.

“As a well-established and efficiently functioning hospitality business, Toru offers a new owner the option of continuing with its existing food and beverage menu; along with extending its night time dining operation currently running from Wednesday to Saturday,” she says.

The business has an eight-year lease running through to 2020 and has 12 staff comprising seven full-time employees and five part-timers split between the kitchen and front of house sections. 

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Leah La Hood of Bayleys Auckland.