Capital Hosts

6 December 2010

Could the bar staff at your local tell you what time Te Papa is open till or where the nearest bus stop is? Do they go the extra distance to clean and tidy up outside the venue? The answer to these kinds of questions is now more likely to be yes, thanks to a new Wellington hospitality industry-led initiative to be launched tomorrow, Tuesday 7 December.

Bar Manager Mark Patterson knows what it takes to be a Capital Host

Bar Manager Mark Patterson knows what it takes to be a Capital Host

The Capital Host Charter is aimed at helping the Wellington city hospitality industry 'lift its game' before, during and after Rugby World Cup 2011.

The Charter sets out a number of obligations, over and above those in the Sale of Liquor Act 1989, based on a commitment to showing pride in Wellington and to enhancing safety in venues and their surroundings.

It is administered by a new Wellington Licensee Forum, made up of representatives from the industry, City Council, Police, Hotel and Restaurant associations, Hotel Council and others. Venues that sign the Charter will become members of the Forum.

Charter signatories will be audited under a peer-review system to ensure standards are maintained. The audit checklist covers venues inside and out - including things like staff training and knowledge of the city, cleanliness, queue management, graffiti removal and being a good neighbour.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the new scheme recognises the important role the industry plays in the city and also its obligations. "The hospitality industry has a huge role to play for visitors. It's great to see they've chosen to work in partnership to really raise the bar on all aspects of being good hosts.

"Wellington is the only capital city in the world to have been awarded Safe Community status by the World Health Organisation - and all of us have to work hard to maintain and enhance that status."

The Charter can be signed by any of Wellington's licensed premises, although those in the central business district are the scheme's greatest priority. Charter signatories will be able to show their commitment by displaying the Charter, window stickers and other branded items.

The Charter is thought to be the first of its kind in New Zealand and is loosely based on one in Melbourne, which has seen a high level of uptake in the two years it has been running.

Jason Deane, from the Trinity Group which owns St Johns and other bars in the city, says most of the industry is doing a good job but there's always room for improvement. "It's about going that extra distance to make sure people have the best possible experience.

"I've always asked my staff to be good hosts but now I'm going to ask even more of them - like being able to tell visitors what Te Papa's opening hours are."

Gary Clarke, owner of the Southern Cross and Estadio, has also been involved with developing the Charter and says it takes a positive approach. "There's lots of industry enthusiasm about this initiative so we want to maintain that momentum.

"We've thought carefully about the language in the Charter - it's things like 'we'll do this', so licensees have a clear benchmark of expectations and results."

More information about the Charter, including an application form and criteria, is available in the Community Safety section on this website:

Community Safety - Licensee Forum