Help at hand for food and drinks businesses…

Here’s a question for you: what do dreamers, hospitality students and restaurateurs all have in common?

The answer: all of them need a little help when it comes to maximising their business potential, which is where Celia Hay’s new book, How to Grow Your Hospitality Business, may  come in handy.

 This book could come in very handy, thanks to the practical nature of its writing and diagrams, particularly the advice dispensed on page 25 of the Hospitality Business Life Cycle, which explains the ebbs and flows of how hospitality businesses work.

“The easy part is setting up a restaurant, café or bar; the hard part is sticking at it when customers come and go because floods of customers can sometimes turn into a trickle for no obvious reason,” says Hay, explaining the rationale of her business life cycle diagram, which she refined for this book.

It’s her third edition of How to Grow Your Hospitality Business and it was launched in Auckland a fortnight ago at the New Zealand School of Food & Wine, which Hay relocated from Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake devastated her school there.

She began working on the new book in 2010, prior to the biggest Christchurch earthquake,  and it has been a work in progress since the relocation to Auckland.

I have worked for Hay at her school in Auckland for the past seven years as a wine tutor and while I no longer teach regularly for her, we remain in contact.

We had a chat this week about her new book.

What do you think of hospitality as an industry to work in?

Celia Hay: It’s much better entertainment than sitting on a couch and watching TV.

What’s the most rewarding part of working in hospitality?

Celia Hay: It’s very addictive creating food and sharing it with people and setting up for special events. I find it very rewarding and greatly enjoy doing events. It’s about being curious about your guests and sharing food, wine and laughter. It’s all very human and that’s the most rewarding part of it.

What is your biggest hope for the book and those who read it? 

Celia Hay: It’s a book to help people succeed in the hospitality business but also for those people who dream to own their own place one day. I want to help people on the pathway to success.

When did the first edition of your book come out?

Celia Hay: In 2000…

What inspired you to write your first edition?

Celia Hay: This book was to provide a text book for the Certificate in Restaurant and Cafe Management that we launched in 1998 at our school in Christchurch.

What’s the biggest change over the years in the books?

Celia Hay: The compliance side of the hospitality industry has become incredibly complicated. Even the Sale of Alcohol Licence and the Food Control Plan are both very detailed from a compliance point of view. And then there is the new Health & Safety at Work Act and the Food Act and all the challenges of employment law.

Who is the target market?

Celia Hay: The dreamer, the student of hospitality management and the restaurateur or café owner who wants to do some professional development.

What’s next at the NZ School of Food & Wine?

Celia Hay: We are just going through NZQA approval for the Diploma of Cookery (Level 5) and Diploma of Hospitality Management at Level 6. We also have a new professional wine diploma to be launched at the school in the middle of 2018.

Where can people buy the book?

Celia Hay: Online at and also at Unity Books in Auckland and Scorpio Books at Christchurch.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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