Jed Joyce of Rollickin Gelato, Christchurch.

Kiwi ingenuity is at the heart of Rollickin Gelato’s business and that’s one of the reasons the Christchurch eatery will be taking home $26,000 worth of prizes as the winners of a ‘support local’ hospitality competition.

Hospo Lifeline is a ‘positive takeaway from Covid’ created by FirstEATS – an online takeaway directory and community project by restaurant discovery website First Table and the prize includes business support for online marketing, branding, strategy, financial and subscriptions.

Despite the challenges that have been thrown their way, the young and innovative team at Rollickin Gelato have been working hard to adapt the business to the changing hospitality landscape – all while remaining positive.

Owner and founder, Jed Joyce says 2020 has been their most challenging year in business and the prize is going to have a massive positive impact on the future plans for Rollickin Gelato.

“Prior to lockdown we were in a high-growth phase, and then bricks and mortar became irrelevant overnight. Due to the decline in tourism, I had to make the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make and close our Art Centre site as we weren’t getting the foot traffic,” says Jed.

After absorbing their staff into the other two businesses, the team of 45 started brainstorming how they could adapt the organic gelato brand to fit the ‘new normal’. This included the development of a contactless delivery app, a new dessert menu and plans for a new website to support delivery.

“While the situation sucks, there are always positives to gain, and we have learnt and will keep learning some pretty awesome things. Our team is clever and resilient and we’re confident we’ll get through the other side.

“Winning this prize is so important to us, we’re a young and fluid team and we’re driven to keep innovating so that we can come out the other side with a solid brand and a bulletproof business. The support of Hospo Lifeline means so much to us, and we’re really grateful for the opportunity to continue to share our fun with Christchurch and the wider New Zealand community,” he says.

The judges were most impressed by the businesses willingness to try new things and appetite for innovation, their drive and determination to overcome every challenge and their forward-thinking – with plans for growth and expansion despite the current challenges.

They also noted the optimism and positivity that shone through in the application, and the team’s efforts to help the local community. From Dog Walks to raise funds for the SPCA, custom flavours to support local musicians and their most recent support of the upcoming New Zealand elections, encouraging young people to vote through custom ice-cream flavours inspired by politicians, such as Jacinda Fever and David S’more.

FirstEATS founder Mat Weir says the community project was developed to help the hospitality industry, and they are proud to be supporting Rollickin Gelato through the next stage of recovery.

“We were so impressed by Rollickin Gelato’s application, from their optimism to their innovative approach to business and the way they have supported their staff and the local community through the past few months.

“Kiwi ingenuity is at the heart of this business and we can’t wait to support them to achieve great things,” he says.

“We’d also like to take the time to thank each and every eatery that applied. There were lots of great applicants across the country, and it was heartening to see that despite the challenges, the industry is full of resilience and optimism. We wish them all the best in their Covid-19 recovery.” The prize includes support for online marketing, branding, strategy, financial and subscriptions from FirstEATS, in partnership with Deloitte, Hype & Dexter, Xero, Restaurant Association of New Zealand, Not Another™, The Hospitality Company, Loaded, Chomp, First Table and YEAH! LOCAL.

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