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Franc’s opened opposite Takapuna beach nearly three years ago, and co-owner Steve Shute is still buzzing about its vibe and location.
“Boy, oh boy, was it obvious that Takapuna residents had been waiting for some additional hospitality offerings on the beautiful beachfront! We wanted to add a beachfront property that was casual but had respect for the beach. And we aimed to offer an interesting marriage of Americana and street food.”
Steve and business partner Andy Ruzich also own Takapuna’s The Elephant Wrestler and Regatta. At Franc’s, “a great team” takes responsibility for day to day operations, led by site manager Adam Mather and head chef Carson Donaldson. Collectively, “we boast a diverse experience base (from 5-star hotels to small high-volume cafes) and more than 100 years of hospitality experience. It leads to a dynamic collaboration of ideas.”
Franc’s, Steve says, is all about “friends, family and really connecting”. This means nostalgic feel-good music, real comfort food and no TVs. “We believe there are more than enough opportunities to watch sport at other local venues. We want Franc’s to be a place where people come to connect with each other and enjoy laughs, with great food, good service and a solid beverage offering.”
Steve says Franc’s has a “cheeky way of looking at everything. We do not set out to be fine dining. We are a fun offering on a beautiful beach. We like our team to be a little casual yet professional in their approach to our customers, and attentive and welcoming. This is definitely not your ‘yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir’ kind of venue. Look forward to some hustle and bustle, and expect it to be a bit noisy. This is not a restaurant as such. We take inspiration from the American diner without being ‘traditional’.”
Franc’s also “loves to create bespoke events for people and have them feel special,” says Steve. Just contact food and beverage manager Hannah (email@example.com ).
“We want to provide customers with memories; give them dining options that are not on offer anywhere else in Takapuna. We have delicious food that is in some ways very indulgent and not what you would eat every day or prepare yourself at home. We invite people in with a smile and hope we send them off with happy tummies and smiles in return.”
Steve says they put a lot of time into menu development. “Having three businesses in the area we keep crossover to a minimum and ensure each venue has a distinctive ‘flavour’. Myself, Adam and most importantly Carson decide on our direction and we then let Carson loose!”
Franc’s changes its menu twice a year but is always running interesting food promotions “to keep people fascinated”. Steve’s current “hot list” for lunch includes Chicken & Waffles, Mac ‘n’ Cheese bites, Poutine with pulled pork, and Dorrito chicken burger. For breakfast, he suggests, “you absolutely have to try the smoothie bowl and the agria potato rosti with pork belly”.
Franc’s experiences its best trade when the sun is out. But Saturdays and Sundays are always busy with lots of bigger groups of families or young professionals. Even on cold windy days, says Steve, “Takapuna beach is a very interesting watch. All those kite surfers are out cutting shapes and there is still so much activity on the beach.”
Summing up, Steve says that Franc’s sets out to be different. “We aim to give people a great experience that they may not get anywhere else. Relax, enjoy us for what we are and try new things!”
Francs, The Strand, Takapuna (access also from 77 Hurstmere Road) 09 4880016 www.francs.co.nz
Open 9am-11pm Tuesday-Thursday; 9am-midnight Monday, Friday, Saturday; 9am-10pm Sunday.
Channel Magazine: Issue 79 August 2017