Wellington’s Portlander Bar & Grill Voted NZ’s Best
Portlander, the popular Wellington steakhouse was named ‘number one’ in the country on Thursday after winning the ‘Best
Restaurant’ category in the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence.
Operations Manager Antonio Abbate attributes listening, learning and evolving as the key to the win. ”There are no
shortcuts, only passion and perseverance” he says.
His colleague, Sales Executive Rhiannon Beavan agrees “it’s all about getting back to basics really. We all have the
same vision and take a huge amount of ownership.”
The winning formula was a deft combination of uncompromising service, strong team camaraderie and innovative marketing
which showed an excellent operation centred around what makes customers tick.
Taking care of the locals ‘old school hospitality style’ has led to the Featherston Street business dominating the
steakhouse niche locally since its inception in 2012.
Choosing to submit a savvy digital entry instead of a predictable paper presentation, meant that Portlander’s ‘vlog
style’ submission was one of a kind from the start.
It documented the path to excellence through candid video cameos of staff and real life customers sharing their thoughts
about why Portlander meets the standard of excellence.
Operational innovations include developing a free coffee and burger ordering app and involving locals in the compilation
and development of the wine list.
Sales figures as a result show consistently enviable performance as revenue targets have been superseded annually.
It is the first time Portlander has won the prestigious national award. Bruce Robertson Chief Executive, Hospitality New
Zealand says they rightly deserve to be recognised as the best in their class.
The award was judged by a panel of independent industry professionals that critiqued the operation for seven weeks in
the lead up to the announcement.