New owner has big plans in mind for Continental Catering

Rangiora's landmark Continental Bakery cafe on the market

The new owner of Continental Catering Group, David Cartwright, has big plans in mind for the long-time Canterbury catering company.

Cartwright bought a half share in the business a little over a year ago from original owners Joan and David Ward, who first established Continental Catering in 1956. His part share allowed the couple to retire and then last month Cartwright took full ownership of Continental.

The hospitality provider operates five divisions under its umbrella: the Kingsford Kitchen in Rangiora, which is a café that also houses its production kitchen; management of Mona Vale; the events division; catering for the Christchurch Restaurant Tram and Gondola, among other venues; and the popular Continental Bakery cafe, also in Rangiora.

Cartwright is already ringing in the changes, putting the bakery cafe business on the market.

Located at 138 Percival Street, the bakery was home to Continental’s first commercial kitchen, and is being marketed by Investment Sales Broker Philip Cooper of Colliers International.

The business is for sale by deadline private treaty closing at 4pm on 22 August, unless sold prior.

“As part of a planned restructure, the directors have chosen to sell the very successful business of the bakery and will use the capital to invest in its core catering business,” Cooper says.

“It’s a hugely well-known and popular business within the Waimakariri District and will stand any professional operator or intending owner in good stead for many years. There are many changes for an energetic owner or operator to further enhance the business, using the capacity available within the kitchen production area.”

The site contains an overall area of approximately 636.36sq m, with the cafe able to seat up to 50 people at a time. It includes a large kitchen.

Cooper says Rangiora remains a thriving area, with office space occupancy at low levels and keen interest from investors in businesses and properties that come to the market.

Christchurch born and bred, Cartwright trained as a chef with the Royal New Zealand Army and has subsequently worked as a sous chef at the then ParkRoyal Hotel, later known as the Crowne Plaza. He was head chef of the Canterbury Club, before being appointed as General Manager.

“Food and catering has been in my veins from a very early age. In fact, my sisters often remind me I baked my first cake when I was four years old.”

Cartwright, who can often be found ‘hands on’ is excited about the future.

“We have had some challenges, for sure, but these aren’t going to stop us.

"The hospitality environment in Canterbury is very competitive with new restaurants opening across the city almost on a weekly basis.

"Continental’s advantage remains being flexible, our ability to travel and look after our clients in their homes, or different function venues, and marquees across Canterbury."

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