How It Works

Back for its sixth year, Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year is an annual national café competition aimed at finding the best and most loved café’s across the country. We’ve put together an expert team of judges headed up by industry great Kerry Tyack. The judges will be using their expertise and local café knowledge to help seek out the top cafes in the country.

 

Competition Categories

This year you can enter your café into one of the following categories:

Best Metro/CBD
For cafés located in cities and business districts.

Best Suburban
For cafés serving local communities or suburbs.

Best Regional Town (New)
For cafés located within regional New Zealand towns.

Best Rural
For cafés set within small New Zealand towns and rural locations.

Not sure which category you should be entering, get in touch

Got that bit extra?

This year, for the first time, we have two special opt in awards for those who think they offer the industry that bit extra.

For each of these awards, a shortlist of six (one from each region) will be selected based on the entries for each below award. The six finalists will be visited or interviewed by phone and to determine the ultimate winner.

The Unilever Food Solutions Award for Innovation and Sustainability

  • Business/commercial innovation
  • Marketing innovation
  • Food/menu development
  • Interior design/construction
  • Sustainable Development

Entrants are asked to provide a written explanation of what their innovation is and how it has positively impacted on their businesses. Judges for this award will be a single representative from Unilever Food Solutions.

The JetPlane Indie Classic Kiwi Award

  • Easily identifiable Kiwi character
  • Emphasis on traditional, counter food prepared onsite and incorporating local ingredients
  • Link to family recipes
  • Presents a display of Kiwi ingenuity

Entrants are asked to provide a written explanation of what makes them a Classic Kiwi Café and how it has positively impacted on their businesses. Judges for this award will be a single representative from JetPlane Indie.

To enter either of these awards, you just need to tick the “I would like to be considered for The Unilever Award for Innovation or JetPlane Indie Classic Kiwi Award” and fill out the relative box in your registration form.

Prizes up for grabs

We are excited about our prizes this year – and hope you will be too!

Supreme winner
This year our supreme winner will receive:
– The title of Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year 2018
– An editorial feature in Dish magazine
– National PR coverage
– A trip for two to Melbourne, so the winners can relax and unwind after the competition and experience what some of the top establishments across the ditch are doing
– A 2-year subscription to Dish magazine.

National category winners
Each of the national category winners, and the national People’s Choice winner will receive the following;
– $250 cash prize
– A certificate and window stickers proclaiming their success
– Press coverage of your category win
– Regional finalist and winning cafés will all feature on the Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year website as our top cafes of New Zealand for 2018
– A 1-year subscription to Dish magazine.

Regional category winners, finalists and People’s choice regional winners
– A certificate and window stickers proclaiming their success
– Bragging rights that your café is one of the top in the country
– Regional finalist and winning cafes will all feature on the Meadow fresh NZ Café of the Year website as our top cafes of New Zealand for 2018.

Key competition dates

There are a number of dates to keep in mind for the competition, here’s what you need to know:
14th August – Registration and nominations open
29th September – Registrations and nominations closes
2nd October – People’s Choice voting opens
27th October – People’s Choice voting closes
November – Judges’ visits commence
December – Regional winners and People’s choice regional winners announced
February – Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year 2018 supreme winner and national category winners announced.

Competition regions

The competition is divided into six competition regions

  • Auckland – Wellsford to Franklin
  • Upper North Island – Northland (North of Wellsford), Waikato, Bay of Plenty,
  • Lower North Island – Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui
  • Wellington – Wairarapa, Kapiti
  • Upper South Island –  North of and including Temuka, Geraldine and Fox Glacier
  • Lower South Island – South of and including Timaru, Tekapo and Karangarua

Not sure where your café fits in, check out our competition region map.

Judging panel

Judging, tasting and deliberating will be conducted by an experienced judging team headed by well-known NZ food judge Kerry Tyack.

Kerry is an independent writer, commentator and educator in the New Zealand food and drinks industry. He is head judge of many food industry events including the National Restaurant Association Restaurant of the Year, the Cuisine NZ Good Food Guide, Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge, Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Award, The New Zealand Sausage Competition and Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year. He is an acknowledged expert on food and beverage pairing, a contributor to many publications and an award-winning author of books on beer and food.

People’s Choice

The People’s Choice is the public vote part of the competition that determines who are the most loved cafe’s in the country – as selected by the general public.

Not only is it a major honour to be the public favourite, public votes also help with your café ranking in the Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year judging. Our expert judging panel will be using the People’s Choice voting results as part of your overall score in judging phase 1.

People’s Choice regional winners will be announced in December and will be showcased on the Meadow Fresh NZ Cafe of the Year website.

The National People’s Choice winner is the cafe with the highest number of public votes in the country. They will also go into our list of national finalists to be visited with our finalists for contention as one the national category winners.

The Judging Process

This year the competition judging process is broken into 3 key phases

 

 

Phase 1: Shortlisting

Shortlisting

  1. Our expert judging panel (EJP) will read through each entry and rate it based on the strength ‘what makes you special’ blurb on your entry form. The better the case you give us, the more likely you will be selected as a finalist. The judges will also take into consideration the cafe’s ranking in the People’s Choice vote as park of the cafe ranking
  2. 3-4 cafes per category, per region are selected as our shortlist by the EJP.
  3. The list of 3-4 cafes per category, per region are sent to local judges for their feedback and will be asked the following questions:
    – Do you know of this cafe?
    – Have you visited it?
    – Do you have any comments to make on the ‘what makes you special’ entry of the café?
    – Do you believe they fit the category entered?
    – Are there other cafés who you believe have a stronger case?

Determining Regional Finalists

From the shortlist the regional finalists will be selected by the EJP based on:
– The strength of the ‘what makes you special’ case from the cafe’s entry form
– Local expert feedback (as above)
– The ranking of the entrant using the People’s Choice voting score

There will be 2 finalists per category per region that are our finalists – a total of 48 cafes.

Phase 2: Judging Regional Finalists

The regional finalist cafés will all be visited and assessed by a team of two judges who will each order a hot drink and a meal on site. They will be assessed using the judging sheet (click here to see the judging sheet). All assessments are forwarded onto the EJP for the Phase 3 of judging.

Phase 3: Determining National Finalists

  1. The assessments are collated per region and category
  2. Results are recorded on a spreadsheet and the highest scoring entry in each category is the Regional Category Winner
  3. To this list of Regional Category Winners, the National People’s Choice winner is added
  4. All the cafes on this list are then visited again by a team of two judges from the EJP, one of these two will visit all the cafes
  5. The highest cafe from these assessments will be determined as the Meadow Fresh NZ Cafe of the Year.

FAQ

Who can register?
Any café can take part. Just make sure you are the café owner, or have permission from the café owner to register on their behalf.

What is the definition of a café in this competition?
A café is any business that primarily serves home-made cabinet food as a staple offering in addition to any menu items and serves tea and coffee. A high proportion of food should be made on the premise. A café can be a licensed premise. A café can be open in the evenings but daytime (breakfast and lunch) service should be a priority.

How do I register?
Simple – just head to our registration page and fill out the form. We recommend putting some thought into telling us what makes you special, as that’s the thing most likely to catch the eye of our judges!

What can I win?
This year, as well as a chance to take out the top title, we have awesome prizes, national PR coverage for all category winners and the chance to be really famous courtesy of Dish magazine.

Which category should I enter?
Enter the category that suits your café best, our category descriptions are here, if you need any help just contact us and we’ll help point you in the right direction.

What are the key competition dates?
There are a number of dates to keep in mind for the competition, here’s what you need to know:
14th August – Registration and nominations open
29th September – Registrations and nominations closes
2nd October – People’s Choice voting opens
27th October – People’s Choice voting closes
November – Judges’ visits commence
December – Regional winners and People’s choice regional winners announced
February – Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year 2018 supreme winner and national category winners announced.

Where are the competition regions?

Auckland – Wellsford to Franklin
Upper North Island – Northland (North of Wellsford), Waikato, Bay of Plenty,
Lower North Island – Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui
Wellington – Wairarapa, Kapiti
Upper South Island – North of and including Temuka, Geraldine and Fox Glacier
Lower South Island – South of and including Timaru, Tekapo and Karangarua
Still not sure where your cafe fits in, check out our competition map link to regional map flat page.

Who are the judges?

Judging, tasting and deliberating will be conducted by an experienced judging team headed by well-known NZ food judge Kerry Tyack.

Kerry is an independent writer, commentator and educator in the New Zealand food and drinks industry. He is head judge of many food industry events including the National Restaurant Association Restaurant of the Year, the Cuisine NZ Good Food Guide, Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge, Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Award, The New Zealand Sausage Competition and Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year. He is an acknowledged expert on food and beverage pairing, a contributor to many publications and an award-winning author of books on beer and food.

How does the judging process work?

This year the competition judging process is broken into 3 key phases:

1. Shortlisting and determining finalists
2. Judging regional finalists
3. Judging national finalists

For more about this process click here

How is the competition shortlist decided?

Our expert judging panel (EJP) will read through each entry and rate it based on the strength of the ‘what makes you special’ blurb on your entry form. The better the case you give us, the more likely you will be selected as a finalist. The judges will also take into consideration the cafe’s ranking in the People’s Choice vote as part of the cafe ranking.

3-4 cafes per category, per region are selected as our shortlist by the EJP.

The list of 3-4 cafes per category, per region are sent to local judges for their feedback and will be asked the following questions:
Do you know of this cafe?
Have you visited it?
Do you have any comments to make on the ‘what makes you special’ entry of the cafe
Do you believe they fit the category entered?
Are there other cafes who you believe have a stronger case?
What is the Unilever Award for Innovation & Sustainability?

Back for its second year is the award for the most innovative and sustainable café in New Zealand. The Unilever Award for Innovation & Sustainability will be presented to a single café that has demonstrated outstanding innovation during the period March 2017 to October 2017 across one or more of the categories below.

Business/commercial innovation
Marketing innovation
Food/menu development
Interior design/construction
Sustainable development
Entrants are asked to provide a written explanation of what their innovation and sustainability is and how it has positively impacted on their businesses.

A shortlist of six (one from each region) will be selected based on the entries. The five finalists will be interviewed by phone or visited to determine the ultimate winner.

Judges for this award will be a single representative from Unilever Food Solutions.

To enter this award, you just need to tick the ‘I would like to be considered for The Unilever Award for Innovation & Sustainability’ box in your registration form and fill out the relevant entry box.

What is the JetPlane Indie Classic Kiwi Award?

Changing things up a bit this year, originally this award was under the main categories but left crossovers for the judges for anybody who might qualify for more than one award. Therefore, this year The Classic Kiwi Award will be an opt-in just like the above. The JetPlane Indie Classic Kiwi Award will be presented to a single café that has demonstrated being a Classic Kiwi Café during the period March 2017 to October 2017 across one or more of the categories below.

Easily identifiable specifically Kiwi character
Emphasis on traditional, counter food prepared onsite and incorporating local ingredients
Link to family recipes
Presents a display of Kiwi ingenuity
Entrants are asked to provide a written explanation of what makes them a Classic Kiwi Café and how it has positively impacted on their businesses.

A shortlist of six (one from each region) will be selected based on the entries. The five finalists will be interviewed by phone or visited to determine the ultimate winner.

To enter this award, you just need to tick the ‘I would like to be considered for The JetPlane Indie Classic Kiwi Award’ box in your registration form and fill out the relevant entry box.

What will be in my competition pack?
Once you’ve registered, we’ll mail you out a Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year competition pack. This will be filled with various competition signage and paraphernalia including store posters, window stickers, voting cards and a counter card and some top tips on how to do well in the public voting part of the competition.
We recommend you try and have it all up and looking amazing by the 2nd October (when public voting opens) to give you the best start possible in the voting stakes

When will I receive my competition pack?
We will be sending out the competition packs throughout August and September. If you have not received your competition pack by 27th September, please contact us and we’ll look into it and get you sorted.

How do my customers vote for my cafe?
Café punters can vote for you in the following ways:
– By text (by sending your unique café code to 360), note standard text charges apply
– Through the nzcafeoftheyear.co.nz website. Please note voting page will not be available until the voting period is live.
– Through the Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year facebook page

How many times can I vote?
Just one vote per voting method (website, facebook or by text) per café, per person.

Who can vote?
Anyone including all general public and staff can vote once for each café.

I’ve run out of voting cards, can I order any more?
Yes of course, just contact us and we’ll organise more to come out to you. Please note there may be a short delay in getting these to you as these are printed on demand and are batched to print once a week.

About

Back for its sixth year, Meadow Fresh NZ Café of Year is an annual national café competition aimed at finding the best and most loved cafés across the country.

We’ve put together an expert panel of judges headed up by industry great Kerry Tyack. The judges will be using the results of people’s choice, their expertise and local café knowledge to help seek out the top cafés in the country.

Registrations and nominations kick off August 14th, 2017 and the competition runs all the way up until the winner’s event in February 2018.

So get ready to tell us why you’ve got what it takes to be this year’s Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year!

INTRODUCING THE MEADOW FRESH NZ CAFÉ OF THE YEAR 2017 CHAMPION!

After months of searching the 2017 national winners were celebrated at a special event held in Auckland.

Rotorua’s Capers café has been named the 2017 Meadow Fresh NZ New Zealand Café of the Year. Congratulations to Gregg, Susan, Liz and the team!

Left to right: The Capers team – Susan Brown (Owner), Liz Todd (Manager) and Gregg Brown (Owner)

Capers has been a top contender in previous years and this year the judging panel chose to reward its quality, consistency and most of all the passion it clearly displays for satisfying every customer who walks through the door.

Head Judge Kerry Tyack said “Capers has all the credentials to proudly be the 2017 Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year. The food is fresh, beautifully presented and serves up an enticing menu delivering uncomplicated and innovative cuisine. Capers inspires loyalty from its customers by providing great food and coffee on site, as well as takeaway meals and salads and a retail larder full of local artisan and organic produce. Capers is superbly organised and managed. The engaging staff are proactive in determining and meeting customer’s needs. The café itself is an easily accessible bright open space and importantly, the coffee is consistently well brewed and hot! With great care taken on their food, coffee and customer experience, Capers is a great example of a local café that consistently brings passion and integrity to its customers.”

 

Some of the delights on offer at Capers.

In addition to the prestige of taking out the top prize. Capers will get to enjoy prizes including a trip to Melbourne, national PR coverage and a Dish editorial package

Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year 2017 Supreme Winner – Capers (Rotorua)

National category award winners:

  • Tuckers Ridge Pies Best Rural: Red Shed Palazzo (Karaka)
  • Tararua Best Metro/CBD: Capers (Rotorua)
  • Hellmann’s Best Suburban: Sweet Vanilla Kitchen (Lower Hutt)
  • Hellers Classic Kiwi: Rumbly Tums (Tokoroa)
  • Puhoi Valley People’s Choice: Surf Shack (Waihi Beach)
  • Goodman Fielder and Unilever Food Solutions Award for Innovation: The Sugar Shed (Pukekohe)

A very special mention from the judges goes to BearLion Foods in Christchurch and Gabriel’s Café in Lawrence, who are both who are doing amazing things with their businesses.

 

All of the national winners and regional winners are showcased on our website – click here to see them all.

Congratulations to our winners for everything they do that makes them stand out from the crowd. You and your teams can truly be proud of all of your efforts.

Again, a huge thank you to our wonderful sponsors, who without we wouldn’t be able to run this competition. And to all the cafés that took part, thank you for making it such a fabulous success, we hope to see you back again a bit later this year.

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MEADOW FRESH PEOPLE’S CHOICE REGIONAL WINNERS REVEALED

2018 MEADOW FRESH NEW ZEALAND CAFÉ OF THE YEAR REGIONAL WINNERS REVEALED!

Congratulations to the 2018 Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year regional category winners!

The judges have been hard at work to find this year’s most- loved cafes in New Zealand and we can now reveal the café’s that are at the top of their game.

All of the regional category winners will feature on our website as the top cafés of 2018 as well as receiving a certificate to put up in their café.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Our judges are going to be busy, the category winners for each region will get another visit from the judging team. From these café’s the National Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year winners will be decided, and announced at an event in February in Auckland. If you have any questions about the competition then get in touch with us here.

FULL LIST OF REGIONAL WINNERS

Auckland region
Best Suburban – Friend of the Farmer Café, Takanini
Best Metro/CBD – Welcome Eatery, Grafton
Best Regional Town – The Butcher’s Shop Café, Pukekohe
Best Rural – The Sugar Shed, Pukekohe

Upper North Island region
Best Suburban – Gather Foodhouse, Hamilton
Best Metro/CBD – Artisan Café, Rotorua
Best Regional Town –The Daily Café, Te Puke
Best Rural – Colenso Café, Whenuakite

Lower North Island region
Best Suburban – Columbus Coffee @ Mega, New Plymouth
Best Metro/CBD – Maina, Havelock North
Best Regional Town –The Federal Store, New Plymouth
Best Rural – The Clareville Bakery, Carterton

Wellington region
Best Suburban – Sweet Vanilla Kitchen, Lower Hutt
Best Metro/CBD – Ekor Book Shop & Café, Wellington
Best Regional Town – Espresso Café, Upper Hutt

Upper South Island region
Best Suburban – The Old Vicarage, Christchurch
Best Metro/CBD – Hello Sunday, Christchurch
Best Regional Town – Fools of Desire, Rangiora
Best Rural – The Villa, Wakefield

Lower South Island region
Best Suburban – Café Society, Frankton
Best Metro/CBD – Precinct Food, Dunedin
Best Regional Town – Kelly’s Kitchen, Milton
Best Rural – Orepuki Beach Café, Riverton