Ex­cit­ing plans for Ren­dezvous Restau­rant


It’s taken just over a mil­lion kilo­me­tres for Palmer­ston North man Glen Vi­vian to re­alise his dream job.

For more than three years Glen com­muted 23,000 kilo­me­tres to work and back, cre­at­ing some sort of world record. He would walk out his door in Palmer­ston North one day and into the of­fices of Pie Street Ad­ver­tis­ing in Johannesburg 36 hours later.

For three years Glen was the busi­ness brains be­hind the Euro­pean award-win­ning agency which jug­gled global ac­counts along­side im­por­tant African clients. Glen, an ac­coun­tant, at­tended board meet­ings, strat­egy ses­sions and client pitches in South Africa for a fort­night and then came home for an­other two weeks to num­ber crunch. By 2007 he was worn out. ‘‘I was ex­hil­a­rated about the work, how­ever, I was a walk­ing zom­bie be­cause of the per­ma­nent jet­lag,’’ he said. ‘‘I missed my fam­ily grow­ing up and, in the end, I owed it to them to stay here.’’

Glen’s de­ci­sion was Manawatu’s gain. To­day he’s cel­e­brat­ing the first an­niver­sary of own­ing the very pop­u­lar Ren­dezvous Restau­rant in Sum­mer­hill and has some ex­cit­ing plans for fur­ther de­vel­op­ment in the new year.

Just as he was con­sid­er­ing his fu­ture eight years ago, the Es­planade Cafe´ was ad­ver­tised for sale and Glen saw the po­ten­tial of tak­ing it to a new level.

‘‘Dur­ing my univer­sity years I was a waiter in three or four restau­rants in Johannesburg. I worked at some top cafes with top chefs and loved the buzz,’’ he says. ‘‘Then when I qual­i­fied as an ac­coun­tant, I was fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor for a num­ber of busi­nesses in­clud­ing a steak house.’’

Glen de­vel­oped a pas­sion for food, fun and fi­nance at an early age and the Es­planade Cafe´ occurred at ex­actly the right time. In the eight years he owned it, Glen guided the cafe through the re­ces­sion years and re­branded it as a place for ev­ery­one.

By 2014 he wanted a new chal­lenge and sold the cafe´. He took his com­mit­ment for hos­pi­tal­ity and fine food to Ren­dezvous and added fun, friends and fes­tiv­i­ties.

With his back­ground in ad­ver­tis­ing, Glen in­tends to mar­ket the name Ren­dezvous fur­ther. Ren­dezvous is a gath­er­ing place and he plans to grow its rep­u­ta­tion as a venue where peo­ple in Sum­mer­hill, Aokautere and through­out Palmer­ston North city come to­gether to enjoy the best of food, hos­pi­tal­ity and en­ter­tain­ment.

‘‘I want peo­ple to know that they don’t have to travel to Auck­land or Welling­ton or even into the city to dine and be en­ter­tained. They’ll be com­pletely sat­is­fied here,’’ Glen says.

‘‘What makes Ren­dezvous great is a pas­sion­ate pro­fes­sional team, the sup­port of top lo­cal sup­pli­ers and our much val­ued clien­tele. I have re­cently ap­pointed award win­ning chef, Al­berto Pin­dot to join highly ac­claimed head chef, Carissa Winton.’’

Glen is grat­i­fied that, in the last year, Ren­dezvous has re­ceived three top places in five cat­e­gories in the Manawatu Hos­pi­tal­ity Awards.

He has some stim­u­lat­ing plans for 2016. They in­clude main­tain­ing and en­hanc­ing Ren­dezvous’ rep­u­ta­tion for fine din­ing, en­clos­ing the out­side court­yard to cre­ate an invit­ing al fresco cafe´ and tweak­ing the bar’s decor to give it that X fac­tor.

‘‘The bar has great bones. I’m now adding a bit of me to the mix to give it a point of dif­fer­ence,’’ he says.

Glen has a great pas­sion for mu­sic and he’s lo­cat­ing a grand pi­ano and small stage at one end of the bar so cock­tail and easy to lis­ten to mu­sic can be played and sung.

‘‘I want Ren­dezvous to be a place where the best of lo­cal mu­si­cians can come and show­case their tal­ent,’’ he prom­ises.

Ten years ago Glen trav­elled across the world to pursue his dream, now he’s achieved it here in Palmer­ston North with­out an air­line ticket or pass­port and in walk­ing dis­tance from his home.

Glen Vi­vian marks his first year as owner of Ren­dezvous Restau­rant.

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