Five Stags, Whitford

Entering Five Stags is a bit like stepping into a beautifully appointed hunting lodge. Named in honour of the five major species of deer first introduced to New Zealand, this beautiful gastro pub is overflowing with character and rustic charm, and is quickly gaining a reputation for great service, fantastic food, a magnificent array of beers, and a wine list par excellence. And despite it being just six or seven kilometres south of Auckland, there’s no doubt that Five Stags is part of a wonderful rural community where you can shake off the pressures of the big city and really relax.

“People come here for a good meal with great company,” says John East, co-owner of Five Stags, who runs the pub alongside his business and life partner, Jane Gregory. “It’s about the experience – chilling out on the couches, chatting with friends, we’re really family-friendly. We’ve set this place up as a cultural community resource. To be honest, I don’t care if people just want to sit down and have a glass of water, as long as they feel well-looked after and enjoy themselves. We’re dog friendly too!

“Most of our clientele live in the city but come out here to the country because it’s not too far away. The pub space is set up to make sure they can come down with their families, and get great value for money.
“When we bought the pub we were buying it for the location. Although it functioned as a pub, we needed to make a lot of changes. The kitchen certainly wasn’t going to do what we wanted it to do, and all the equipment was dated. Unfortunately, I hadn’t budgeted for a kitchen and then I was faced with an $80K bill! We had a talk to our equipment supplier who suggested we look at Silver Chef on the basis that they would rent the equipment.

Once I got onto Silver Chef, the people there were fantastic. They were very accommodating and made things really simple.

Their online system was great, we did it all on the phone, and every time we needed something it was done online. The way they conduct their business is very user friendly.

“When we got here, the kitchen was a work in progress and we didn’t know how the business was going to work out. Our refrigeration requirements changed, the configuration didn’t work out, and a piece of equipment had to go back and be upgraded. They credited us back the old one as part of the contract, took that amount off the bill, and then sent us new stuff. They were very flexible.

“I was in telecommunications for 30 years before opening this place, and a lot of the stuff we were confronted with was all brand new. We were looking for people to form partnerships with. You couldn’t have done better than Silver Chef.”

John and Jane are enjoying their new roles so much, there are firm plans to open two more Five Stags in the near future. “I love getting it right and making people happy,” says John. And if the terrific feedback from his patrons is any indication, that’s exactly what he and Jane are doing!

John East & Jane Gregory
Five Stags, Whitford

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