Mike’s Kitchen Brings Hearty Family Flavour To Port Elizabeth Beachfront

BY PHROSNè PHILLIPS - OCTOBER 9, 2014

The opening of a new Mike’s Kitchen restaurant at the Garden Court Kings Beach this week (Wednesday 8 October) brings hearty South African flavour and family fun to the Port Elizabeth beachfront.

It’s a family business success story for the family-focused restaurant chain, as the Veldman and Fernandes families who own the popular Mike’s Kitchen in Mount Pleasant spread their wings and open their second branch.

Franchisee Alma Veldman, who owns the two stores together with her partners, sisters Candice and Belinda Fernandes, said the new restaurant was “a wonderful opportunity and an exciting expansion”.

“We had a business on the beachfront previously and have long wanted to be trading in the area again. When we were presented with the opportunity of the site at the Garden Court, we jumped at it – it’s a great location, with everything going for it,” she said.

The 280-seater restaurant will provide the room service and bar facility for guests at the Garden Court and neighbouring Sun 1 hotels, and nearby guesthouses and B&B’s, as well as catering for the general public with its well-known wide variety of menu choices and carvery “just like Mom’s Sunday roast”.

Mike’s Kitchen is a proudly home-grown South African brand and the “local is lekker” influence can be found throughout its menu – from biltong salad and beef carpaccio, to paptert, potjie and malva pudding, along with firm favourites like ribs, monkeygland sauce and crumbed mushrooms.

Veldman said “excellent growth” in the Mount Pleasant restaurant over the past five years, together with the successful Mike’s Kitchen business model and franchise support, had “given us the energy for a second store”.

While she’s the head of the family and the business, the “Jack of all trades” making sure every aspect of the operation runs smoothly, Candice and Belinda, daughters of her long-time business partner John Fernandes, run front-of-house and administration respectively.

Mike’s Kitchen chief executive and franchise owner Judy Corney said the strong Fernandes team had “done the brand proud” and welcomed the expansion of their business.

She said the all-female ownership and management team aligned well with the Mike’s Kitchen approach to growing family businesses and particularly to supporting the growth of women entrepreneurs.

“We are a female-owned family business ourselves, not a faceless corporation, and our stores are owned and run by families. We are excited to see this strong female, family team growing their business through the support of the local community in Port Elizabeth,” she said.

Corney said the Mike’s Kitchen approach to fresh, wholesome food with a home-style flavour was a cornerstone of the brand’s success.

“We don’t sell pre-packaged food. Everything is made from scratch with fresh ingredients because we want to be part of raising healthy children and families,” she said.

Welcoming the opening of the new restaurant, Tsogo Sun Operations Director for Western and Eastern Cape hotels, John van Rooyen, said: “Mike’s Kitchen is a great brand and they will deliver great meals and service to our customers.We have studied our market and we know that they will be extremely happy with what Mike's Kitchen has to offer.”

The restaurant has indoor and outdoor deck areas, a private dining and function area seating approximately 60 people, and in busy times can open up to the hotel dining area to accommodate extra guests.

Families are well catered for, with both a “chill zone” equipped with tablets for the teenagers and a play area for the younger children that features a state-of-the-art iPlay interactive games system.

Mike’s Kitchen at the Garden Court is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 8am to 11pm, every day.

Photo caption: Partners in flavour – Building on the success of Mike’s Kitchen in Mount Pleasant, business partners, from left, Belinda Fernandes, Alma Veldman and Candice Fernandes, have opened a second branch of the popular South African family restaurant at the Garden Court Kings Beach.