“Barbeques and spit roasts catering to all occasions”

Barbeque Bill

Established: 1985

Location: Dunedin

Regions covered: Otago

Website: http://www.bbqbill.co.nz/

Business vision and mission: To treat others as we would like to be treated.

Established in 1985, Barbeque Bill has become a Dunedin institution providing catering services for generations of local families.

Owner Tony Cummings began in the kitchens of a local restaurant in the 1960s and worked for a number of businesses but the idea for Barbeque Bill came during a stint managing the food at the Captain Cook Tavern in Dunedin including the bbq in the Garden Bar.

Concerned that someone could trip and fall onto the hot barbeque, Tony – a chef by trade but engineer by hobby – decided to create a new type of barbeque that was less likely to injure anyone that might fall against it as the bbq would be cooler to the touch.

As Tony began to build the barbeques he realised he could also make them mobile for catering beyond the patios and back gardens, and Barbeque Bill was born.

Thirty-one years later, the business has 10 staff and is a local institution. People have even recognised Tony on holiday abroad.

Barbeque Bill is a small business and Tony and his wife retain full control.

“We stick to our base and try not to stretch ourselves too thin. We offer experience and reliability: So many organisations work on the premise that if they cannot deliver they can always use an excuse. Barbeque Bill works on the premise that people don’t want excuses – we deliver.”

When Barbeque Bill was founded social media marketing was non-existent and new businesses needed to rely on word of mouth. Tony and a few other local personalities had a spot on the morning breakfast show visiting different locations throughout Dunedin, so using these connections, Tony promoted his new business through a combination of hard work, great service and a bit of charm.
“Any small to medium business is like a small baby: if you’re not prepared to get up in the middle of the night to care for that baby, no matter how tired you might be, your baby may not survive. You need that type of perseverance and dedication for your business work.”
Still popular after 31 years, Barbeque Bill has seen generation after generation of the same families return to his business because they know the quality of service they will receive.

Tony is most proud of the feedback from clients and the occasions when he will be walking down the street and a couple will tell their children ‘this is the man who cooked for our wedding’.

Recent testimonials prove that the service quality and personality behind it has never waned:

“I just wanted to send a note of thanks to you for all you did for us. The team loved the food. You are a Dunedin legend.” – Jonathon.

“You guys did an awesome job, the food tasted great and you guys were a pleasure to deal with.” – Josh and Sam.

“We couldn’t be happier with how everything went.” – Mark

“Your assistance at the wedding was invaluable. Thank you so much. Your knowledge and experience helped so much.” – John.

Tony provides training opportunities to his staff to ensure that they go above and beyond the standards required of them. He trains his employees in safe food handling and helps some towards their driving licenses.
Barbeque Bill supports the Spirit of Adventure Trust both as volunteer crew and as a port contact for more than 25 years.

Tony and his catering team also take teenagers for trips on his boat at the end of their training courses with the Malcam Trust as a reward.