South Africa – The launch of the Vigour & Verve coffee shop brand by Tsogo Sun heralds a new direction for the company and a pioneering move for the country as the group establishes strong new brands to carry its extensive food and beverage offerings to greater heights.
“We have more than 85 restaurant brands across our gaming and hotels portfolio and we realised it would strengthen our offering substantially if we invested in strong brands that could be implemented in selected venues within the group,” says Louise Sevel, Group Brand Manager, Tsogo Sun.
“At Tsogo Sun we are taking our brands very seriously – we have a range of good brands, and now we are adding to them with more of our own brands, in preference to partnering with established brands.”
Kevin Page, Development Director of Tsogo Sun, explains that Tsogo Sun’s food and beverage turnover is in excess of R1bn a year and it occupies a third of the workforce.
“We’re now at a place where we can safely take over the control of our food and beverage offering, and assuming custodianship of the food & beverage (F&B) business within the group will ensure that it becomes a critical delivery factor in the overall hospitality environment. Food and beverage is part and parcel of being hospitable, and our new F&B brands – starting with Vigour & Verve – are all about ensuring good, honest, hospitable delivery of food and beverage.”
The Vigour & Verve (V&V) restaurants are being positioned prominently near the entrance in selected hotels where they will encourage walk-in customers as well as residents of the hotel. At this stage Vigour & Verve ‘coffee and everything in between’ restaurants have been opened in the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel, in Southern Sun Pietermaritzburg located in the Golden Horse Casino complex, and a smaller version, Café Vigour, at SunCoast Casino in Durban. Two more will be rolling out this year – at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg and at Silverstar Casino on the West Rand.
Already since the opening of the first two V&Vs earlier this year, revenues and footfall have increased and people are coming to the restaurants as destinations in themselves. Vigour & Verve takes Tsogo Sun into the competitive retail coffee shop sector, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a pleasant, striking and tactile environment that easily makes the transition from breakfast to lunch and dinner, enabling people to return to the restaurant without feeling as if they’d eaten there twice in one day.
Page says, “Vigour & Verve is more than a restaurant; it’s a light-hearted environment with an indoor/outdoor feel that ticks all the boxes for South African and international visitors – business and leisure. It has a menu that delivers quintessentially coffee shop food, but with a South African twist in the way we speak and present the food, and the décor is comfortable and interesting.”
He adds that even with a brand that has as much potential as V&V, Tsogo Sun will not be forcing it into a location that doesn’t fit. V&V features a simple, wholesome menu of delicious food options that incorporate breakfast and dessert harvest tables, popular signature dishes which could vary in different regions, local favourites, fresh and lovely salads, sandwiches with intriguing and delectable fillings, burgers and pizzas with a difference, and wraps – all clearly explained with a liberal sprinkling of South Africanisms and fun icons throughout.
Produce is procured locally to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and the best brands are used and openly displayed as part of the commitment to top quality. Coffee is all by the Avanti coffee brand, a quality coffee purveyor and longstanding supplier of the group who created a unique V&V blend, enabling V&V to ensure consistent excellent grade coffee – while also giving Avanti the opportunity to build its brand in South Africa.