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Italian dual-eatery sale offers new owners a ‘pizza the action’

Tags: Auckland Commercial

Iconic Auckland pizza brand with dual locations in the central business district and Ponsonby has been placed on the market.


il buco – Italian for ‘hole in the wall’ – established in Ponsonby 13 years ago was the first to offer authentic Roman ‘pizza al taglio’ or ‘pizza by the slice’ in New Zealand.

The two il buco eateries are being jointly marketed for sale as one entity by Bayleys Real Estate Business brokers Leah La Hood and Meredith Graham. Ms La Hood said expressions of interest to buy the two businesses would be taken up until November 11, 2015.

Established in 2002, il buco Ponsonby runs a seven-day operation – open between 7.30am and 9pm. The busy take away and sit down Ponsonby Rd location can seat up to 18 customers outside and is currently paying $18,720 plus operating expenses and GST.

il buco Vulcan Lane opened in 2014 and now runs as a weekday venue for lunches only. The venue is fully licensed and seats 26 inside and out. There is opportunity to open in the mornings, into evenings and weekends too in this high profile area.  The annual rent is $45,000 per annum plus operating expenses and GST.

Both locations have separate leases in place until 2023, on the basis that all rights of renewal are exercised.

Daily preparation work is done in Ponsonby with fresh pizza delivered each morning to Vulcan Lane in the il buco branded VW Caddy.

“The two venues run complimentary operations – with the CBD branch serving casual corporate clientele during the lunch period, while il buco Ponsonby is very much a neighbourhood all day dining establishment drawing its customer base from the immediate Ponsonby/Grey Lynn/ Freemans and Herne Bay locales,” Ms La Hood said.

“The nature of this dual operation could potentially allow a new owner to run a labour-efficient split-shift staffing model – either for the kitchen and front off house staff, or for themselves in a front of house management position.

“Pizza is part-made in advance and finished off in a format which allows stock levels to be kept at an optimum, minimizing waste.

“Access to an evening operation allows for the transferal of any surplus food items prepared but not sold during the lunch service. This maximises production efficiency while minimising waste. The business also has a ‘zero carbon rating’ with sustainable business practice charity Conscious Consumers.”

Ms Graham said the Vulcan Lane il buco location had recently undertaken successful initial market research on the potential of increasing its outcatering sales – with a view to replicating the outcatering success enjoyed by the Ponsonby branch.

With a substantial selection of vegetarian pizzas, pastas, and vegetable ingredient based soups, il buco is a member of the New Zealand Vegan Society resulting in a strong vegan and vegetarian following.

il buco has won multiple awards over the years from local and international media including Concrete Playground, Viva and Metro magazines in a range of different categories ranging from Best Pizza through to Cheap Eats.

il buco’s crispy base Roman-style pizza is baked in 600mm by 400mm rectangular trays. Ms La Hood said the rectangular tray format allowed for a more consistent spread of toppings, and for more precise cutting of pieces.

Business founder and owner Jonny Rudduck, who is selling up the two pizza powerhouses to pursue his new dream of establishing an heirloom fruit orchard in Northland, says there are three banned words within il buco’s ethos – “chicken, pineapple… and microwave.”

“I love seeing customers sit down, relax and eat in at il buco because pizza tastes best straight out of the oven. Saying that, a customer-base spanning the breadth of Auckland allows us to serve our pizza hot and ready to eat, or half-cooked ready to heat up in less than five minutes at home or the office.  We’ve even been known to fly a customer’s pizza to Dunedin for a birthday function.”

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