Anyone for pizza?

25 Nov 2020

From child patron to part-time employee to co-owner – the Christchurch institution Spagalimis Pizzeria, has been part of Richard Winter’s (11827) life since he was tiny.

In the 1980s his family loved to eat at Christchurch’s now oldest restaurant, Richard never dreaming he would one day co-own it.

After five years at College, Richard – College’s latest sponsor – left Condell’s House in 1998 for a Gap year in the Lake District in the UK. He came back to study Political Science at the University of Canterbury, working part time at Spagalimis to pay the rent.

“In hindsight, not doing Commerce has been an advantage because I have had to learn on the job. I had no pre-conceived ideas on how to run a business. The reality of doing so is very different to what the textbooks tell you. Operating a hospitality business requires you to know about a lot of different areas – you need employment law knowledge, marketing, accounting, leadership skills, food handling knowledge, the list is endless really.”

After university he became the Operations Manager for the company and a year later bought in. He and his business partner have owned the company together for 16 years.

“Generations of families still enjoy Spagalimis and seeing a full restaurant on a busy night, with everyone having a great time, is a huge buzz. Starting work at 6.30am on a Friday morning and walking out around 10pm knowing everyone has had a great experience, is very rewarding.”

There have been challenges such as seeing the flagship restaurant on Victoria Street close after the earthquakes and fighting for four years over insurance claims.

“Being closed for five weeks during the Covid-19 lockdown was also tough.”

Richard decided to become a sponsor of College because he believes it’s “a fantastic community and a great brand.”

“Having the oldest restaurant in Christchurch and being an Old Boy, it’s a great opportunity to give back. College teaches confidence, self-awareness, how to interact and treat people properly, and leadership. All of these feature in my life today.”