Cooking Up A Storm

Emma Henderson, the National Events & Sponsorship Manager for Restaurant Association of NZ, used Humanitix to host 156 events in one night and brought together the hospitality industry nationwide to raise $370,000 for cyclone relief.

Al Brown smiling in front of his restaurant with food and drinks on the table in front of him

“In my previous role at a large not-for-profit organisation I first came across Humanitix. When you work in that industry, you're looking for the best opportunity to do right by people's money. We're asking people to give buy a ticket that's essentially going to a charitable cause, and you don't want to then say pay an extra $20 on top of that, just to line someone else's pocket.”

Marina holding a sign saying Eat Drink Laugh #cookingupastorm 20-03-23 in her restaurant kitchen
“When we're working with Humanitix, we know that (besides the usual suspects of bank fees) the money collected goes towards something good. I like it for that reason, but I also like it for how user-friendly it is, so it ticks both boxes. On Humanitix it’s so easy to get on with stuff, pull reports, and have visibility across all my events. I’m trying to shift everyone over to Humanitix, but obviously I don't control all the different departments. They’ve started to dabble in Humanitix though, so I'm trying to get them all over to the good side.”

Emma Henderson

Restaurant Association of New Zealand

A woman and a man holding a cardboard sign saying Culprit #cookingupastorm 20th March '23

How the Restaurant Association of NZ uses Humanitix


“The reporting is definitely a huge drawcard for us, particularly because we host a lot of similar events but in different regions. When you've got 156 events, and you can run a report that shows all of their data, it's hours of your life that you get back.”


How the Restaurant Association of NZ uses Humanitix

Marketing Analytics

“We can easily compare when people bought tickets in comparison to our marketing and PR activities, because I can see the spikes on the graph on my Humanitix dashboard. My PR manager thinks it's amazing because I tell her that we sold the most tickets between 6pm and 7pm on this night and she'll know that it’s because we were on the news at 6 o'clock that night.”


How the Restaurant Association of NZ uses Humanitix

Tours Page

“I set up a tour page on Humanitix in two clicks and added all the restaurants as they came through. It turned out to be a godsend because it broke down barriers between different organisations. I was able to share the tours page which shows all the events in one place, and it made it really easy to work together on an event that crossed over organisations.”


How the Restaurant Association of NZ uses Humanitix

Swap Tickets

“We had instances where restaurants released extra tickets because they'd sold out really fast. And so there were people who had already booked at a restaurant but wanted to swap to another restaurant. The swap function is heaven for this kind of event. I no longer had to cancel their ticket, give them a refund, then ask them to buy somewhere else. Those were things that I fell in love with throughout this process."


Q&A with Emma Henderson

Tell us about the event and how it came about.

It was definitely the highlight of my career. It's one of those events you have an inkling about, that it's going to be something great, but when the conversation first started it was a very small idea. 

Al Brown the chef wanted to do something after the flooding and the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle, but wasn’t sure what, and was throwing around a few ideas. The thing that we all know in this industry when a crisis happens is feeding people. That's our love language. So we had this idea of hosting NZ's biggest dinner party. If restaurants could open their doors and people could come and share a kai and how they were feeling about the situation and donate money towards the Mayoral Relief Funds, that would be our way of being able to do something. So, when we first met, he said to me I've got this idea and I said Restaurant Association could support this and make that happen. He said: “There's some people who can organise and there's some people who can make gravy, and I cannot organise,” and I said “Well, I can't make gravy. So I'll do the organising and you do the gravy.” And it was a match made in heaven.

We had an amazing group of people and companies that came together just out of the goodness of their hearts. We pulled together the most epic outpouring of wine from New Zealand winegrowers - we ended up with over 3,500 bottles of wine donated, we had over 150 restaurants who opened their doors on a Monday night to 6,500 ticket holders who went to the event, and we've raised $370,000 which was phenomenal.

What were your expectations for the event?

I had a little pipe dream where I thought, what if a hundred restaurants hosted this event? And then every day interest started pouring in and we thought, wow, we're gonna get more than a hundred restaurants doing this. 

We thought if we could even donate $20,000, that would be so good. And that would make a difference in someone's life. Now we're going to be able to make a massive difference, so we're really really proud, but I also feel super privileged to be able to show that kind of generosity from people. These days you only hear the bad side of things and then when you do something like this, you know that Kiwis really are amazing. Tickets just went off the hook, sales were coming in every night, we broke our own website, Al went on TV and our website crashed because we had so many people in such a short amount of time trying to get through and get tickets. It was crazy.

“I have a new person in my team and she'd never used Humanitix before. I showed her the basics because we get a lot of help and support from your team, but also a lot of things we could just learn ourselves. And she picked it up so fast and was just amazed at how easy it was to use.”

Emma Henderson

Restaurant Association of New Zealand

How did Humanitix handle all the traffic?

Not once did Humanitix crash. I did say at one point, I think we're going to break Humanitix especially when I just had to keep adding event after event because we ran each individual restaurant as their own event. We did this so they could have their own profile and manage their own event, and pull reports for their own ticket sales and share their own direct link. We were worried at one stage that we were going to get a call from the team saying, what are you doing, and why are you adding this many events? So we’re really happy that it worked so well and it all went so smoothly.

What was your process for creating so many events in such a short timeframe?

In one week we gathered 156 different registrations and turned them into events on Humanitix because we could just copy one event and change small details in it. It was super quick and really easy to facilitate. People applied via an online form - we asked them to give us all the information that we needed for the tickets, and once we set up one profile, it was really easy as we just duplicated it. Then we literally just changed out the event name and the image and that was it. We got into the routine of adding them every morning because most of them came through overnight, and each morning we would make little adjustments and then they'd be live straight away. As soon as they applied and we added them on, they could start selling tickets.

What kind of support were you getting from Humanitix?

Darren's like my speed dial. I always call him up and say, “So I thought about this thing that I want to do, how can I do that in Humanitix? I've got these 75 moving parts but I want it to look like this and function like this,” and he always goes, “Let me have a think about it and talk to the team” and then he'll come back and go “This is how we think we would do it” and I go “Oh that bit doesn't quite work” and he's like “Okay, this is how you could do that separately.” He's really great at giving me options because he gets that I'm doing some non-traditional things through Humanitix. I feel like every time I talk to him, I learn a new little trick. 

With this most recent event, it was like a crash course in next level Humanitix. We learnt a lot of stuff that we didn't know that we had capability to do, because we ran 156 individual events through the platform. When you're putting in that kind of quantity, you can't help but pick up things that you haven't seen before.

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The Restaurant Association of NZ creates events that bring good business and good food together on Humanitix.

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Happy diners sitting at the table at the event