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Opening of NZ's first dog dine-in restaurant on hold, but online sales to resume under Level 3

What's believed to be New Zealand's first dine-in restaurant for dogs, has had its opening delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kiera and Kai with some Dog On treats. Source: Dog On Restaurant/Instagram

Dog On Restaurant was gearing up to open as sales for its online delivery service ramped up in the two months the online service was open before lockdown. But founder Sam Kim told 1 NEWS plans are now on hold to open the physical restaurant in Auckland.

Mr Kim says he believes such a business is the first of its kind for New Zealand and Australia, but he believes there's a market for it.

"You don't see this often. We're targeting the trend of dog owners sharing experiences with dogs."

He said any dog owner would relate that when you get takeaways they always want to join the feast, but the food isn't good for them and can make them sick.

"Every day owners feel this, they get McDonald's, KFC, the dog always tries to have some.

"It smells nice, it looks nice, they want to share the same experience, the same food."

Wicks with some Dog On food. Source: Dog On Restaurant/Instagram

Mr Kim pitched the idea of a doggy version of My Food Bag or Hello Fresh to his mum after he heard about it from an investor.

Excited about the opportunity, Mr Kim said his his mum flew back to Korea and got a certificate in making the specialised dog food.

Now she's the head chef at their Parnell kitchen, where there are also two assistants. Mr Kim said more staff will soon be needed to keep up with demand.

The kitchen has been closed in Level 4 lockdown, but will reopen on Monday or Tuesday for deliveries.

The most popular foods are sushi and birthday cakes.

They also make entrees, mains and deserts, including pizzas, fried chicken and taco lookalike food, but it's all made from natural ingredients that are safe for dogs, Mr Kim said.

"The owner can feel good knowing it's safe to feed them."

While they started online earlier in the year, Mr Kim said the restaurant was always in the pipeline. 

They're now expecting to open around July, depending on the pandemic, and are looking at locations in either Browns Bay or in Auckland's CBD.

"We want places with easy parking," Mr Kim said.

At the moment Dog On only ships within Auckland, but Mr Kim said they're looking to expand shipping nationally.

Dog On's version of tacos. Source: Dog On Restaurant/Instagram