Auckland restaurant owner appeals for help after chefs robbed at gunpoint

A restaurant owner is appealing for public help in tracking down an armed man who burst into his popular eatery.

It was a run-of-the-mill kitchen cleanup that turned nasty in the blink of an eye.

Five staff members closing up The Beekeeper's Wife eatery on Sunday night were confronted by a gun-wielding man.

"He entered the premises from the rear door and presented it to my head chef and my kitchen hand and demanded money," restaurant owner Adrian Donald told Newshub.

It's the fourth time in two years former North Harbour player Donald has endured a smash and grab at his Riverhead restaurant.

Staff were back at work today, coping well but still on edge.

"We've spent the last couple of days getting around them and putting as much support with them as possible, it's a horrendous thing to go through," Donald said.

Police say they're yet to apprehend the offender, and a second person driving the getaway car.

The pair got away with a safe. 

"It rattled us as business owners, you never think that people would go to that length to take a small amount of money and endanger so many lives."

Thirty thousand dollars worth of bollards and a cage to lock up alcohol were due to have been installed next week.

But even they wouldn't have prevented this.

"We firmly believe that it will only get worse from here - the next person could be far worse," Donald said.

"There is quite clear distinctive evidence of who the person is and somebody out there must know who it is."