A time to reflect

Our industry has been able to grow despite some tough conditions over the last decade.

I was lucky enough to attend the 10-year celebration dinner of the Federal Coalition Government on behalf of you all. It was a very significant event and an ideal time to reflect on the journey we have taken since 1996. In that time, total annual turnover in our industry has grown from $6.1 billion a year to nearly $12 billion a year (albeit anything over $1 billion goes directly to the government in GST). The growth is pretty amazing, particularly given the number of new restaurants has slowed dramatically in the past six years. Our market share of household spend is up 40 per cent (or was in 2004) but is still only 2.1 per cent of the total.

The real movers of the decade have been labour and food costs. In this period alone, average wage costs (in total) have gone to over 40 per cent of turnover from 34 per cent of turnover. We feel the impact of this on a daily basis. The cost of food has increased in real terms by some 12 per cent in the 10-year period. The costs of sales, however, for the average restaurant business has stayed the same. Smarter menu planning and better use of raw ingredients has made us all able to keep a lid on at least this core cost. There is no doubt the strong economy has meant our industry has been able to grow, something our current Federal Government is justifiably proud of. By 2016 I hope to be able to read of some bottom line increases that make your businesses more worthwhile.

Con Castrisos
President, Restaurant & Catering  Australia

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