Bringing out the best

Profits may be tighter than ever but restaurateurs are still generous in their response to tragedy.

The generosity of our industry has been proven yet again. Recent newspaper articles have cited amounts contributed by restaurateurs to various tsunami appeals across the nation.

This tragedy has brought out the best in us all. The $276,000 by Sydney’s Catalina Restaurant takes the cake as an outstanding contribution but it’s just one of the thousands of restaurant efforts nationally.

The efforts of restaurateurs reminded me of the research the R&CA’s association did a year ago which demonstrated that restaurant and catering businesses donate an average $4471 per annum in kind and $3021 in cash. Restaurants are also helping the tsunami efforts in other ways. Displaced persons in the affected zone are looking to start a new life here and some have chosen to turn to our industry for employment. We’re currently dealing with a kitchenhand who is looking to return to Australia from Sri Lanka after his community was devastated. Let’s hope we can give these people a new start.

Restaurant businesses are scarcely in a position to offer charity. Turnover data from the end of 2004 suggests that October, November and December dipped below 2003 levels (probably because of the strength of 2003 over the Rugby World Cup period).

Restaurant businesses still achieve an average net profit of around 1.5 per cent.

John Hart
CEO, Restaurant & Catering Australia

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