Flame on

iStock_000019652445_XXXLarge_PPThe hospitality sector is sizzling in Queensland, with reduced red tape and changes in the industry fuelling a boom in creative new venues throughout the state. 

While last week’s retail figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics barely budged, the Queensland hospitality data revealed trade from January to November 2014 was 15 per cent higher than the year before.

According to The Courier-Mail, one of the state’s biggest hospitality operators is preparing to open multiple “significant venues” in 2015, pointing to renewed confidence in the market.

Restaurant & Catering Australia CEO John Hart said Queensland’s numbers were “pretty damn strong”, pointing to a new hospitality boom in Brisbane and the Sunshine State.

“I keep saying Brisbane is the most dynamic market in the country right now,” said Hart.

“You’re getting more openings and really big, exciting, busy concepts happening in Brissy than you are elsewhere in the country, and I think that’s incredibly exciting.”

He said cuts to red tape including liquor licensing had made it a “whole heap easier” for operators to open new venues.

Creativity has also come from necessity, as high labour costs force operators to investigate new service models to keep overheads low.

However, Hart explained that it wasn’t new entrants to the sector driving innovation, but owners of pre-existing venues branching out into fresh projects.

“It’s people reinventing themselves, and the other real trend out there is to have owners owning a larger number of properties.

“We used to have an average outlet per operator of about 1.8; it’s now over 2.5.”

Hart singled out the South Bank precinct as one of the hospitality hot spots on the Brisbane map, which has seen its culinary offering develop rapidly over the past few years.

“Just there alone, from the Stokehouse all the way back, there’s some of the most incredibly exciting developments along that strip,” said Hart.

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