2017 started with political shocks: the expenses scandals, the resignation of a Health Minister, the Premier’s resignation and an eruption of political correctness over Australia Day.
The good news is that we have not had any negative fallout in consumer sentiment. Our customers are still coming through the doors. Restaurant & Catering has continued to run its #savoursummer competition encouraging consumers to eat out over summer. We have extended this campaign to include #savouraustraliaday. For some time the Australia Day food message has focused on lamb particularly, most recently on the barbeque, which is not helpful. It seems that this message has been lost in the political correctness debate this year, with the advertising choices of MLA appearing to backfire. Let’s hope the Association can capitalise on the void.
A first cut of the data in this year’s benchmarking survey shows that more restaurants are open on Australia Day than other public holidays. While the ridiculous penalty rates still apply, there are a lot of consumers looking to eat out and the losses will be minimised to some extent. Over half the businesses surveyed reported that they would be open for breakfast on Australia Day. I urge you to help promote these programs to your customers.
So here’s cheers to Australia Day and lets hope our customers celebrate in traditional style—a great meal in one of our fine establishments!
Mark Scanlan, President
Restaurant & Catering Australia