The Christmas roller coaster

Business boomed in October, but peak business times are lining up with greater penalty rates

As usual the run up to the holiday season presents real challenges for our businesses. I am sure you all grapple with these same issues each year—hoping that bookings come in and that business holds up whilst trying the recruit enough staff to meet the demands that this very busy period presents. In general, levels of trade are hitting higher peaks and lower troughs. The statistics suggest that this is because more of our revenues are coming from the householders and less from tourists and corporates. As householders have a narrower window in which to spend, the weekends, evenings and holiday periods are becoming busier and the down-time more difficult to fill. October ABS data shows that this trend is continuing strongly with 2011 results eclipsing 2010 by a whopping 7.3 per cent—over 10 per cent in New South Wales. One of the challenges is that the stronger peak times are coming at a higher cost as penalty rates harden. This means we must be more vigilant to manage our staffing levels so that our busy periods don’t cost us more than we earn. It is becoming harder to operate a hospitality business. It is a positive sign that our business operators are more experienced today that they were five years ago. Let’s hope that means we will have more businesses in business in the longer term. Happy holidays!

Brien Trippas

President, Restaurant & Catering

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