Uncertain times

Tourism spend is the one bright spot in a strangely roller-coaster year for restaurant businesses

We are now over half the way through 2015. It has been a very mixed year of results with trading being very variable across the country.

Here in Melbourne turnover has been far stronger than it has been in the recent past. This is contrasted by other areas in Victoria and, of course, several other States are experiencing very weak trading conditions.

Unfortunately SA and WA are both some way down on last year and NSW is flat, albeit, Sydney is still outperforming the rest of the State. The very concerning trend is a variability week-on-week. I continually experience that we don’t know what to expect on a daily basis with two Thursdays in a row being half the number of each other, for example, with no explanation. As you know, this makes it very difficult to optimise staffing and material costs. This is the great challenge of our industry during times when we can’t rely on event driven or seasonal periods of high demand. Admittedly we are in the depths of winter and the upside months at the end of the year seem a long way away, but lets hope we see a sustainable lift in spending. The only real bright spot is tourism. The Restaurant Australia campaign has increased spend on food and wine by International tourists by 5.7 per cent. This result accompanied by a 22 per cent increase in the recognition of Australia as a food and wine destination will see even more additional spend in the future.

Matteo Pignatelli

President, Restaurant & Catering

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