Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows restaurant, café and catering services are enjoying impressive growth, up 10.6 per cent in the year leading up to November 2013.
Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive officer John Hart said the results are extremely positive for the industry.
“Restaurants, cafés and catering services are the star performer of all retail growth, with a 4.6 per cent increase in all retail sales between November 2012 and November 2013,” he said.
In November 2013, full service dining accounted for 60 per cent of the total café, restaurant and take-away food category.
“Interestingly, take-away had been a majority of this category up until 1998, which shows a dramatic shift in the way Australians are dining,” John said.
On a state by state basis, the 10.6 per cent overall growth was underwritten by a 15 per cent growth in New South Wales and a stellar 21 per cent boost in Queensland. Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory all recorded an improvement between 5 and 10 per cent, compared to 2012.
The overall result was an all-time record of $1.9 billion in turnover for the restaurant, café and catering sector for the month of November. NSW also had a record month, producing $626 million in sector turnover.
Despite the record performances and positive consumer sentiment, however, John said the fundamentals of the business are still in crisis.
“Businesses are closing their doors either for good or on Sundays and/or public holidays because of the unsustainably high cost of labour,” John said.