Restaurant owners have the most bullish outlook on the current and future state of their industry, according to a new national survey.
Restaurant owners have the most bullish outlook on the current and future state of their industry, according to a new national survey.

Survey shows restaurant owners bullish despite COVID-19

Queensland restaurant owners have the most bullish outlook on the current and future state of their industry, according to a new national survey.

Despite the immense difficulties created by COVID-19, nearly six in 10 of the state's hospitality operators are feeling positive about their business prospects and almost half are upbeat about where they'll be in three months.

But 42 per cent warned they would only be able to trade profitably and stay viable if the policy remained in place of allowing up to 100 patrons and 4 square metres per person.

The findings are a key takeaway (so to speak) in a just-released inaugural study by online food delivery group Deliveroo, which compiled feedback from more than 500 restaurant proprietors across the country.

Deliveroo boss Ed McManus (illustrated) said the study, which will be produced biannually as a recurring benchmark for the hospitality sector, aimed to gauge business confidence, how businesses have responded to the pandemic and the effectiveness of government aid initiatives.

Ed McManus
Ed McManus

Not surprisingly, the findings reflect a widespread sense of uncertainty, with JobKeeper and rent relief keeping plenty of operators artificially afloat as deep concerns remain about what happens once this scaffolding is removed.

"Restaurant owners believe it will get worse before it gets better,'' McManus said.

"This pandemic has reshaped how many restaurants operate, and many of the new ways of working they've adopted, including the important lifelines of takeaway and delivery, are here to stay."

Deliveroo, which like its main competitor Uber Eats has boomed during the pandemic, found that 70 per cent of Queensland restaurant owners believe the greatest challenge they face is the slowing economy.

That was closely followed by worries over produce prices hikes, reduced dine-in capacity and diminished overall consumer spending.

Asked about the most vital government policies to speed recovery, 83 per cent cited tax relief. Also popular were changes to payroll tax and penalty rates, as well as a relaxation of regulations for outdoor dining.

Meanwhile, City Beat has dug up the most recently available financial data on the Australian arm of Deliveroo, which was launched in 2013 and has grown to become a global brand headquartered in London.

It shows the company Down Under suffered a $4.2m loss in each of the 2017 and 2018 calendar years. Accumulated losses amounted to a whopping $31.2m.

Has the pandemic turned this around? We're keen to find out.

BIG BACKFLIP

The Brisbane organisers of one of the country's biggest music industry gatherings have shifted gears and will now host it as a free virtual event over two days in October.

As recently as July the annual Bigsound festival was still scheduled to go ahead with a scaled down program of speakers, as well as live gigs at 10 venues dotted around Fortitude Valley.

But with ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and border closures for the rest of the year, QMusic boss Angela Samut bowed to the inevitable and announced the backflip on Thursday.

Angela Samut
Angela Samut

"Bigsound has always been about bringing our business and arts community together and, while we were hopeful of being in our spiritual home in the Fortitude Valley live music precinct, 2020 has made other arrangements," she said.

"It has never been more important for the Australian industry to come together to focus on survival and re-futuring.''

Re-futuring? Hmmmm.

Anyway, Bigsound is just the latest in a long line of events that have morphed onto Zoom.

But this change is especially painful for the bar and venue owners who were hoping to make a few bucks on October 21 and 22.

Last year the festival showcased dozens of speakers over four days, as well as about 150 bands playing at 18 different venues.

More than 6000 attendees splashed out nearly $3m in direct and related spending.

Hopefully shielded by a vaccine next year, we'll be able to turn it up to 11 once again.

Originally published as Survey shows Qld restaurant owners bullish despite COVID-19


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