Christmas outlook for hospitality positive despite challenges

Despite rising interest rates and cost of living pressures, demand for hospitality across the country remains strong with 1 in 3 people expected to visit hospitality venues more often than they usually do by Christmas, according to a new study.

In encouraging news for bars, pubs and restaurants across the country, just 1 in 5 people say they expect to visit the premises less often by the end of the year – the main reason given being the increase in the cost of living.

Over the past month, 1 in 3 people in Australia have visited a hospitality venue once a fortnight, with 38% saying they visit venues as often now as at the start of the year.

However, 58% say recent interest rate hikes have affected how often they visit a place or how much they spend – with 1 in 2 saying they visit less often but spend the same amount and 1 out of 3 visit as often but spend less. .

Commissioned by ordering, payment and marketing platform Mr. Yum, the research also reveals that compared to before the pandemic, 85% say they would be likely today to choose a venue with seating/rooms rather than without, and 7 out of 10 say they would choose a place where they could order food and drinks on their phone.

Compared to before the pandemic, today 1 in 3 Australians say they are now extremely likely to entertain friends and family at home instead of a hospitality venue.

As the hospitality industry faces rising costs for labour, energy and food, 6 in 10 people say they are unlikely to visit the pub as often if the total cost of a meal for two increased by $10.

However, 78% would continue to go out as often if the price of a pint increased by 50¢ and 58% would still go to the pub as often if the price of a pint increased by $1. But 6 out of 10 people would likely stay home if the price went up $2.

Highlighting the challenges facing the hospitality sector across the country, in the last six months 1 in 3 people canceled a reservation at a venue for Covid-related reasons and 41% did not return to a venue due service-related issues.

CEO and co-founder of Mr. Yum, Kim Teo, said the next three months are crucial for the industry as it enters the peak trading period, but staffing remains an ongoing concern for the operators.

“As the industry continues to face challenges as it recovers from the past two years, it is encouraging to see that the majority of consumers plan to visit the sites as often, if not more often, in the months to come, although cost of living pressures including interest rate hikes will continue to affect spending,” she said.

“But staffing remains the biggest issue facing operators, and consumers are ruthless when they encounter service issues. This is where tools like mobile ordering can provide a seamless solution to the industry while creating a superior customer experience. »