Australians are preparing to drastically reduce the frequency of their visits to restaurants, pubs and cafes, as well as the amount of money they spend there, according to new research from SevenRooms.
The Cost of Living survey found that as much as 30 percent of hospitality spending could be lost in the coming months. In addition, 82 percent of Australians believe the current cost of living crisis has already affected their spending habits, and a further 13 percent believe it will in the near future.
The target of their cuts will be the hospitality industry in particular. Three quarters (78 per cent) of Australians will visit fewer restaurants, cafes and bars – and 79 per cent said they would spend less if they did – due to pressure on the cost of living.
The report adds that the average Australian spent $129 a month going to or taking out restaurants, bars and cafes before the cost of living got tight. However, they spend just $91 today, down from $38 and more than a third (29 percent) from what they were.
Cost of living crisis
The cost of living crisis was the defining issue in the previous federal election, and now interest rate hikes, the prospect of global inflation and the latest Covid-19 peak are all putting significant strain on household budgets. The study, which sought to assess the impact of economic headwinds on the hospitality industry, said the already tough sector could face a lean spring.
In addition, according to new ANZ Plus data, the rising cost of living is having a significant impact on the way Australians spend and save, with seven in 10 cutting back on their spending.
The study also revealed a worrying picture for Australians and their financial management, with just 26 percent saying they were in charge of their finances and 32 percent mostly stressing that they were not sticking to their budget.
Retail sales hit new high
According to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, retail sales in Australia continued to hit new highs in June, with $34.2 billion spent in brick-and-mortar stores and online. This is a 12 percent increase from a year ago and a 0.2 percent increase from May 2022.
However, Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, warned that while sales volumes are still high, they are also related to the rising consumer prices we see across the economy and are not always a complete indicator of the company’s health.
“It’s an incredibly challenging environment for businesses right now, with varying cost pressures related to fuel, energy, supply chains and rent, along with increases in labor costs and skills shortages that are preventing retailers from trading at their full potential,” the company said. Mr Zahra.
When customers are hesitant to visit and spend money on restaurants, bars and cafes, establishments need to find ways to build loyalty by providing meaningful experiences to their existing customers. According to the study, Australians would be more loyal if they:
According to the study, Australians would be more loyal if they: Received personalized offers based on a previous visit, such as a restaurant or bar discount, a complementary dish/cocktail, and so on (33 percent). Receive dinner credits for reaching a new loyalty level, such as $100 achievement, free dinners, and so on. (31 percent of the total) Receive additional loyalty points such as 2x points per dollar, bonus points, and so on. (28 percent of the total).
“After two years of using every single one of their resilience, innovation and adaptability, there are worrying times ahead for Australia’s restaurants, bars and cafes,” said Paul Hadida, APAC General Manager at SevenRooms.
“We are now feeling the medium to long-term impact of the pandemic, and many Australians are planning to cut their food and drink spending. It puts a new burden on tens of thousands of businesses that are also battling rising numbers of Covid-19 cases and historic staff shortages.
“But even in the wake of rising food prices and pressure on the cost of living, Australian consumers say there are plenty of ways locations can boost their loyalty. Whether it’s free drinks, personalized offers or loyalty points, there are opportunities for locations to be strategic to engage their business and keep customers engaged and loved.
“While it may be a lean spring for some, there are ways to minimize the impact ahead, exceed consumer demand and grow into summer and the industry’s traditional peak season.”
For more information about SevenRooms, visit sevenrooms.com.
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