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Restaurants fear tougher days ahead


Govt job cuts and rising costs badly impact restaurants. — Representational image from Unsplash

Restaurant owners are worried about their business this winter. Fewer customers and rising costs are their main concerns.

Their fears stem from the fact that fewer people are eating out because of job cuts and higher prices in New Zealand. 

Restaurant owners see a tough winter ahead because there will be a lot of government workers losing their jobs. The restaurant owners are worried as they are already having a hard time because fewer people are coming to eat, and it costs them more to run a restaurant.

Moreover, Easter holiday pay will add to their expenses.

Mike Egan, a Wellington restaurant owner, has been serving meals for decades. He believes job cuts will discourage people from dining out.

People are already choosing to buy groceries instead of eating out because it is getting more expensive due to the high cost of living.

“That’ll have a significant effect just because they’re a high-paid group of people that populate the inner city. Even with 10 percent of them gone, that’s quite a number,” he told the local media.

“People might buy one nice cocktail instead of two glasses of average wine. So people are drinking less but I want to drink something tasty and delicious, and the same with food.”

The hospitality industry has been struggling since COVID-19 hit. Many restaurants, under financial strain, have had to close or are close to shutting down.

“We look at COVID, those that have been impacted by the weather events last year. There’s been a lot of things coming at our businesses,” Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois said.

“I guess one of the things that is on our mind at the moment as well as we head into winter which is traditionally a quieter trading period for a lot of our businesses across the board – will we see more closures popping up?”

Some of the best chefs are considering leaving the industry because of the crisis. Bowie, a chef who used to work in restaurants, started The Development Kitchen to help chefs be more creative and make the most of New Zealand ingredients.

“New Zealand has some of the best chefs around but it’s very difficult for them to take the time and play around with the produce to make the product really perform,” Dale Bowie said.

“So a lot of them are getting into that situation where they are doing the same old thing over and over again.”

People in the industry hope there will be more events in cities to get people to eat out more.

Restaurants are also worried about the extra cost of paying staff during the Easter holidays. Some might close on some days to save money.

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