2021 R&CA Benchmarking Report released


Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) has released its 2021 Annual Benchmarking Report, showing that skills shortages continue to be the biggest problems facing the industry.

“While the years of lockdown may well be past us now, 2021 presented new and difficult challenges which saw an increased reliance on takeaway, wage costs increases and the current staffing crisis,” says Wes Lambert, CEO of R&CA.

“What we’re seeing in this report is that across Australia, the hospitality industry has been crippled due to skill shortages.”

While business operators are less concerned about a lack of patrons coming from overseas and interstate, the lack of workers entering Australia has been absolutely devastating, says R&CA.

This indicates that while menu prices and consumer demand has gone up, the ability to service this increase with staff has left many operators struggling.

“While consumer confidence briefly rose prior to the Omicron variant and menu prices steadily rose, this lack of staff readily available made reopening incredibly hard,” says Wes.

“However, many operators have seen the current crisis as an opportunity to pivot their businesses to not only survive the effects of the pandemic but to create more resilient business models to thrive in 2022.”

The reliance on takeaway during the COVID-19 lockdowns has irreversibly changed the way that Australians purchase food and the way that operators sell it.

The 2021 survey shows that while many businesses moved to delivery platforms and takeaway due to COVID-19 lockdowns initially, many are now seeing it as a permanent addition to their revenue stream, especially for the sale of takeaway alcohol beverages with a meal.

The report found that with COVID-19 lockdowns shutting down most of the industry, most jurisdictions implemented temporary laws allowing takeaway alcohol to be sold from restaurants and cafés.

The results also show that 37.9 per cent of restaurants and cafés had made use of these temporary laws to sell takeaway alcoholic beverages, which the majority of respondents indicating that their bottom line would improve if allowed to continue to do so.

R&CA’s Industry Benchmark Survey was distributed to over 15,000 individual restaurant, café and catering business owners and senior managers across Australia, with the second highest response rate of individual businesses completing the survey.

The survey was open during September, October and November of 2021 and contained 88 questions relating to the 2020-21 financial year.

It aims to monitor key trends in business costs, profitability, labour and skills shortages, as well as the general business environment.

For more information, visit www.rca.asn.au/rca

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