Record crowds predicted to dine this Australia Day

Outdoor dining is expected to surge this Australia Day as diners seek to enjoy their day off in the sun.

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) CEO John Hart predicts a record number of operators will remain open on 26 January, despite penalty rates of up to 2.75 times applying on these days.

Preliminary data from R&CA’s 2017 Industry Benchmarking Survey indicates more than 90 per cent of operators who normally trade on public holidays choose to proudly trade on Australia Day, with lunch-time service the most popular trading time. This compares to only 50 per cent of operators who choose to open on Easter Friday (53 per cent) and New Year’s Day (57 per cent).

R&CA research has found an equal number of operators choose to trade for breakfast or dinner on Australia Day, with 50 per cent of operators indicating they offer a breakfast or dinner service.

“Australia Day is considered the third most important public holiday by Australians. If the sun is shining, there’s the potential to see record numbers of people out and about enjoying alfresco dining,” John says.

The prediction comes as R&CA’s Savour Summer Instagram competition moves into its final month, with more than 900 entries received so far. John says #SavourSummer is a great way of encouraging customers to snap, share and savour the sunshine while supporting their favourite local café or restaurant.

The competition is open for any photograph taken at an Australian restaurant or café this summer. Photos must be tagged #SavourSummer or #SavourSunshine, have the establishment location tagged, and be registered on the campaign website for the chance to win. Competition closes 28 February 2017. For more details click here.

“If you love your lamb or fancy a shrimp on the barbie, there’s no shortage of cafés and restaurants that provide fantastic modern Australian cuisine. What could be quintessentially more Australian than supporting local small businesses this Australia Day?” he says.

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