The state of the hospitality industry

We at Gault&Millau know that the dining out market in Australia is very competitive.

By Jeremy Ryland


Our research and review intelligence tell us that many establishments are struggling. In 2017, G&M reviewed 969 restaurants for the 2018 Restaurant Guide. From January to August 2017, 32% of these restaurants either closed, re-named or underwent a major transformation in branding.


The number of high profile places going out of business is rising. Many successful restaurants have no idea why they are successful. Many more have no idea why they are failing. Gault & Millau can provide some of the answers to these conundrums.

There are more food outlets per head of population in Australia than in Europe and the USA - one food outlet for every 290 people. There are 35 dining establishments per 10 000 people in Australia.


This compares to:

·      23 dining establishments per 10 000 people in the USA

·      24 dining establishments per 10 000 people in the UK

There are 85 500 total food service outlets in Australia:

·      22 000 restaurants

·      20 500 cafés

·      30 000 fast food

·      1.3 million seats (one for every 19 people)

·      Seat utilisation is about 50% on average with a range of 22% to 74%

·      Most are small business - 91% employ less than 20 people

Competition is fierce. The consumer is spoilt for choice. And the economy is currently tough with restaurant and café sales reported to be declining by 1.6 % (ABS). Today’s leading restaurant concepts are about more than just “good food, good service, good atmosphere”.  All restaurants promise great food, great value and great atmosphere – the leaders need to deliver something more – a great experience.


We know that consumers are demanding more. The G&M analysis in 2017 revealed that poor service or lack of hospitality contributes more to a negative review than poor food/menu. Many restaurants with a great menu and great food scored poorly due to service issues.


To build business and increase sales, it is necessary to take customers from your competitors.To do this, it is necessary to be better than the others – to lead the market and give the consumer a reason to choose you over someone else. Leading restaurants must provide a consistent, excellent product, be better at service and “wow” their guests into coming back and recommending them to their colleagues.


2018 is all about better experiences. The “experience economy” is beginning to determine brand success. And yet staff quality and training, vital to the guest experience, continues to be a major issue for the hospitality industry.


Excellent, attentive service is essential to providing an exceptional food and beverage service across any business type including quick service, cafes and full-service restaurants.


G&M in partnership with eRestauranter can assist with benchmarking intelligence, trends, coaching and mentoring and staff training. More news to come.