Hospitality Business Magazine

RANZ data shows mixed sales across hospitality amid rising costs

According to the Restaurant Association’s latest quarterly update, the hospitality industry experienced a 4.2% increase in sales over the fourth quarter of 2023, achieving a total of $4.12 billion in sales.

This growth is tempered by significant inflationary costs, with restaurant and food to go prices seeing a rise of 6.7% over the period. Notably, the latest figures from March 2024 show that the cost of dining out has continued to rise, increasing by 7.2% year over last year.

“Despite facing substantial inflationary pressures, the fourth quarter saw several regions performing notably well, particularly those attracting international visitors,” said Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois.

“Sales figures alongside feedback from our members in the West Coast and Queenstown indicate these areas are doing better, thanks to better weather conditions and seasonal events which have significantly attracted customers.”

The data reveals mixed results across different sectors, with the restaurant and cafe sector seeing a 3.6% growth in revenue, while pubs, taverns, and bars faced a slight decline. “While we’ve seen a nominal increase in sales, much of this is due to necessary adjustments in our menu pricing rather than a genuine increase in profitability,” explains Bidois.

Long-term infrastructure projects continue to impact the industry by affecting foot traffic and customer accessibility in many regions. A significant recent development is Auckland Transport’s introduction of 24/7 paid parking, eliminating free parking options after peak hours, which will deter many from driving into the city in the evenings.*

With the challenging economic conditions expected to persist into winter, operators are adopting lean strategies to mitigate the anticipated difficulties.

“Our members are demonstrating remarkable resilience in the face of ongoing economic challenges,” says Bidois. “It’s crucial, however, for policymakers to recognise the compounded economic pressures facing the hospitality industry and consider supportive measures that could ease these burdens.

“Initial feedback from our member businesses for Q1 indicate a mixed picture. Some businesses report they are doing fine; but the general feedback indicates that trade is down,” Bidois added. “We continue to monitor industry trends closely and advocate for policies that support the health and growth of the hospitality sector.”

* (Auckland Transport has advised this decision is currently under review and has been rescheduled for an October 1 implementation, after industry consultation is completed).