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Hospitality reporting signs of recovery

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There are high hopes for a strong trading period for the battling hospitality industry.

A survey conducted by the Restaurant Association and released today has shown signs of improved trading.

Around 64 per cent say turnover is the same or better than last year, this is up from 42 per cent for the same period last month.

Around 38 per cent of respondents traded better or significantly better than the same period last year.

One week in to level 1, just 21 per cent reported turnover of significantly less than the same period last year and this has now gone down to seven per cent.

However, 34 per cent are now trading worse or significantly worse than the same period last year.

About 41 per cent of businesses are recording 91-100 per cent foot traffic based on same period last year, indicating a lower spend per customer.

Around 42 per cent of businesses have had more domestic customers than usual at this time of year.

“Hospitality spending definitely improved over the school holiday period which is a relief for businesses that have had an incredibly difficult year. However, there are still significant numbers of businesses still reporting significantly reduced year on year revenues and we’re mindful that there’s a long road ahead,” says Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois

“From speaking to members we’re seeing a reduced spend per customer whilst continuing to feel the impact of the border closure.”

The Restaurant Association recently launched its election manifesto, detailing five key areas of focus for the recovery of the industry.

“The hospitality industry contributes $11 billion to the economy, making it one of New Zealand’s largest industries.

“Despite being an enduring powerhouse of the New Zealand economy, policy made for the sector, in particular for hospitality, is fragmented, impractical and often devoid of the everyday realities of operations.

“Sadly, our industry’s strong growth story has been decimated by COVID-19 leading us to five key priorities to best support the recovery of our sector and ensure government policy matches the realities of everyday hospitality operations.

“The hospitality industry has until now, been in sustained growth. But for some time, we have been desperately lacking the skilled workforce we have needed to support our growth.

“We have relied heavily on a migrant workforce that is now largely inaccessible to us. COVID-19 has now made it necessary to reset the employee pathway.

“This means investing in hospitality apprenticeships and further training fit for purpose whilst also refining our immigration policy needs.

“Despite the enormous contribution our industry makes to the economy we are still lacking our own dedicated ministry.

“We are calling on the government for greater recognition and better oversight in the form of a dedicated Minister and hospitality unit within the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

 

“For a sector that generated annual sales in excess of $11 billion and employed more than 133,000 people in 2019, to not have a dedicated Minister to call on for support, means that Government policy regularly misses the mark when considered against the realities of our sector. This became increasingly problematic throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response.

“We are also seeking greater acknowledgement from the next Government for the significant role that hospitality plays in the tourist experience.

“Every single visitor to New Zealand consumes our food, and every aspect of the New Zealand food story - from production to tourism - could recognise the importance of connecting with the people who eat our food.

“As we navigate no tourists for the foreseeable future, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to apply the hard won gains of our 100% pure reputation to our food industry, repositioning the story of New Zealand’s food experience and better promote the depth and diversity of dining experiences.

“This will also create the halo effect of developing pride in our hospitality story, and encourage more job seekers to view hospitality as an employment pathway for life.

“The hospitality sector is a core component of the New Zealand lifestyle, however appetites are changing. We are seeing a rise in conscious consumerism: where customers are driven not by prices or flavours alone, but the origins of their food.

“Finally, we would like to see the next government examine and refine hospitality’s regulatory environment.

“Increasing complexity around rules and regulations is making it difficult for local businesses to grow and provide job opportunities. Regulatory changes over the past three years have weighed heavily on hospitality so we are calling for a government-wide review of hospitality regulations at a national and local level and consider ‘best practice’ standardisation where appropriate.”

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