After being starved of fine dining experiences during COVID, it seems Australians are desperate to eat at the country’s best restaurants once more – and with the end of the financial year (EOFY) looming, it’s particularly hard to get a table…
In what’s sure to be welcome news for the hospitality sector, restaurant bookings are at an all-time high Down Under ahead of EOFY on the 30th of June (that’s this Thursday for those of you who are never early on their taxes).
This is partly because restaurants that never used to take bookings have adjusted to doing so because of The Spicy Cough, but also because there’s unprecedented demand for eating out, especially when it comes to haute cuisine.
DMARGE spoke with Thomas Pash – the CEO of Hunter St. Hospitality, one of the country’s top restaurant groups – who confirmed that Sydney institutions Rockpool Bar & Grill and Saké are seeing bookings for private dining rooms up 30-40% on pre-COVID levels. Other restaurants across Australia’s capital cities are experiencing similarly strong booking numbers.
“There is certainly a big appetite for EOFY celebrations this year and a stronger appetite than there was prior to the pandemic,” Pash says. (We love his pun, too.)
“After several years when EOFY celebrations were on hold due to lockdowns, corporate groups are coming back strong,” he elaborates. “It’s a way for businesses to thank their teams and divisions for their hard work over the past few tough years.”
We also reckon there’s a bit of ‘use it or lose it’ marketing spend from more than a few businesses ahead of EOFY… Either way, it’s a good thing. Restaurants have done it tough over the last two years.
Now I’ve just got to find a dinner date that won’t stand me up…