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Perth Restaurant Scene In Crisis as Sector Struggles

Perth Restaurant Scene In Crisis as Sector Struggles

Perth’s restaurant sector is in crisis.

The announced closures of several celebrated restaurants and the release this week of a national research study into the state of the hospitality sector underscore the bleak prospects for many in the business.

Restaurant Amuse has closed and Fuyu will close next month, citing low revenues, minuscule margins, customer behaviour and bloated labour costs as some of the factors.

“I haven’t taken a pay cheque in three years,” Fuyu owner and award-winning chef David Coomer said. “We’ve just been working to pay the bills.”

Fuyu in Nedlands will close on April 13, ending a long and accomplished restaurant career for Coomer. “There’s just no money in the gig,” he said. “It’s not worth doing.

The stress of the past few years has been intolerable. It’s taken the joy out of the business.

“You do an 80-hour week and look at your takings and it’s just dollars and cents.”

Coomer said “WA’s boom-and-bust cycle” had played a role.

“We had an influx of people here in the boom,” he said. “Now that’s been reversed, with more people leaving the State than arriving. Less people, more dining chairs and less discretionary spending have had a devastating impact.”

Kate Ayris, owner of Stix.

Another Stix Bar and Restaurant owner Kate Ayris closed her Burswood business last night after an exhausting two years of low earnings and increasing costs.

“I’m off to Italy for a month to have a drink and a think about my future,” Ms Ayris said.

“We’ve been running at a loss and it has been very stressful.

“I can tell you one thing, I won’t be returning to the hospitality sector. I honestly don’t don’t know how other people manage.

“Perth is different to Melbourne and Sydney. It’s harder to get people out in Perth and when they do, it’s always about what’s cool at the moment.

“I think restaurants are doing breakfasts and brunches these days because it’s cheaper.”

“Small margins and high labour costs in hospitality businesses contribute to the high-risk profile in this industry,” Mr van der Velde said.

“As disposable incomes shrink, and in an environment of low consumer confidence, hospitality and retail businesses may struggle to achieve the revenue necessary to cover their relatively high costs.”

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