Restaurateurs and café owners across Queensland are calling for the Australian Government to create a targeted stimulus package to support the hospitality industry. This comes as Brisbane was placed into a three day lockdown earlier this month to combat the recent announcement locally acquired covid-19 cases being detected in the Greater Brisbane Region, Gold Coast and Gladstone.

Prior to the announcement of the lockdown the majority of hospitality businesses would’ve already purchased their stock and consequently much of the supplies they had purchased would’ve gone to waste and not had a chance to be sold to customers during the lockdown. There is also a financial burden placed on businesses who are not operating but still have to spend money on electricity to keep their fridges running in order to keep their stock safe for their customers to consume when they re-open.

Selling take-away coffee during the lockdown is not enough for some businesses to survive. Three days of restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and catering revenue in South East Queensland is worth an excess of $50 million in revenue. On top of this $15 million worth of stock will need to be thrown away.

The announcement of the lockdown was crucial to prevent the spread of the virus and to keep the community safe but the new cases could’ve come at a worse time. It is a difficult time for the hospitality industry since the JobKeeper scheme is now finished.

It is even more disheartening for hospitality venues as the lockdown commenced in the week leading up to the Easter long weekend.

One café said that on the Monday during the lockdown their total sales for the day was slightly under $400. This was heartbreaking as it was $10,000 below their usual amount of sales made on a Monday when there are no lockdowns.

Earlier this yearm The Professional Accounting Body called for Australia’s federal, state and territory governments to work together to create a national response for businesses that are impacted by future snap lockdowns whenever a new outbreak of covid-19 occurs.

The Brisbane lockdown coincided with the Easter weekend and unfortunately many inter-state travellers who were planning to visit Queensland have decided to cancel their holiday plans.

Similar to Brisbane, earlier this year Melbourne experienced the same harsh impacts of their own snap lockdown in February which coincided with Valentine’s Day, The Australian Open and Lunar New Year. Valentine Day’s and Lunar New Year are up there with some of the busiest days of the year for florists and restaurants.

Restaurant menu items and flowers that were destined to be sold unfortunately had to go to waste. The Australian Open continued to proceed without crowds for 5 days. The influx of people travelling to Melbourne to watch the Australian Open each year has a huge impact on driving sales in retail stores and cafes across Melbourne.

As a result of the snap lockdown an Italian restaurant in Melbourne’s inner suburbs can reveal that it lost somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000 dollars in turnover. Apart from not being able to have customers dine in their venue for five days, they also lost money on dairy products and seafood that had to be thrown out.

The loss off stock has a flow on effect into the following week, as restaurants are no longer placing food orders to get new stock due to their businesses closure. However, when the restaurant re-opens they are likely to be low on stock and will have to wait for new food supplies to arrive. This means that the business may not have all the ingredients required to make all their menu items upon re-opening.

Post Author: Craig Dangar

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