Hospitality venues start to raise prices as worker shortage, property costs hit hard after COVID


Your morning coffee or the next cocktail of a night could be about to cost you more, due to some lingering effects of the pandemic.

Some companies have already introduced price hikes due to rising costs of goods, combined with companies struggling to find staff due to persistent border issues.

But it is expected to worsen and generalize soon.

Restaurant and Catering Industry Association general manager Wes Lambert said people could pay up to 20% more than they had in the past.

“Consumers will have to prepare their wallets for increased menu prices until 2022,” he said.

“It’s definitely a continued and covered hangover for the industry.”

Bread Social is a company that immediately raises its prices, increasing the costs of its Byron Bay and Tweed Heads stores by 5% for the first time in several years.

Manager Sam Saulwick said the rising cost of supplies and having to make salaries attractive to hire staff left him with no choice.

“I think that’s something you’re going to see everywhere.

“I just don’t think people in the long run will be able to afford these ongoing costs without passing them on.”

Bar owners are wondering what impact the price increase will have on customers.(Instagram: Wolfe and Molone)

It’s a similar story to Victoria.

Tanya Hanouch runs a wine bar called Wolfe & Molone, and recently raised the cost of food and drinks.

She said it was a good balance at the moment.

“The question is to what extent the consumer or our customers will tolerate these price increases,” she said.

“Will dinner become a special occasion?”

“But I’m staying positive because we have such a wonderful community where we are, so we’ll see what happens.”

A woman in a blue shirt is sitting at a table with a glass of wine.
Tanya Hanouch, manager of Melbourne restaurant Wolfe & Malone, says the pandemic has changed the culinary landscape.(Provided: Tanya Hanouch)

A labor market

Before COVID, Mr Saulwick said Bread Social often found bakers and pastry chefs by word of mouth, but the pandemic had changed the hiring process.

He said he posted a cook job on a job posting website and thought something was wrong when he only had two people to answer, both alive. abroad.

“I actually went to double-check to make sure I entered the correct coordinates, because we just weren’t seeing anything go by,” he said.

The Restaurant and Food Service Industry Association estimates that there are approximately 100,000 jobs currently vacant.

The company is also looking for staff to operate its new store, which will soon open on the Gold Coast.

For some of the positions, salaries are about 15 percent higher than usual.

Salaries offered are up to 15 percent higher than usual in most positions because of insufficient staff.

Mr Saulwick said that means it really is a labor market at the moment.

“Employees come to employers and dictate their terms rather than the other way around,” he said.

Ms. Hanouch had to reduce the number of days that her wine bar was open because she did not have enough staff.

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At the moment, she has four jobs to fill, including a kitchen assistant.

“In early 2019, we were looking for cooks and I would put an ad… and we were getting 20 to 30 emails in one day,” she said.

She posted the same ad almost two weeks ago and included a 25 percent hourly pay hike, but no one applied for the job.

“I think with our internationals gone, with people still a little skeptical about going out and working again, it’s a pretty dire situation for a lot of us in the hotel industry looking for personal, ”she said.

Find workers

The federal government has indicated that more skilled workers may be allowed to travel to Australia from next month and Wes Lambert has said the sector should be a priority.

“We need to accelerate the tourism and hospitality industry with special purpose visas… to bring us up to a workforce level so that we can be productive in 2022,” he said.

“We cannot rely solely on Australians to fill these positions, as the whole system has been designed for a seasonal migrant workforce.”

He said the government had thrown away everything “except the kitchen sink” to improve the skills of Australians, but that is not enough and does not help the current problem.

“Training Australians is not an overnight activity,” he said.

“From top level assistant kitchen and reception chefs to executive chefs, it takes years and years and years of experience.

“I hope that once the borders open, we can have more people in the front of the house and cook in our kitchens.”

Ms Hanouch is hoping the staff shortage will go away with overtime as the borders open up, but she said pay increases are here to stay, which means clients will pay more.

About Glenda Wait

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