Restaurants hit by cost-of-living pressures

Local restaurants are feeling the pressures in rising cost-of-living. Picture: HENRY PERKS/UNSPLASH

By Corey Everitt

Local restaurants are feeling the strain of rising cost-of-living as many establishments in the wider industry are buckling under a climate of soaring costs rendering a swath of recent insolvencies.

According to ASIC data the appointment of administrators in the food and accommodation sector had doubled in the financial year leading up to late March, as compared to the two years ago.

This has prompted recent attention on high-profile establishments in Melbourne and across the country as some have been forced to close their doors as costs have risen and traffic has dipped.

Local restaurants are feeling the bite too, part-owner of acclaimed Beaconsfield restaurant O.MY, Chayse Bertoncello said the last few years have been a ‘slog’ and hasn’t been surprised at the recent news.

“It’s not overly fun seeing all these things in the news of closing restaurants, but I’m not shocked because of how it is in the industry right now,” he said.

Chayse details an ‘accumulation of everything’ where no expense is stable.

“Bills are high, even paying a liquor license is expensive, it used to be a thousand, now it’s three and a half thousand,” he said.

“Electricity bills every month seem to be going up, wages are up, produce is up.

“Everywhere it’s hard, it doesn’t matter what level of restaurant, it’s all rough.”

Chayse describes it as a ‘tough window’ to juggle these rising costs while providing a service and looking after your staff.

“You can’t charge more because it’s already tough for customers to spend,” he said.

“We are all humans working here, even our own cost of living has gone up, in that situation our staff have to be paid correctly, you want to look after them.

“It’s a tough window, if you just want to cover your cost, it’s really hard.

“Everything must go right in a week.”

Co-owner of Shanikas, Damian Krylov said the decrease in people willing to go out has been noticeable.

“The cost of living means people can’t go out like they used to, compared to covid where people were keen to get out and had a bit more spare cash to spend,” he said.

“People are still wanting to come and celebrate, but it’s for special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays, people can’t dine out like they used to.”

As Shanikas are effectively a household name in the local area, they still feel well supported by the local community despite the tough climate.

“The support has been great even in these times, we have really invested a lot into the community in the years we have been here, so they still come out to support us,” Damian said.

“There is no point being negative for us, just have to try to keep going and be there for our customers and give them the experience they come here for.”

Same sentiment goes for O.MY, even in good times the restaurant business isn’t easy.

“It’s not complaining, we go through this because we love it,” Chayse said.