Dunedin’s hospitality scene has experienced a wave of restaurants and cafes being listed for sale, including well-known businesses like Long Dog Cafe, Zucchini Brothers and Del Sol.
Covid-19 lockdowns have prompted some business owners to re-evaluate their plans. ABC Business Sales hospitality broker and specialist Jason Marshall noted that many of his clients were selling because they wanted a change of lifestyle.
Hospitality Association branch president Mark Scully attributed this wave of restaurant and cafe sales to staff shortages. Prior to Covid-19 border closures, hospitality owners could hire international workers to fill in any labour gaps. The lack of workers has meant that closing owners have had to bear more duties and responsibilities, with some working 70-80 hours per week. Due to staffing challenges, A Restaurant Association of New Zealand report found that 68% of the hospitality industry is currently under-staffed.
“People have had enough.”
Rising costs in ingredients have also put additional pressure on businesses to make ends meet. Stats New Zealand reported that food prices in 2022 have reached 10.1%, the highest annual increase New Zealand has experienced since 2008.
However, the sector has shown encouraging signs of recovery. Restaurant Association of New Zealand noted that in the past year, Kiwis are dining out 25% and one out of three reported that they intend to eat out more.