Australians still keen to party as cost of living rises

Despite rising interest rates and cost-of-living pressures, new research by Mr Yum shows demand for hospitality across the country remains strong in the lead up to the festive season.

One in three people expected to visit venues more often than they usually do between now and Christmas, according to the payments and marketing platform.

In encouraging news for bars, pubs and restaurants across the country, just one in five people say they expect to visit venues less often between now and the end of the year – with the main reason cited being cost-of-living increases.

Over the past month, one in three people across Australia visited a bar, pub or other hospitality venue once a fortnight, with 38% reporting they are visiting venues as often today as at the start of the year.

However, 58% say recent interest rate rises have affected how often they visit a venue or how much they spend – with 1 in 2 of those affected reporting visiting less often but spending the same amount and one in three visiting as often but spending less.

The research also reveals that compared with prior to the pandemic, 85% say they would be likely today to choose a venue with outdoor seating/dining areas over one without and seven in 10 say they’d choose a venue where they can order food and drink on their phone.

Compared with prior to the pandemic, today one in three Australians say they are now extremely likely to entertain friends and family at home instead of a hospitality venue.

While the hospitality industry is facing rising labour, energy and food costs, six in 10 people say they would be unlikely to visit the pub as often if the total cost of a meal for two increased $10.

However, 78% would continue to go out as often if the price of a pint of beer increased 50¢ and 58% would still be at the pub as often if the price of a pint rose by $1. But six in 10 people would be likely to stay at home if the price rose by $2.

Highlighting the challenges the hospitality sector faces across the country, during the past six months 1 in 3 people have cancelled a booking at a venue due to COVID-19-related reasons and 41% have not returned to a venue due to service related issues.

Mr Yum CEO and co-founder Kim Teo said the next three months are crucial for the industry as it enters the peak trading period, but staffing remains a continuing concern for operators.

“While the industry continues to face challenges as it recovers from the past two years it’s heartening to see that the majority of consumers are planning to visit venues as often, or more often, in the months ahead even though cost-of-living pressures including interest rate rises will continue to affect spending,” she said.

“But staffing remains the biggest issue facing operators and consumers are unforgiving when experiencing service issues. That’s where tools such as mobile ordering can provide a seamless solution to the industry while also creating a superior customer experience.”

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