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Hospitality revenue bounces back to pre-COVID-19 levels but Restaurant Association warns prices not dropping soon


Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois told AM on Monday it’s “really great to see” the industry bouncing back.

She added they’ve seen strong growth in takeaways, which has increased by 4.8 percent over the past year.

“I think it’s a combination of habits. During the pandemic, we saw those takeaway sales increase exponentially over that time as well and I think that sort of continued on in this space. But also contributing to that could also be the cost of living,” Bidois told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.

Bidois said the sales increase is a great sign, but it’s still a really tight market.

“Within hospitality, we still have those really tight profit margins that sit around sort of 3 to 7 percent on average for the industry, so it is still a very tight market,” she said. 

“But the sales increase is still an encouraging sign, especially as we compare that to pre-pandemic trading levels as well. So it’s still a positive sign that things are improving in the sector.”

One area that was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic was tourist hotspot Queenstown, but Bidois said there are positive signs for the region. 

“We’ve seen an exponential jump in sales in the Queenstown area and I think largely that is because there was such a sharp decline in sales in Queenstown in 2021,” she told AM. 

“But it is also a sign that we’ve seen more visitors coming back into the area as well, which is good for Queenstown.”

Immigration Minister Michael Wood said on Friday more than 20,000 people on working holiday visas had arrived in New Zealand since the border reopened earlier this year, with almost 6000 arriving in November alone.

But the Restaurant Association warned staff shortages are still plaguing the industry and had reached crisis point. In 2022, employee numbers increased by 0.37 percent compared to 2021 – the lowest growth level in more than 10 years.


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