Hospitality lifts game amid downturn
Courtney Smith at Guzman y Gomez Mexican restaurant in Northbridge. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

Perth's restaurant and bar owners are cautious but optimistic that they will survive the current economic downturn relatively unscathed.

Hospitality business owners told WestBusiness that although budget restrictions might force customers to be more prudent with their spending it would not deter them.

Roving fork takes off with vengeance

Small bars making a mark

Baristas pour heart and soul into fix

The industry's confidence is buoyed by Perth people's appreciation of a night out with friends, food and drinks and some of the hottest trends in hospitality, including nostalgic menus, Mexican and tequila bars, small bars and cocktails, mini-cafes and share plates.

Bivouac owner Anthony Princi said the economy's impact might be felt by some sectors of the market, but not significantly.

"You might see a swing away from the real top end, but in the middle bracket there will always be a need for people to go out for a drink or something to eat," Mr Princi said. "They just might be a little more discretionary on where and when they do it."

The Classroom owners said they would continue to change and adapt to all environments - social or financial.

"As a small business that relies on regular clientele you cannot afford to be complacent," they said.

There was certainly no complacency when the State's economy was thriving and new bars and restaurants were opening regularly.

Businesses in areas such as the CBD, Northbridge and Mt Lawley have catered to a demand from clients who prefer better quality food and drinks at different price points.

One of the best examples is the Brookfield Place development on St Georges Terrace, home to venues including Print Hall, The Trustee, Bar Lafayette and The Heritage.

The Heritage general manager Edward Wolkowinski said the current market was very competitive.

"Each venue should be concentrating on how to attract more people and generate more revenue by offering a more competitive offering," Mr Wolkowinski said. "The current climate sees us only concentrating on how to make our offering more appealing to that of our neighbours."

Bookend Cafe owner Rob Mayberry said he had noticed a change in business.

"We were stoked back when the GFC went down and we came out unscathed, but this year has been by far our toughest year financially," Mr Mayberry said. "Customers were very thin on the ground earlier this year. Perhaps this was also driven by increased competition. We're pleased to still be trading, given the circumstances."

Mr Mayberry thinks that, economically, the worst is over for Perth's hospitality industry. "It seems like this industry constantly experiences ups and downs. I think strong businesses survive through hard work when times get tough," he said.

Guzman y Gomez franchisee Courtney Smith said he was not concerned by the economic downturn. "People may be a little more cautious at the moment due to some perceptions of the economic climate, but it hasn't affected my business," he said.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West