As the financial crisis finally seeps into Tasmania, I've been thinking about how it might change our hospitality industry.
An excellent newspaper article in the Sydney based Daily Telegraph last Thursday illustrated the struggle Sydney's top restaurants are now having just to cover their overheads. This time last year, waiting lists at restaurants like Tetsuya's Kent St restaurant were three months or more, now you can get a table at 24 hours notice.
I'm starting to wonder how our top establishments, like Smolt, Marque IV, Piccalilly, Piccolo et cetera will cope when Tasmania's wealthier customers opt for a few more home cooked meals, and a few less pricey nights out. I'm in favour of the "credit crunch lunch," a phrase coined by Sydney restaurateur Justin Hemmes, of Est. restaurant. Two or three set menu courses, for a set price, brings top scale restaurants into the realm of affordability. Well, the realm of my affordability anyhow.
The next few months will be very interesting for Hobart's top establishments, while we all stay home a little more, save a few more pennies, and lean towards, well, the leaner side of life. I will be interested to observe potential changes, a little bird tells of "talks" to restructure a Hobart favorite, in a manner that, in my opinion, is not befitting of its reputation. More on that at a later date.
Perhaps it would do us well to remember that waiters and waitresses that earn a living from taking our orders, clearing our plates and pouring our wines might be starting to feel the purse strings pinching as well. It is not just a few fat cat directors behind the scenes with a few thousand less a week in the bank that suffer here. I hope those directors make the right decisions to secure the future of our hospitality industry. If we have only just started to struggle, there could be a long road ahead.
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