Restau­rant sur­vey: Gozo restau­rants do­ing bet­ter, Val­letta restau­rants strug­gle due to over­sup­ply

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

Restau­rants in Val­letta sur­veyed by the Deloitte – MIA Restau­rants Per­for­mance sur­vey reg­is­tered a loss in rev­enue trends of 1.6%, while restau­rants in the sis­ter is­land of Gozo reg­is­tered an in­crease of 3.2%.

A to­tal of 89 restau­rants were sur­veyed for the sur­vey: 17 from Val­letta, 16 from the North, 12 from Sliema, 12 from St Ju­lian’s, 11 from the cen­tral part of Malta, 11 from the South and 10 from Gozo.

Rea­sons for pos­si­ble loss of rev­enue trends in the cap­i­tal city of Malta could be at­trib­uted to the in­crease of restau­rants set­ting up not be­ing in line with an in­crease of peo­ple din­ing at the cap­i­tal.

Na­tional Sta­tis­tics Of­fice data shows that for the sec­ond quar­ter of this year (April-June) there was a 7% in­crease in ferry-trips to Gozo, there­fore the in­crease in rev­enue trends could be at­trib­ut­able to this.

On av­er­age, cus­tomers of the restau­rants sur­veyed were made up of 53% lo­cals and 47% tourists. On the em­ployee mix, it was found that 66% were made up of lo­cals and 34% for­eign­ers.

Stick­ing with the over­all re­sults, it was found that 39% of the 89 restau­rants sur­veyed reg­is­tered an in­crease in rev­enue trends, 33% said there was a de­cline, while 28% found that there was no change.

The sur­vey takes a snap­shot of the restau­rant sit­u­a­tion be­tween the months of April and Septem­ber, tra­di­tion­ally a pe­riod of time with in­creased tourist ac­tiv­ity.

In­ter­est­ingly, the restau­rants found that there was an over­all cost in­crease of pay­rolls by 2.7%, slightly above in­fla­tion. David Bon­net, from the fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory team of Deloitte who also con­ducted the sur­vey said that gen­eral feed­back from restau­rants was that there is a big chal­lenge to find and re­tain quality staff. He said that be­cause of this prob­lem, restau­rants have been forced to in­crease wages to en­tice peo­ple to work in the in­dus­try.

Out of the 12 restau­rants sur­veyed in St Ju­lian’s, six reg­is­tered a 1.5% de­crease in sales trends, five said there was no change and just one reg­is­tered a marginal in­crease in sales trends – in­di­cat­ing that the St Ju­lian’s re­gion has not per­formed as well as in the past.

Sliema restau­rants reg­is­tered an over­all marginal in­crease in sales trends of 0.8%. Three restau­rants reg­is­tered a slight loss, five found there was no change, three reg­is­tered a marginal in­crease of 1.5% while one restau­rant found an in­crease of sales trends of 6-10%.

Val­letta, the re­gion far­ing the worst hit, is the re­gion with the most even cus­tomer split, 51% lo­cals and 49% tourists. Two restau­rants found a de­crease in sales trends by a whop­ping 10%, two found no change, and five reg­is­tered an in­crease be­tween two and 10%.

When com­par­ing the busi­ness sen­ti­ment be­tween spring 2015/16 and spring 2014/15, 69% found no dif­fer­ence, 21% found an im­prove­ment and 10% believe they are worse off cur­rently.

Out of those who believe that there is an im­proved busi­ness cli­mate be­tween this year and last, 18% came from the North, 13% from Val­letta, 12% from St Ju­lian’s, 12% from the Cen­tral area, 11% from the South and 11% from Gozo.

Clos­ing off the con­fer­ence, Malta Ho­tels and Restau­rants As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Tony Zahra said that when it comes to restau­rants “we re­ally need to up our game.”

He spoke of the dif­fer­ent mix of tourists and their demands, as well as for­eign­ers com­ing to Malta and open­ing up restau­rants which syphon off busi­ness from the tra­di­tional Mal­tese restau­rants.

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