Restaurants bid to entice customers back

Tarryn McMullen, owner of the Stratton Bar and Kitchen in Brisbane, says the AMEX Delicious Month Out event helps promote dining out. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

As the hospitality sector struggles across the country, restaurant owners are working to create experiences to entice customers battling with cost of living pressures.

The latest data from the Restaurant and Catering Association industry benchmark report found a quarter of businesses surveyed made a loss in their turnover last financial year.

For hospitality businesses, May is generally regarded as one of the quietest months, with only 1.79 per cent of revenue coming in during that period.

To counter this, many restaurateurs are looking at ways to provide customers more incentive to dine with them, including through the American Express Delicious Month Out event launching across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide on Wednesday.

Staffer Nara Azis, left, with Tarryn McMullen, owner of the Stratton Bar and Kitchen in Brisbane, will take part in the AMEX Delicious Month Out event. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

The campaign allows AMEX card holders to redeem ‘spend and get’ offers at thousands of hospitality outlets during May.

Last year, members spent $47.5m at participating retailers during the campaign.

Brisbane based restaurant owner Tarryn McMullen – who operates Mrs Brown’s Bar and Kitchen and Stratton Bar and Kitchen in Newstead – said such campaigns were a great way for operators to be creative in providing a great space for their customers.

“We participated last year at both venues and we had people coming in specifically for our offer,” Ms McMullen said.

Ms McMullen said she understood cost pressures had a big impact on her customers but she found by offering different experiences, diners found value for their hard earned money.

Tarryn McMullen, owner of the Stratton Bar and Kitchen in Brisbane, said the cost of living was having an impact. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

“Cost of living has definitely impacted customer spending, we’re still seeing a similar number of people come out but they're definitely having a lot more discretion in what they buy,” Ms McMullen said.

“There’s a big demand for experiences whether that’s wanting to feel special or find good value for money.”

Business Sydney executive director Paul Nicolaou said restaurants across the country were facing many challenges to keep afloat.

“We know it’s tough out there but the best thing the community can do is to support the hospitality sector as fully as they can,” he said.