Independent venues now account for 50% of Australia’s hospitality venues, experiencing a growth surge of 23% in 2022 compared to hospitality groups of 2+ venues, which grew by 13% overall.
This stand-out trend is a notable aspect of Australia’s hospitality industry bouncing back in the past year. Additionally, solo dining has seen an increase in popularity, with tables for one getting almost twice as many bookings by year end.
ResDiary’s expert team, led by Stefan Overzier, APAC Head of Customer Service and Support, has mined the following insights from every booking made through the ResDiary online booking system in Australia in 2022. The collective data has generated a one-of-a-kind immersive view into the ever-evolving dining habits and trends of Australians. From this they have established the trends that will shape how Australian restaurants, cafes, bistros, bars, pubs and clubs will succeed and continue to grow in 2023 and beyond.
1. Rise in independent venues
The findings reveal that while some venues have closed in the past 12 months, many new and independent venues* have emerged in their place, with the number of independent restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars increasing by 23% nationally from January 2022 to December 2022.
Independent venues have also proven popular with diners, now accounting for 46% of all bookings in Australia, up from having a 38% share of bookings in January 2022.
*Independent venues are where there is a solo location, as compared to group venues, where there are 2 or more venues in a group
2. Dining Solo No Longer Taboo
While tables of between 2-5 guests still make up the lion’s share of bookings (on average making up 80% of all bookings) dining solo is becoming increasingly popular. Tables for one only accounted for 2.6% of all bookings in January 2022, yet this steadily increased to reach a peak of 4.6% by November 2022.
3. Dining reservations to hold steady with cancellations a last resort
Cancellation numbers dropped significantly throughout 2022, as people made the most of precious time with loved ones, colleagues, and friends. ResDiary’s data revealed a whopping 60% decrease in cancellations from their peak in January 2022, hitting their lowest levels for the year in the month of December 2022. That’s certainly something to celebrate.
No-shows are a painful reality for the hospitality industry, but Australian diners are increasingly turning up for their reservations, a habit encouraged by venues requiring credit card deposits to secure the booking, and confirmations sent out via text message or emails.
4. Hot market: Sydney braces for busiest month in February while Brisbane’s peak month is November
All the state capitals have unique dining scenes, but in 2022 one stood out above the rest. Sydney truly embraced dining out, with bookings spiking at the beginning of the year, as shown in the below graph.
In some months more than twice as many diners in Sydney were heading out each month than in Melbourne, despite the total population only being 5% larger. Melbourne saw its busiest months in March, August, and November. Sydney’s busiest month? February 2022 with Sydney locking in over 40.3K bookings compared to Melbourne’s 16.3K. Will this be repeated in February 2023?
Brisbane is also a culinary city to watch with bookings increasing 2.7x from August to November.
5. The long lunch is back in
No longer happy with being bustled in, and then bustled out of the venue in under 90 minutes, in 2023 diners will be looking for longer and more leisurely dining experiences, with diners preferring two hours to enjoy their meals. The 150-minute booking is also climbing in popularity.
Overzier said “It’s great to see such strong growth of small, independent operators, particularly knowing all the difficulties they have experienced over the past couple of years. It demonstrates how resilient the Australian hospitality industry is and reflects on how diners are welcoming and supporting new local venues”.
Overzier is also excited about the advancements in the hospitality industry over the past year and the role data plays in helping businesses adapt quickly to consumer demands, sharing ‘The technology available for the hospitality sector has progressed significantly in recent years and it’s an honour to be at the forefront of this change.'”
For more predictions and insights from ResDiary, visit their website here.