Neil Perry and Chris Lucas call for change with new restaurant association

(L-R) Chris Lucas, Deputy Chair of ARCA, Wes Lambert, CEO of ARCA and Neil Perry, Chair of ARCA.

The newly formed Australian Restaurant and Cafe Association (ARCA) is being backed by hospitality heavyweights Neil Perry and Chris Lucas who are calling for change to ensure the future growth of the $64 billion industry.

ARCA met with some of the nation’s top hospitality business owners from Margaret Group; Lucas Restaurants (Society, Chin Chin); Fink Group (Bennelong, Firedoor, Quay); Luke Mangan; Renascene Group (Farmer’s Daughters and Morena); Swillhouse Group (Restaurant Hubert, La Foote, Shady Pines Saloon ); House Made Hospitality (Hinchcliff House, Easy Tiger); Van Haandel Group (Stokehouse, Paper Fish); The Lake House Daylesford, Merivale, The Delia Group, The Grounds of Alexandra and The Big Easy (Bottega Bandto, House of George) to discuss the challenges being faced by the sector.

“The restaurant and cafe segment of the accommodation and food service industry is facing significant challenges that are threatening the livelihoods of restaurateurs and the future of the industry,” said ARCA CEO Wes Lambert.

“Australia’s leading restaurateurs say ‘Enough is Enough’ and are calling for a stronger voice to advocate for the industry to drive impactful change.

“Currently, the almost 55,000 restaurant and cafe businesses in Australia are under-represented. ARCA has formed to be the Restaurant and Cafe segment’s most active, influential, not-for-profit voice for the industry dedicated to supporting and representing their specific interests throughout Australia.

“Every restaurant and cafe owner is facing unprecedented challenges. Taxes, inflation, wage pressures, costs of doing business, and skilled staffing shortages, along with ever-increasing rents, are pushing the segment to the wall.”

The Restaurant and Cafe segment, which equates to almost half of the circa 110,000 venues that form the hospitality industry in Australia generates over $64 billion in revenue annually and employs more than 450,000 people, and is one of the largest youth employers in the country.

“The current policy framework is not supporting the Restaurant and Cafe sector to continue to contribute to Australia’s economy,” said ARCA Chair Neil Perry.

“We’ve been calling out for change, and today, we’ve gathered Australia’s leading restaurant owners together to drive impactful change in legislation and policy shifts to allow the industry to survive and thrive.”