Operational and labour costs coupled with supply chain issues are the main challenges for the local catering industry, according to the BOV Deloitte restaurants performance survey results of 2022.
The results were presented by the Malta Hotels and Restaurant Association (MHRA) during a press conference held on 27th February 2023.
Deloitte’s financial advisory partner, Raphael Aloisio, said that the survey demonstrated a strong rebound for all restaurant categories.
While less than half of the 70 surveyed restaurants reported improved revenues when compared to 2019, the overwhelming majority surpassed their revenues from 2021, indicating a strong recovery in the industry.
The benefits of revenue recovery are stymied by an increase in both operational costs and payroll expenses during 2021. While wages are still below 2019 levels, operational costs have increased for more than 77 per cent of restaurants.
This has not stopped 67 per cent of restaurants expecting a positive outlook for 2023, with only eight per cent expected a poor one.
When broken down by region, every restaurant surveyed in the central region reported a positive outlook for 2023, closely followed by those in the northern region.
Meanwhile, fewer than a fifth of restaurants based in Gozo were optimistic for the year ahead, a sharp contrast with the rest of the country. This may be due to an exacerbated staffing shortage, with the majority of establishments being dependant on foreign workers.
MHRA President, Tony Zahra, said, “Now that we are facing recovery, we need to work harder to help our restaurants raise the bar in offering a holistic quality experience to diners. We also need to work hand in hand with the Government where possible to keep sustaining the sector to address the extraordinary rise in costs experienced at an international level as it happened in the energy sector and continue addressing the issues related to the recruitment of staff."
“When facing such challenges, typical operators don’t have much margin for error. With major input costs escalating, they can make changes to align with local consumer demand while realigning operations for longer-term growth.”
In his address, Minister for Tourism, Clayton Bartolo said, “we will continue working hand in hand with the hospitality industry to ensure that the continuous development of our tourism product remains at the forefront.”
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