Negative forecasts belie small business boom sector

It seems the business outlook for small business is both good, and bad – it depends on who you talk to.

There is however one sector of the small business economy which is booming.

An ABS report released in January named casual restaurant dining and cafes as the standout performers in the retail sector. In the first month of the year alone, turnover rose in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services by 2.0 per cent.

This upward trend is seemingly corroborated by a new report from the Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (EMMA).

It identified those aged between 14-29 as the most likely to dine out, and eat fast food when they do. Indeed, 60 per cent of this demographic will eat fast food this month compared to the national average of 45 per cent.

Notably residents of NSW and the ACT were the most likely to eat out of home each month – totaling some 83 per cent, versus the national average of 81 per cent.

Fast food remains king of the sector, although cafes are not far behind.

  • Australians visited fast food restaurants an average of 51.1 million times per month, and cafes an average of 29.8 million times per month.
  • Of the 51.1 million visits to fast food restaurants, just 21 million were for for dining in.
  • However, Australians visited cafes a further 44 million times each month to purchase coffee or other drinks.

State-specific trends partly aligned with stereotypes – namely, Victorians were the nation’s biggest cafe lovers (62 per cent had visited one in previous month), while Queenslanders were the least likely to eat at a cafe, with only 56 per cent having done so in the past month.

The EMMA report was based on surveys with 54,000 people aged 14+ years conducted throughout 2013.

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