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Cost-of-living pressures is reducing customer spending. As a result, there has been a number of recent restaurant and cafe closures. It reminds me of the early ‘90s when many were shutting down due to an oversupply.

More long-term businesses are citing that shrinking profitability from operating a catering business is just not worth it anymore. A recent article by a Brisbane media outlet reported that a well-known cafe operator and coffee supplier said that there are too many cafes in Brisbane and not enough customers to go around.

On the other hand, there are many clubs growing their catering operations.

Many clubs are expecting to expand their dining capacity over the next 12-18 months and are putting the infrastructure in place now. Some are building brand new kitchens and restaurants, while others are rebuilding existing kitchens to handle continually increasing trade.

How can this be? Quite simply, clubs provide the style of dining that more and more customers are seeking: unpretentious casual dining executed with sophistication, coupled with terrific facilities and friendly customer service.

As more restaurants close, more capacity will be required to fill this gap. Is your club ready to seize this opportunity?

Now is the perfect time to set solid systems in place to ensure any expanded trade and capacity doesn’t dent your bottom line further.

With the number of pizza outlets closing, clubs have an opportunity to provide a good pizza offering, for instance.

To do this, think about what your customers want. Look for the correct solution for your kitchen and how you can help staff overcome any challenges. Focus on quality ingredients – remembering that the key to a great pizza is the dough.

Check out solutions that are already in the market – from wood-fired bases, fermented dough balls to pre-loaded. Perhaps making dough in-house is possible?

Start with the end goal, and workshop the logistics to achieve it.

The AHG Expo in Brisbane on 20-21 March is the perfect place to start.

Paul RifkinHead Chef Mentoring and Fine-Tuning Specialist for Club Catering chefpaulrifkin consulting

Paul Rifkin

Paul Rifkin is a former club executive chef and now chef consultant to the clubs industry on menus, kitchen design and catering analysis.

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