Thanks for a challenging question, and for your clarification about
what you need. I think you'll find the numbers I provide below both
interesting and useful.
I've laid out my calculations clearly (I hope) but if you have any
questions at all about what I've done, or where the numbers came from,
just let me know by posting a Request for Clarification, and I'll be
happy to provide additional information.
All the best in your endeavors.
The best overview of the restaurant industry in Australia is from this
2003 presentation (oddly enough, at a conference on text-messaging)
given by the president of the Restaurant & Catering Industry
Association of Australia:
[CAUTION: This takes a long time to download, even at broadband speeds]
The presentation is on the use of technology in the restaurant
industry, but it includes the following overview statistics on the
restaurant industry in Australia:
--There are 28,900 restaurant businesses in the country
--94% are small businesses (income of less than $500,000 per year)
--The industry serves 560 million meals per year
--On a weekly basis, the industry serves 10.7 million meals to 5.94
[Additional stats from this same presentation are not germane to the
calculations that follow, but are probably of interest just the same,
and I have presented these below]
So, we have a picture of the industry in the country as a whole.
The next question becomes: What percent of Australian restaurant
meals are served in Sydney?
For this, we can turn to business statistics section of the New South
Wales government pages:
Employed Persons by Industry, 2004
The statistics on employment in the industry sector for
"Accommodation, cafes and restaurants" shows us that:
104,000 people are employed in this sector in Sydney
472,000 are employed nationwide in Australia.
Thus, Sydney alone accounts for:
104000 / 472000 = 22% of the nation's total restaurant activity.
NOTE: This estimate actually jives pretty well with other statistics
presented at the NSW Business site. For instance, data at:
says that NSW accounts for 33.2% of all small business activity in
Australia, and that Sydney (and its surroundings) accounts for 66% of
small business activity in NSW. Therefore, Sydney's proportion of
small business relative to the whole country would be:
.667 * .332 = .221
which is 22.1%, or pretty much the same number we estimated for restaurants alone.
Knowing that Sydney accounts for 22% of the nation's restaurant
business allows a calculation of total meals and total customers
10.7 million meals per week in Australia * 22% = 2,354,00 restaurant
meals per week in Sydney.
5.94 million customers per week * .22 = 1,306,800 people served in
restaurants in Sydney every week
Each person is served an average of 10.7/5.94 = 1.8 meals per person.
In the course of my searching, I came across other statistics that may
be of interest to you. They are presented in no particular order
A report on the industry from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is
fairly dated, but nevertheless includes useful breakouts of dining
habits -- eat-in vs take-out, etc.
8655.0 Cafes and Restaurants Industry, Australia
Takings from meals consumed on the premises ($m) 3,947.7
Takings from take-away food ($m) 444.6
Takings from catering services ($m) 1,264.7
Takings from beverages ($m) 1,117.2
Other income ($m) 400.0
Total income ($m) 7,174.3
Here are stats from 2001 along with some breakouts of restaurant types:
--The ATO reported that 29,551 businesses had registered for the GST
by the beginning of the 2001 calendar year.
--The industry turns over $9.3 Billion and spends $2.917 Billion on
wages and salaries and $2.9 Billion on food product.
--According to BIS Shrapnel, the percentage of restaurants in each
cuisine style is as follows:
Modern Australian 36.1%
91% of all restaurants and cafes employ less than 20 persons
48% of the workforce all either part time or casual
25% of the full time workforce are working proprietors or partners
55% of the workforce are female - 33% are full time
45% of the workforce are male - 58% are full time
70% of the workforce have no post-school qualifications
16.5% have vocational qualifications
5% have a degree or higher qualification
The most recent figures for industry sales in 2004 indicate a rapid
climb from earlier years, up to $12 billion. Here's the citation:
...The calendar year 2004 is on-track to exceed the $12 Billion mark
Some useful economic and labor stats can be seen here:
The Restaurant, Café and Catering Industry
...In the first report...for July 2001, showed a total number of
28,925 restaurant businesses in Australia. This equates to a slight
(2%) decrease on the 2000 result.
...The Australian Bureau of Statistics Business Counts report the
turnover band of businesses State by State. In overall terms, the
majority of restaurant and café businesses (57%) turnover between
$100,000 and $499,000. Nearly 95% turnover under half a million
dollars per annum and less than 2,000 (1,756) restaurant businesses
across the nation turnover more than this amount. Only 8 restaurant
businesses turnover more than $20 million compared to 64 clubs and 16
...In the November quarter of 2003, 239,000 people were employed in
restaurants and cafes in Australia. This represented an 8.1% increase
on the number employed 12 months earlier (221,000). In this period the
restaurant and café industry accounted for 2.5% of Australia's
workforce and 4.7% of the part time workforce.
[NOTE: The labor figures I used above to compare Sydney to Australia
as a whole included hotel and other service employees, so are
considerably larger than the numbers used in this paragraph here]
Some additional perspective on Sydney and NSW can be found here:
--66% of NSW small businesses are in Sydney and the Central Coast
(Gosford-Wyong) region, and the remaining 34% are in the other regions
--Of those in Sydney, 27% are close to the centre of the city (in the
Inner Sydney, Inner Western Sydney, Eastern Suburbs and Lower Northern
Sydney area) and 30% are in the rest of Western Sydney.
--In 2000-01, there were 372,500 small businesses in NSW. This was
33.2% of all the small businesses in Australia and was more than in
any other State. Small businesses made up 97% of all the businesses
--In 2000-01, 1,083,400 people worked in NSW small businesses. This
was 33.2% of all the people working in small businesses in Australia
and again was more than in any other State.
As mentioned earlier, the same presentation that I started with also
included other statistics of interest:
--Overall sales (turnover) for the industry was $9.3 billion at the
time of the presentation (NOTE: it has since increased to $12 billion
in 2004 as I mentioned above)
--The industry's customer base is 55% female, and more than 50% of
customers are in the 25-45 year old age group.
--Customers have an average income of $63,500.
I trust this information fully answers your question, and I hope it
has been presented in a satisfactory and clear manner.
However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need. As I said earlier, if you would like any additional
information, just post a Request for Clarification to let me know how
I can assist you further, and I'm at your service.
All the best,
search strategy -- Google searches on:
[ restaurant meals australia statistics ]
[ restaurant industry statistics site:au ]
(restaurant OR restaurants) ("million meals" OR "million * meals" OR
"million ** meals") site:au
Clarification of Answer by
04 Apr 2005 13:01 PDT
It sounds like you approve of my number-crunching....glad to hear it!
As for your follow-ups:
--It is my understanding that fast food places, by and large, are NOT
included in the stats I provided. The Australian Bureau of Statistics
has a separate category for "takeaway" dining, and I believe most fast
food places are in this category, and are accounted for separately.
You can see a description of them here:
TAKEAWAY FOOD RETAILING
Statistics for employing businesses mainly engaged in selling takeaway
food have been released as part of the Retail Industry Survey
1998-99.These businesses are classified to class 5125 of the
Australian and New Zealand Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).
The results show that at the end of June 1999 there were 13,121
takeaway food businesses operating at 15,357 retail locations, with an
average floorspace of 89 square metres per location.
...There were 166,612 persons employed in the takeaway food industry,
of which 4% were working proprietors and partners, 19% were full-time
employees, and the majority (77%) were part-time employees...
As you can see, this is a very substantial segment in its own right,
and is treated as independent of the Restaurants/Cafe category. If
you need still more information on this, let me know, and I'll try to
track down the appropriate contact person at ABS so you can inquire
--As for a statistic on the numbers that book their table in advance,
I'm sorry, but I looked as thoroughly as I can, and didn't see any
information on this topic.
Let me know if there's anything else I can do for you.