Region records highest hospitality sales growth

The number of hospitality outlets in Otago grew in 2013 by 2.3%, after four years of reduction.

Following a small rise in the current year, numbers are expected to rise again in 2015.

The Restaurant Association's Hospitality Report 2014 showed the region also recorded the highest sales growth in the country - 14.5% - in the year ended March.

Canterbury experienced 10.8% sales growth and nationwide sales increased 6.3%.

Sales revenue per outlet fell 1.8% in 2013-14, but because of the very strong sales performance, that was expected to rise significantly in 2014-15.

Hospitality spending per capita in the region also dropped from 2012-13 to $1911 but remained one of the highest in the country and 19% higher than the national rate of $1600.

The Otago region recorded sales growth of 12.8% back in 2011, at a time when almost every other region was either in decline or reporting very small sales gains.

This assisted the region to reach its peak level of sales per employee productivity that year of $68,541.

However, there was a 4% fall in annual sales in 2012, followed by a 0.4% growth in 2013. Otago's record sales growth of 14.5% in the year ended March 2014 will result in projected employee sales levels increasing 14% from 2013 to 2014.

The average number of employees per outlet in the region is projected to be 7.46 in 2015, against a national average of 7.22.

Top 10 hospitality trends
The casualisation of dining.
Consumers dining more frequently but spending less.
No reservations. Pitching to the walk-in crowd and only accepting bookings for large parties.
The gastro bar. Think of it as ''pub with top grub'' where food overtakes the importance of beverage sales.
Cuisine style. New Asian eateries, Southern American and South American are all making an impact.
Share plates and small plates. Keeps dining fun and more social and often at a lower price point.
Health food. Raw food, paleo.
Locally grown. More businesses are opting to grow their own.
Hospitality groups. A number of hospitality groups, typically running 10 to 20 establishments, are going through a significant expansion phase.
Pop-ups. Expect to see more temporary establishments in the coming year.
Craft beer. Consumers are embracing the options available from craft brewers.

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