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Australia’s leading restaurateurs call for change

  • Written by Food & Dining

Australia’s leading business owners in the Restaurant and Cafe segment of the Accommodation & Food Service Industry are calling for active change to ensure the future growth of the $64 billion industry. Industry leaders have come together to form the Australian Restaurant and Cafe Association Ltd (ARCA). Led by hospitality and restaurant industry advocate Wes Lambert, Neil Perry AM as Chair and representatives from some of Australia’s leading restaurant groups, the board of ARCA met today to address the tough economic conditions and set priorities for the Association.

Business owners and executive level representatives from Margaret Group; Lucas Restaurants (Society, Chin Chin); Fink Group (Bennelong, Firedoor, Quay); Luke Mangan; Renascene Group (Farmer’s Daughters and Morena); Swillhouse Group (Restaurant Hubert, La Foote, Shady Pines Saloon ); House Made Hospitality (Hinchcliff House, Easy Tiger); Van Haandel Group (Stokehouse, Paper Fish); The Lake House Daylesford, Merivale, The Delia Group, The Grounds of Alexandra and The Big Easy (Bottega Bandto, House of George) were in attendance.

Wes Lambert, CEO of ARCA said, “The Restaurant and Cafe segment of the Accommodation and Food Service Industry is facing significant challenges that are threatening the livelihoods of restaurateurs and the future of the industry. Australia’s leading restaurateurs say ‘Enough is Enough’ and are calling for a stronger voice to advocate for the industry to drive impactful change.

Currently, the almost 55,000 restaurant and cafe businesses in Australia are under-represented. ARCA has formed to be the Restaurant and Cafe segment’s most active, influential, not-for-profit voice for the industry dedicated to supporting and representing their specific interests throughout Australia.”

The Restaurant and Cafe segment, which equates to almost half of the circa 110,000 venues that form the Hospitality industry in Australia generates over $64 billion in revenue annually and employs more than 450,000 people, and is one of the largest youth employers in the country.

Neil Perry AM, Chair of ARCA, said “The current policy framework is not supporting the Restaurant and Cafe sector to continue to contribute to Australia’s economy. We’ve been calling out for change, and today, we’ve gathered Australia's leading restaurant owners together to drive impactful change in legislation and policy shifts to allow the industry to survive and thrive.”

Lambert said, “Every restaurant and cafe owner is facing unprecedented challenges. Taxes, inflation, wage pressures, costs of doing business, and skilled staffing shortages, along with ever-increasing rents, are pushing the segment to the wall.” 

It’s an honour to be given the trust of the industry to spearhead this new Association and I intend to work around the clock to represent Restaurants and Cafes and work collaboratively with all levels of Government and stakeholders for change.”

The newly formed Association brought together key industry leaders who represent 100’s of restaurants all across the country who will set the strategy, identify issues and operating priorities for the Association, and encourage restaurants and cafes throughout Australia to join the Association and proclaim “Enough is Enough”.

Left to Right: Chris Lucas, Deputy Chair of ARCA, Wes Lambert CEO of ARCA, Neil Perry Chair of ARCA

For further information and expressions of interest to join ARCA, visit

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