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Will your favourite restaurant survive? New report paints grim picture

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A dark cloud hangs over the hospitality industry as a new report reveals a staggering statistic: food and beverage businesses face a 7.45% chance of failure in the next year. 

A new report from business risk analysis firm CreditorWatch paints a grim picture for the hospitality industry, with food and beverage businesses facing the highest risk of failure in the current economic climate.

The CreditorWatch Business Risk Index (BRI) reveals a staggering 7.45% chance of failure for hospitality businesses over the next 12 months. This alarming figure, courtesy of CreditorWatch’s Business Risk Index, paints a picture of an industry buckling under the pressure of a tightening economy.

This includes:

Reduced Consumer Spending: Consumers are tightening their belts due to rising costs of living, leading to a significant decline in discretionary spending on dining and entertainment.

Cost Pressures Mount: Hospitality businesses are grappling with increasing power prices, ingredient costs, and a persistent labor shortage, further squeezing their profit margins.

Industry Struggles: The report highlights the hospitality sector’s vulnerability, ranking it highest for external administrations (business closures), ATO tax debts, and late invoice payments.

Small Businesses Bear the Brunt

The report emphasizes that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the hospitality industry are particularly at risk. Their limited cash reserves and inflexibility in cost-cutting measures compared to larger corporations make them more susceptible to economic downturns.

No Quick Relief in Sight

CreditorWatch CEO, Patrick Coghlan, warns that the situation is likely to worsen before it improves. “The outlook for hospitality businesses is not likely to improve until we see a lift in consumer spending,” he says. “And that is not going to happen until the impacts of one or two rate cuts filter through to households. We don’t anticipate that being felt until at least the second half of next year.”

The report extends its concerns beyond hospitality, highlighting a record high in B2B (business-to-business) payment defaults. This trend indicates a broader economic slowdown, with businesses across all sectors struggling to meet their financial obligations. While traditionally considered safe havens, the Education and Training and Healthcare and Social Assistance sectors are experiencing concerning trends. The report reveals a 104% increase in external administrations for the education sector, potentially due to slowing demand for vocational courses. Meanwhile, the healthcare sector, despite government support, has seen a 46% rise in insolvencies. The influx of small, financially vulnerable NDIS providers and rising operational costs for aged care and childcare facilities are cited as possible contributing factors.

CreditorWatch predicts a continuation of tough business conditions until mid-2025. The delayed impact of lower interest rates is unlikely to provide sufficient relief for consumers and businesses in the near future. Hospitality businesses, already facing the highest risk of failure, will likely be particularly hard-hit by the ongoing economic pressures.

Other Key Findings:

External administrations, a key indicator of business closures, are up 48% year-on-year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

Regions around Western Sydney and South-East Queensland are identified as having the highest risk of business failure.

Industries with the highest projected failure rates in the next year include Arts and Recreation Services (5.53%) and Accommodation (5.07%) alongside Food and Beverage Services.

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