Restaurant/cafe searches online are 50% up; Paymark says total revenue growth is 9.3% up, but times are hard.

Thursday 19 July 2012, 11:15AM

MenuMania reports 50% growth in visits year on year, to half a million in the last month.  However, while this appears to support Paymark figures showing increased cafe & restaurant revenue, individual operators outside of Christchurch, are not feeling the love.

Following the release of Paymark figures for June 2012 that showed café and restaurant sales increased 9.3% compared with the same month last year, MenuMania has released figures today showing a fifty percent year-on-year increase in the number of its website's monthly visits to 500,000.  These visits were made by a total of 342,000 different individuals. General Manager, Karen Gibson, says "Inspite of the increase in both diner activity and NZ-wide spending in restaurants & cafes, we still know that most eating establishments have been feeling the pinch during June-July, and in Auckland the consensus is that an increase in the total number of establishments within newly established dining-out precincts such as Britomart, Wynyard Quarter, and Federal Street, are diluting the spread of spending money across Auckland city.  Christchurch businesses are bouncing back, and surely skews those nationwide Paymark growth figures.  Restaurants & cafes are still fighting tooth and nail to get their share of the business in most parts of the country." 

This view was supported by the recent Hospitality Report for 2012: "Currently there are more hospitality outlets seeking income from consumers who are allocating less to dining out."** ( 

"From a marketing perspective", says Gibson, "we're encouraging our restaurant and cafe clients to clearly promote their unique point of difference, consistently, whereever they market themselves.  The smart operators will identify what defines them as different, they'll consistently promote the heck out of that uniqueness, and if they keep on talking to the right kind of consumers, they'll survive... they'll thrive."

MenuMania Google Analytics statistics report the following diner visits/visitors:
Comparing the 31 day period of mid June-mid July 2012 vs 2011*
Visits: +50%
500,162 vs 333,670
Unique Visitors: +34%
342,053 vs 255,262

*Dates adjusted to allow same number of week/weekend days, ie, 18 June 2012 - 18 July 2012 vs 20 June 2011 - 20 July 2011.
**Hospitality Report Executive Summary (2012) produced by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand & AUT University