Wave of restaurant and cafe sales

A lack of staff and overworked owners may be behind a surge of cafes and shops in Dunedin being put up for sale.

Around 10 well-known hotel businesses in Dunedin have gone up for sale recently, including Zucchini Brothers, Del Sol and Long Dog Cafe.

Business owners looking to sell could not be reached, were unwilling to discuss their reasons, or were too busy to talk, but others in the industry say staffing and pricing food could be to blame.

Hospitality Association branch president Mark Scully said a lack of staff was the biggest contributing factor to the sale of businesses.

Without enough hands to set up, work and tidy the premises after closing, the owners had to shoulder a lot more burden on themselves. This left some working 70 to 80 hours a week.

“People have had enough.”

Nova Cafe, Jizo Japanese Restaurant and Brew Bar co-owner Mark Fraser said most hospitality businesses would have had at least one or two foreigners on the payroll, but since the borders closed, this lack of labor of labor had been difficult to fill.

Another significant issue was the price of ingredients.

Canola oil, which was used for frying, was a prime example. Its price has doubled since the beginning of the year.

Prices have risen across the board and it would be “really difficult” to get into the industry at the moment, he said.

Jason Marshall, hospitality specialist and ABC Business Sales broker, said Covid-19 was giving owners plenty of time to reassess what they wanted to do.

He ran a handful of restaurant and cafe listings, such as Nichol’s Garden Cafe, Best Cafe and Moiety.

Most of the people he worked with were selling because they wanted to change their lifestyle.

He didn’t believe that more hotel companies were selling, but more high-profile companies were.

Dunedin had done “extremely well” throughout Covid-19 and he believed it was the perfect time for people to enter the hospitality industry.

However, Mr Scully said now was not a good time to be in the market as the last three years of trading would be an inaccurate reflection of a company’s typical earnings.

People buying from this market should rely on trust only.

A co-owner of a family business said he had a conditional offer on his coffee, but it was much cheaper than he was asking.

There were people looking to buy, but there wasn’t as much interest as she had originally expected.


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