But the bouyant figures have promted renewed calls from Unions to drop a claim which would reduce workers’ penalty rates.
Unlike the broader hospitality industry, little has changed at Melbourne dining institution Pellegrinis since it opened in 1954.
“It was the very first place in Melbourne where you could come and have a proper coffee made with a proper coffee machine cafe latte and a quick bowl of pasta,” said Sisto Malaspina of Pellegrinis Espresso Bar.
Over the journey, the industry has proven volatile, making the recent figures a welcome reprieve
In the year to November 2013, ABS statistics show the industry grew 10.6 per cent, significantly higher than retail sales which increased by 4.6 per cent.
John Hart from Restaurant And Catering says the numbers are being driven by a growth in the number of customer visits.
“It really is showing there’s a great growth happening in visitation,” he said. “Generally even beyond the turnover growth, the growth in the number of dining occaisions is immense.”
Mr Hart says the optimism should also see the industry’s multicultural base further prosper.
“[You can expect growth in] a whole range of ethnic cuisines that are basically housing new businesses, not to mention the staff working in those businesses,”
The statistics also reveal a gradual but significant shift in Australian eating habits.
A little over a decade ago, take-away was favoured by the nation’s diners. Now sit down, full-service dining accounts for approximately 60 percent.
And that contributed to an all time record $1.9 billion dollar spend in the sector last November.
According to the union, the positive returns should quell industry calls for a reduction in workers’ penalty rates on weekends and public holidays.
“It just shows how much this is idealogically driven, this is not about a business case. This is pure ideology to cut wages to start here and take it to all workers accross the economy dependent on penalties,” said Louise Tarrant at United Voice.