CELEBRATED restaurateur Tony Percuoco is concerned.
By 2010, the multi award-winning chef will have to swing the axe to chop 15 per cent off operating costs at his landmark Fellinis restaurant. That means a portion of his 25 staff will also be sacked.
Percuoco says the Rudd Government industrial reforms will have a dire effect on restaurants across the board – from small eateries with 10 staff, to larger franchise chains.
“I’m working on projections for 2010 and 2011 and I’m anticipating cutting 15 per cent, which means some staff will have to go. The changes will also mean a 15 to 20 per cent increase in menu prices,” he says.
“A lot of restaurants are still playing catch up with the introduction of the GST in 2000.
We had to slowly do it and wore the GST costs for six months after on top of an increase of levy costs on deliveries.
Percuoco says with rental increases of around 4 per cent each year, some businesses will be forced to shut shop. He recently signed a 10-year lease at his existing premises which boasts sweeping views of the marina and Broadwater.
“I have a lot of confidence in the brand, it’s a brand that I could take anywhere on the Coast,” he says.
“The reality is that the cost of products increases twice a year. We have to pass that down, but we have to be careful, we don’t want to price ourselves out of the market.
“Our aim is to keep people employed. I have a workers’ agreement with my staff and after signing AWAs, conditions have improved slightly.
“I hate the fact some of them will have to go. There are a lot of benefits working in the restaurant industry and you shouldn’t be penalised for it.”
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