Greek restaurants not exempt from Brunswick Street crisis

first_imgFor more than thirty years, Brunswick Street has been the bustling backdrop of Melbourne’s café and bar scene. However, with changes in the industry, such as licensing fees and higher rental prices, venues are being forced to shut their doors. Since 2010, at least thirteen venues on Brunswick Street have closed, including Cherry Lounge, St Jude’s Cellars and the Cue Club, with at least six more currently on the market for sale, as reported in The Age. One of the main issues affecting Brunswick Street, according to chief executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia, John Hart, is that there are rent premiums, which make it difficult for business owners to make the profit needed to stay open. Co-owner of Greek restaurant Piraeus Blues on Brunswick Street, Lazaros Thomaidis agrees that rent prices have become an issue for business owners. “Rentals are out of whack with reality,” he tells Neos Kosmos. “The first step will be a sort of reality check for landlords. We fully understand and respect they have a lot of money invested, but to make operators want to stay there they’ve got to make it a little more reasonable for everybody to be able to conduct their business,” he says. Customer confidence has also plummeted over the years, with fewer people frequenting the area, particularly during the week. “People would always come to the area, so when you see that even Brunswick Street is quiet you start to think ‘what’s going on?’,” owner of Alpha Ouzeri, Vasilios Zografos tells Neos Kosmos. “We’ve seen a drop in numbers this winter. We had regular customers that would come twice a week. That’s not as common anymore. And they’re looking to not spend as much,” says Mr Zografos. According to national hospitality booking agency Dimmi, Victoria is the only state in Australia to have seen a decrease in bookings, the average person spending $54 – a reduction of $7 compared to last year. Mr Zografos has noticed the change. “People are looking to cut their expenses – instead of eating out, people will eat at home.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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