LAHORE/SYDNEY (Reuters/Web Desk) – According to a recent story from Reuters, the price of providing a sandwich with a cup of coffee has skyrocketed throughout Australia’s renowned cafes, pinching revenues and causing a wave of closures for those who managed to weather the Covid collapse.

According to economists and those in the industry, the A$10 billion ($6.6 billion) Australian cafe industry, the largest outside of Europe by population, is shaping up to be an early, obvious victim of a perfect storm of rising utility bills, produce costs, wages, and rents along with a slowdown in discretionary spending brought on by interest rate hikes.

However, when it comes to Pakistan, it would seem that the coffee shops [and restaurants] that serve the upper class and privileged are doing quite well. On weekends, you must make reservations in advance; on other days, the “house full” situation is the norm.

You will undoubtedly agree with this statement. If you choose not to, you may go to these locations at any time, from early breakfast to late supper, to see this at a time when Pakistan is experiencing record-high inflation with the worst-possible repercussions for the lower socioeconomic classes.

However, the wealthy and upper middle class behave consistently over the globe since money gives them the freedom to choose their actions and how to spend it.

Read more about Madrid’s investment in five-star hotels as it competes for high-spending travelers.

The situation is less favorable for the businesses located in neighborhoods where Pakistan’s true middle class really resides.

Meanwhile, it’s important to keep in mind the variations. Due to their busy lifestyles and culture, most individuals in industrialized nations often eat out, however in nations like Pakistan, this habit is reserved for the wealthy.

Returning to Australia, a Reuters analysis of popular cafe orders revealed that, over the past two years, the cost to commercially produce a steak sandwich—which includes all overhead costs from electricity to beef cuts—rose by a sixth, while discretionary spending stagnated, essentially eliminating the 10% profit margin typical of the sector.

One of the most common coffee orders in Australia, the flat white, had a price increase of about one-fifth.

The end consequence is lower earnings, a smaller base of loyal clients, and company owners leaving.

Two years after opening to rousing acclaim and spending almost A$1.5 million on the build out, Jack Hanna, a former World Latte Champion, shut down the Goodsline Cafe in the heart of Sydney last month. “The cost of living started to bite, especially on people who used to come in for a daily meal,” he said.

“People just aren’t ready to spend money on luxuries when the grocery store is likewise extremely expensive. We have to raise our pricing and provide our employees a decent income,” Hanna said.

In order to save expenses, Damian Krigstein, the owner of a neighboring café who assisted Hanna in packing up Goodsline, claimed his company, Bar Zini, would switch to takeout.

“It’s scary times,” said Krigstein, “when you look around Sydney and you see so many businesses for lease, institutions from when you were a child just completely gone now, and people losing their livelihoods.”

Prior to COVID-19, around one-third of Australian small companies were listed for sale as hospitality establishments. According to selling agents, there are more companies up for sale now, and the number of hotels and other lodging facilities is closer to 50%. As a result, asking prices have been reduced by up to 50% from historical market values.

According to Peter Meredith, a broker with SBS Business Brokers, “Many of these hospitality vendors are simply exhausted after surviving Covid.” They are glad to be released from their leases.

Nowadays, almost one-sixth of cafés with for sale signs shut their doors without finding a buyer.

More than 400 hospitality firms are up for sale throughout the country, according to Guy Cooper, a director at Link Business Sales Australasia. “People are starting to panic with increased electricity, wages, and rent,” he said.

Due to the expiration of COVID-related government safeguards, corporate insolvencies reached their highest monthly rate in eight years in May, according to statistics from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Construction companies have dominated insolvencies so far, but according to CreditorWatch, a credit reporting organization, the hotel industry is predicted to surpass it in the next year.

While a business-to-business organization may increase costs by 10% or 20%, that is not allowed in the hotel industry, according to CreditorWatch CEO Patrick Coghlan.

For a bacon and egg roll, you cannot charge $30 Australian. There isn’t really a break.

Cost constraints

As a result of the Ukraine war’s disruption of the coal and gas markets, energy prices have increased by up to 30%, while the cost of wholesale food has increased as a result of years of bad weather.

Because unemployment is so low, earnings are growing overall, especially for those working in the hotel industry.

Additionally, the pandemic boosted cafés’ dependence on revenue-sharing third-party delivery systems.

The quickest tightening in a generation has been achieved by Australia’s central bank, which increased interest rates by 400 basis points in only 14 months to fight inflation. It took a break in July but issued a warning that if inflation, which is currently running at 7 percent, does not decline, it may start raising rates again.

David Cox, a café owner from Sydney’s suburbs, said he is selling because increasing electricity costs and a decline in client spending make it hard to pay rent. He expects to lose at least 60% of the A$170,000 he invested in purchasing and renovating the company two years ago.

“The mortgage rates have done a lot of damage,” said Cox, 59, who recently let go of three casual employees after daily revenues fell from $1,000 to $200 from the previous year. Cox’s monthly energy cost, which now totals $3,800, is likely to increase to $3,800.

“Some of my former regular customers still stop by for coffee and mention that they have to pack lunch. He answered, “We simply carried it in from home.