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Chef’s dire $50 warning for Aussies after restaurant collapse

Australians may have to cop higher prices if they want to eat out after a chef told other restaurants not to fall into the trap he did.

A Melbourne chef has warned dining out could soon set you back a lot more than expected. While some Aussies were furious at the idea of paying close to $40 for a chicken schnitzel, restaurant menus could get far more expensive than that.

The cost of living crisis is hurting restaurants as well as everyday Aussies and some venues are being forced to either close forever, take the financial hit, or pass those increased prices on to consumers.

Gingerboy, in inner Melbourne, has taken one of those options and will be shutting down after 18 years in business. Owner Teage Ezard said it was due to a “perfect storm” of problems.

Restaurant chef Teage Ezard next to people sitting at a restaurant eating food
Melbourne chef Teage Ezard has warned Aussies could soon be paying more than $50 for a main meal at a restaurant. (Source: 9News/Getty)

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"Wages have increased, power and gas, amenities have all increased - and the menus have not," he told 9News.

He said prices could soon hit $50 for a main meal while other restaurant staples could even go up to $60.

“You pay for what you get... and I think... that's what it costs,” he added.

While Gingerboy was able to weather through the difficulties of the COVID pandemic, Ezard said the restaurant’s struggles started when restrictions were lifted.

They “never recovered” and he has now warned other restaurants not to shy away from increasing prices or they could meet the same fate.

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“We have to raise our prices, but the public don’t want us to raise our prices,” he explained to the Herald Sun. “We need to and there needs to be a conversation around that.

“Restaurants will not survive charging what they are charging. That perception [of not spending $50 on mains] needs to change. We should be charging $50 or more on mains.”

That could backfire as the cost of living crisis has already seen many reduce their spending on hospitality services. Finder analysis released last year found half of Australians (51 per cent) have restricted themselves from eating out and drinking out, while more than a third (36 per cent) had limited how often they go out to events like movies, sports games and concerts.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week found in the year to February, household spending on food rose 5.7 per cent, while consumption of furnishings and household equipment dipped 0.8 per cent.

The ABS reported household spending rose across all eight jurisdictions in the month prior, with the largest rises recorded in South Australia, up 7.9 per cent, and the Australian Capital Territory, up 7.6 per cent.

Economists are closely monitoring for signs of slowing household consumption as the Reserve Bank’s 13 interest rate increases since May 2022 drag on economic growth.

With NCA Newswire

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