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Australia Outdoor Restaurant Market Research

As an outdoor dining furniture wholesaler from China, we keep an eye on the market dynamics for our clients interested in the outdoor restaurant business in Australia. This report comprises Australia’s market size, workforce size, outdoor space area per restaurant, distribution of outdoor restaurants, trends, market segmentation, market drivers, market restraints, competitive landscape, and outdoor dining case studies. Additionally, we will provide insights on outdoor dining furniture and why Coets should be your one-stop solution for your outdoor dining project.

1.Market Summary

Market Size

Australia’s foodservice market size in 2022 was AUD 86.6 billion, with a CAGR of over 4% from 2022 to 2027. (Source: globaldata)


The workforce size of the foodservice industry in Australia was 680 thousand by November 2022. (Source: Statista)

Average Outdoor Space

The average outdoor space area per restaurant is approximately 60 square meters. (Source: Australian Leisure Management)

Location Distribution

The distribution of outdoor restaurants varies significantly across Australia. The majority of the catering business is located in the following states and territories:

  • New South Wales (NSW): NSW is home to the largest population in Australia, including the major cities of Sydney and Newcastle. It has a thriving foodservice industry, with a wide range of catering businesses catering to various events and occasions.
  • Victoria (VIC): Victoria, with its capital Melbourne, is known for its vibrant food and dining scene. It has a diverse range of catering businesses that cater to events, weddings, corporate functions, and other special occasions.
  • Queensland (QLD): Queensland, particularly the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions, is a popular destination for weddings, tourism, and outdoor events.
  • Western Australia (WA): With its capital Perth, Western Australia has a growing foodservice industry.
  • South Australia (SA): South Australia, with its capital Adelaide, is known for its wine regions and culinary experiences.
  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT): The ACT, with its capital Canberra, is home to government institutions, corporate offices, and diplomatic missions.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

While most catering businesses are concentrated in these regions, it’s important to note that catering services can be found across the entire country, serving both urban and regional areas. The distribution of catering businesses may vary based on population density, tourism, and local demand.


  • Most businesses have a positive attitude toward outdoor dining.
  • A fast-paced lifestyle leads to a bigger delivery food market share.
  • The country’s CPI remains high, increasing the overall living cost. Therefore, citizens are seeking low-cost meal options.
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2.Market Segmentation

By Profit Sector Channel

The Australian foodservice industry can be segmented based on profit sector channels, which categorise establishments according to their primary revenue streams and target customer groups. Here are the key segments within the Australian foodservice market:

  • Full-Service Restaurants (FSR): Full-service restaurants offer a complete dining experience with table service, a wide range of menu options, and often a diverse beverage selection. They typically cater to customers seeking a leisurely dining experience, including families, couples, and groups. FSRs focus on providing quality food, ambience, and personalised service. Examples include upscale dining establishments, fine-dining restaurants, and themed restaurants.

  • Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR): Quick-service restaurants are known for their speed and convenience, offering a limited menu, self-service or counter service, and often emphasising takeaway or drive-thru options. QSRs cater to customers seeking fast and affordable meals, making them popular choices for busy individuals, families on the go, and those seeking quick dining solutions. Examples include fast-food chains, burger joints, pizza outlets, and sandwich shops.

  • Pub, Club & Bar: This segment includes pubs, bars, clubs, and similar establishments primarily serving alcoholic beverages. They often offer a food menu alongside their beverage offerings, ranging from bar snacks to full meals. These venues attract customers looking for a social atmosphere, live entertainment, and a place to relax and enjoy drinks with friends or colleagues.

  • Coffee & Tea Shop: Coffee and tea shops serve speciality coffees, teas, and other non-alcoholic drinks. These establishments may also offer a selection of pastries, sandwiches, and light snacks. Coffee and tea shops cater to customers seeking a casual and comfortable environment for meeting friends, working, or enjoying a moment of relaxation.

  • Retail: This segment includes food service outlets within retail environments such as shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets. These outlets provide dining options to shoppers and employees within the retail premises. Examples include food courts, cafes, and grab-and-go counters within supermarkets.

  • Accommodation: This segment encompasses foodservice establishments in hotels, resorts, and other accommodation facilities. These outlets serve both in-house guests and external customers, offering a range of dining options, including restaurants, cafes, bars, and room service.

  • Workplace: Workplace foodservice caters to employees within corporate offices, business parks, and industrial areas. These outlets provide employees with meals, snacks, and beverages during work hours. Workplace foodservice can include cafeterias, self-serve stations, vending machines, and catering services.

  • Leisure: This segment covers foodservice establishments in leisure and entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, cinemas, stadiums, and recreational facilities. These outlets offer convenient dining options to visitors and enhance their overall leisure experience.

  • Ice Cream Parlor: Ice cream parlours specialise in serving a variety of ice cream flavours, sundaes, milkshakes, and frozen desserts. These establishments attract customers seeking sweet treats and indulgent desserts, especially during warmer months, and as a popular choice for families and children.

  • Travel: This segment includes food service outlets in transportation hubs like bus stations, subway stations, and airports. These outlets cater to travellers and commuters, providing grab-and-go options, cafes, and sit-down dining experiences.

  • Mobile Operator: This segment represents foodservice businesses operating from mobile food trucks, food carts, and pop-up stalls. These mobile operators offer flexibility in terms of location and can serve a variety of cuisines, targeting customers at events, festivals, markets, and high foot-traffic areas.

Source: Coets

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3.Market Drivers

Several factors are driving growth in the Australian foodservice industry, including:

  • Increasing demand for outdoor dining: Many restaurants are expanding outdoor dining options due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some are even making these changes permanent due to the benefits it provides. According to a Restaurant & Catering Industry Association survey, 73% of respondents indicated that outdoor dining increases profit margins.

  • The rise of delivery and takeaway: A fast-paced lifestyle has significantly increased the delivery and takeaway market share. According to Statista, by 2022, Australian people’s most frequently used food delivery third-party apps include DoorDash, Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and Open Table.

  • Cross-culture dietary patterns: Australia’s multicultural population has led to a variety of cuisines, including vegetarian, vegan, and halal options. As a result, many restaurants are shifting towards offering healthier options, such as plant-based, locally sourced, and fresh foods.

Source: Coets

4.Market Restraints

Despite the positive market drivers, the Australian foodservice industry also faces several challenges, including:

  • Labour shortages: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant food service disruptions, including labour shortages due to international border closures and reduced working hours. According to a Restaurant & Catering Industry Association survey, 91% of respondents experienced a staffing shortage during the period.

  • Supply chain disruptions: Major weather events have caused a shortage of raw materials and increased prices for many food products. This has led to increased costs for restaurants and decreased profit margins.

  • Regulatory changes: The Australian foodservice industry is heavily regulated, and changes to regulations can have a significant impact on businesses. For example, introducing new health and safety regulations, such as COVID-19 restrictions, can be costly for businesses.

  • Inflation and inadequate welfare: Inflation and inadequate welfare are fuelling food insecurity among Australian families, reducing these households’ dining-out budgets.

Source: Investopedia

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5.Competitive Landscape

The Australian foodservice market is an ongoing battlefield for numerous domestic and global players striving to secure their market share. While global brands like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Yum! Brands hold significant market share; several large local brands are competing effectively.

Starbucks Corp.

Starbucks is one of the world’s largest coffeehouse chains, with over 32,000 locations in over 80 countries. The company operates around 50 stores in Australia, primarily in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne. In recent years, Starbucks has focused on offering more food options, such as sandwiches, pastries, and salads.

Doctor’s Associates

Doctor’s Associates is the parent company of Subway, one of the world’s largest sandwich chains. In Australia, Subway operates more than 1,100 stores, employing over 16,000 people. The company strongly offers fresh and healthy ingredients, such as whole-grain bread and locally sourced produce.

Inspire Brands Inc.

Inspire Brands is a US-based multi-brand restaurant group that owns several popular food chains, including Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Sonic Drive-In. The company entered the Australian market in 2020 by acquiring Dunkin’ Brands, which owns the country’s Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins franchises.

Hungry Jack’s is a popular Australian fast-food chain specialising in burgers, chips, and other quick bites. Founded in 1971, the company operates more than 400 outlets across the country, employing around 17,000 people.

Bucking Bull is an Australian roast and grill franchise specialising in slow-cooked meats, sandwiches, and burgers. Founded in 1999, the company has over 30 outlets nationwide, employing around 200 people. Bucking Bull strongly focuses on using locally sourced ingredients and supporting Australian farmers.

Nando’s is a South African restaurant specialising in peri-peri chicken dishes. The company operates around 300 outlets across Australia, employing over 4,000 people. In recent years, Nando’s has expanded its menu with portobello mushroom burgers and plant-based chicken alternatives.

Source: Hungry Jack’s

  • Most businesses have a positive attitude toward outdoor dining because it increases profit margins. However, lack of space is the number one reason for businesses not pursuing outdoor dining.

  • A fast-paced lifestyle leads to a bigger delivery food market share.

  • Cross-culture dietary patterns have increased demand for more diverse cuisines.

  • Restaurants are shifting towards offering healthier options, such as plant-based, locally sourced, and fresh foods.

  • The country’s CPI remains high, increasing the overall living cost. Therefore, citizens are seeking low-cost meal options.

  • Innovative and unique dining experiences, such as pop-up events and food trucks, become popular.

  • Technology integration in foodservice operations, such as mobile apps for ordering and payment, develops quickly.

  • A tough business environment continues due to the ramifications of covid-19 and intense industry rivalry.

  • Brunch has become popular in Australia, with many cafes and restaurants offering all-day breakfast options, thanks to the country’s coffee culture.

Source: unsplash

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7.Outdoor Catering Case Studies

“Open Streets” Program

In 2021, Sydney launched its “Open Streets” program, which allows restaurants and cafes to use designated streets and public spaces for outdoor dining. This program produced positive fruits during the COVID-19 pandemic and has successfully increased business for local restaurants and cafes. By 2022, these streets will face revamping with alfresco dining. More streets will become permanent pedestrian zones with al fresco dining to increase foot traffic and business revenue.

Sails on Lavender Bay

Another example is Sails on Lavender Bay’s outdoor dining area, a Sydney restaurant. The restaurant has a spacious outdoor area overlooking Sydney Harbour and was recently renovated to create a more comfortable and inviting space for diners. The outdoor area features a mix of seating options, including dining tables and chairs, lounge areas, bar seating, heaters and retractable awnings. The restaurant has also implemented a new menu featuring locally sourced and sustainable ingredients to meet Australian consumers’ growing demand for these options.

Source: Coets

8.Outdoor Dining Furniture

One critical aspect of outdoor dining is the furniture, which sets the ambience and determines the customer’s comfort level. Coets, a Chinese outdoor dining furniture wholesaler, provides a wide range of furniture to fit every need.

Square-shaped, single-post dining and bar tables are the most welcome outdoor furniture because they maximise space utility. Coets Erica is a perfect choice, as it is a high quality product designed to be stylish and functional simultaneously. The tables are built to last, using top-quality materials and quality that ensure durability and stability.

Wood is the primary material used for outdoor dining furniture, and Coets plastic wood is sourced from the highest quality polywood. The chairs are available from simple and functional to stylish and elegant.

According to survey findings, outdoor sofas remarkably improve customers’ staying hours, and Coets has an extensive collection of outdoor sofas to fit any decor or style.

Sun loungers are another important piece of outdoor dining furniture, as they add smart seating diversity to outdoor spaces. Coets offers a range of sun loungers that are comfortable, durable, and easy to clean.

Source: Coets

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The Australian foodservice market is a thriving industry that offers consumers a wide range of dining options. The CAGR is estimated to remain above 4% from 2022 to 2027, making it an attractive market for investors and businesses. Full-service restaurants, quick-service restaurants, and cafes and bars dominate the industry.

The trend towards outdoor dining is expected to continue, driven by the desire for fresh air, natural light, and beautiful scenery. However, lack of space remains a significant barrier to outdoor dining, and businesses and the government must find creative solutions to create their outdoor dining spaces.

Coets is an excellent choice for businesses looking for high-quality, stylish, and functional outdoor dining furniture. Their products include square-shaped, single-post dining tables and bar tables, plastic wood chairs, outdoor sofas, and sun loungers designed to be comfortable, durable, and easy to clean.

Overall, the Australian foodservice market is a vibrant industry that offers opportunities for growth and investment. However, businesses must be prepared to navigate the challenges of intense competition, changing consumer preferences, and the uncertain global economy. By understanding the market trends and investing in high-quality products like Coets’ outdoor dining furniture, businesses can position themselves for success in the Australian food service market.


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