Being awarded a chef’s hat from the Good Food Guide can make a $1 million difference to a restaurant’s bottom line, according to research conducted by online restaurant booking service Dimmi.
However, awards have a much greater influence in Sydney than in Melbourne, according to the research – with a restaurant in Victoria potentially generating up to $200,000 in additional revenue for claiming a hat, compared to up $1 million for a restaurant in New South Wales.
Chief executive of Dimmi, Stevan Premutico, told SmartCompany awards clearly have a significant material impact on a business’s earnings.
“People in Australia seek validation and reassurance with our dining system,” he says. “Places like Good Food Guide or Urban Spoon give us the reassurance we need.”
John Hart, chief executive of Restaurant & Catering Industry Association, agrees, telling SmartCompany all awards have a positive effect in promoting the hospitality industry.
But he says the extent to which those awards mean additional custom depends on the business.
“At the top end you probably have businesses for whom winning an award isn’t bringing in that increase in trade because they’re already at capacity,” Hart says.
“It’s the ones coming into the cycle that generate the best benefit. That’s where you start to see businesses emerging into the market with a great amount of strength – awards that recognise the new entrants are really important.”
Hart also points out that awards don’t just offer a financial benefit. For example, with the Restaurant & Catering Industry Association’s own awards each judged restaurant receives a report that gives them a ranking based on food, service, ambience and value for money. That way they can see how their restaurant is performing in comparison to other businesses in each of those key areas.
“It’s about having the insight to be able to improve their business as much as it is the direct financial impact of winning an award,” he says.
One small business that knows all about reaping the benefits of awards is Sydney’s Cow and Moon, which took out this year’s Gelato World Tour Title for the world’s best gelato.
Owner Wendy Crowl – who runs the business with her husband John – says they decided long ago to market their business based on quality produce instead of ‘buy one get one free’ tactics.
“We wanted to be seen to be doing something really well and producing a really good quality product,” Crowl told SmartCompany.
“A lot of the things we do take time – like poaching strawberries and caramelising nuts. We’re not finding a shortcut for doing that and never will because that’s what we’re all about.”
Crowl says the business had been going strong for a while thanks to winning a number awards within Australia. But things really took off after getting international recognition.
“The concept of an Australian getting that award is what is behind the queues,” she says.
Before winning the Gelato World Tour Title, Crowl says someone would do a day shift producing gelato and on top of that they would get someone to come in two or three times a week to do a night shift.
“Now we’re working from 4am to midnight producing gelato,” she says.
“There’s only four hours of the day when we’re not producing any.”