Melbourne diners follow the money

The City of Melbourne’s pandemic stimulus meal voucher scheme has lured suburbanites again into CBD eateries in substantial numbers, throwing a lifeline to the town centre’s struggling hospitality sector.

Data for the $100 million Melbourne Midweek Money scheme – designed to assist get the town buzzing once more between Mondays and Thursdays – reveals essentially the most subsidised meals for non-locals went to residents of Werribee, 32 kilometres to the west of the CBD, who made almost 1240 claims.

Brandan Katich, head chef at Nomad restaurant, says the dining scheme helped “super charge” weeknights during the COVID-19 recovery period.

Brandan Katich, head chef at Nomad restaurant, says the eating scheme helped “super charge” weeknights throughout the COVID-19 restoration interval.Credit:Joe Armao

Diners from Glen Waverley, Sunshine and Box Hill additionally proved keen to trek into the town, lured by a 25 per cent low cost at their restaurant, cafe or pub. They spent a median of $155 every on their meals, $40 greater than the locals, throughout the second section of the stimulus scheme, which ran from early March to mid-April.

The council believes that greater than half of the 850,000 individuals who had low cost meals went on to spend $200 or extra on buying or leisure whereas they have been within the metropolis, and that the scheme helped improve pedestrian numbers in key night-time economic system spots resembling Southbank, Chinatown and Lygon Street by as much as 42 per cent from January to March.

The metropolis’s hospitality sector badly wanted a lift after the lengthy lockdowns and do business from home durations of 2020 and 2021, with buying and selling circumstances for cafes solely again to about 40 per cent of pre-COVID ranges in February this yr, in keeping with ANZ financial institution.

At Nomad restaurant on Flinders Lane, head chef Brendan Katich says the voucher scheme, collectively funded by the council and state authorities, helped “supercharge” weeknights throughout the restoration interval.

“I would say it definitely would have added to our trade by at least … 30 or 40 per cent, there was just so many more bums on seats, especially in that time when Melbourne was coming back,” Katich stated.

“That was just like a supercharged six to eight weeks when [the scheme] just really motivated people to get out there and then they spent really well, I think, more so than they would have otherwise.”

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