"Survival in the cracks"? The survival status of Chinese restaurants in Australia
- Australia's "True and False Chinese Food"
- Well-known Australian Chinese restaurants have closed down in recent years
- Where is the way to run a Chinese restaurant in Australia?
The old saying goes, "The people take food as the sky."
Since the mid-nineteenth century, the first group of Chinese indentured laborers came to Australia across the ocean, and they also came with food from China. During the gold rush of the 19s, the number of Chinese immigrants in Australia peaked. At the same time, many immigrants also started to operate Chinese restaurants in Australia, providing Chinese food to Chinese and Australian workers.
Historian Barbara Nichol mentioned, “In 1890, one third of Australia’s chefs were Chinese.”
It is well known that since the introduction of the "White Australia Policy" in 1901, the behavior of Chinese immigrants to Australia has temporarily stalled. But what is not known is that Chinese chefs are not included in this policy. After the end of World War II, the Australian government resumed encouraging immigrants to come to Australia to improve economic development. In 1972, Edward Gough Whitlam officially recognized the People’s Republic of China on behalf of Australia a few weeks after taking office as prime minister.
"Father of China-Australia Diplomatic Relations" Whitlam (Source: FT中文网)
In addition to these increasingly large groups of Chinese, the enthusiasm of other people in Australia for Chinese food is also increasing, making Australian Chinese restaurants spring up like mushrooms.
This hollow triangular-shaped shortbread is found in Chinese restaurants in Australia, and every guest can get it for free after the meal. The biscuits contained paper strips, some with English translations of Confucius' famous sayings written on them, some were chicken soup for the soul, and some humorous sayings that made people smile after reading.
But when these Australians can finally travel to China one day, they may be disappointed: there is no such thing as "fortune cookies" in Chinese restaurants in China.
There is also a popular dish in Australian Chinese restaurants called "Sung Choi Bao" (Lettuce Bao).
This dish is generally served as a starter on the menu. It is fried with meat stuffing and a little vegetable, and a few lettuce leaves are placed. The stuffing needs to be wrapped with lettuce before eating. Ashamed, as an authentic Chinese, I had to ask an Australian friend to teach it the first time I ate this dish.
According to Netease News, in 2003, Deng Fuxia, the host of the British BBC TV station, went to Hunan, China for half a year, and collected local Chinese restaurant menus. However, no one in the locality has heard of the famous "Chinese dishes" overseas, let alone in Served in the restaurant.
There are also many Australian Chinese restaurants that "experience a wide range", with cuisines all over the country. Although it sounds unbelievable, you can almost taste dishes from various Asian countries in one shop: Japanese sushi, Korean barbecue, Indian curry, Vietnamese rice noodles, and even Singaporean fried rice...
Source: Wordpress / Mabel Kwong
Even though there are so many restaurants under the banner of "Chinese food", there are actually many authentic Chinese restaurants in many areas where Chinese Australians gather (such as Chinatown, Burwood, Hurstville, etc.) in Sydney.
In recent years, as the pace of life of Australians has accelerated, "Chinese fast food" with greasy frying, high sugar and salt has also become ubiquitous. For example, one of the best-selling Chinese dishes in the Food Court of various shopping malls is "Sweet Sour Pork".
The prominence of these "Chinese fast food" in Australia may be attributed to the commercialization of Chinese food in Australian food courts. In the food court, customers can get Chinese food at very favorable prices without almost waiting. For businesses, fried and pre-processed foods are undoubtedly easier to obtain and easy to prepare.
In recent years, many well-known Australian Chinese restaurants have closed down, and some restaurants have entered the liquidation takeover process.
Tim Ho Wan (Source: Good Food)
In June 2018, catering giant and Michelin-starred restaurant Tim Ho Wan decided to withdraw from Sydney.
In 2009, Tim Ho Wan was established. In just a few years, it has grown into an international brand with more than 45 overseas restaurants, and expanded to Sydney in 2015, and became a Sydney "net red" restaurant for a while, and the limelight is boundless.
In July 2018, Waitan Restaurant, a high-end restaurant in Sydney's Chinatown, declared bankruptcy five years after opening, and appointed a liquidator to deal with debts of A$7 million, including A$5 million owed to the Tax Bureau and the NSW Government Revenue Office.
Bund Restaurant (Source: Domain)
It is reported that before the opening of the restaurant, the restaurant had invested 1000 million Australian dollars in renovation and hired celebrity chef John Rankin to take charge. The Bund Seafood is mainly aimed at high-end consumers, and you can enjoy membership for 1 Australian dollars, such as VIP rooms, parking and other exclusive services.
Affected by China's anti-corruption campaign, the entire high-end catering industry was greatly affected. The Bund restaurant was no exception, and business began to plummet. At the beginning of 2017, all other directors of the Bund Group resigned, and 59-year-old Meng Kai became the sole director. Then in 2018, the company entered liquidation.
In November 2018, King's Seafood, one of Sydney's most popular Chinese restaurants, suddenly closed down after the death of one of its founding partners. On November 11, the auction held at the Eastwood Pafford restaurant in the northwest of Sydney attracted many people.
Baifu Restaurant (Source: Real Commercial)
According to the sales agent and real estate company Savills Metropolitan Sales Deputy Director of Metropolitan and Regional Sales Nick Tuxworth (Nick Tuxworth) confirmed that the price of the Pafford restaurant after passing the auction is currently 850 million Australian dollars.
Why has it become increasingly difficult for Chinese restaurants to operate in Australia in recent years?
This is inseparable from the increasingly expensive rent and labor costs required to operate restaurants, the tightening consumer demand under the financial crisis, and consumers' increasingly critical health awareness.
The author has consulted some Chinese restaurant transfer information published on the Australian Chinese community website, and listed a few of them:
- Located in China Town, Sydney, free of transfer fees, weekly turnover is 1.5 Australian dollars and rent is 1800 Australian dollars per week;
- Located in the Carlton area of Melbourne, there is no transfer fee, weekly turnover is 1.2 Australian dollars, and the rent is 1572 Australian dollars per week;
- Located on the Gold Coast, the transfer fee is AUD 13, the annual turnover is AUD 22, and the rent is AUD 3.7 per year.
In addition to expensive rent that is difficult to affordThere are also scandals of concealing tax returns and illegally exploiting employees in some Chinese restaurants in order to reduce costs.
According to a report by The Australian in December 2017, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) conducted raids on “Cash-only” restaurants, barber shops and beauty salons in communities across the country and revealed This huge gray economic market worth 12 million Australian dollars.
The main areas covered by the tax review include Cabramatta and Chinatown in Sydney, Glen Waverley in Melbourne, Sunnybank in Brisbane, Glenelg in Adelaide and the CBD in Perth. Among them, in the 159 visits to Sydney’s Chinatown, the Inland Revenue Department revealed a total of A$1830 million in misreported transactions and recovered A$400 million in taxes and fines.
根据澳大利亚劳工维权网站Fair Work网站上 2017年2月的报道，墨尔本一家亚洲餐厅因在不到9个月的时间内“严重剥削”一位来自台湾的员工、拖欠工资超过3万澳元，而受到了10万澳元的处罚。
The operator of the restaurant admitted that he had paid the employee with an hourly salary of 10 to 11 Australian dollars.
Even now, on many Chinese community websites, there are still many Chinese restaurants posting recruitment information that is far lower than the Australian legal hourly wage (A$18.93/hour). Not to mention the extra salary for overtime on weekends (Penalty Rate), as well as work injury insurance (Work Cover), and pension (Superannuation).
In addition to the above-mentioned chaos in tax filing and personnel management,The hygiene of the restaurant environment and the health of food are also problems that many Australian Chinese restaurants need to solve.
In recent years, Australian consumers' concerns and worries about their own weight health problems have naturally reflected their food and restaurant choices.
According to the Australian newspaper, the "Road to Early Death" research model published by the George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney points out that Australians who are overweight at a young age may live 10 years less than their normal-weight peers at a young age.
For those Australians who are obsessed with Australian traditional meat pie (Meat pie), pizza, Chinese fast food and other high-oil, high-sugar and rich sauces, they finally have to make a choice for their own health.
Reference source: Comprehensive reports from The Australian, ABS, Wordpress/Mabel Kwong, The Sydney Morning Herald, NetEase News, Australian Chinese Net, Australia Today, etc.