Media releases

Sydney cements status as dining destination

Published 13 December 2018

The number of hospitality businesses in the City of Sydney has jumped by around 45 per cent over the last decade, cementing the city’s status as one of the world’s great food and beverage destinations.

From 2007 to 2017, Sydney experienced a strong decade of growth across a range of hospitality businesses.

This growth was revealed by the City’s latest floor space and employment survey, which details the employment and floor space of every business in the City of Sydney area.

“The results show that the City of Sydney is the epicentre of jobs and growth in Australia. By creating a city where people come first, we've seen that jobs and new businesses also follow,” the Lord Mayor said.

“To attract high-value businesses with good paying jobs, you need to attract employees. The strength of local communities is a key attraction for people choosing where to live, work or visit.

“High quality developments close to jobs, shops and transport, efficient transport and safe and attractive ways for people to move around, childcare, stunning community facilities, beautiful parks and open spaces, quirky laneways, small bars, main streets with thriving small businesses - these are all things we've actively pursued over the last fourteen years.

“It's also important that the City is a welcoming, multicultural community where people feel included.

“Our recent results show that our hospitality industry is thriving. The number of food and drink businesses in our city has increased by 972 in the decade from 2007 to 2017.

“The number of workers and cafés also increased in the last decade, alongside restaurant seating capacity which rose by a phenomenal 50 per cent, from 55,239 in 2007 to 83,045 in 2017.

“Alongside our late night development control plan, currently on public exhibition, we are looking to diversify the activity we see in our city after dark – further boosting our night-time economy.”

The survey results also reveal:

  • an increase of two-thirds in the number of restaurants from 727 in 2007 to 1,217 in 2017
  • a significant rise of around one third of food and drink workers over the 10-year period from 2007 to 2017, despite a slight decline in the number of food and drink workers since 2012
  • the average restaurant now employs nine workers compared to 12 in 2012 and 2007
  • a 38 per cent rise in the number of cafes from 761 in 2007 to 1049 in 2017

The City’s manager of urban analytics Steve Hillier said the data suggested a greater appetite for eating out, with greater choice, number and variety of eateries.

“Restaurants and cafes are growing at a faster pace than our population and worker growth, which suggests a greater demand for eating out,” Mr Hillier said.

“The number of workers hasn’t kept pace with the growing number of establishments and that’s probably a reflection of the hospitality industry’s well documented issues attracting staff.”

Chinatown and CBD South recorded the strongest food and drink business growth over the decade, with 198 additional (42 per cent increase), followed by the CBD and Harbour growing by 171 businesses (19.5 per cent increase) and Green Square and City South with 149 additional businesses (104 per cent increase).

Hospitality workers

Type/Year 2007 2012 2017
Cafes 4,419 5,781 5,631
Restaurants 8,473 11,666 11,302
Takeaway 2,924 3,741 3,495
Other 460 1,149 481
Pubs & bars 4,177 5,304 4,431
Clubs 3,291 3,913 4,372
Totals 23,744 31,554 29,712

Hospitality business numbers

Type/Year 2007 2012 2017
Cafes 761 912 1,049
Restaurants 727 1,002 1,217
Takeaway 529 624 660
Other 22 33 85
Pubs & bars 253 310 346
Clubs 50 57 37
Totals 2,342 2,938 3,394

Floor space and employment survey data

To view the floor space and employment survey data, visit

For media inquiries or images, contact Alex Cauchi. Phone mobile 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Julia Lenton. Phone 0410 748 039 or email