8655.0 - Cafes and Restaurants, Australia, 2003-04  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/07/2005   
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1 This publication presents results from a survey of cafes and restaurants for the reference year 2003-04. This is the fifth time the ABS has conducted this survey. Previous statistics were released for 1998-99, 1991-92, 1986-87 and 1979-80.


2 The scope of the 2003-04 Cafes and Restaurants Survey was all employing and significant non-employing businesses on the ABS Business Register, classified to Australian and New Zealand Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) class 5730 - Cafes and Restaurants. For the purposes of this survey significant non-employing businesses were defined as non-employing businesses with turnover in 2003-04 of $3.4m or more. Non-employing businesses were excluded from previous surveys.

3 The scope included Australian businesses that generated income predominantly from the provision of meals for consumption on the premises. This included cafe, restaurant and catering service operation and contract chefs/cooks. Businesses mainly engaged in takeaway food retailing were excluded from this survey.


4 The ABS uses an economic statistics model on the ABS Business Register to describe the characteristics of businesses, and the structural relationships between related businesses. The units model is also used to break groups of related businesses into relatively homogeneous components that can provide data to the ABS.

5 In mid-2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System, the ABS changed its economic statistics units model. The new units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations. The vast majority of businesses are in what is called the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Maintained Population, while the remaining businesses are in the ABS Maintained Population. Together, these two sub-populations make up the ABS Business Register population.

ATO Maintained Population

6 Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), and are then included on the ATO Australian Business Register. Most of these businesses have simple structures; therefore the unit registered for an ABN will satisfy ABS statistical requirements. For these businesses, the ABS has aligned its statistical units structure with the ABN unit. The businesses with simple structures constitute the ATO Maintained Population, and the ABN unit has been used as the economic statistics unit for all economic collections.

ABS Maintained Population

7 For the population of businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical requirements, the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with the business. These businesses constitute the ABS Maintained Population. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The new statistical units model described below has been introduced to cover such businesses:

  • Enterprise Group: This is a unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991), including legal entities such as companies, trusts, and partnerships. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.
  • Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising (i) a single legal entity or business entity, or (ii) more than one legal entity or business entity within the same Enterprise Group and in the same institutional subsector (i.e. they are all classified to a single Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia subsector).
  • Type of Activity Unit (TAU): The TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an Enterprise Group that can report production and employment data for similar activities. When a minimum set of data items are available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision.

8 For more information on the impacts of the introduction of the new economic statistics units model, refer to Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0).

Comparison Over Time

9 Prior to the 2003-04 cycle, the Cafes and Restaurants Survey used the management unit as the statistical unit. The statistical unit in the 2003-04 Cafes and Restaurants Survey was the ABN unit for businesses with simple structures, and the TAU for businesses with complex structures. In most cases, ABN/TAU units concord with the management units used in previous cycles.


10 The frame used for the Cafes and Restaurants Survey, like most ABS economic surveys, was taken from the ABS Business Register. The ABS Business Register is updated monthly to take account of new businesses and businesses which have ceased employing.


11 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABS Business Register, and the omission of some businesses from the register. The majority of businesses affected, and to which the adjustments apply, are small in size.

12 Adjustments have been made to include new businesses in the estimates in the periods in which they commenced operations, rather than when they were processed to the ABS Business Register. Adjustments of this type will continue to be applied in future periods.

13 For more information on these adjustments, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1357.0).

14 A list of catering businesses supplied by the Restaurant and Catering Association was used to improve the coverage of catering businesses for the 2003-04 survey.


15 Annual industry data for cafes and restaurants is also published in Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0). There are important differences between the statistics published in the Australian Industry and Cafes and Restaurants publications and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between the two sets of estimates.

16 The Australian Industry publication presents annual summary statistics at the ANZSIC class level. It shows the relative performance of each industry class, and allows patterns of change or growth to be analysed across particular segments of the Australian economy. The industry estimates presented in Australian Industry are used in the compilation of the National Accounts, and in the derivation of economy-wide indicators such as GDP.

17 The Cafes and Restaurants publication supplements the annual industry summary statistics with a detailed examination of the structure and performance of businesses involved in cafe and restaurant operation for the reference year of the survey.

18 One reason the two sets of estimates vary relates to the use of different industry coding practices. For the Australian Industry publication, businesses are coded to ANZSIC industry classes on the basis of the activity reported to the ATO when they registered for an ABN, or for more complex businesses, on the basis of information reported directly to the ABS (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 5-7). On the other hand, Cafes and Restaurants presents estimates for ANZSIC class 5730 based on detailed financial data reported in the survey.

19 Other differences in results relate to scope and coverage variations between the two surveys. All non-employing businesses were included in the scope of Australian Industry, however only significant non-employers were in scope of Cafes and Restaurants (see paragraphs 2-3 of the Explanatory Notes).

20 Monthly industry data for cafes and restaurants are also published in Retail Trade, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0). The Retail Trade publication presents monthly estimates of the value of turnover of businesses classified by industry. The principal objective of the series is to show the month to month movement of turnover. The industry estimates presented in Retail Trade are used in the compilation of the National Accounts, and in the derivation of economy-wide indicators such as GDP. Differences also exist between the estimates published in Retail Trade and Cafes and Restaurants, and the reasons for these include varied:

  • industry coding practices. Retail Trade includes data from businesses with significant retail activity outside of ANZSIC class 5730, whereas this is not the case for Cafes and Restaurants
  • treatment of non-employing businesses. Significant non-employing businesses are included in Cafes and Restaurants, but excluded from Retail Trade
  • treatment of GST. Retail Trade estimates are inclusive of GST, but Cafes and Restaurants estimates are exclusive of GST.


21 While comparisons are made between 2003-04 survey results and the 1998-99 iteration of the Cafes and Restaurants Survey, the reader should bear in mind that the survey was not designed to support accurate estimates of change, and should exercise caution when comparing 2003-04 results to the 1998-99 results. The inclusion of significant non-employing businesses is estimated to have contributed an additional 1% to business counts and 0.3% to financial estimates.


22 When interpreting the results of a survey it is important to take into account factors that may affect the reliability of estimates. Such factors can be classified as either sampling or non-sampling error.

23 The estimates are based on information obtained from a randomly selected stratified sample of cafe and restaurant services businesses in the Australian business population. Consequently, the estimates in this publication are subject to sampling variability, that is, they may differ from the figures that would have been obtained if all units had been included in the survey (that is if a census was conducted). One measure of the likely difference is given by the standard error (SE), which indicates the extent to which an estimate might have varied by chance because only a sample of units was included.

24 There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if a census was conducted and approximately 19 chances in 20 that the difference will be less than two SEs.

25 Sampling variability can also be measured by the relative standard error (RSE), which is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. The RSE is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the sampling error in percentage terms, and this avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate. The following table contains estimates of RSEs for a selection of the statistics presented in this publication.


Cafes and restaurants
Catering and other

Businesses at end June
Employment at end June
Takings from meals consumed on the premises
Takings from takeaway food
Takings from catering services
Sale of liquor and other beverages
Government funding
Labour costs
Rent, leasing and hiring
Operating profit before tax
Operating profit margin
Industry value added
Businesses with access to the Internet at end June
Businesses with a web presence at end June
Available seating
. .

. . not applicable

26 As an example of the above, an estimate of total income for cafe and restaurant services was $10,129.6m and the RSE was estimated to be 3.3%, giving a SE of approximately $334.3m. Therefore, there would be two chances in three that, if all units had been included in the survey, a figure in the range of $9,795.3m to $10,463.9m would have been obtained, and 19 chances in 20 (i.e. a confidence interval of 95%) that the figure would have been within the range of $9,461m to $10,798.2m.

27 The sampling variability for estimates at the state/territory level was higher than for Australian level aggregates. Within states/territories, the sampling variability, and therefore the RSEs of estimates for smaller states/territories are higher than for larger states. Survey estimates for the smaller states/territories should therefore be viewed with more caution than those for other states.

28 Estimates that have an estimated relative standard error between 10% and 25% are annotated with the symbol '^' . These estimates should be used with caution as they are subject to sampling variability too high for some purposes. Estimates with an RSE between 25% and 50% are annotated with the symbol '*', indicating that the estimate should be used with caution as it is subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes. Estimates with an RSE greater than 50% are annotated with the symbol '**' indicating that the sampling variability causes the estimates to be considered too unreliable for general use.

29 Errors other than those due to sampling may occur in any type of collection and are referred to as non-sampling error. For this survey, non-sampling error may result from such things as deficiencies in the register of businesses from which the sample was drawn, non-response, imperfections in reporting and/or errors made in compiling results. The extent to which non-sampling error affects the results of the survey is not precisely quantifiable. Every effort was made to minimise non-sampling error by careful design and testing of the questionnaire, efficient operating procedures and systems and the use of appropriate methodology. Survey estimates subject to a high level of non-sampling error have been suppressed or provided with relevant cautions.


30 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the components and the total. Similar discrepancies may occur between a proportion or ratio, and the ratio of the separate components.


31 Data contained in the tables in this publication related to cafe and restaurant services businesses in Australia during the year ended June 2004. Financial estimates included the activity of any business that ceased or commenced operations during the year. Counts of businesses and locations included only those that were operating at 30 June 2004. Employment included only those persons working for cafe and restaurant services businesses during the last pay period ending in June 2004.


32 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


33 Inquiries about these statistics and more detailed statistics than those presented in this publication should be made by telephoning the contact shown on the front page.