One prominent Cottesloe restaurateur, who asked to remain anonymous, said the past four months had been “completely flat out” with bookings full for lunch and dinner almost daily.
“People who would usually be spending their spare money on holidays and going away and the like can’t at the moment, and the entire industry in the western suburbs are getting swamped with people eating out,” he said.
“And normally these people might spend $30 on a bottle of wine with dinner. Well now they’re looking at $50-60 options.”
The turnaround from limited to full-scale service and trend of spending more would likely increase as summer approached and border closures meant far-flung holidays stayed out of reach for discretionary spenders.
“For people who have money, there’s nothing else for them to really spend it on right now,” the restaurateur said.
The cash was also being splashed in regional tourist towns as WA holidaymakers headed in droves to hotspots like Broome and Margaret River for new experiences while other entertainment options like concerts and events remained off-limits.
In the South West, winery restaurants and breweries were full throughout winter, not just during school holidays as was usually the case, while accommodation options were also being snapped up.
A Pullman Bunker Bay spokeswoman said the luxury Eagle Bay resort’s 150 villas were booked out most weekends throughout winter.
“It’s been hectic for quite a few months now, even during the week we are at 60-70 per cent capacity,” she said.
Lunch services were roaring at iconic wineries like Vasse Felix and Amelia Park, while Metricup brewpub BeerFarm recently advertised for another brewer, packaging assistant and chef while production jumped 94 per cent compared to this time last year.
“We’ve been fully bookedevery day since re-opening, and on weekends we have busloads of people coming through, it’s been incredible,” the brewpub’s Jacinta Rets said.
At the other end of the state, accommodation was hard to find in family holiday towns like Kalbarri and Exmouth, while popular resorts in the jewel of WA’s north – Broome – were booked months in advance.
“We are not even allowed to put prospective guests down on waiting lists any more there are that many people on there,” a spokesperson from the Oaks resort said.
Good times were also flowing at suburban Perth liquor retailers such as Grand Cru, which has outlets in Mt Lawley and Nedlands.
Managing director Vince Salpietro said sales had gone through the roof since April and customers were spending more than normal on their usual purchases.
“Instead of buying their favourite bottle of wine, they are prepared to spend an extra $15-20 and try the next tier up,” Mr Salpietro said.
“We’ve noticed a massive increase in our online sales too.”
Wembley wholesale liquor outlet Liquor Traders Australia also reported increased sales on floor stock from its expansive range while home delivery sales had also risen sharply.
David writes about sports and lifestyle for WAtoday.