More New Zealanders eating out has meant record sales and growth in the hospitality industry, but experts say thousands more workers are needed to meet demand.
Breaking into the hospitality industry is tough and no one knows that more than Ben Farrant who has opened a restaurant in Wellington this year.
“You don't really like to see yourself as competing with other restaurants because essentially word of mouth is strong here and we all share the same customers,” he says.
This year's Restaurant Association report says on average seven new hospitality businesses are opening their doors daily but six are shutting down for good.
Mike Egan of the Restaurant Association says 80 per cent of restaurants do well but 20 per cent don’t.
"They fall off and another 20 come on with an exciting cuisine and fitout and customers come along. So that makes the industry really vibrant. We're not stale, we're not boring,” he says.
There's also a shortage of skilled workers and it's estimated the industry will need another 55,000 to meet demand over the next five years.
"The living wage is something we aspire to and we need to do it quite frankly to attract talent. The talent can go offshore and get paid pretty good money, so we have to make sure our businesses are successful,” says Mr Egan.
Ben Farrant says staffing is difficult.
"You've got to take the good staff when they come. And you've got to be patient, work with training and building a strong team,” he says.