Phat Burgers co-owner Richard May-Steers says Sunday trading is no longer economically viable.
Phat Burgers co-owner Richard May-Steers says Sunday trading is no longer economically viable. Nev Madsen

Phat Burgers cuts Sundays after revelation of $50,000 cost

THE owners of Toowoomba restaurant Phat Burgers have stopped Sunday trading after realising it cost them $50,000 last year.

Across-the-board cost increases have been attributed to the decision, with co-owners Alan Wynn and Richard May-Steers warning more businesses could follow suit.

"Everyone that comes into Phats on a Sunday always comments how good it is that we are open, but unfortunately we can't sustain it anymore," Mr Wynn said.

"This decision has come off the back of increasing staff wages and food costs."

Mr May-Steers said changes in weekend penalty rates would be the only way a business like Phat Burgers could carry on Sunday trading.

"Unless the working week becomes a 40-hour week and then workers are paid overtime, it's just not viable," he said.

"At the moment we have to pay Saturday and Sunday rates.

"A lot of businesses have already folded around us - Oxygen Cafe had to stop trading on weekends but couldn't afford to stay open.

"Unless the government does something about the rising costs of everything, a lot of businesses will follow suit if they haven't already.

"We were hoping to get it sorted out and increase our hours, but we can't afford to drop $1000 every Sunday we open."

Would you like to see more Sunday trading in Toowoomba?

This poll ended on 09 February 2014.

Current Results

Yes

43%

No

56%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Greg Johnson said the decision seemed a natural reaction to Toowoomba's shopping and dining habits.

"The majority of shops here close at 5pm on weekdays and at 1pm on Saturdays," he said.

"That just seems to be the preference of consumers.

"It is quintessential of regional Australia - it's just how communities such as this operate and if Phat Burgers decided it was in their best interests, they have done the right thing."

Mr Johnson believed more customers would support businesses with later closing hours than Sunday trading.

"Our big ambition is to see the city using evenings a lot more for retail and hospitality trading," he said.

"We want to encourage families to explore the beauty of our streets well past 5pm, like they do in Europe."

Phat Burgers will remain open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm.



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