In this day and age food has a massive role in the economic market, especially with chain restaurants and large franchises. However, in saying this, they do put a strain on local business who are struggling to compete with such well-known names. However, the presence of franchises in Darwin aren’t so common – except for now.
In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a huge increase of franchises opening up in Darwin, noticeably in Casuarina Square at the new dining precinct: The Quarter. Going down the list we’ve got big names such as Grill’d, Max Brenner, PappaRich, Mad Mex (now closed), Nutrition Station, Groove Train, and the one that’s literally taking over Darwin, ChaTime. I excluded the other restaurants (like Nandos) because of their existing presence in Darwin.
Many people view this as a great thing as they finally have access to such popular chain restaurants, but for some, they see it as a bad thing, especially for local business owners and those who prefer Darwin to be the quiet place it use to be.
However, here’s the the issue and the main reason for this blog post. This slow and progressive introduction of franchises can lead to a takeover of the food industry in Darwin, as the population is already small, having more popular and large chain restaurants will just create higher levels of competition and ultimately the closure of local businesses.
A great example would be Gateway shopping centre. The opening of that shopping centre alone has already decimated Palmerston Shopping Centre, with a lot of local business shutting their stores. Without Target, that place is basically a no-go zone. Not to mention, when the dining precinct at Gateway opens it’ll probably end the remaining few restaurants around the area. Would we see another food giant? Most probably, and why – money.
Business is all about money – and we can’t deny that, otherwise no one would start one. Darwin is an untapped mine for franchises, especially since it’s lacking a lot in the food department. We’ve got too many of one thing, but not enough of another. For example, Laksa. You can’t go anywhere in Darwin without having Laksa on the menu, but something like a burger (good ones at least)? Not a chance. That’s where Grill’d comes in; burgers all day.
But of course, it’s not all a bad thing – I was excited for a few franchises that opened up. Franchises can fill a gap that’s missing, such as the burger example above. But what happens when every giant chain comes to Darwin? Well, it could be a thing we need to encourage other restaurants to pick up their game and make better food, or it can lead to a slow decline on local restaurants/businesses.
All in all, food franchises are capitalizing their opportunities in Darwin and the way I see it, it’s going to continue and at a rapid pace. And whether you like it or not, you can’t deny that you wish a certain chain restaurant would open up in Darwin. For me, i’d wish Jimmy Grants would open up in Darwin – you should try it when you’re down south! Heaven.
*Side note* – this also applies to giant franchises such as Myers & Dan Murphy, where many argue and speculate the reason for it’s failure to open was the destruction it’ll have on local businesses.
**side side note** – this is the opinion of the blog author alone, and no one else.