Coast businesses sign up for Dine and Discover

The Lucky Bee Chef, Matty Bennett, and owner, Rupert Noffs (right) Photo: HUNTERhunter

The NSW Government’s Dine & Discover program is set to start rolling out on the Central Coast in the next couple of weeks, with the second phase of the pilot program having launched with residents of the Sydney CBD, Northern Beaches Bega Valley.

The Lucky Bee restaurant at Hardys Bay is one of the over 70 other businesses that have already signed up for the voucher program.

The Lucky Bee owner, Rupert Noffs, said he signed up because it will help stimulate the economy and get people spending.

“After living and owning a restaurant in NYC for a couple of years, the difference between the Australian and American government is vast,” Noffs said.

“Small businesses had, and have, no support over there.

“The only companies surviving are fast food chains and banks.

“Watching our friends’ businesses close was so sad,

“You put your blood, sweat and tears into opening and operating your business, and it’s tough enough.”

Noffs said during COVID they, along with many others, had to think of new ways to survive and keep staff employed.

“We opened our café, named Plan Bee, and operated as a takeaway and delivery service,” he said.

“It’s sink or swim – so we will welcome anyone who has a $25 voucher to spend with us, and we thank the Federal government for their support.”

The owner of Gosford restaurant Baker Street, Chef Daniel, also signed up for the program saying the two $25 vouchers to be spent at eateries is just the beginning.

“I think it is a great way for businesses to generate some amazing experiences for customers without the customer being worried about spending the money,” Chef Daniel said.

“It is basically about raising the customer’s confidence enough to get customers to come to the restaurants, and then the restaurants can market around that voucher.

“If they think they’ve got $75 to spend and they go out, they will think ‘okay, I have $75 to come out to dinner, but I’ve got $25, so it means I’m only spending $50,

“This gives them that confidence to say, ‘you know what, I will go out because I’ve already saved $25 by doing that’.”

Director of the Australian Reptile Park, Tim Faulkner, said The Park couldn’t wait to get on board with the new Dine & Discover voucher program.

“The tourism sector has taken a hit this last year, first bushfires then COVID-19,” Faulkner said.

“This support from the government will be a great boost for not only our business but the economy as well.”

Business NSW Regional Director, Paula Martin, said businesses in the hospitality, entertainment and tourism sectors were still being encouraged to register.

“This was a popular announcement from last year’s State Budget, and it’s important Central Coast businesses in tourism, hospitality and entertainment register now to be ready to benefit from the expected lift in customers when our turn comes,” Martin said.

“There will be two distinct categories of the voucher, ensuring as many businesses as possible can benefit from the program.

“Two vouchers can be used for eating in at restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and clubs from Monday to Thursday, excluding public holidays.

“The remaining two vouchers are to be used for entertainment and recreation, including cultural institutions, live music, and arts venues and are available seven days a week, excluding public holidays.”

Jacinta Counihan