Caf del Mar has announced it will begin its Australian expansion next year, moving first to Perth before heading to Melbourne in 2019.

With sights set on the Perth suburbs of Rockingham, Scarborough, Cottesloe, and Freemantle the brand is aiming to open its second Australian venue in October 2017.

“Expansion of the Caf del Mar brand is well under way,” said managing director Anthony Leenders. “It’s very important that choice of location is part of our overall strategy when opening the next venue.”

Although Perth’s dining scene has experienced a downturn over the last year, Leenders argues that Western Australia’s capital has more to offer Caf del Mar than any other Australian city. While many are touting the recession of the state’s mining boom as the reason for a declining economy, Caf del Mar’s management sees a different side to the story.

“At the time of the boom, the state was solely focused on mining. With that came a spike in rent, residential and commercial sales as well as overall food and beverage price increases, thus making it hard to look at Western Australia at that time,” Leenders told Hospitality.

“The resources boom has fallen and prices are at a 20 year low. The state government has now placed tourism and hospitality at the top of the list, with new developments already under construction, so I feel the time is right for Caf del Mar to enter the Perth market.”

Although the resources boom is waning, tourism is on the up, said Leenders, with an increase in both local and international visitors travelling to Perth via cruise ships and new airlines.

Economic concerns aside, Leenders said Perth has other qualities that are attractive to Caf del Mar, which has roots in Ibiza, Spain

“[Perth] has many similarities to the Balearic coastline. A west facing aspect that overlooks the Indian Ocean… along with a Mediterranean climate that is sunny 250 days a year.”

While Perth might be reminiscent of the Ibiza venue’s location, the new venue won’t be a carbon copy of either the original or the Sydney venue.

“Perth is different in its lifestyle and culture. We’ll use this opportunity to curate a new venue right through to design, the food and beverage offering, along with impeccable service whilst keeping the essence of Caf del Mar true to its core,” said Leenders.

“Operationally, the Perth site will feature a 200-seater restaurant, terrace bar and rooftop bar. Both venues will be managed by a team of on-site administration and operational professionals with the leadership from our head office in Sydney from executive chef, Rory Donnelly, and group operations and marketing executives, to ensure the experience is executed perfectly.”

Beyond the immediate expansion to Perth in 2017, Caf del Mar will also open its third venue in Seminyak, Bali in 2018. The 25,000 square metre site will be the brand’s largest and will act as an international flagship. There are further expansions planned for Australia too, including a Melbourne opening, as well as new venues in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore throughout 2019–2020 

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