There were 44,679 cafés and restaurants operation in Australia at the end of the financial year 2020– a significant increase of at least 3,000 new businesses from 2017 according to Statista, global leader in business data platform.

The Australian coffee culture has elevated the expectations of simply having a “coffee”. According to Tourism Australia, though Aussies generally enjoy a relaxed lifestyle, they take their coffee seriously– whether having a cup in the cafe or for take away. With more than 90 per cent of Australia’s coffee shops and cafés independently owned, it’s a guarantee that–whether you are having a flat white, ristretto, or iced coffee–the experience would be unique.

Boosting the Economy

The thriving Australian coffee culture that has been receiving global attention in recent years dates back many decades ago during the wake of World War II when Italian immigrants started to bring coffee machines to the country. Since the 1940s, Australians’ love for coffee has grown incessantly making the nation one of the largest coffee markets in the world.

In 2020, Australia exported nearly 70 million Australian dollars’ worth of coffee and coffee substitutes and the national consumption rate reached 1.96 million 60-kilogram bags. This year, Australians consumed around two kilograms of coffee per person in 2021. Based on these statistics, it comes as no surprise that the Australian coffee culture contributes more than 4.5 billion Australian dollars in gross value added to the nation’s economy and employ around 96,000 people. 

A Viable Part-Time Job Option for International Students

Working in cafes and restaurants also tops the list of international students’ part-time job options. Aside from the benefit of earning extra, most importantly, having a cafe job adds to the students’ cultural experience. We’ve talked to one former international student who had earned a postgraduate degree in hospitality and one international student currently studying to share their experiences working in cafes.

Jemelyn Chan, a master’s degree graduate in a college in Sydney, said that when she was new to Australia, working in a cafe helped her blend in the community and learn the local’s lifestyle. She had worked part-time in 2 cafe/restaurants and a hotel in Manly throughout her course. Sharing her experience, Jemelyn said:

“Australians have high coffee standards. They do like coffee and they are willing to wait just to satisfy their coffee cravings. Restaurant options in Australia re well-diversified.”

For international student Sophia working part-time in a cafe in Mosman said that among the other jobs she tried, she found her cafe job the most enjoyable. 

“I love how I am able to interact with different nationalities and exposed to another culture (aside from Australian) as I am working in an Italian shop,” Sophia shared.

She said that a lot of international students are also able to enjoy their studies while doing part-time in the hospitality industry. Detailing about how she is able to juggle school with work, she explained:

“There are no conflicts at all. It is easy in a way that before our manager gives us the roster, he always asks for our availability first. They are trying to be flexible as much as possible as they also understand our priorities.”

In May 2021, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force has implemented a temporary relaxation in working hours for student visa holders who work part-time in certain services sectors. As a temporary measure to ensure a continuous supply of services in some sectors, including the tourism and hospitality sector, international students can now work for more than 40 hours a fortnight under the following conditions:

  • maintain their course enrolment
  • ensure satisfactory course attendance, and
  • ensure satisfactory course progress.

Student visa holders who cancel their enrolment and stop attending classes, or fail to meet satisfactory course progress, may be in breach of their visa conditions.