Restaurant Breakdown 2013 – Hobart, Tasmania

With the impending opening of Hobart’s newest burger outlet, The Standard, I’ve noticed a few negative comments from numerous sources suggesting that there is an over saturation of this particular cuisine on Hobart’s streets.

I’m not sure if it’s come through in any of my blog posts or not, but I’m quite partial to a good burger. So as a burger fanatic I am clearly biased and would categorically state that too many burgers is never enough!

However, as much as I would like it to be otherwise, there are obviously some differing opinions out there. Spurious allegations even!!

As an engineer, it’s my considered position that numbers and logic trump will trump emotions and opinions at all times, so I thought I’d take it upon myself to do a little research and try and work out what the real story is.

Is there a disproportionately high number of restaurants or cafes out there specialising in burgers? Or is it simply a perception fueled by the obvious rise in popularity of this particular cuisine over the last few years?

From the outset I have to be honest and state that my research technique is pretty rudimentary, but I do believe the data set is extensive enough to give a reasonable answer to the questions above.

So how did I do it?

Quite simple really, I checked a few of my favourite restaurant review websites to see which one presented their reviews in a format that was conducive to a simple copy/paste into Excel!

In the end I went with Urbanspoon, for its neatly tabulated list of restaurants and none of the frills that so often come with such a popular website.

The total number of restaurants/cafes came in at over 250, and again, while I’m sure that there are a few brumbies in there (due to closures or duplications), in the main it seems to be a reasonably accurate listing. It was difficult categorising some of the eateries, as many offer a wide variety of cuisines, rather than a single specialty. For example, the ‘Asian’ category’ is well represented, whereas specialist Asian cuisines (eg. Vietnamese) are not.

It may also be the case that a restaurant may have recently opened and hasn’t yet been reviewed on Urbanspoon. I’ve checked the burger category and I’m confident that one is correct (I’ve excluded HJs and Maccas because in my opinion they’re a totally different beast), but some of the other categories may be missing an entry or two for this reason.

So, here are the results…

Rank Cuisine Total %
1 Café 62 23%
2 Modern Australian 28 11%
3 Italian 20 8%
4 Pub 20 8%
5 Indian 17 6%
6 Asian 11 4%
7 Chinese 11 4%
8 Seafood 11 4%
9 Grill 10 4%
10 Thai 10 4%
11 Japanese 8 3%
12 Burger 7 3%
13 Bakery 7 3%
14 Tapas 5 2%
15 Dumpling 4 2%
16 Fast Food 4 2%
17 French 3 1%
18 Greek 3 1%
19 Mexican 3 1%
20 American 3 1%
21 Bubble Tea 2 1%
22 Korean 2 1%
23 Noodles 2 1%
24 Sandwiches 2 1%
25 Turkish 2 1%
26 Vietnamese 2 1%
27 Cambodian 1 <1%
28 Coffee 1 <1%
29 Dessert 1 <1%
30 Nepalese 1 <1%
31 Singaporean 1 <1%
32 Spanish 1 <1%

Makes for some interesting reading doesn’t it?!

‘Cafe’ (which included coffee shops) and ‘Modern Australian’ were to be expected I guess, given the predominance of these types of restaurant where patrons are offered a variety of dishes with numerous culinary influences, not to mention our obsession for coffee!

Then you start getting into some of the more specific types of cuisines, with Italian (including pizza places), Indian (which I expected to be a little higher), Asian/Chinese, Seafood, Grills and Thai making up the Top 10.

Japanese (including sushi cafes) was a little higher than I expected, but there has also been a mini growth spurt in this cuisine (Miyabi, Rin, Nabe Hashi, Midori) of recent times that perhaps hasn’t been quite as publicised as that for burgers.

And then finally we have ‘Burgers’ (including ‘The Standard’ which hasn’t even opened yet) coming in in equal 12th position out of 32.


Surely that doesn’t suggest an over abundance? Recent additions to the burger scene in the last 12 months include Tasman Quartermasters, The Burger Haus and The Standard, yet prior to their emergence we only had Jack Greene, Burger Got Soul and Devil’s Kitchen.

If anything, shouldn’t we be having a grumble about the prevalence of Indian, Italian, Asian/Chinese or even <gasp> Grills?!! Together these make up more than a quarter of all restaurants in Hobart! Throw in ‘Pubs’ and it rises to over one third!!

Personally, I’d love to see some more Mexican and Korean options in town, and perhaps even a gourmet Hot Dog option, but unfortunately I can’t see that happening any time soon.

So in conclusion, it’s my statistically supported opinion that the perceived plethora of burger houses is just that, a perception. The reality is that other cuisines are represented in much higher numbers, and it could even be argued that another few burger joints wouldn’t go astray! <drool…>

Have I got it all wrong? I’d love to know what you think!

I’ve got myself all hungry now…time for a visit to the fridge…

I obviously haven’t presented all the data here, so I’m happy to answer any specific questions. Just leave a comment below and I’ll see what I can do 🙂