Cafe/Restaurant Managers vs Fast Food/Takeaway

Is your food business classified as a cafe or restaurant, or is it considered fast food/takeaway?

If you are thinking about or have nominated cafe and restaurant manager [141111], chef [351311] or cook [351411], you would have noticed that your occupation on consolidated sponsored occupation list (CSOL) have a few haunting asterisks beside it.

*** indicates that the occupation excludes positions in fast food or takeaway food service.”

So the food business sponsoring you cannot be a fast food or takeaway food service. Failing to differentiate between a cafe or restaurant and a fast food or takeaway food service could mean a lot of wasted effort and time, and an unsuccessful visa application.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) does not rely on a description of the business or its operating license alone to determine how a food business is categorised, but also assesses the business’s operations; how consumers are serviced, the nature of the menu and extent and complexity of cooking done on-site. The DIBP may request for (not limited to) photographs of the business (food preparation and seating, if any), floorplans, food preparation process, source for ingredients, award wage classification for staff and liquor licence to try a determine the type of the food business when processing visa applications.


Cafe/restaurant class

A restaurant is generally expected to have the followings elements:

  • Chefs prepare the food served
  • Table service
  • Seating
  • Food is eaten on the premises
  • Menu is broad and well developed
  • Pay after eating

Restaurant styles include family style, casual dining and fine dining.

Family style restaurants typically serve moderately priced food with fixed or a la carte menus, have table service and have communal tables.

Casual dining restaurants commonly serve moderately priced food, have table service or buffet-style dining.

Fine dining restaurants are full service establishments with menus that involve complex food preparation and require a high level of skill. Each customer has their orders individually prepared.

Business that fall under this category often have fully-equipped kitchens, a complete menu incorporating a broad range of ingredients that are often of higher quality (fresh, not pre-made). Food preparation is often extensive. There would likely be the capacity to cater for dietary requirements.  The menu may also change with the seasonality of produce. All this requires knowledge and skill in cooking. These businesses are eligible to nominate chef/restaurant manager, chef and cook positions.


Fast food/takeaway class

Fast food and takeaway outlets are generally expected to have these elements:

  • Operates in chains or franchises
  • Heavy advertising
  • Limited menus
  • Offers speed, convenience and familiarity to diners who may eat in the outlet or take their food away
  • Have no need for qualified chefs
  • Food preparation is standardised
  • Food is packaged (some outlets may provide cutlery)
  • No table service
  • Pay before eating

These businesses often have kitchens that are built or equipped specifically for a very standard menu with very specific cooking processes which requires a limited knowledge of cooking. In many cases, ingredients are pre-made and already proportioned before delivery to the business front. These businesses are not eligible to nominate chef/restaurant manager, chef or cook positions.

Food businesses operating in food halls and courts are considered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to fall under this class.

Some food businesses are hard to define and may sit in the middle of the cafe/restaurant or fast food/takeaway definitions. It is possible for higher end food to be offered in a casual format or in another structure that is difficult to define. Such food outlets may be found in shopping strips or within food courts. In such events, the DIBP will carefully assess the case on food preparation, the menu, if qualified cooks are required and services offered.


Chains and Franchises

A food outlet operating under a chain or franchise may not necessarily be classified as a fast food or takeaway service. There are many large business entities that operate both casual and high end food outlets. Again, each case is assessed individually for its need for the nominated position.

We have seen many cases where the format of a food business was unclear and difficult to classify. For these businesses, it goes beyond the category they fall within and becomes very much about how the nominated position is relevant and necessary to the business specifically. If you are an employer or potential employee and have questions, it would be valuable to speak to an experienced migration agent who is familiar with what the DIBP’s requirements really are.

Good luck!


Karl Konrad
Managing Director & Migration Agent, Australian Immigration Law Services


6 thoughts on “Cafe/Restaurant Managers vs Fast Food/Takeaway

  1. Hi karl,

    Im currently working in the Northern Territory. I have worked at a hotel, restaurants and coffee shop with combined experience of nearly 2 years. My longest experienced is at a cafe/take away for almost 4 years. I have a bachelors degree in hospitality management. Does it all count for skills assessment? Thank you


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