Hospitality Resets As COVID Crisis Takes Its Toll

 Almost 50% of hospitality operators expect to have the majority of the outlets open by September according to inside from CGA. 49% of operators anticipate having over 80% of the sites open, with 20% expecting to reopen between 61% and 80% of their estate at the same time.

The research also revealed that Britain’s hospitality market, which has been brought to a juddering halt by the COVID-19 crisis, will “tentatively begin to reboot” from July 4.

However, what shape that process will take now that the Government has given the green light, health conditions permitting, is still unclear.

The vast majority (96%) of business leaders in the pub, bar and restaurant industry are expecting a phased reopening for hospitality, although only a third (36%) believe they will eventually re-open all of their sites for trading.

According to CGA’s Business Confidence survey of senior executives and entrepreneurs in the eating and drinking-out market, another third (32%) are already anticipating the need to permanently close sites, with the same proportion yet to decide

on closures.

The poll, conducted at the end of April 2020, revealed that the vast majority (81%) of operators are already planning for recovery, with most considering a range of different scenarios, but almost all expect to see a much-reduced market in the future.

In the last year, the report adds independently owned operations have borne the brunt of closures, while group-owned and operated pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels have grown in numbers, backed by corporate investment.

Numerically, the independent sector remains the largest segment of the market, with 74,271 sites, almost two-thirds of the total, however in the last year, numbers of independent food-led businesses, including restaurants and food pubs, fell 2.6%; drink-led sites, including pubs and bars, were down 1.5%; and accommodation-led venues numbers dropped 8.8%. In addition, the leased pub segment declined 5.5% over 12 months.

“We are likely to see a cautious return to the sector, were likely to see footfall down and were likely to see sales down” said Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA.

“There are going to be ongoing challenges even though it is very exciting that we have an open date to work to. Lots of operators are looking at new ways of working and have been very transparent about that, and that consumer communication will be very important” he added.