Over 30,000 pubs and restaurants “may not reopen after lockdown” | Business

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More than 30,000 pubs, bars and restaurants could remain permanently closed because the closure of the coronavirus sent a ball of demolition through the British hotel sector.

The grim prediction follows a week in which the Casual Dining Group, owner of the restaurant chains Bella Italia and Café Rouge, warned that it was headed for administration – casting doubt on the future of its 250 restaurants.

The period of forced closure could be the last straw for some economic operators who were going through a difficult period before the start of the crisis. Approximately 2,800 bars and restaurants closed during the 12 months before the foreclosure began.

The 2.4% drop from the year to the end of March was recorded by the CGA AlixPartners market recovery monitor, who now expects the decline to worsen once the hotel sector reopens in early July.

A third of companies surveyed for the report said they expected to have to close sites permanently, although the magnitude of the closings ranged from less than 10% to 30%.

Graeme Smith, CEO of AlixPartners, said, “Many operators have taken out their measuring tapes to assess the impact of social distancing restrictions on operations and capacity. Even with a well-configured space, the number of covers will be significantly reduced and could raise new questions as to whether it makes sense to reopen or not, from a profit perspective. “

Many pub operators have asked that the 2-meter distance requirements be relaxed, arguing that they cannot be profitable at that distance and therefore will not reopen. The British Beer and Pub Association has stated that the 2 meter rule means that only one in five pubs can restart, while a distance of 1 meter would allow most to reopen.

Two-thirds of the UK’s 115,108 licensed sites are independent, the rest belonging to groups. The monitor’s figures highlight the particular vulnerability of casual restaurants. With many of them located in shopping malls and near office buildings, analysts believe their trade may take longer to bounce back.

A number of casual dining chains have already been forced to undergo dramatic cuts after an investor-fueled expansion boom that ended in tears. Jamie’s Italian almost disappeared last year, while the bailout deal negotiated for the Italian restaurant chain Carluccio is expected to save only 30 of its 77 outlets.

The report suggested that local pubs and restaurants that also fell out of favor – with a number of community pubs down 3.7% in the same period – could emerge from the crisis, as consumers say the the public prefers to return to local establishments before returning. in city centers.

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