Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

New Covid clampdowns wreck hospitality recovery

Published:  05 October, 2020

The introduction of new government restrictions to tackle the Covid-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on the nascent recovery in the UK’s hospitality industry, acording to the latest survey from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Like-for-like sales for the last week of September were down 22.8% on 2019, with drink-led pubs down 28.6%, as the impact of local lockdowns, the 10pm curfew, the ‘rule of six’, and other service limitations have hit the sector.

Total sales across the sector were down 27.7% year-on-year.

The new restrictions appear to have undone much of the good done for the hospitality trade by the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August.

Total sales across the industry were 8.2% down on the previous week, with drinks-led pubs, which have been particularly hit by the new table-only service rule, down 15.3%.

Bar businesses, which are down 47.6% compared with last year, reported a 13.8% fall in week-on-week sales.

Businesses which include food in their offer have fared less badly.

Pub restaurants and food-led pubs saw like-for-like sales drop 19.3%, with week-on-week trade down 11%, while restaurant groups, which have been slower to reopen, saw week-on-week sales tick up 1.9%. Restaurant groups are still down 14.3% down on the same week last year, however.

Only 71% of group-owned restaurants have re-opened since the lockdown, against 96% of drink-led pubs and 97% of pub restaurants.

Across the sector as a whole, some 88% of sites have reopened.

“Rising consumer confidence and government support gave managed groups a major lift in August, but the curfew and other restrictions are a severe setback to progress, and these numbers highlight the difficulties facing groups this autumn,” said Karl Chessell, director for food and retail at CGA, which produces the tracker, in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM.

“Restaurants have been slower to return since lockdown than pubs, and many sites will not reopen at all. But their week-on-week sales growth suggests they might be better placed to sustain sales through the period of curfew than drink-led businesses, especially if they can encourage people to eat out earlier in the day.”

Confidence among business leaders in the on-trade is at rock-bottom, with just 9% expressing positivity about the sector.

The Coffer Peach Tracker analyses data from 57 restaurant and pub groups across the UK covering both large and small operations.