New research has revealed that two thirds of hospitality companies believe they will not survive a prolonged lockdown without further far-reaching support from government, and the vast majority believe a significant break or ‘holiday’ from rent obligations is required.
The study by KAM Media, which involved 211 hospitality companies – ranging from businesses operating pubs and bars to restaurants, cafes and street food venues – showed that 66% of businesses do not think they can survive a further three months of lockdown measures.
Commenting on the findings, Katy Moses, managing director at KAM Media, said: “So many hospitality businesses are at risk and we need help in navigating a pathway to safety. We need some fundamental interventions on rents and property, and on finance and loans, and it’s becoming clear that much of hospitality will require a much longer extension of the furlough scheme, given that businesses will not emerge fully from lockdown for some time.
“As an industry, we need to get behind campaigns such as #NationalTimeOut, spearheaded by Jonathan Downey and Hospitality Union, who are campaigning for a nine-month rent holiday, to be supported by the government.”
Referring to this #NationalTimeOut campaign, the research showed that 87% of hospitality businesses do not expect to survive without the nine-month rent holiday or some equivalent, being introduced.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “The government has moved quickly to address some of the existential challenges that hospitality faces, brought by the crisis and lockdown, and as an industry we are extremely grateful.
“However, this research underscores the scale of the challenges, which is reflected in the current mood of the industry. We need far-reaching and continued support, and unprecedented intervention of the order of the proposed nine-month #NationalTimeOut idea or an equivalent concept of similar scale, in order for hospitality jobs and businesses to endure this crisis and to be there to drive the recovery.”
The hospitality industry is also expecting a long recovery time before sale return to pre-Covid levels, the research showed. When lockdown measures are lifted, most companies (86%) said they thought consumers would eat out less, with 82% expecting consumers to drink out less, as well.
On this latter point, hospitality business owners seem to acutely aware of this: the research found that 83% of those questioned expect customer numbers to be down for at least six months after re-opening; 38% said they would expect it to take at least a year for their footfall to return to pre-lockdown levels.