Pubs and restaurant sales slumped to 50% down on last summer

Pubs and restaurant sales slumped to 50% down on last summer

August 13, 2020

Pubs and restaurant sales slumped to 50% down on last summer in July after venues reopened for the first time since lockdown

  • UK bars and restaurants had a disastrous July with sales plummeting by half
  • Sales in London were down 58 per cent and 48 per cent outside the M25
  • A total of 76 per cent of venues open in February had reopened by July 
  • However, August’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme saw sales double  

UK pub, restaurant and bar chains have said that sales halved in July compared with last summer after reopening for the first time after lockdown.

Sales in July were 50.4 per cent lower year-on-year, according to data from the latest monthly Coffer Peach Business Tracker of hospitality firms.

Bars saw sales tumble by 63.3 per cent for the month, while restaurant sales dived by 59.8 per cent.

Bars saw sales tumble by 63.3 per cent for the month, while restaurant sales dived by 59.8 per cent, according to a survey of 7,500 sites across the UK

However, Rishi Suank’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme has seen sales double on days the scheme is in operation 

Pubs were more resilient, with sales falling by 44.7 per cent, according to the tracker, which collates figures from 49 group-owned or managed companies that run more than 7,500 sites across the UK.

‘The figures are a reflection of the fact that reopening of sites has been gradual, and not all by any means are back in business, plus those that are open are in general trading at well below normal levels,’ said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the survey, with The Coffer Group and RSM.

‘They also paint a mixed picture, with pubs in general opening up more strongly than restaurants, and London, which was hit earliest, still struggling to gain traction.’

It revealed that trading in London was down by 58.3 per cent in July across venues, while trading outside the M25 was down by 48.5 per cent.

The tracker also revealed that 76 per cent of sites which had been open in February were open again in July.

It said that a large proportion of pubs quickly reopened after the lockdown, with 94 per cent of pubs welcoming customers again, while 62 per cent of bars also reopened.

However, restaurants were far more cautious to reopen, with only 36 per cent of sites covered by the survey reopening in July.

Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: ‘Despite the fanfare over the July 4 reopening date for hospitality, in reality trade is recovering slowly.

Under Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s scheme, bars and restaurants can offer up to £10 off a meal per person between Monday and Wednesday during August

‘The restaurant sector, already under severe pressure pre-Covid, has been decimated by the lockdown.

‘The pub sector has proven to be more resilient as expected and is now bouncing back strongly in many areas.

‘The August numbers will be helped by more people returning to work, Eat Out to Help Out, and also habits starting to return to usual and so we will see a marked increase in certain areas.’

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, said: ‘Business interruption support from Government has been critical in saving the UK eating and drinking out sector.

‘Nevertheless, July’s results lay bare the challenges that remain for operators.

‘The return of consumer confidence is essential but this could take months.’

Food sales in British pubs and restaurants rose by nearly a third in the week that followed the launch of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out subsidy scheme, data consultancy firm CGA said on Thursday.

Food sales were up by between 95 per cent and 106 per cent on the first three days of the scheme which launched on Monday, August 3, compared with the same days during the previous week.

Sales over the next four days, when the discounts did not apply, fell but left the week-on-week increase at 31 per cent, CGA said.

The government’s scheme offers 50 per cent off the bill for eat-in food and drink – up to £10 per person and excluding alcohol – on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.

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