‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Wasn’t The Success Some Believed
The ‘eat out to help out’ scheme, although heralded at the time as a way of getting people back into hospitality, wasn’t as successful as many main stream media commentators wanted to portray. Speaking to small business owners and landlords at the time, it was a success for boosting trade between Monday and Wednesday, however they struggled to maintain sales, and safe staffing levels on the historically busier days of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s. Many landlords struggling to maintain social distancing measures at weekends because of staffing budgets because profitable food sales had been moved to earlier in the week and at half price. People didn’t go out more, they just changed the day for a family or friends meal.
“Hospitality and leisure brands with disciplined leadership will thrive in a post-COVID landscape.”
Jonathan Goldstein, Cain’s chief executive, said at the time: “We firmly believe that strong hospitality and leisure brands with disciplined leadership will thrive in a post-COVID landscape.
“Prezzo has a clear vision for how to best serve its customers and communities and I am confident that the combination of Cain’s operational and financial expertise, the exceptional management team led by Karen, and the commitment of Prezzo’s entire workforce will enable the business to realise its full potential.”
Uncertainty about a reopening date for hospitality businesses and the treatment of rent arrears by commercial landlords have combined to force more restaurant operators into urgent talks with creditors.
The Unprecedented Year
Last year saw an unprecedented number of prominent chains, including the owners of Ask Italian, Pizza Express, Leon and Wahaca, resorting to insolvency processes.
Most of the chain’s employees have been furloughed for much of the last year under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Again a mirror image of smaller businesses, but time is running out. Since the start of December 2020, hospitality has already missed out on financially life saving events, such as Christmas Parties, Christmas itself and New Years Eve with Valentines Day, Mothers Day and Easter all set to be a wipe out.
Live Music, Charity Dinners and Nightclubs have all been badly effected. There is a shining light…somewhere…for hospitality, but I fear that unless someone starts to shout louder for the small business owner, they could well be a ‘hidden’ casualty of the pandemic, whilst the big chains get all the headlines.