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Nine in 10 businesses pessimistic about the future of hospitality

Daily News Post || Food:

1st October, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Just 9% of business leaders in the out-of-home sector are confident about the prospects of the UK hospitality industry over the next 12 months according to a new survey.

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Just 9% of operators are optimistic about the future of hospitality

The Business Confidence Survey from insight firm CGA found that the number of businesses optimistic about the coming 12 months has plummeted since the start of the year, when 60% of business leaders polled said they had a positive outlook for 2020.

In operators of multi-site businesses, sentiments were also below pre-pandemic levels. According to CGA, 37% of multi-site operators polled said they feel confident about the next 12 months, however 83% of businesses poled in the February edition of the Business Confidence Survey said they were confident about the coming year.

Two thirds of leaders said their trading had been above expectations since they reopened, with only 18% reporting worse than expected sales. However, nine in 10 leaders think fragile consumer confidence will have a negative impact on the market, and 79% of those polled were concerned about a squeeze on disposable incomes.

According to CGA, optimism levels across the industry have been affected by new measures on group sizes, curfews and table service since the survey was conducted. The CGA Business Confidence Survey was carried out in the first three weeks of September and collected responses from 124 leaders.

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CGA research and insight director, Charlie Mitchell, said: “The last six months have been the most challenging that the out-of-home eating and drinking sector has ever known, and the government’s latest restrictions mean conditions are likely to remain very tough for the rest of 2020. The Eat Out to Help scheme has been a springboard to recovery for some multi-site groups, and the green shoots of confidence among leaders are very welcome, but it is clear that many independents face a battle for survival.

“In the face of so many headwinds, the fresh backing that was announced this week on jobs, loans and VAT is welcome, though whether it goes far enough remains to be seen. This is a resilient and adaptable sector, but it deserves extended support from government if it is to sustain businesses and protect jobs in the coming months.”

Last week, it was reported that almost a quarter of hospitality firms in the UK believe their businesses will collapse by the end of 2020 without further government support.

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