Around two in five licensed premises nationally have some kind of space to trade from when the market reopens for outside trading on Monday 12th April. But the figure rises to over half of premises in more rural South West England.
According to a report from the Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners, around 41,100 premises in Britain – 38.2% of all sites – have a garden, terrace or other areas to potentially seat guests.
The scope for outside trading is better in the South West, where just over half (51.1%) of sites have outdoor space. Whereas in London, the number is below a third (33.1%).
Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “With huge pent-up demand for hospitality and consumers’ confidence rising, outside trading could give sales a useful kickstart—but there are a lot of variables at play.
“Pubs with beer gardens will be popular if the sun shines, but some restaurants may find it harder to recoup the costs of reopening, especially if the April weather isn’t favourable. Well over half of licensed premises have no space at all in which to trade, though they could yet reopen in April if local authorities take a proactive approach and open up street space to serve on.”
The March edition of the report reflects on the damage caused to the hospitality industry by the Covid-19 pandemic, a year on from the first national lockdown. It shows the independent sector has been particularly badly affected with a net decline of more than 5,000 sites although the managed sector recorded less than a quarter of that, reflecting larger groups’ greater resilience to the crisis.
Graeme Smith, AlixPartners’ managing director, said: “We’ve seen a spate of operators announce plans to reopen for outdoor service on 12 April, and while it’s unlikely to be profitable for the majority to do so, businesses will do all they can to maximise their usable space. For those that do reopen, managing cashflow will now be of critical importance as work with supply chains begins again, and relationships with suppliers, landlords and other stakeholders will be tested.
“There is potential to drive stronger and more efficient operations on the other side of the pandemic, but the many in the sector will be weighed down by debt for some time to come and will spend the next year and beyond rebuilding their balance sheets and clearing their arrears. The overhang of rent liabilities also remains largely unresolved which means that, in spite of the clear pent-up consumer demand that exists, the hospitality sector is far from out of the woods.”
A copy of the report can be downloaded here.