UKHospitality have published their findings on the performance of the UK’s pubs, bars and restaurants in the run up to Christmas 2021 and they don’t make for very good reading.
Hospitality venues on average lost £10,355 in the week leading up to Christmas in 2021, with takings on Christmas Day down a whopping 60% when compared to 2019.
The findings, published just before New Year’s Eve, clearly highlight the difficulties that arose from the appearance of the Omicron variant, a time when restaurants and pubs reported a massive number of cancellations, and many found themselves forced to close early.
Annoyingly enough, according to the data – sales in the hospitality sector were around 98% of pre-pandemic levels in the weeks prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant.
With December typically equal to around three months’ worth of trading, the arrival of the new variant, plus advice from the government telling people to ‘work from home’ certainly didn’t help – and has pushed back recovery considerably – and still continues.
This week, as people are supposed to be heading back to work, there are thousands who are isolating after getting COVID over the Christmas break – with many hospitality venues at breaking point with staffing levels, akin to the ‘Ping-demic‘ from earlier in the year.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality said: “Hospitality businesses have been hit hard during a key trading period – and this after missing out on the crucial Christmas and New Year sales last year.”
“Restrictions must be kept to a minimum and must be lifted as quickly as possible to help an already beleaguered sector or many will simply not survive – and those who do make it through face a return to 20% VAT in April.
“In order to help the industry recover and return to growth, the Government must commit to keeping VAT at 12.5% and offering enhanced rates relief.”
Now that it’s becoming increasingly likely that we won’t be entering a lockdown, and with the number of Omicron cases hitting a plateau this week, there’s no better time to go out and support your local independent bars and restaurants.
Many of them are offering excellent January Deals – where you can dine out with up to 50% off your food – so get your bookings in, get yourself out there and help your favourite venues the best you can.