Restaurant business pandemic: some have closed, others are just learning to adapt to new conditions

News
Restaurant business pandemic: some have closed, others are just learning to adapt to new conditions
Restaurant business pandemic: some have closed, others are just learning to adapt to new conditions
23 September 2021, 11:01Economy
Restaurants and cafes are going through a difficult period during a pandemic. Many were unable to adapt to the new conditions and were forced to close down. At the same time, new names and signs suddenly appeared in the restaurant business and catering. Novye Izvestia tried to look into the future of city restaurants.

Irina Mishina

After the closure of several Coffeemania restaurants, it became clear that hard times had come even for large chains. Looking at the statistics, we expected to see a general decline in the number of restaurants, but suddenly the opposite was true.

In just a year - from July 2020 to July 2021 - 1,644 catering establishments (cafes, restaurants, bars, etc.) were closed or changed format in Moscow. At the same time, 2,033 new points were opened (including new establishments of network formats). As a result, the number of establishments increased by 389! Such data was provided by Geoservice 2GIS.

At the same time, revenues from restaurateurs fell by an average of 1.5-2 times, expenses for meeting sanitary requirements increased, according to the Colliers consulting company. As a result, the share of vacant commercial premises in the center of Moscow increased from 8% to 14.5%. Most vacant premises in Moscow are found on Myasnitskaya Street, Petrovka, Kuznetsky Most, Tverskaya, 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya and Bolshaya Nikitskaya. But at the same time, the total number of restaurants and cafes did not decrease! What happened to restaurants during the pandemic?

About 40% of Russian cafes and restaurants changed owners in 2020 due to economic difficulties caused by the pandemic. This was officially announced by the President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia Igor Bukharov.

“About 40% of our colleagues have lost their business. It seems that the restaurants are all working, people just had to: they paid off the enterprises for debts, left, took co-owners, bought out from someone. That is, the point itself stands, but it no longer belongs to this person, he lost his business. The premises were not closed, but new owners came. Today, a lot of enterprises are in the same situation”, - explained Igor Bukharov.

According to the President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia, first of all, difficulties affected those owners who rent premises and work in large cities. “Big cities suffer because the purchasing power of the population has fallen, consumer behavior has changed. There are not so many restaurants in small towns, there is no competition to that extent... In this sense, the market will be cleaned up - those who have chosen the wrong concept, location and so on will leave”, - added Igor Bukharov.

Moscow restaurants withstood the first blow in the fall-winter of 2020-2021. As you know, since November 13, due to another outbreak of coronavirus infection, cafes, restaurants, as well as entertainment establishments - nightclubs, bars, discos and karaoke - have been banned from receiving visitors after 23 hours . Catering establishments could work around the clock only for take-out. Restaurants also did not work on New Year's Eve, and no more than 50 people could attend corporate parties that were held strictly at the permitted time. And this despite the fact that December makes, as a rule, the lion's share of the annual revenue of restaurants. In addition, in December, the mayor's decree was in force, according to which companies had to send at least 30% of employees to remote work. The ban on night work of bars, restaurants, clubs, discos and karaoke was lifted by the Moscow authorities only on January 27.

According to RBC, the number of visits to restaurants and cafes in December 2020 decreased by 26% compared to December 2019, and consumer spending in public catering fell by 18%. The experts saw the reasons not only in administrative restrictions on the time of work, but also in the general deterioration of the epidemiological situation: people began to assess the risks of infection in public places against the background of the spread of infection in Russia.

In the spring, the industry seemingly began to recover from the blow. But in June 2021, new restrictive measures broke out. Then, we will remind, in addition to restrictions on the work of restaurants and nightclubs from 23.00 to 6.00, it was forbidden to visit those who do not have QR codes.

“Restaurateurs have certainly gone through hard times. Falling incomes of the population led to a decrease in visitors. Plus restrictions. Moreover, there were accumulated debts on rent and suppliers. But I want to say that restrictive rules did not hit the catering and restaurant business so hard. Firstly, in June they were short, only 2 and a half weeks, plus the Moscow government at different times paid subsidies and compensations to restaurateurs. The last payment reached 1 million rubles. In addition, there were subsidies, for example, for utilities. But the rent in Moscow is very high and it is constantly growing. For those who closed, as a rule, 2 negative factors played a role: large areas did not pay off due to a decrease in the number of visitors, it was unprofitable to maintain a large room with high rents. This is how many restaurants and cafes of the Shokoladnitsa, Grabli, and some Chaikhona restaurants closed. In these conditions, either large players survived, or those who began to pursue a flexible pricing policy, change the format", - said Sergey Mironov, Vice President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia, owner of the Meat & Fish chain, to Novye Izvestia.

Today, the average rental rates on Moscow restaurant streets vary from 70 to 160 thousand rubles per sq. M. meter per year. The most expensive locations are Kuznetsky Most, Nikolskaya Street and the Patriarch's Ponds area. One way or another, in the first half of 2021, the share of vacant premises in restaurant locations increased. And these areas were not empty for almost a single day, the demand for them remained high, no lower than before the pandemic.

“Those who could not cope, sold either areas for a new restaurant, or their own brand. They were quickly bought out for relatively little money. Why not try your luck? Well, and then it was necessary to correctly turn on economic levers: to pursue a pricing policy flexibly, possibly to curtail part of production, to make the product cheaper and consumer-oriented. As a result, new brands and new names began to appear in the restaurant business and catering”, - said restaurateur Sergey Mironov.

Major players have also opened new projects during this period. For example, restaurateur Alexey Vasilchuk opened the Hot Dog Bulldog sausage chain with showman Garik Kharlamov, new White Rabbit Family restaurants appeared. In other words, the pandemic has become the time of enterprising and flexible restaurateurs.

No one can predict what the future holds for the industry. Experts agree that a new wave of the pandemic could be a big blow to the restaurant business. But in the case of government support, catering has a chance to survive.

From the editor. It is worth noting that the problems of the restaurant business are reflected in the quality of food and service. In many previously excellent establishments, food has become significantly worse, and the range is much more modest. The flaws of the hastily hired staff are also visible, which serves clients on the principle of "as it is necessary", and not "as it should be". At the same time, prices have increased significantly everywhere, and the trip to a restaurant or cafe itself turns into a lottery with an unknown result.

“About 40% of our colleagues have lost their business. It seems that the restaurants are all working, people just had to: they paid off the enterprises for debts, left, took co-owners, bought out from someone. That is, the point itself stands, but it no longer belongs to this person, he lost his business. The premises were not closed, but new owners came. Today, a lot of enterprises are in the same situation, ”explained Igor Bukharov.

Found a typo in the text? Select it and press ctrl + enter