Re-Start | England

Outdoor gastronomy opens - many pubs excluded

It could be this nice if it was warm and sunny and really everyone could offer outdoor dining: Today, April 12, outdoor dining is allowed to open in the UK.
IMAGO / Cavan Images
It could be this nice if it was warm and sunny and really everyone could offer outdoor dining: Today, April 12, outdoor dining is allowed to open in the UK.

Without any outdoor space at hands, two-thirds of pubs in the UK cannot open today, April 12. The gastronomy re-launch will initially only affect outdoor space on the island - those without will be left out. A full opening is not due until 21 June. Pubs, cafés and restaurants in Wales and Scotland are due to open outdoors by 26 April the earliest.

Two-thirds of pubs, restaurants and cafés in England lack an outdoor area to serve customers Corona-proof. Under Corona regulations, the hospitality industry will be able to open to patrons from April 12 if they can sit outside. Although, according to British media, the regulation might boost European-style café culture on the island, it excludes around two-thirds of establishments from re-launching for the time being.

More outdoor gastronomy in the countryside

Despite reports of hundreds of bars, pubs and restaurants applying for outdoor eating and drinking licences, industry body UK Hospitality warned that even those that do open could only make about a fifth of their usual turnover. Analysis seen by The Telegraph shows that 25,979 pubs have an outdoor area - 43 per cent of all premises in England. Only a quarter of high street pubs and restaurants have an outdoor area, compared with 46 per cent in suburban areas and 68 per cent in rural areas.

UK Hospitality's research found that community food pubs and food service businesses are more likely to have outdoor areas than restaurants, casual dining establishments and bars. Outdoor areas in high street pubs were "almost exclusively standing areas". Kate Nicholls, the organisation's chief executive, told the Telegraph: 'While Monday is a very welcome return for the hospitality industry as a whole, it represents the start of a very gradual return to normality and it will be a long road to recovery for many. We have to remember that fewer than two in five businesses will even be able to open on Monday - the vast majority will be closed for another five weeks with no revenue.

Restrictions minimize turnover potential

Only 22 percent of the industry's trade is likely to return, and that's weather dependent. So while it's great to get our teams back to work and welcome family and friends back to safety, it's not enough to ensure the long-term viability of businesses and jobs. That's why the Government must stick to the plan to lift restrictions on social distancing from 21 June so that our sector can survive and thrive." (The Telegraph)

According to a report by ratings agency S & P, it will take most pub operators up to three years to restore their financial profile to 2019 levels. S &P expects the opening to be met with very brisk patron demand after several months, which could provide a strong boost to business. Nevertheless, the operational outlook remained challenging in the medium term. In 'UK Pubs, Shaken an Stirred, Look To Recover After A Cocktail Of Headwinds', the report suggests that larger businesses stand a better chance of recovery. It adds that customer behaviour will continue to change post-pandemic: "We believe the managed pub model will outperform in the recovery phase, although operational performance will vary, with significant earnings volatility across regions, operators and formats.

While the financial scope for ambitious expansion or investment is severely limited, S & P said, the larger and better capitalised pub companies could benefit from competitors being forced to sell properties. In addition, the rating agency expects operators with takeaway models and pubs that appeal to families to do better than their drinks-led counterparts. "Nevertheless, we expect government policies, incentives and support to continue to play an important role in shaping the outlook for the sector," it concluded.