Load-shedding, curfews, TERS delays and lack of funds threaten restaurant business

10 September 2020 - 12:55

It never rains but pours for those in the restaurant business. So suggests CEO of the Restaurant Association Wendy Alberts.

Speaking to Tim Modise on his show, Political Currency with Tim Modise, on Business Day TV, Alberts revealed how the odds are stacked against restaurant and bar owners at this time.

Alberts said the recent load-shedding by Eskom, government curfews on operations and travel for patrons, and the restriction on the number of people who were allowed to be accommodated in restaurants and bars was making it difficult for the business to revive itself after 26 weeks of lockdown.

While the association was still collecting data, Alberts said so far, “about 30% of restaurants have closed permanently”.

Those who were open for business were trading at a level of about 70% while many restaurants had brought back only 50% of their staff.

Without the rebuilding of the industry, government, banks, land landlords, suppliers, the department of employment & labour and TERS payouts, many restaurants would struggle to resume operations even after the lockdown.

Alberts explained that many banks were no longer willing to give loans to restaurants as the debts of restaurant owners continued to pile up.

Besides owing suppliers and having to cut staff, Alberts said many restaurant businesses that had survived the lockdown had done so because of understanding landlords.

“I would say 60%-70% of our industry is trading by the grace of the landlord. The future is determined by the landlord,” Alberts said.