Coronavirus

Debt moratorium top demand for hospitality, says CGA

Confidence is at rock bottom among the bosses of Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants, with securing a moratorium on debt payments now their main business objective, new research from CGA shows.

According to the latest CGA Business Confidence Survey confirms, with cashflow concerns “topping their agendas”, rent has become the number one specific issue.

Although immediate survival is the top priority, the market research firm said many operators are “tentatively developing” recovery plans, but with predictions of a return to “vastly different and contracted market” to pre-Covid times.

The poll of over 120 senior executives and entrepreneurs from across the eating and drinking-out market was conducted by CGA, in association with hospitality technology specialist Fourth, during the week beginning 20 April.

It found that market optimism had plummeted from a four-year high in February, when 60% of bosses were positive about future prospects to just 5% now, with 89% pessimistic.

Rent payments and landlord agreements were picked out by 40% of business leaders as the “greatest challenge” faced currently, with a further 27% seeing them as a “major challenge”.

Overall, 89% of operators now support some form of debt moratorium, with an initial nine-month period the most popular option, backed by 39%, with another 23% preferring a year-long option.

A statement by CGA read: “However, there were differences in the rent outcomes bosses were preparing for. While 28% were looking for a rent-free period and extended lease, 26% were looking to a deferral, with another 20% expecting part payment in negotiation with landlords.

“But when asked the question of what would be the best next measure the Government could introduce to support their business, 70% went for a nine-month rent-free period to December, ahead of universal business interruption insurance (favoured by 17%) or removal of the £51,000 rateable value threshold for grants (13%).”

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