Hospitality operators remain “deeply pessimistic” about market prospects and the future of their own businesses, according to the latest CGA Business Confidence Survey.
Its latest findings found that 32% of senior executives anticipate the need to permanently close their pub, bar or restaurant sites.
According to the latest poll, only 36% of bosses believed they would eventually reopen all sites for trading, with a further 33% yet to decide on closures.
Almost all respondents expected to see a “much-reduced” market in the future, with between 70% and 80% of sites across pubs, bars, restaurants, late-night venues and hotels continuing to trade.
The CGA added that most businesses in the eating and drinking-out market are now “actively engaged” in planning for post-lockdown operations, despite the majority of bosses expecting to reopen in June or July with a phased approach.
Some 81% of operators have initiated recovery planning, though 13% said they were “still waiting for more information before starting”. A further 5% did “not currently have the capacity to plan”.
According to the CGA, the majority of businesses will be starting recovery from scratch, as only 27% of those surveyed had any sites open, either for delivery (8%), grocery and food supply to the public (4%) or for NHS or community support (14%).
Meanwhile, 96% of bosses expect a phased reopening for hospitality, with half believing that will be based on a number of criteria including sector, location and type of site. Only 4% expect a mass reopening.
Some 62% are planning for a phased reopening of their own estates, though 31% expect a full-scale reopening of their operations, dependent on government guidance going forward.
Two-thirds of bosses believe it will take them less than two weeks to get their sites ready to trade post-lockdown, while 22% anticipate a two to four week preparation period.
Karl Chessell, director of Food & Retail at CGA, said: “This is undoubtedly the most important business leaders’ survey we’ve delivered in a decade.
“At this critical juncture, how hospitality leaders plan for the recovery will be critical to the long-term success of their businesses.”
James England, senior vice president at Fourth, said: “Operators are increasingly focusing their thoughts on reactivation.
“While it’s not yet clear when the lockdown will be lifted, it is apparent that the market will have a fundamentally different outlook when it reopens.”