Restaurants are taking measures to preserve their businesses through the coronavirus downturn, including temporary closures, launching delivery and takeaway services, and encouraging people to buy vouchers to redeem later.
Data captured by Wireless Social saw hospitality businesses in cities across the UK report a decline in footfall between 20% and 59% on Saturday. OpenTable data shows a year-on-year fall in number of diners across the country of up to 29% over the last week.
Gary Usher’s Elite Bistros restaurants across the north-west are closing for two and a half days a week and reducing menus to minimise workload and reduce costs.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Usher said: “We feel that this will alleviate pressure on all of the teams, but also on the business as well.”
Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella, meanwhile, has temporarily closed her deli in London’s Mayfair due to the downturn in trade.
In an Instagram post, Mills said: “It’s been a very tough week, and making decisions like this is the worst part of running a business, but we’ve seen a substantial drop in trade in a very short period of time due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, and it's impossible for us to keep operating in this climate.”
James Ramsden, co-founder of Pidgin in London’s Hackney and King’s Cross sandwich shop Sons + Daughters, posted on Twitter over the weekend that he had taken himself ‘off payroll’.
“I’d rather take the first hit than one of the team,” he said.
My Neighbours the Dumplings, which has two London sites in Clapton and Victoria Park Village, is setting up a takeaway and delivery service, which it hopes to have up and running ‘within the next couple of days’.
Despite this, entrepreneur and Gail’s Bakery chair Luke Johnson said on Twitter that he predicted an "avalanche" of redundancies and layoffs in the coming weeks in hospitality.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government ‘hadn’t ruled out’ closing businesses such as pubs, bars and restaurants, speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday. “We will do what is necessary,” he said.