Significantly Reduced Income For Kiwi Hospitality

A new survey by the Restaurant Association has shown the dire circumstances of the hospitality industry after the change of Alert Levels this month.

The survey showed that 64 percent of all hospitality businesses across the country reported significantly reduced revenues for August compared with July, with 68 percent showing significantly reduced revenues compared to the same period in 2019.

In Auckland the losses are higher with 96 percent reporting significantly reduced revenues against the same period in 2019 and 90 percent compared with the same period in July 2020. Only two thirds of all businesses in Auckland have been able to open for takeaway.

Excluding Auckland where businesses are operating under Level 2 regulations, 46 percent are reporting significant drops on year and 43 per cent month on month compared with July 2020.

“These figures are highly distressing,’ commented Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois.

“The overwhelming feedback from members is that they are worried for the survival of their businesses. To date there has been no targeted support for the industry through the pandemic, despite us being one of the worst affected.”

The association highlighted that Hospitality operators continue to be impacted by Alert Level changes, border closures and consumer uncertainty and that they have put a range of measures to the government including rent relief, reduction in GST on food and its Dine Out To Help out subsidised dining scheme but are yet to receive anything that is bespoke to the industry.

“So many other industries have received targeted support and subsidies so we’re at a loss as to why we are being continually overlooked,” expressed Bidois.

“The government’s stance on the wage subsidy being a catch-all is frustrating to say the least and demonstrates the lack of understanding and empathy they have to the plight of hospitality business owners who through no fault of their own have been given a dire set of circumstances to operate under. We’re frankly tired of all of the excuses.

“In other countries such as the UK, the government has been far more proactive in putting together targeted relief packages. I am in touch with my counterpart at UK Hospitality, who has informed us of a number of measures that have been put in place.

“Not only have they implemented the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme which has been an enormous success but they have also introduced a worker support scheme for those who have been furloughed, got rent relief measures over the line, and introduced hospitality grants for small businesses to support business profitability. It is this kind of targeted support our sector so desperately needs as we cannot operate shop fronts and dining experiences digitally.

"The Finance Minister has told me he has instructed officials to undertake further work to ensure the support measures continue to be sustainable, adaptable and flexible for any future alert level movements. This includes potential options to assist the retail and hospitality sectors at Alert Level 2 which is encouraging. But I hope officials are consulting as 93 percent of our members do not believe the Government have a sufficient understanding of the hospitality industry in order to make effective decisions.”

The Restaurant Association is calling on the government to consider a range of targeted initiatives to support the industry including the subsidised dining scheme ‘Dine Out To Eat Out’, GST cuts on food and government support on commercial lease agreements.