Signs of Improvement For Kiwi Hospitality Come With a Warning Against Future High Alert Levels

A new survey by the Restaurant Association shows that there are signs of improvement in the hospitality industry.

The survey has shown that 79 percent of hospitality businesses outside of Auckland are reporting improved revenues for September compared with August, with 21 percent showing reduced revenues compared to the same period in 2019.

In Auckland, the losses are higher with 80 percent reporting significantly reduced revenues against the same period in 2019 and 29 percent compared with the same period in August 2020.

“Whilst we’re relieved to see that there has been some improvement, we continue to be concerned about the situation in Auckland,” noted Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois.

“There are still a large percentage of businesses trading at significantly reduced revenues and there is only so long they will be able to carry these losses. We’ve already seen more than 80 business closures just among our own membership and we fear that this number will continue to rise, particularly in Auckland.”

Bidois went on to explain that moving between alert levels hit the industry hard, just as it was starting to get back on its feet. Any future return to a higher alert level could be the final nail in the coffin for a number of businesses. One of the biggest issues is the operational guidelines imposed at each level which are no longer fit for purpose.

“In the event of future changes to alert level, there are a number of initiatives that our industry would welcome in order to do away with rules such as single server and restriction on counter service that would help the industry to minimise costs and maximise revenues,” said Bidois.

“Hospitality operators continue to be impacted by alert level changes, border closures and consumer uncertainty. We have put a range of measures to the government including rent relief, reduction in GST on food and our Dine Out To Help out subsidised dining scheme but we are yet to receive anything that is bespoke to our industry.

Bidois pointed out that other industries have received targeted support and subsidies and the Association is at a loss as to why it is being continually overlooked.

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