81% of operators start recovery planning

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Operator opinion: business leaders revealed their thoughts amid the coronavirus pandemic
Operator opinion: business leaders revealed their thoughts amid the coronavirus pandemic

Related tags coronavirus

Eight in 10 operators have begun planning for recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, new research has found.

The latest CGA Business Confidence Survey, which includes data from more than 120 senior executives across hospitality, was conducted with technology specialist Fourth, during the week commencing 20 April.

Two fifths (40%) of business leaders cited rent payments and landlord agreements as the greatest challenge faced currently, with a quarter (27%) seeing them as a “major challenge”, new research has found.

Some 17% of respondents said loans were the biggest worry and 37% called them a major issue with banking relations, investor support and furlough payments down the list.

Debt moratorium

Some 89% of operators now support some form of debt moratorium, with an initial nine-month period, backed by 39% and a 23% preferring a 12-month option.

When it comes to rents, 28% were looking for a rent-free period and extended lease, 26% wanted a deferral and a further 20% expect part-payment in negotiation with landlords.

Almost three quarters (70%) said the best next measure the Government could introduce was nine months rent-free to December, ahead of universal business interruption insurance (chosen by 17%), or removal of the £51,000 rateable value threshold for grants (13%).

The research also found 27% of businesses had sites open either for delivery (8%), grocery and food supply (4%), or for NHS or community support (14%). Some 83% of businesses have furloughed 90% of staff and 96% more than 70%.

The majority (76%) of those with furloughed staff are not topping up wages with 18% doing so, excluding tronc.

Further Government help

Extending the furlough scheme by three months was backed by 36% and a sector-by-sector extension dependent on opening was supported by a third (33%).

Half (50%) showed support for furloughing in three-month blocks with 40% choosing a month-by-month approach.

The survey also found market optimism had plummeted from a four-year high in February from two thirds (60%) of leaders were positive about future prospects to just 5% now and 89% pessimistic.

However, bosses’ confidence in their own firms was slightly higher with 15% being optimistic, marking a fall from 83% in February and 31% in March. Now, 69% are pessimistic about their own company’s future.

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