64% of operators not optimistic about Eat Out scheme

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Operator survey:  57% of BII members said they had signed up to the scheme but a higher amount said they felt it would not encourage more pub visits
Operator survey: 57% of BII members said they had signed up to the scheme but a higher amount said they felt it would not encourage more pub visits

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Some six in 10 reopened pub businesses are currently not making a profit, according to a survey of British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) members.

This was out of the 89% of its membership which have reopened and even with staff wages subsidised by the Government’s furlough scheme and grant support through the closure period.

Despite a large number (57%) registering for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, 64% said that the scheme would not encourage people to come to the pub more.

The scheme launches today (Monday 3 August) and means that diners can purchase discounted meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the rest of the month, with the Government covering the cost for venues.

Some 43% of BII members also said food was less than 20% of their turnover and half of that number said they did not serve food at all. This means the VAT cut and the discount meal schemes will have very little impact on their profitability, the organisation said.

BII chief executive, Steven Alton said the findings were evidence that further financial support was needed for inn operators to protect jobs and ensure long-term recovery.

Social value

Alton added: “The results of this, our most recent survey, clearly demonstrate the ongoing requirement for additional support for our great British pubs, to ensure that they can remain at the heart of their communities, providing not only local employment and tax revenue, but also friendship, support and immeasurable social value to their customers.”

When asked what measures were needed from the Government to help the sector, 76% of operators surveyed said they would like to see Business Rate Relief extended to April 2022 and 66% said they would require a long term reform of the business rates system.

Just over seven in ten (71%) said they would need VAT reduction for a whole year while 63% said further grant support would be needed. Just under half (46%) said they would like to see Government support on rent.

Members reported they had experienced difficulties with requiring more staff on shift at a given time in order to enforce social distancing and other Covid-secure measures. 

Only 23% said they were certain that they would bring back all of their staff from furlough without making any redundancies while 15% said they had already had to lay staff off.

What’s more, 60% said they would have to make redundancies at some point over the next three months if trade continues as it is.

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