The CGA Business Leaders’ Survey 2021, which was sponsored by Fourth and conducted in collaboration with UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping included 726 respondents.
Additionally, just over a third (37%) stated their businesses could return to profit this year without new support.
However, there were levels of optimism in the survey with about half (51%) stated they were confident about prospects for the sector over the next year – more than three times the number who felt that way in November last year (14%).
Similarly, the number of operators who felt confident about their own businesses has doubled from just over a quarter (27%) to 54%.
When it comes to growth, almost six in 10 (59%) anticipate they will open new sites this year – 11 percentage points since November. But, nearly a third (31%) anticipate keeping some venues closed for good.
CGA group CEO Phil Tate said: “This survey shows business leaders will be walking a tightrope in 2021. Nearly 12 months on from hospitality’s first compulsory closure, many thousands of venues and jobs have now been lost for good.
“But it’s also encouraging to see many businesses are optimistic about long-term prospects and confident enough to be thinking about opening rather than closing sites. It’s clear a year of significant churn lies ahead and as in all periods of crisis, there will be winners as well as losers.”
More than three quarters (81%) believe hospitality can boost the economy, making a positive contribution to post-Covid recovery while 87% think their guidelines have been effective in ensuring the safety of guests and staff after previous lockdowns.
“This is a dynamic and innovative industry that is loved by consumers across the UK but its resilience is being tested like never before,” Tate added.
“Support from the Government, investors, suppliers and landlords alike will be vital if hospitality is to play a full part in our country’s economic revival in 2021 and beyond.”
Managing director EMEA at Fourth Sebastien Sepierre described the past year as the most challenging the industry has seen in a lifetime.
He said: “Nevertheless, the figures clearly show there is cautious optimism returning to some areas of the sector, as operators look ahead to life past the pandemic.
“What’s clear, is the new landscape and operating climate of the hospitality industry will be fundamentally different to pre-pandemic, with a greater focus on driving efficiencies.
“Technology will be a pivotal tool in helping achieve this and we will be working as closely as ever with the industry and our partners to help them navigate the coming months and come back better.”