SA Lockdown: Restaurant industry feels the pain

The easing of lockdown regulations is providing little comfort to the restaurant industry. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - The easing of lockdown regulations is providing little comfort to the restaurant industry.

The sector will remain under heavy operating restrictions, with only deliveries being permitted.

About 1.5-million people will be returning to work next Friday but, very few of them will be from the estimated 800, 000 restaurant workers.

“Restaurants and similar places will be open for delivery only,” said Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel.

“Customer not come to the shop, but the food goes to the customer.”

READ: Restaurants to open for food delivery only

It will only be at level two of the lockdown that restaurants will be permitted to serve takeaways and it's only at level one that patrons will be allowed to dine-in again. The sector needs to rethink the way it does business if it's to survive.

“As restaurants we run on very thin margins and as an industry we were hit the hardest,” said Wendy Jacobs from the Restaurant Association of SA.

“So we’re sitting in complex situations where we need to rewrite the financial framework of a restaurant to move forward, post-COVID-19.

“A lot of the restaurant groups have taken the consensus to completely close until all restrictions are lifted. They feel it’s their responsible contribution as well as a way of financially managing the situation.”

READ: SA to re-open agriculture sector, allow more manufacturing, retail

Jacobs says she is mostly concerned about independent restaurants which don’t have the cash reserves to weather the storm. She says they’ve struggled to get support from the UIF.

Business owners are turning to their banks, suppliers and landlords for relief but still, very few can survive on delivery orders only and there is no indication when South Africa will reach level one.


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