More than 41,000 pubs, bars and restaurants have some kind of outdoor space which could allow them to reopen on April 12, according to new figures.
The latest monthly Market Recovery Monitor by CGA and AlixPartners has revealed that 38.2% of licensed premises in the UK say they have space to allow them to trade.
Firms have said they will plan to utilise gardens, terraces, car parks and other areas where they can potentially seat guests to reopen when outdoor hospitality is given the go-ahead in the next phase of the Prime Minister’s road map.
However, the proportion of operators able to operate outside fluctuates significantly depending on their specific area of the hospitality market.
More than 80% of community pubs have said they have appropriate outdoor space to reopen.
However, only 11.9% of casual dining restaurants have such space, meaning further pain for many chains which have been hit hard in the past 12 months.
The report also said that a significant number of sites with outdoor space will still be unlikely to trade from mid-April because of limitations to their space and the cost of equipping or staffing them being unprofitable.
It highlighted that punters in the south-west of England will be best placed come April 12, with 51.1% of premises in the area having outdoor space.
Meanwhile, only 33.1% of operators in London have outdoor space they can use and only 22.9% of venues in Scotland – which will see sites reopen from April 26 – have outdoors areas.
Karl Chessell, business unit director for hospitality operators and food at CGA, said: “With huge pent-up demand for hospitality and consumers’ confidence rising, outside trading could give sales a useful kickstart – but there are a lot of variables at play.
“Pubs with beer gardens will be popular if the sun shines, but some restaurants may find it harder to recoup the costs of reopening, especially if the April weather isn’t favourable.
“Well over half of licensed premises have no space at all in which to trade, though they could yet reopen in April if local authorities take a proactive approach and open up street space to serve on.”
Graeme Smith, AlixPartners’ managing director, said: “We’ve seen a spate of operators announce plans to reopen for outdoor service on April 12, and while it’s unlikely to be profitable for the majority to do so, businesses will do all they can to maximise their usable space.
“For those that do reopen, managing cashflow will now be of critical importance as work with supply chains begins again, and relationships with suppliers, landlords and other stakeholders will be tested.”
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