Event catering companies have been one of the hardest hit parts of the UK hospitality sector, yet they have ‘slipped through the cracks regarding government support’, according to Hattie Mauleverer, founder and CEO of a London-based event catering company Top Hat Catering.
“Our summer has been decimated. A slow return with social distancing measures in place will mean zero to few events being booked for the foreseeable future,” she says.
“Our future is bleak: and many jobs are on the line.”
In a letter to Boris Johnson, signed by leaders of catering companies including Urbane Caprice, The Pieman, Eden Caterers, Rocket Food and Caper and Berry, Mauleverer has put forward a plea for more and continued support for the sector. This includes treating event catering businesses as other hospitality businesses such as restaurants, cafes and hotels, ensuring that the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) is extended to include event catering businesses, and extending the furlough period until end of Q1 2021.
“We need some help right now to see our creditors right and also to help carry us through the lockdown, to cover rent, on-going bills and handle bad debts in order to keep the pulse of our business going,” she writes.
“Catered events are not going to just bounce back when lockdown is relaxed. We are terrified that furlough will end, and the expectation will be that business is back to normal – this is very unlikely to happen this side of Christmas.”
In the letter, Mauleverer, whose Battersea business has been supplying London’s public and corporate events since 2007, is also asking the Government to provide and extend the business rates holiday to event catering businesses until end of Q2 2021, assist in rent payment to landlords for up to 12-month rent free period, reduce VAT for event catering businesses throughout 2020/21, and further extend the time for repayment.
“Our £43.3bn industry forgotten amongst all the Corvid19 noise,” says Mauleverer.
“570,000 jobs are at stake and some of the best events in our country are at risk. The event catering industry has slipped between the gaps in the government hospitality hand-outs. We need to make this known to our Prime Minister.”