Friday Five: The week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: The week's top news

Related tags: Coronavirus

We round-up some of the main hospitality news stories from the past week including the UK plunging into recession, and fears over the future of the hospitality jobs market.

- The UK has entered its deepest recession since records began​, with figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing hospitality to have been the hardest hit sector. During the second quarter of 2020 in the three months to June, when the country was under lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell by 20.4%. The figures show food and beverage service activities to have been the hardest hit during the second quarter, registering a decline of 84.7% as a result of the closure of bars and restaurants.

- The number of jobs lost across the embattled restaurant sector in 2020 is already nearly double the amount shed during the whole of 2019​ with experts fearing that the worst is yet to come. Figures compiled by the Centre for Retail Research show a total 22,039 jobs were lost across large restaurant groups and independent operators up 95.4% on the 11,280 jobs lost during the whole of 2019. According to the research, 13,849 jobs have been lost in the casual dining sector this year compared to 5,760 in the independent sector. It is feared that disappointing trading levels for many operators after re-opening combined with end of the furlough scheme will trigger a fresh round of job losses later this year.

- Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups saw year-on-year sales fall by 50.4% in the first month of post-lockdown trading​, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. All parts of the market recorded trading well below July 2019 levels, but restaurants and bars have been the worst hit, with the London market struggling most. While pub groups collectively saw total sales down 44.7% over the month, restaurant groups in the Tracker cohort were down 59.8%. Bar sales, meanwhile, were down 63.3%. London trading was down 58.3% in July, with outside the M25 down 48.5%.

- Following the boom in staycations, Rick Stein is encouraging unemployed hospitality workers to move to Cornwall to fill 39 active vacancies within his business empire​. The celebrity chef restaurateur says that the county is ‘busy and most definitely open for business’. Stein has a portfolio of 13 places to eat and eight places to stay concentrated in and around the north coast town of Padstow, which is sometimes colloquially known as Padstien. Occupancy at his restaurants with rooms, luxury cottages and self catered barns is close to full throughout the summer season, which is expected to extend throughout September and October.

- Landlords and operators have issued a joint call for a Government-backed Property Bounceback grant to facilitate in rent negotiations​. The proposal, put together by The British Property Federation (BPF), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Revo, Uk Active and UKHospitality, would see the Government issue grants of up to 50% of rent and service charges between March and September. Its aim is to try and solve the rent crisis looming over the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and the wider property industry. The trade bodies, which represent both landlords and tenants between them, have issued the call due to the scale of the rent crisis brought about by Coronavirus. 

Check below for more of this week's headlines, or click here​.

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