The research, which was conducted in collaboration with UKHospitality, British Beer and Pub Association and British Institute of Innkeeping, found that hospitality leaders are optimistic about the future of the sector and its role in the UK’s economic recovery.
Just over half (51%) said they are confident about the sector's prospects over the next 12 months — more than triple the number who felt the same way in November (14%); and the number feeling confident about their own businesses has doubled from 27% to 54% in the same period.
However, the data reaffirms that urgent financial aid is needed to sustain the sector through to reopening, with just over a third (37%) saying their businesses can return to profit this year without fresh support.
Should Sunak deliver on necessary extensions – of the business rates holiday, VAT cut and furlough scheme – and aid the sector’s recovery, 81% of leaders said hospitality will be able to make a positive contribution to the bounce back of the UK economy, and 87% believe they’re guidelines have been, and will be, effective in ensuring safety whilst operating.
There is also evidence that many businesses may be seeking to grow their portfolios, with 59% claiming they anticipate opening new sites in 2021, almost double the number of operators anticipating they will keep some sites closed indefinitely (31%).
“This survey shows business leaders will be walking a tightrope in 2021,” said Phil Tate, chief executive at CGA.
“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 that many businesses are optimistic about long-term prospects, and confident enough to be thinking about opening rather than closing sites.
“It’s clear that a year of significant churn lies ahead, and as in all periods of crisis there will be winners as well as losers.”