Summary

  • The less stringent second lockdown has given pub owners in the UK much elbow room to try out innovative ways to get revenues.
  • Most pub owners have received some government stimulus benefit and are also making their own arrangements to tide through the lockdown.
  • December will be a crucial month, and most owners are hoping that there will not be an extension to the lockdown.

Two weeks into the second lockdown in the UK, the situation of the Pubs in the country does not seem to be as bad as it was during the first lockdown. This time the owners of these establishments seem to be better prepared to deal with the lockdown and are much confident to navigate through the ordeal.

While the extension of the Furloughing scheme has helped many pubs to protect their businesses and employees, some relaxation like takeaways and “work from table” have helped them to rake in revenues to keep their cash registers ringing.  Although the second lockdown though not as painful as the last one,  most businesses are eagerly eyeing 2 December, which would be the opening date. Experts feel any extension to the lockdown could wreak havoc for the businesses.

December is the most important part of the year for the pub and restaurant businesses across the country. As it is the holiday season, it brings in the maximum revenues to hotel and pub businesses. This time, however, the government has not put a blanket closedown dictate on the pubs and restaurants and has allowed them to stay open for takeaways, which has helped the owners float and survive during the pandemic.

The first vs the second

The first lockdown was far more stringent than the second one. During the first one, there was a lot of confusion among the people as well as the government regarding the pandemic and what to expect from it. This led to a complete shutting down of all establishments to contain the spread, which had hit many businesses. 

During the second lockdown, however, both the government and the businesses are comparatively much better prepared to deal with the situation. There is now a better understanding of what to expect and what not to expect from the lockdown. Both the governments and the businesses had adequate time to prepare for it. People are also not very anxious this time and have a much better understanding of what measures to take to keep themselves safe.

The government’s decision to impose a much relaxed second lockdown is also based on its understanding of the pandemic which has improved much over the past few months since the first case of the pandemic appeared in the country.

Government support  

The government has announced a number of measures to protect small businesses and jobs in the country to deal with the pandemic situation. The Furloughing Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme have supported many small businesses to stay afloat despite their revenues plummeting to zero for months at a stretch during the first lockdown.

 

After the lockdown was lifted both these schemes and the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme of the government helped the restaurants and pubs to stage a strong comeback. During this second lockdown, however, the government may not be extending the Dine Out to Help Out scheme, while the furloughing scheme has been extended.

Most businesses who have availed of these government benefits have also taken their own measures to shore up additional finances. While most had their own cash reserves to support, others raised finances from family and other sources. The fixed schedule second lockdown thus is unlikely to be that hard on most of the pubs and restaurants in the country provided it is not extended beyond 2 December.  

The survival formula

In the past few months, the pub owners have employed various innovative methods to increase their revenue streams. While introducing a takeaway segment was the easiest for business owners who served both food and liquor at their outlets, the pub only businesses were not able to take advantage of this. These businesses then employed something which is now gaining popularity as “work from table”. 

Pubs which run during night times are now renting out their tables during the daytime to people who are now bored from working at their homes. They can now come to the pubs and hire a table for £15, bet fresh air, strong coffee, some breakfast on condiments of they like and a drink to end the day. Several pubs in the country have adopted this method and have been able to rake in some revenues to stay afloat.

The Festive December  

The month of December is the most important month of the year for most businesses in the world. Most people do their holiday shopping during this month and also like to go out for dinners and visit pubs with family and friends. In the pub industry, the average daily revenue earned during this month is nearly double to what a regular pub would make during any given day in the lean season. 

Most pub owners in the UK have stated that this second lockdown would not be very painful to them, if it is not extended beyond 2 December, as they will be able to make up for much of their losses. 

 

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