Empty Restaurant

Restaurants have enjoyed a strong reopening week, with most reporting better performance than that experienced during 2020’s reopening week. However, over half of respondents said that the first months of 2021 were worse overall when compared to the first months of 2020, largely because Malta only felt the first impacts of the pandemic in March 2020.

The results emerge from a survey conducted by the Association of Caterin Establishments (ACE) following the first week of reopening, with very strong results enjoyed by restaurants in the week starting 10th May. Some, in fact, recorded sales three times those of last year’s reopening week.

ACE however noted that during the reopening week of 2020 the public in general was still very skeptical about visiting restaurants.

During the closure period, 31 per cent of the surveyed establishments did not offer delivery service, whilst 33 percent stated that delivery sales, when compared to the closure period in 2020, were far worse, mainly due to increased competition.

Another 24 per cent claimed to have performed better than last year during same period.

Over half (51 per cent) said that performance during the first months of 2021 was overall worse than 2020, while 30 percent stated that overall performance was at the same levels. Meanwhile, 19 per cent recorded an overall increase in sales.

The vast majorty (83 per cent) of the respondents confirmed that they believe that performance will improve further on reopening for dinner on 24th May, and are very optimistic for the coming months.

A similar percentage (81 per cent) state that €50 million worth of vouchers issued by the Government are of extreme importance in kickstarting the recovery of the sector’s performance.

Furthermore, some 60 per cent feel that the boost in tourism is critical for the sustainability of their establishment.

Looking ahead, 55 per cent of respondents are looking positively at the second half of 2021, while some 46 percent think it will take approximately two years to recover from the damage caused by the pandemic.

ACE said that, “The general feeling from all respondents was that now there is a sense of optimism, looking ahead for the coming months, but all were explicit that a third time of closure cannot ever be considered an option.”

ACE therefore urged the public to kindly cooperate with establishment owners and respective authorities and observe the health guidelines.

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