James Shorthouse, Head of Alternative Markets at Colliers International, comments on what ‘Super Saturday’ means to the hospitality sector:
“Super Saturday is the boost that bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels really need to kickstart the hospitality sector. There is a real buzz up and down the country as customers emerge from 15 weeks of ‘lock-down’, and owners and their staff are raring to go.”
“For many pub and restaurant-goers, the summer of 2020 will have a distinctly Continental flavour, with the extension of outdoor seating and fast-tracked drinks licences for serving diners at outdoor tables being actively encouraged by many councils aimed at giving the industry a much-needed stimulus.
“To begin with pubs, bars and restaurants, are likely to be very different places when they reopen. Business owners and operators have invested significant effort, and cash, in ensuring that their premises meet all the safety standards, and adhere to the new rules; especially around 1+ metre social distancing, group size and security.
“The release of lock-down does of course bring with it risks of increased spread of the virus, and the hospitality industry is reliant on its customers behaving responsibly. Staff need to get used to working under the new rules, and whilst there will inevitably be some teething problems, with the goodwill of all concerned we are expecting a positive experience across the hospitality and leisure sectors.
“We have been working with clients throughout the lockdown period and we know how much effort has been going on in readiness for ‘Super Saturday’ and beyond. There are, however, still real concerns about how businesses can pay their bills and overheads in the short-term. Of most concern is the payment of rent, and the landlord/tenant relationship between property owners and operators. The tenanted pub sector landlords have, since the start of lockdown, proactively engaged with their tenants, agreeing rent holidays or deferrals to ensure that the operators are on as secure a financial footing as possible, so there are perhaps some lessons about the aligning of interests, which could help inform the debate across the wider leisure and hospitality market sector to ensure that this diverse and vibrant part of the UK economy survives the next few months.”