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Most restaurants are open but 90% expect financial losses

More than two-thirds of restaurants have reopened since May 11 but many are struggling to survive under the public health restrictions.

“Some nine out of ten reopened establishments expect to generate losses”, says Casimir Platzer, president of the restaurant industry association GastroSuisse.

“In the first week after the first phase of the reopening, sales were on average 60% lower than last year’s figures.”

This is based on around 3,100 responses to an online survey conducted by GastroSuisse from May 11 to 18, 2020.

Restaurants were permitted to reopen on May 11 under strict conditions aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. GastroSuisse argues that some measures are too strict that it is difficult for restaurants to turn a profit.

Some 40% of the establishments surveyed are not sure they can remain open under the conditions. Platzer suspects that many will have to close again in June because it isn’t cost-effective to stay open.

Minimum spacing between tables as well as the 4-person maximum guest group have caused some establishments to reduce the number of seats by 35% to 65% according to the survey.

The association points out that many restaurants have also had to cover the additional costs of implementing protection measures such as plexiglass and masks.

According to the survey, most of the establishments that reopened did so for regular customers, the general public and employees. Around a third reopened to recover losses incurred during the lockdown or to maintain market share.

The reasons for not opening varied with some citing an inability to be profitable under the strict protection measures.

Following the rules

Restaurants appear to be sticking to the public health guidelines. According to GastroSuisse, some 90% of inspected companies have implemented the safety concept according to government guidelines.

In only two cases, or less than 1% of the inspections were restaurants sanctioned for non-compliance.

According to the French-language paper Le Matin Dimanche more than 2,000 inspections have been conducted in restaurants in the western part of the country. The chief of police in French-speaking Canton Vaud reported that most restaurants are complying with the guidelines.

However, it varies by canton. In one canton around 40% of establishments had to make adjustments in order to meet standards.