Record restaurant closures blamed on strong franc
More than three times as many pubs and restaurants disappeared in Switzerland last year as the year before. The catering industry points the finger at the strong franc, responsible for more bankruptcies (+4.4%) and fewer new openings (-25%).
Some 2,220 places to eat were removed from the trade registry and 684 went bust in 2017, according to a report in the SonntagsZeitung based on data from the industry umbrella organisation GastroSuisse and Creditreform. With 2,048 restaurants opening, the net loss was 856.
GastroSuisse president Casimir Platzer blamed the strong franc and deferred investments for the record number of closures. These were particularly high in cantons Ticino, Bern, Geneva, Lucerne and Zurich.
“The strong franc is really squeezing businesses in the mountains, in the countryside and in border regions,” he said, explaining that there weren’t enough guests, and therefore turnover, in an industry with already small margins.
Platzer said that in tough times it gets harder to find someone to take over the business. He added that fewer children were prepared to work the long hours necessary, often for lower salaries.
The SonntagsZeitung said additional factors were changing eating habits and less time for lunch.