HANK! EPISODE 9: WELSH HOSPITALITY IN CRISIS (PART 1) – WITH RESTAURANTEUR SIMON WRIGHT

Simon Wright, Wrights Food Emporium

A survey of more than 100 independent pubs, cafes, restaurants and event caterers has revealed the catastrophic impact of the Coronavirus on the hospitality industry; findings suggest that that at least 30,000 job losses are expected in the sector in Wales.

The survey was carried out by the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective – an organisation made up of representatives from more than 300 of Wales’ independent restaurants and hospitality businesses.

Their survey was taken as pubs, cafes and restaurants reopened in England, and Scotland announced that the re-opening inside will begin on July 15th

Wales remains the only UK nation yet to give a date for inside opening.

Survey Findings

Within the 102 businesses that responded to the WIRC survey, 434 jobs have already been lost, with a further 452 planned – giving a total of 886 job losses from just that representative sample. Multiplied by the scale of the sector in Wales, and the total number of jobs losses is therefore estimated to be in excess of 30,000.

On Monday, the First Minister placed the Welsh hospitality sector on probation, saying that the prospect for a reopening date will depend on the sector’s ability to open safely in the outdoors from the 13th July.

However, only 32% of the businesses surveyed last weekend indicated that they will be able to open on an outside only-basis, with a previous WIRC survey indicating that most expect to generate less than 25% of their usual turnover.

Essentially, there will be very few hospitality businesses in Wales who can even get close to covering their opening costs on the current ‘outside only’ basis that has been outlined by Welsh Government.

Hospitality Vital To ‘Whole Ecosystem’ in Wales

In the latest episode of the Hank! Cardiff food podcast, we speak to restauranteur, food writer and broadcaster Simon Wright about the the catastrophic impact of the Coronavirus crisis on Welsh hospitality. This has been further exacerbated by the fact that there is still no update on indoor opening for restaurants, bars and pubs in Wales.

As Simon explains, “A whole ecosystem has grown up around independent hospitality – ranging from agriculture and growers, to high quality, sustainable producers, brewers, distillers, maintenance contractors, and professional services. For many of these, their businesses exist because the independent restaurant sector exists. All of this, in addition to the vital role the sector plays in persuading people to visit and stay in Wales; all of this at risk whilst we have no set roadmap for reopening.”

I have previously written about the importance of shopping locally, buying from local suppliers, and supporting Welsh food and drink. It’s something I’m passionate about for a number of reasons – and there’s data in the latest WIRC survey to back it up.

The data collected indicated that 80% of the respondents spent more than 50% of their annual expenditure with other Welsh businesses; more than 50% put that figure in excess of 75%. This means that for every £1 spent with Welsh independents, a significant amount is going back into the local economy, improving prospects for everyone here in Wales, and supporting jobs across agriculture, manufacturing, logistics and more.

To listen to the latest podcast episode an hear Simon’s thoughts in full, click below:

Listen to “Episode 9 – Welsh Hospitality in Crisis” on Spreaker.

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