In the wake of the coronavirus British restaurants and takeaways are asking their landlords to allow them a rent holiday as they say their businesses are “on the brink”.
The British Takeaway Campaign (BTC) represents restaurants and takeaways throughout the country, most of them small businesses without huge resources behind them.
Most commercial tenants pay their rents quarterly in advance on the quarter days, and as the next one is due next week (1st April) the group is calling for an immediate three-month freeze.
The BTC group has warned that without this help from landlords, many thousands of Britain’s restaurants and takeaways will be facing insolvency “within weeks, if not days”.
Ibrahim Dogus BTC chair has written a letter to the major landlord trade bodies including the British Property Federation and Revo:
“We appreciate that landlords will have significant concerns for their income and in recent years have had to cope with the demise of traditional retailing and its impact on the high street,”
“However, restaurants and takeaways simply do not have the capital to meet their rent obligations while they struggle to cope with the challenges coronavirus has brought.”
Dogus reminded landlords that without the survival of these restaurants they would be facing long voids with no rents and business rates to pay. It would be of “mutual interest” to save these businesses says Dugas.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had ordered the closure of all pubs, restaurants and bars across the UK from last Sunday, and he appealed to all people to stay at home and isolate unless absolutely necessary, and to avoid close contact other than with family members (social distance – keeping 2 metres apart), to help to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Restaurants are to be allowed to offer takeaway services while taking precautionary measures, but this will put even more pressure on traditional takeaways if pubs and restaurants enter the takeaway market, as they appear to be doing.
The BTC has confirmed that the British hospitality industry is “on the brink”, stating that while some landlords have moved to offering rent holidays or deferments / rescheduling of rent payments, these appear to remained in the minority.
“Our members tell us that the majority of landlords are refusing to provide any flexibility on this issue. In our view, this is irresponsible,” says Dogus.
Pubs and restaurants are already laying off staff due to the crisis, but chancellor Rishi Sunak last week said the government would underwrite wages and pay up to 80 per cent of the wages for those staff who are unable to work as a result of Covid-19.
*The traditional English quarter days are: March 25, June 24, September 29 and December 25. In Scotland the traditional quarter days or term days are: 28 February, 28 May, 28 August, 28 November. The modern quarter days: 1 January, 1 April, 1 July.