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The corona virus is a test of patience for gastronomy

The Pink

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Restaurants, bars, and pubs are among the companies hardest hit by the corona crisis. It is still uncertain when they will be allowed to resume business – and how many of them will survive this time.

Sitting in the garden, with the sun on your face and a panache in your hand – if you want to spend your free time with friends in the pub, you still have to do without it. What is a shame for guests means far worse for restaurateurs. The companies keep up with short-time work, emergency loans and certain creative measures such as the sale of vouchers – but it is questionable whether everyone will be able to keep it up for the next few months.

Especially as it is still unclear when and under what conditions restaurateurs can open again. The Federal Council decided nothing specific for the industry on Thursday and only called on it to develop protection concepts. Many depend on the income from the spring and summer months. If the main business ceases, they lose their financial basis.

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According to Gastrosuisse President Casimir Platzer, a relaxation of the hospitality standstill would be realistic if strict protective measures are taken. He does not understand why the Federal Council of Gastronomy does not yet give a perspective, it says in a media release from the industry association.

For Stefan Ruprecht, managing director of the Bern steam restaurant, a gradual opening would be the right way. It would be worse if there were loosening too quickly and the factories had to close again, he says.

Bastian Eltschinger, Managing Director of Remimag, on the other hand, prefers to leave his restaurants closed for a few weeks. “Relaxation can only cover our costs if there are no restrictions,” he says. Otherwise, the relationship between costs and earnings is incorrect. Clear federal communication is important.

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Everyone will feel the economic consequences

The federal measures to date help restaurants to cover their running costs at the moment. But in five years at the latest, they will have to repay the loans guaranteed by the federal government – even if they generate little or no income by then. “Given the emerging market situation, this will not be possible for many companies,” says a media release from Gastrosuisse.

In an industry where many have no reserves and move from one month to the next, the corona crisis could lead to numerous bankruptcies. “If the Federal Council delays the opening of hospitality businesses further, we have to expect a very large number of businesses to remain closed and file for bankruptcy,” says Gastrosuisse President Casimir Platzer.

The federal support will only solve the liquidity problems in the short term. “If you couldn’t pay your bills in March with your money, a loan won’t help you in the long term,” says Ruprecht.

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Eltschinger is certain that the Corona crisis will affect not only the restaurateurs but everyone. Even hairdressers, suppliers, and retailers could not process the losses of the past few weeks – even if they open again soon. “The rat tail will be enormous.”

According to Ruprecht, the emergency loans are still correct and important so that employees are not unemployed overnight. It is questionable whether waiters, cooks, and bartenders can cover their expenses for a long time with the lower short-time wages and without tips.

Ruprecht and Eltschinger have so far not been worried about their businesses, although both are currently generating minimal income. They decided against takeaway offers because they were not profitable for them. “Every franc we don’t spend now is a franc that we may have later,” says Ruprecht.

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A fifth of the added value will break down

But without tenancies, deferrals, and loans, financially better-positioned companies will also have problems. According to an estimate by the economic institute BAK Economics, more than a fifth of the added value in the hospitality industry will break down. Such a strong slump does not leave anyone without a trace.

The topic of renting is particularly hot. If politics does not clarify the legal situation, the courts would have to deal with an excessive number of disputes, according to a media release from the tourism associations. They, therefore, ask those involved to show solidarity in this exceptional situation.

It is also unclear whether shops will have to pay the full rent immediately after reopening. Just because a restaurant is open does not mean that all tables are immediately occupied. “After all, the business has to run so that the owner can pay the rent,” says Ruprecht.

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Are the stains overrun or do people continue to stay at home for fear?

Nobody knows whether the guests will storm the restaurants, bars, and pubs if they are allowed to open one day. Eltschinger estimates that at least the boys will quickly behave as before. According to Ruprecht from the steam center, it will be important to give guests the feeling that they are safe. “Otherwise they won’t come.”

Stefano Corrado looks at the moment when he can cook guests again with mixed feelings. With his girlfriend Maria Ventola, he wanted to revive the Anna restaurant in Zurich, which was closed at the end of 2019, on March 24. “It will probably be difficult for us as newcomers. Because everyone will go to their favorite restaurant first, “he says. Due to the Corona measures, they had never opened a day – they miss the regular guests.

He hopes that their new restaurant won’t completely go under between all the reopening. Especially since “Anna” is a little far from the shot near the Zurich Irchelpark.

In addition to all the problems, the corona crisis also brings something positive. Employees and guests alike are considering how they can support the industry. You can tell, says Ruprecht, that restaurants, bars, and bars are important to people – a matter close to the heart.

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Jasbir Singh
Jasbir Singh
Studied humanities in Punjab. Trying to understand Indian Politics. Writing about Technology, Education, Brands, Business, and much more. Writer at The Eastern Herald.

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