Can The Bars And Restaurants Hold On?

restaurant closureWHILE the restrictions are easing subject to various conditions, the future of many food and beverage (F&B) businesses still hang in the balance.

A snap survey of 639 F&B business representing 1,941 outlets and 24,387 jobs paints a bleak picture.

21% of F&B businesses are already in the process of winding down, and 67% will close in one to six months if another round of closures takes place.

Some 43% of F&B businesses are in debt — up to $1.5 million each. Another 8% are in debt between $1.5 million and $3 million.

Over 80% of F&B businesses suffered negative revenue impact of 75% or more in the last two phases alone.

And it’s not over.

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Another round of disruptions could send many more over the edge and into the abyss.

Singapore’s food culture is taking a heavy beating as measures to contain COVID-19 impact a key industry as far as culture, lifestyle and tourism go.

The findings of the survey, conducted by the #SAVEFNBSG Coalition, Singapore Cocktail Bar Association and Singapore Nightlife Business Association, have been presented to the Ministers leading the Multi-Ministry Taskforce in charge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with the survey findings, the three parties are also requesting for the following terms to be considered.

  1. Re-opening with Recorded Background Music. 

In F&B, background music helps to create a more conducive environment. 

2. Extending the sale of alcohol to midnight.

By doing so, outlets expect to increase their revenue from between 20% and 56% and start trying to claw back some lost ground.

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3. Accelerate Job Support (JSS) and Rent Relief Schemes (RRS) pay out to assist in cash flow, and deferment of principal bridging loan repayment.

Many F&B businesses have depleted their cash flow and are on the verge of folding. The three parties hope the principal bridging loan repayments can be deferred to June 2022, while the JSS and RRS disbursement can be brought forward.

4. Collaborative Approach to Safe Management Measures (SMM).

The three parties feel the “heavy-handed approach — without warning or recourse” to the enforcement of SMM at F&B venues, has resulted in “mental stress and anxiety” amongst operators. They request that a demerit point system be introduced, rather than immediate bans.

“This would allow for a check and balance system so that the fate of a business “does not lie in the hands of a single enforcement officer, nor an errant customer”.

The question on the tongues of many: How many more restaurants will be lost to this pandemic through no fault of their own?

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