It is only a matter of time before the food service sector starts seeing businesses closing, one after the other, insiders warn as rising coronavirus infections lead to more restrictions and lockdowns.
Even in popular tourism destinations turnover has slumped by 40% on average this year and in some cases by over 60%. Since mid-August, meanwhile, localized measures have gone on to become stricter, leading in some cases like Kozani recently to a full lockdown.
With Attica and Thessaloniki on alert, the sector is entering a new gauntlet, before even having time to recover from the spring lockdown. Some restaurant owners have appealed to the prime minister himself, asking for a review of the issue of rental rates and for a reduction of the value-added tax on food service to 6%.
Hellenic Statistical Authority data show that in the January-August 2020 period turnover in food service, based on companies declaring their data on a monthly basis, amounted to 511.9 million euros, compared to €960.6 million in the same period last year, i.e. a reduction of 46.7%.
Across the sector of food service, with data on a quarterly basis, turnover in the April-June period amounted to €592.73 million, down 59% from the same quarter in 2019. The biggest annual drop in turnover in Q2 was in the holiday island of Santorini (down 95.6%) and the smallest in the northern Greek town of Grevena (33.3%).
In the peak month of tourism, i.e. in August, food service turnover by companies reporting on a monthly basis amounted to €124.3 million, down 33.6% from August 2019. The greatest reduction, at 68.9% was recorded on Mykonos island and the smallest on Evia (down 1.8%). Interestingly the prefecture of Fthiotida, in central Greece reported a rise in food service turnover by 25.3%, as many Greeks opted for continental destinations this summer.
“Destinations near Attica that are accessible by road, such as Evia and the Peloponnese, enjoyed greater tourism traffic, mainly through domestic tourism and brief excursions, with the drop in turnover being smaller,” the president of the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurant Enterprises (POESE), Giorgos Kavvathas, tells Kathimerini.
He adds that in Attica, where restaurants close at midnight, there is an additional drop in revenues by 15%-20%.