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Cost of Covid-19 to hospitality businesses reaches over £40,000 each, but owners remain confident about recovery

2-minute read

Simply Business

Simply Business

12 April 2021

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Cost of Covid-19 to hospitality businesses reaches over £40,000 each, but owners remain confident about recovery

  • Covid-19 has cost pub and restaurant owners £40,313 on average, with owners expecting losses to reach £45,470 in total
  • Businesses in the food and drink industry have lost more than double the money of the average small business during Covid-19
  • But despite the challenges, hospitality owners are optimistic about recovery
  • 89% of food and drink business owners expect to continue or restart their current business and over one in 10 (11%) have started a new business during lockdown
  • Three quarters (76%) say the vaccine rollout has made them more confident about business recovery and over one in three (36%) remain confident about life after lockdown

As outdoor hospitality re-opens its doors today, a new report reveals Covid-19 has cost pub and restaurant owners over £40,000 each on average in lost earnings – but owners remain confident about their recovery.

The study of businesses in the food and drink industry – including pubs, restaurants and cafes – by small business insurer Simply Business, found that so far owners have lost £40,313 on average already in lost earnings.

This is more than double the amount that the average small business has lost so far during Covid-19 (£15,673) – showing the scale of the impact on an industry which has been particularly affected by the various lockdowns and restrictions of the past year.

What’s more, with weeks to go until many without outdoor space are able to open their doors, many owners expect losses to continue – with Covid-19 set to cost them £45,470 each in total on average.

In total, 68% of hospitality business owners have had to temporarily stop trading during the pandemic. 45% have been earning less money, despite government grants, and only a quarter (27%) have been eligible for furlough.

Reasons to be optimistic

But despite the difficulty, 89% of food and drink business owners plan to continue or restart their current business, and more than one in 10 (11%) started a new business in the last 12 months – showing the clear resilience of the hospitality industry.

Furthermore, the vaccine rollout has boosted confidence among hospitality business owners. Three quarters (76%) say the rollout has made them more confident about the recovery of their business. Nearly two thirds (63%) also say the government’s roadmap out of lockdown has given them sufficient reassurance to plan the future of their business. Over a third (36%) remain optimistic about life after lockdown.

Business owners have also utilised the time in lockdown to spend more time with family where they can (60%), rest (37%), focus on themselves (30%) and learn new skills (20%). Over one in 10 (11%) have been able to use the pandemic to adopt new technologies into their business.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business comments: “Few have been hit harder than the hospitality industry in this last year, and the scale of the impact on small businesses and the self-employed is abundantly clear in our latest research. Covid-19 has cost pub, restaurant and cafe owners over £40,000 each on average, which is a huge collective loss to the economy.

“More importantly beyond the economic hit, we should recognise that behind each of these small businesses is a small business owner – each with families, livelihoods, and dreams. The impact of the pandemic on so many of these individuals and their communities has been devastating, both financially and emotionally.

“Against such a tough backdrop it's inspiring to see small business owners display such resilience – and this is especially true for the hospitality sector where 89% plan to continue or restart their current business. So as hospitality owners prepare to safely reopen their doors, there are reasons to be hopeful – as the country can enjoy a well-deserved meal or drink outdoors with friends and family.”


Data: Survey of 123 small business hospitality owners from across the UK, conducted March 2021

For further information, please contact:

Frank PR
[email protected]

About Simply Business

Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest business insurance providers, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and insuring over 900,000 small businesses and landlords across Britain.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 800 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.

Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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