Moscow Restaurants Lose 80% of Revenue on First Day of Vaccine Passport Regime
"All interviewed state a sharply negative reaction of their visitors"..."there are many guests who do not accept the new rules"..."more democratic projects will lose more guests than high-level establishments"
Moscow’s restaurants lost at least 80% of their takings on the first day of the new ‘coronavirus-free’ regime, a representative of the restaurant business in Moscow Sergey Mironov told TASS.
“The maximum revenue of restaurants, including summer terraces, is about 20% in comparison to last Monday,” he said.
Starting from June 28, the experiment forcing catering establishments to operate in a “coronavirus-free” regime is in force across Moscow. Restaurants and cafes can now only accept people vaccinated against COVID-19, those who have recovered within the last six months, or people with a negative PCR test valid for three days, according to the decree of the Moscow mayor.
First Deputy Head of the Office of the Mayor and the Government of Moscow Alexei Nemeryuk told TASS earlier that catering establishments that cannot check guests’ QR codes can only offer takeaway or delivery starting from June 28. Customers buying food and drinks for takeaway will not need QR codes, and they will be able to pick up their orders at the entrance. Waiters, hostesses, bartenders, and other employees will continue to wear gloves and masks.
Machine translated from Russian:
The ban on free access to restaurants and cafes in force since Monday due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a drop in revenue in Moscow institutions by 50-90%. Market participants expect negative dynamics throughout July and warn that the number of closures of cafes and restaurants in Moscow will be even higher than after the 2020 restrictions.
On the first day after the introduction of a ban on visiting cafes and restaurants without a QR code in Moscow, revenue from Moscow establishments decreased by 50-90% depending on the availability of a veranda, restaurateurs interviewed by Kommersant told Kommersant. According to Igor Bukharov, President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia, on June 28, the revenue from establishments fell by 80-90%, and from objects with a veranda – within 60%. There are about 3 thousand summer playgrounds in the city, he specifies.
In the Shokoladnitsa Group of Companies (coffee shops of the same name, as well as the Coffee House and Wabi Sabi chains), according to preliminary estimates, traffic in coffee houses decreased by about 70%, turnover – by 50%.
In Ginza Project Moscow establishments (Buono, ChaCha, Sixty, Ulliam`s, etc.), revenue decreased by 50-95%, including due to heavy rain, says Maxim Polzikov, managing partner and CEO of Ginza Project Moscow. The owner of the Rakovaya restaurant chain Yevgeniy Nichipuruk states a 90% decrease in revenue in his establishments without verandas compared to a regular Monday. Artem Masaltsev, general director of the restaurant-bar “Kotelnaya” , also speaks about the “significant drop” in traffic, without specifying details. The Prime network (part of the Novikov Group) reports a 30-40% decrease in traffic, which began a few weeks ago, after companies again began to transfer employees to a telecommuting format. At the café-cookery Rake Foodbar revenues fell to 75%, while Rake Box convenience stores increased by a quarter. At the Pnin coffee shop, sales fell by 50% against last Monday.
In Moscow, a ban on free access to catering establishments has been in effect since June 28, it was announced last Tuesday. Cafes and restaurants can now be visited by people who have received a special QR code. It is issued only to those who have officially recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months or vaccinated, as well as in the presence of a negative PCR test valid for three days. After several rounds of negotiations with restaurateurs, the Moscow authorities allowed free access to verandas until July 12, restaurants and cafes can continue to operate for delivery and take-away, as well as allow visitors to go to the toilet without a QR code. In addition, the city continues to have a ban on the work of establishments from 23:00 to 06:00.
By June 29, 1.8 million people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Moscow. On Monday, the Moscow operational headquarters said that approximately 2.5 million people received QR codes in three days. Yevgeniy Nichipuruk clarifies that these statistics also include tourists who receive a QR code after passing a PCR test for COVID-19 to travel abroad. “This is significant traffic, more than half of the announced figure,” he comments.
“In addition, among those vaccinated, a large number of state employees, military personnel and the elderly are not the audience for the restaurant business. I think that no more than 2% of our visitors have been vaccinated so far, ”says the restaurateur.
At one of the points of Yevgeny Nichipuruk, with an average daily traffic of 200 people, only eight visitors could get inside on Monday. About 30% of the Kotelnaya bar visitors came on the first day of the restrictions with QR codes. Igor Bukharov observes a forced shift of interest towards take-away orders. Delivery Club on Monday recorded an increase in take-away orders by 50% the same day a week earlier.
All interviewed interlocutors of “Kommersant” state a sharply negative reaction of their visitors to the requirement to present QR codes.
Bukharov compares the situation with June 2017, when the anti-tobacco law came into force, prohibiting smoking in cafes and restaurants. In Ginza Project establishments, the number of guests with passes is also insignificant, according to Maxim Polzikov, there are much more guests who check and do not accept the new rules.
Nichipuruk is considering the possibility of suspending the work of a number of points: “But we are afraid to lose the team at a time when there is a serious personnel crisis.”
Igor Bukharov also clarifies that many restaurateurs last year faced this problem after the suspension of work – it turned out to be more expensive to train new employees.
The interlocutor of Kommersant in the restaurant market expects that the whole of July will be catastrophic for the industry, and there will be more closings than last year.
According to Maxim Polzikov, the dynamics of revenue in the industry will strongly depend on the category of the establishment: “More democratic projects will lose more guests for a longer time than high-level establishments.”