Losses at the top 100 UK restaurants doubled to £571 million in the year to the start of the lockdown last March, according to new research.
Accountancy group UHY Hacker Young said the losses are expected to worsen again in the coming months as restaurants have been forced to repeatedly shut their doors, leaving many struggling to survive.
Restaurants have become more reliant on home delivery services, but this can be a double-edged sword because of commissions of up to 35% plus VAT, said the report.
UHY Hacker Young predicted that a wave of restructuring is likely to continue in the restaurant sector to keep businesses afloat.
Peter Kubik of UHY Hacker Young said few industries have been hit as hard as restaurants, adding: “These figures reveal how seriously the UK restaurant industry was already struggling pre-pandemic. The most worrying part is the restaurants will be still having to absorb the impacts of lockdowns for weeks or months to come.
“The Government has stepped in to help but it’s likely that even more will need to be done.
“At the very least, the hospitality VAT cut will almost certainly have to be extended.”
“The hospitality industry is on a knife edge – its survival is largely dependent on people feeling safe and returning to restaurants, which could be potentially months away.”