It is no secret that curfews and booze bans have dealt the restaurant industry heavy blows since last year, but just how bad has it really been for restaurants entering the New Year with Stage 3 lockdown?
Dineplan, which thousands of restaurants across South Africa use as their reservation management platform, pulled statistics to get an idea of the pain restaurants are feeling by comparing the number of bookings, number of diners, no-shows, cancellations and estimated total revenue lost this January (2021) versus this time last January (2020).
The results speak volumes, quite literally.
Only taking into account restaurants in SA’s big cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – that use Dineplan software to manage reservations, the data indicate the number of diners in January 2021 has plummeted by a whopping 60.1% year-on-year.
The number of bookings declined by a lower, but still huge 51.52%, meaning that the average number of diners per booking has decreased. This makes sense as diners try to decrease the number of people they socialise with.
With the ban on booze, the average spend per head will also have crucially dropped, resulting in a loss of revenue significantly more than the 60% drop in the number of diners.
It is clear to see why so many restaurants have been unable to keep their doors open this year leading to large-scale job losses and knock-on effects on suppliers.
A small silver lining is that no-show rates (diners who book and do not pitch) have decreased, suggesting that diners have become more conscious of the hardships faced by restaurants during lockdown.
Breakdown per province
In Cape Town, the number of bookings decreased by 50.9% and the number of diners by 59.9%.
In Johannesburg, bookings fell by 51.9% and the number of diners by 58%.
In Durban, bookings declined by 56% and the number of diners by 66%.
Dineplan is currently in the process of compiling a full month-on-month report with a thorough analysis of data since the inception of lockdown in March last year.