Gastronomy: “With 2G, half of the business is lost” – innkeepers are already thinking about short-time working again

Düsseldorf Half-empty restaurants, rows of canceled Christmas parties: The Enchilada Group, with more than 70 branches nationwide, is already feeling the effects of the new 2G rule on business in Saxony and Bavaria. Only those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered are allowed there. Many guests stay away for fear of infection.

“Our restaurants there have lost sales of up to 50 percent,” reports Torsten Petersen, managing partner of the Munich-based franchise group. So no more economical operation is possible. “That is why we have to consider shortening opening times, closing restaurants on a daily basis or completely – and putting employees back on short-time work.”

But even without 2G, the group’s stores, which mainly offer Tex-Mex cuisine, have slumped by around 20 percent in the past two weeks. “The guests are very insecure because of the high corona numbers and prefer to stay at home. We can write off the lucrative Christmas business again this year. ”Nationwide, almost every second Christmas party has now been canceled due to corona, according to a survey by the Dehoga Hotel and Restaurant Association.

From a hospitalization incidence of three or more, only those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered (2G) will be allowed to visit restaurants. The rate indicates how many corona infected people per 100,000 people are admitted to hospital in a week. The federal and state governments decided on Thursday evening.

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Ten federal states are currently affected. The Enchilada managing director as well as the host circle, in which leading restaurateurs have come together, welcome uniform 2G rules in principle: “Even before that, 80 to 90 percent of our guests had already been vaccinated or recovered.”

“2G plus is like a lockdown”

The restaurateurs are concerned about the impending introduction of 2G plus. Vaccinated and convalescents would also have to present a current negative test when visiting a restaurant. The federal states can take such measures from a hospitalization rate of six. This value is currently exceeded in Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. Bars, clubs and discotheques, for example, are explicitly named in the federal-state decision.

With a hospitalization rate of nine or more, the federal states can adopt stricter measures everywhere. In Bavarian corona hotspots with a seven-day incidence of more than 1000, the gastronomy is now to be closed, announced Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) on Friday.

The Bavarian Dehoga Association is considering a lawsuit against individual resolutions of the Prime Minister’s Conference. Comprehensive 2G-plus rules with a certain hospitalization rate are disproportionate in the hospitality industry. “With 2G plus, there is a great risk that restaurants and hotels will generate so little sales that opening them is no longer worthwhile. That would be a lockdown through the back door, ”warns Dehoga President Guido Zöllick.

In 2020, restaurant sales fell by 31 percent to 34.3 billion euros. The industry is still a long way from achieving normal sales. In September, every third company in the hospitality industry was afraid of its existence, a year earlier it was more than 60 percent.

2G’s controls are to be tightened in the future. Enchilada managing director Petersen welcomes consistent penalties if guests are admitted without 2G proof. In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, hosts face a fine of 2000 euros. “Dissuasive fines are absolutely right,” says Petersen. “We get annoyed with restaurateurs who have been laxly controlling it up to now. Our entire industry is falling into disrepute. “

Restaurants and cafés are not a pandemic driver, industry representatives emphasize again and again. “Due to established hygiene concepts, distance to other guests, ventilation systems and the ability to track contact details, the seat-related catering is a safe place,” says Mirko Silz, CEO of the pizza and pasta chain L’Osteria.

He refers to a current evaluation of the contact app Luca: 11.7 percent of the Corona warning messages in October came from restaurants and cafes. According to this, 72 percent of the potential corona contacts were in clubs and bars.

For Walid El Sheikh, who runs five bars and clubs in Düsseldorf, these numbers distort reality. In dance clubs and bars, the registration of contacts is strictly controlled by the public order office – in restaurants, shops or buses and trains, however, electronic check-in has so far hardly been widespread. In any case, there would only have been a few subsequent corona cases in his bars, but no infections. Politicians, on the other hand, estimate the risk of infection in discos, bars and clubs to be particularly high. Bavaria ordered clubs, bars and discos to be closed for three weeks on Friday.

“The gastronomy is again the pawn sacrifice”

El Sheikh is becoming more and more desperate: its clubs had only just started up again. Although there were 20 percent fewer guests at “Sir Walter”, sales still reached pre-Corona levels. “People finally want to celebrate again.”

90 percent of his guests have recovered or vaccinated anyway. “But who would like to be tested extensively for going out?” He fears: “People then party again at home, where there are neither air filters nor strict hygiene concepts like ours. A disservice to the fight against infection. “The gastronomy is again the” number one pawn sacrifice “.


“We can write off the lucrative Christmas business again this year,” says Enchilada managing director Torsten Petersen.

(Photo: Enchilada Group)

On Friday, months later, his newly renovated club “Oh Baby Anna” opens. El Sheikh is now waiting to see how much business remains in the case of 2G plus. Before the pandemic, the successful club operator took in up to 200,000 euros every week. “If sales drop by 40 percent, we are no longer profitable.”

The restaurateur considers crisis management in politics to be an absolute catastrophe. So far, he has only received 20 percent of the promised aid. “To this day I am waiting for the payment of the December aid and the bridging aid III.”

He has not yet seen any money from his insurance company either, although he had taken out extra insurance for a pandemic. The Düsseldorf district court awarded El Sheikh over 700,000 euros for the first lockdown. But the insurer appealed.

Personnel shortages are worsening

“Many of our companies would not have survived without government aid,” states Enchilada managing director Petersen. The reduction in VAT on meals also helps a lot. The industry welcomes the extension of bridging aid until March. Short-time work is now virulent again. In an emergency, 80 percent short-time allowance has to be paid again, the hosts demand.

Because already in the first two lockdowns, many employees from the catering industry migrated to crisis-proof industries. According to Dehoga, more than 300,000 employees left the profession at the height of the pandemic. “With absent guests, the uncertainty increases among employees who ask themselves again: ‘Is my job in the restaurant business safe?'”, Says Stephan von Bülow, head of the Block Group steak house chain.

The industry suffered from staff shortages anyway due to unattractive working hours and wages. “Even before the pandemic, we had problems finding and keeping people,” said Petersen. “Our biggest concern at the moment is that we will have to send teams that have been painstakingly built up home for the third time. We will then lose many of them permanently. “

More: “Prohibitions would be a fatal blow” – wave of cancellations is affecting the event industry.

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