Takeaway helps eateries survive but generates fraction of regular revenue

Photo: ČTK/Taneček David

Prague restaurant operators say takeaway sales of food and drink represent only a fraction of their normal turnover. However, even this greatly reduced revenue is helping them to survive the current crisis, the Czech News Agency reported.

Almost four weeks ago the Czech government responded to an alarming spike in new Covid-19 cases with a number of restrictions, including forcing bars, cafes and restaurants to close their doors. Sales are only permitted, as the Czech saying goes, via hatches.

Industry groups have called on the public to support their favourite eateries by at least purchasing takeaway dishes from them.

Photo: ČTK/Peřina Luděk

The sector is in deep trouble. The Czech News Agency cited restaurateurs’ organisations as saying that around half of their members are threatened with bankruptcy. One-third of restaurants are completely closed and thousands have lost their jobs in that area of the economy.

Many customers order takeaway via services such as Wolt and Dámejídlo. However, the guarantor of a project named Moje restaurace (My Restaurant), Luboš Kastner, says it would be far better if they picked up dishes themselves. This would save restaurants at least a third of their revenue, he told the Czech News Agency.

The operator of a number of stands at Prague’s Riegrovy sady park said customer numbers had fallen sharply when government restrictions curbing movement entered force. However, people gradually learned to start coming again and to follow hygiene rules, he said.

Photo: ČTK/Kamaryt Michal

The co-owner of Prague brewery Libertas, Roman Martinák, said hatch sales were going well for his company. However, this cannot make up for the income from now closed pubs and restaurants, he said, adding that it would not be economically viable for the brewery to work with delivery services.

The owner of the city centre brewery and restaurant U Medvídků, Jan Göttel, said the amount it could take in takeaway sales wouldn’t cover the cost of even running a hatch.

Mr. Göttel said most restaurants now used delivery services and that his had led to a situation in which meals sold in that way generated insufficient revenue. What’s more, he said, “Who’s interested in eating off plastic?”

The restaurant Spojka Karlín said it was serving 70 percent of customers directly from its own doorway, with the remaining 30 percent of sales via delivery. In the latter case it combined its own deliveries with the services of Wolt and Bolt Food.

The large city centre Sia Asian restaurant Sia said it too was working with delivery services, though about 60 percent of sales were from its premises. In addition it offers special dishes that can be completed by customers themselves at home.

Czech restaurants, cafés, bars and clubs have been closed since 14 October. The measure should be in place until at least 20 November, when the current state of emergency ends.