Restaurants in China are gradually reopening as new Covid-19 infections wane, but they are finding it difficult to reach even half of their pre-outbreak revenues, reported Caixin.
Xibei Youmiancun, a northwestern Chinese cuisine catering brand run by Xibei Group, had resumed regular operations at 167 of its 376 branches as of Tuesday, with another 160 only accepting takeout or delivery orders. Xibei Group chairman Jia Guolong complained to local media in early February that daily revenue had fallen to around RMB 2 million ($286,000) with some 100 stores fulfilling delivery orders, “a drop in the bucket” compared to average daily revenue of RMB 20 million before the outbreak.
More and more restaurants have worked to resume business as usual, with most of China outside Hubei province returning to work in recent weeks, but multiple restaurant chains have told Caixin their cashflow remains well below half of what it was prior to the outbreak, even after adjusting strategies and shifting focus to deliveries and catering. The loss of dine-in business has far outweighed revenue from new experimental initiatives.
Higher-end restaurants may have taken the biggest hit. Dong Shaobo, a senior executive for famous Peking duck chain Dadong, said the company’s “income is close to zero, or 99% below normal.”