For 83% of bars and restaurants, inflation is the biggest challenge in 2022 – News

Despite opening their doors again in 2022, after the end of the restrictive measures against Covid-19, bars and restaurants have not seen the expressive and consistent improvement they expected. The soaring prices have hindered the recovery of the sector. For 83% of establishments, the inflation is the biggest challenge for this year, according to data from the ANR (National Association of Restaurants).

The research was carried out in partnership with the consultancy Galunion and the Instituto Foodservice Brasil. 817 companies from all over the country were heard, representing around 14 thousand companies in the sector.

According to the executive director of the ANR, Fernando Blower, inflation has a “double impact, whether on direct costs such as rent, CVM (Cost of Goods Sold) or on liabilities”, he says.

Rodrigo Alves, one of the owners of the traditional Ponto Chic, a restaurant with four units in São Paulo, is among the group of entrepreneurs who consider price increases to be the biggest villain in the sector in 2022.

“We’ve been through almost three years of a catastrophic pandemic. Those who didn’t close their doors are now without cash and investment capacity, still trying to recover the financial health of the bar or restaurant. And then we found a tractor in the opposite direction, which is inflation”, says Alves.

The Brazilian saw the prices soar in the last few months. The inflation preview for April was the highest in 27 years (1.73%)according to data from the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).

The increase was mainly driven by the fuel, which has caused a cascade of price growth, due to higher costs, since road transport is the main means of transporting goods. According to the inflation preview for April, gasoline rose 7.51% and diesel, 13.11%.

The last IPCA-15 (Broad Consumer Price Index – 15) also showed that the food and drink prices increased 2.25% in April, after rising 2.42% in March. Food outside the home also rose (0.28%), but at a lower percentage than in the previous month (0.52%).

“This is our raw material, it is what we have felt the most so far, immediately, it ends up with our profit margin, when it does not cause losses. Passing this price on to the consumer is not simple, it takes time and we are afraid, if If we pass these values ​​immediately, we run the risk of losing the customer. At a stage where we are trying to get him back”, says the owner of Ponto Chic.

Increase in interest

With inflation, there is also an increase in the interest rate, which is necessary to stop consumption and the rise in prices. The increase of one percentage point in the Selic by the Central Bankwhich reached 12.75%, makes credit lines more expensive, which harms entrepreneurs who had to take out loans to avoid closing during the Covid-19 crisis.

“This affects the liabilities of companies, as the recent financing made by the sector in the pandemic, such as Pronampe, will certainly be corrected with the pressure also on interest”, says Blower.

The association’s executive director also adds that interest and inflation levels should hamper the recovery of bars and restaurants that had an improvement at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022. Six out of ten entrepreneurs in the sector said that revenue in February this year is the same as 2019 or below, a year before the pandemic.

For Rodrigo Alves, credit becomes more expensive at a very delicate moment. “With movement increasing, you have to invest in stock, inject money into the company, at a time of high interest”, he highlights.

Although the percentage of indebtedness in the sector has improved in relation to the last survey carried out in November, when 55% said they had debts, this number remains high (41%). Among them, 15% should take more than three years to settle and 34% will take one to three years.

Resumption of consumption

A relief for bars and restaurants is the resumption of consumption by customers. In November last year, only 34% responded that consumers had already returned to pre-pandemic consumption habits. Now, that percentage has jumped to 51%.

For Paulo Camargo, president of the IFB (Instituto Foodservice Brasil), the survey shows that the number of consumers who are resuming consumption is gradually increasing, which leads the sector to have positive expectations for the coming months.

In April, according to Alves, there is historically an increase, which remains until the end of the year. In relation to March, the owner of Ponto Chic felt a strong increase in movement.

During the period, bars and restaurants also had to reinvent themselves. Most bet on the digitalization of the business and delivery, since the consumer has not yet fully returned in person. The survey shows that 89% of respondents operate with delivery and 71% consider it a profitable channel.

“A significant point is the attention to food service within digital channels and the constant demand for the quality of delivery operations. The pandemic accelerated this trend and now operators must be more attentive and structure themselves to serve this channel”, says Camargo.

Other actions were also implemented, such as launching products with new flavors and textures (57%); focus on promotions, offers of the day and value actions (52%); launch seasonal, fresh or artisanal products (27%) and bet on delicious and indulgent products (26%).

* Intern at R7under the supervision of Ana Vinhas

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