United Kingdom

Revolution Bars reveals plans to reopen all premises by mid-May

Revolution Bars has welcomed the government's measures to boost the hospitality sector announced in the Budget and expects a strong recovery when its bars reopen in the coming months.

The group plans to open 20 bars on April 12, when pubs, bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve outdoor customers, followed by all 66 premises reopening on May 17 when indoor venues can resume trading.

Despite admitting it is burning cash worth £400,000 to £450,000 each week, it stated that it has 'more than enough' liquidity to keep going until the latter date as long as restrictions are not tightened.

Revolution bars stated that it has 'more than enough' liquidity to keep going until May 17, when it plans to reopen all its bars, as long as restrictions are not tightened

Shares in the company soared by 13.8 per cent to 32.2p today after it said Chancellor Rishi Sunak's financial packages for the hospitality industry would help it 'regain a financial position from which it can again develop and thrive.' 

Among the measures declared yesterday include restart grants of up to £18,000 for businesses that have had to shut their doors during the lockdown and a six-month extension to the 5 per cent VAT rate for hospitality and leisure firms.

Extensions were also granted for business rates payments until the end of July; the furlough scheme will now last up to September 30, and alcohol duty has been frozen for the second year in a row.

'With the encouraging progress of the vaccination programme, clarity in the timetable to reopening, and the additional financial support measures announced by the Chancellor, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter,' remarked chief executive Rob Pitcher.

Pitcher warned though that the hospitality sector 'remains on the critical list, and the continued support announced by the government is required to ensure that we can be in a position to return to growth and be a driver of national job creation once again.

'We are excited at the prospect of welcoming back our colleagues and guests and providing fun and memorable experiences for them as lockdown restrictions ease.'

Chancellor Rishi Sunak's measures for the hospitality industry included restart grants of up to £18,000 for businesses and a six-month extension to the 5 per cent VAT rate

Revolution Bars, who trade under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, saw its sales in the year to June 27 plummet by over a quarter due to the coronavirus lockdown forcing them to close all their outlets from late March onwards.

Since then, it has struggled with two further national lockdowns in England and a tiered restrictions system that has often forced them to close its bars for good or earlier in the evening.

Though the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme gave the firm a necessary sales boost last August, it permanently shut six establishments after creditors approved its company voluntary arrangement structure.

The Campaign for Pubs has pleaded for commercial landlords and pub owners to be banned from charging full rent on shut pubs, describing it as 'the biggest threat to their survival'

Bodies representing the hospitality industry have complained that the Chancellor's measures did not go far enough in reducing likely job losses, especially with regards to rents and drink-led institutions.

UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls called on the government to extend the moratorium for rent payments - which is due to expire on April 1 - 'and work with industry to establish a landing zone to resolve this £2billion millstone around our recovery.'

Meanwhile, the Campaign for Pubs reiterated its plea for commercial landlords and pub owners to be banned from charging full rent on shut pubs, describing it as 'the biggest threat to their survival.' 

Paul Crossman, the group's chairman, said: 'The offer of more loans will not appeal to businesses who are already extremely worried about escalating debt. 

'This is especially the case for those still facing unreasonable rent demands, which is something the Chancellor failed to address at all, a worry which is compounded by the fact that we were not given the extra full year of business rates relief that we were hoping for.'

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