The pandemic corrodes the rule of the traditional bar

  • Restaurant chains are gaining more and more market share from independent businesses

  • Locals who do not belong to chains or franchises face the Covid crisis with less muscle

That pit of infinite wisdom that is the network tells us that the most popular names of pubs in Spain are Plaza, Avenida and La Parada on the one hand and Paco, Manolo and Pepe on the other. The article that confirms this, from the Baarty platform, dates from almost 10 years ago and depicts a time that at least seems like Barcelona forgot. In the Catalan capital (especially in its most central neighborhoods) this “lifelong barIt’s starting to be a ‘rare bird’. In fact, despite the fact that in Spain the autonomous restorer retains a market share of almost 70%, chains they control an ever-increasing cut of the pie. And the pandemic accelerated the trend.

This is proved by NPD Market Research Group, whose data indicates that independent businesses received 68% of spending on restaurants at the end of last year, a market share 15 points lower than the one they controlled a decade ago. And although the volume loss in these years was progressive and in only a few cases exceeded the mark from one year to the next, according to the yearbook they prepare KPMG, Repair marks Y NPD, With the advent of covid, the self-employed have gone from 75.3% of spending in 2019 to almost 70% in 2020, almost 5 points of difference causing a chart to rise to a maximum of 2 points in 2018. One year later, this market has already lost another 2 points.

According to this portrait, what benefits is the trademark recovery, i.e. all those premises that respond to a common trademark image or policy. They are already conquering about a third of the market, far from the 15% they registered 10 years ago. Moreover, despite the fact that the pandemic has reduced sales in both types of businesses, the wound is again larger in the case of independent businesses, whose activity decreased by 45% in 2020, compared to 31% of the chains. . Those responsible for the study attribute this difference to “their lower supply of out-of-room consumption options (‘delivery‘&’take away‘) and an acceleration in the closure of businesses ”.

double closures

Preliminary data handling Delectatech, a large data start-up company working with data from the Horeca sector (hotels, restaurants and catering), confirms that the rate of business closures has doubled, while the rate of openings has halved. And although this firm does not detect a large difference between the number of independent and organized institutions, it does foresee that the balance will tilt unfavorably towards individual recovery in the coming months.

“During the first months of Covid, the big problem in the Horeca sector was liquidity”, justifies the founder of the company, Xavier Mallol. “In addition, we have seen a change in the laws of supply and demand in the market, as a restaurant that was normally full and worked very well may be empty or closed due to not having a terrace or a place that adapted for sanitary measures. ” Add.

This turned viable investments and businesses into risky bets and created a debt problem that was easier for the networks to digest. “Organized restaurants, with more financial muscle and negotiating capacity with suppliers and banks than independent restaurants, seem to be able to withstand the blow better than traditional pubs,” Mallol ventures.

On your side, the Spanish Hospitality Business Confederation is based on data from National Institute of Statistics (OTHER) and complete the drawing by noting that as of January 1, 2021, there were 80,000 restaurants and cafes open in Spain, 1% less than before the pandemic, and 175,000 pubs, 4% less. In fact, compared to 2011, the difference is 21%. Despite the fact that a restaurant can be an independent company, and a bar, a chain, this picture highlights the complex situation the latter is facing: “They are small companies with little financial lung around the difficult times what they went through and to endure.difficult access to the help that is & rdquor ;, analyzed from Hospitality of Spain.

Terraces and ‘delivery’

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“You have to distinguish the national-international chains from the local restaurant groups, which continue to offer their own gastronomic proposal, even if they have spread 2, 3 or 4 places across the city & rdquor;” explains the Recovery Guild of Barcelona, ​​which remains firm in its conviction that the pandemic proximity recovery and that these companies, precisely for this reason, barely lose market share to the chains.

However, there are other problems that threaten the fabric of traditional pubs. A study conducted by Delectatech for the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors AECOC shows that the terms that became most popular last year within the restaurant universe were terraces, reservation service, desserts, croquettes and rice dishes. On the other hand, the categories that lost the most relevance were tapas, coffee, beer, burgers and pinchos. And to this cocktail we must add the strong attraction of ‘delivery’: according to AECOC, this form of consumption has doubled after the pandemic and only 25% of the population is now alien to it.

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