A trading update from members of the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) showed they took in only 20% of last year’s earnings during the vital Christmas trading period.
The figures mean that on average SHG members lost £12,000 of revenue per week, per premises.
The cut in revenue will hit payments for property rent, utilities and equipment rent until at least the summer, affecting suppliers, investors such as pension funds, and others who depend on the industry.
The industry group also warned it will put into doubt existing plans for around £30m worth of investment in 27 premises which would create hundreds of new jobs, as well as protecting existing ones.
During the lockdown, businesses continue to spend on average nearly £6,000 per week per premises on fixed costs and contributions to the furlough scheme.
Meanwhile, much of the promised support has yet to come through and it is unclear even what businesses are entitled to due to conflicts between the Holyrood and Westminster governments.
Stephen Montgomery, a spokesperson for SHG, said: “Without Christmas, when we earn around 30% of our entire annual income, most hospitality businesses just aren’t viable.
“We’ve had the worst December’s trading in living memory and we’re facing the worst start to a year ever – instead of helping, our political leaders are squabbling with each other.”
Montgomery added: “Even those businesses that survive will seriously struggle to recover this year, not only is the support completely inadequate, in many cases what little is available hasn’t appeared months after it was promised.
“We will soon be proposing specific, realistic measures that both governments can introduce so we’ve got a fighting chance of getting back on our feet by next year.
“First of all though, we need them to grow up and start working together so that the hospitality sector still exists to drive our economic recovery once the virus is under better control,” he added.
SHG comprises many of the country’s largest restaurant and bar businesses, including The DRG Group, Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Pubs, Montpeliers, Manorview Group, Lisini Pub Co, Caledonia Inns, G1 Group, The Townhead Hotel Lockerbie, Mor-Rioghain Group, and Caledonian Heritable.
They have a combined turnover – in normal times – of £275m, with 200 venues and 6,000 staff – of which 1500 are aged under 25.