Gastronomy: mismatches from 400 thousand pesos for fixed costs in March

Collect money to pay March salaries. Those of April, it will be seen. This, which is a widespread wake up call among thousands of Cordovan companies these days, constitutes a tough challenge for gastronomic venues.

For this activity, the economic standstill triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic took off before the official quarantine and, of course, was completed during its validity.

A survey carried out by the Gastronomic Chamber of the Córdoba Hotel Business Hotel Gastronomic Association, three days before the measure was decreed and when restrictions were in force (use of 50 percent of the tables), detected that demand in bars and restaurants had fallen more 80 percent.

Today, all the premises remain closed to the public and without billing a peso. Hardly a smaller quota, estimated at less than 20 percent, records income of different magnitudes via delivery of prepared food.

The sector is made up, for the most part, of small businesses that in the province employ, under all conditions, 70,463 people, 6.5 percent of the total number of workers in shops and services, according to data from the Analysis Committee of the Economic Analysis Forum of Commerce and Services, with the technical assistance of Economic Trends.

With no billing and no financial “back” in most cases, pooling resources to cover March fixed costs is a widespread effort.

An estimate mentioned by owners of culinary chains and by the aforementioned gastronomic chamber indicates that a typical, smaller-scale store, some 15 to 20 employees, may have to “easily” cover a gap from 400 thousand pesos, mainly considering salaries and rent.

If the business scale grows to 350 meters, with 25 to 30 employees, the cost can double. The equation is also impacted by services and tax commitments that cannot be deferred.

“We are in conversation with the provincial government to make access to the line launched by Bancor more flexible to cover payrolls. There is a lot of concern because the first response was that our sector, the gastronomic sector, is not among the priorities, “said Gabino Escribano, president of the Gastronomic Chamber.

“Salaries are the absolute priority. In principle, we can cover them with savings, but the prolongation of this situation is very worrying. Official help will be needed, yes or yes, ”acknowledged Marcos Bertorello, founding partner of Junior B.

Francisco Tillard, one of the owners of the Pan Plano pizzeria network, agrees that the sector is experiencing a general drowning. In your case you are betting on enhancing the delivery, a channel that I was already doing, but clarifies that it is a complex way out, especially for those who did not do it before.

“It takes time to position a brand like that in the consumer’s mind delivery. One thing is a hamburger and another is a grill ”, he graphed.

Escribano agrees, and points to another node in the system: logistics. “From the Chamber we ask the apps from delivery to lower their commissions, which range from 20 to 30 percent over the ticket. It is very, very difficult to absorb. There was no positive response, so we urge the consumer to order food directly from the locals. “

Employment: In the province

Data provided by the Economic Trends consultancy.

70,463 They are the people who work in the gastronomic field throughout the province, under all modalities.

Print edition

The original text of this article was published on 03/31/2020 in our printed edition.