Fourth & CGA Business Leaders Survey 2021

CGA Business Leaders’ Survey reveals short-term stress, long-term optimism

Hospitality leaders are optimistic about the long-term future of the sector and its role in the UK’s economic recovery—but urgent support is needed to sustain businesses through to reopening.

Those are among the headlines from the CGA Business Leaders’ Survey 2021, sponsored by Fourth, which sets out the extreme vulnerability of many firms, as well as cautious confidence for renewal in the second half of the year. It shows that one in ten (9%) leaders predict their businesses will not survive if no additional support is announced in the Chancellor’s Budget on Wednesday (3 March). Only just over a third (37%) think their businesses can return to profit this year without fresh support.

But there are also signs of confidence about prospects from mid-April, when a limited restart of hospitality is due to begin. Half (51%) of business leaders surveyed by CGA are confident about prospects for the sector over the next 12 months—more than triple the number who felt the same way in November (14%). The number feeling confident about their own businesses has doubled, from 27% to 54%.

There is evidence that many businesses will be seeking to grow rather than shrink their portfolios. Three in five (59%) leaders anticipating opening new sites in 2021—a notable increase of eleven percentage points since November, and much higher than the number of leaders (31%) who anticipate keeping some sites shut for good.

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