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April 3, 2020,

Igor Třeslín from Storyous for Forbes Czech Republic: Half of all pubs may not reopen. Let’s do something about it.

Igor Třeslín from Storyous for Forbes Czech Republic: Half of all pubs may not reopen. Let’s do something about it.

The next couple of weeks may ravage the Czech restaurant industry. Some restaurants have already closed entirely, while others are reporting only a fraction of former revenues. It is no exaggeration to say that once the quarantine is lifted we won’t have anywhere to go for a beer and social culture in the Czech Republic will be hit hard. At Storyous, however, we’re not giving up. And you can help too.

Why is the entire restaurant industry, including Karpíšek, Punčochář, and Pohlreich, already sounding the alarm, when the quarantine is only in its third week? Out of the over 3000 establishments to which Storyous supplies point of sale systems, around 500 are open, a mere 16 percent. Revenues have plunged by 90 percent. In addition, the restaurant industry operates with much lower margins than other sectors, and there is no opportunity to create cash reserves.

Order food on-line, pick it up contact-free at a window

Even though routine operation is impossible, anyone who decides to order take-away food will help pubs and restaurants immensely. As soon as the quarantine was announced, we realized that we had to help our industry. We’re a technology company, so over the course of several days we transformed all processes, started coding, and launched a website with a map of enterprises that are still open and offer the option of taking food or beverages home.

You can order from a specific restaurant directly on the website, use a card to pay on-line, and then simply pick it all up from a take-away window in an absolutely contactless and safe manner.

Government assistance? Essential

The situation is critical. The government must provide a cash injection, but even so, it is likely that if the state of emergency continues up to half of all restaurants will not survive. Their owners or operators will at best “merely” close, and in the worst case will declare bankruptcy. They will lay off employees, who will of course hardly be able find work in the field, and will then end up on unemployment assistance. The entire domestic economy will thus lose tens of billions.

A key measure to save restaurants will be to forgive government payroll levies for approximately one year. To restore demand, it is also necessary to reduce the VAT rate on all goods and services in the restaurant industry to ten percent.

It’s up to us now: #zachrangastro

The restaurant industry really does need to be saved, but for many people restaurant food can also be a way to make quarantine more pleasant. Not everyone loves to cook, and not everyone has the time to do so, even now. We’ve been working non-stop since the state of emergency began, and many other companies and people who are being forced to quickly react to the new situation are in a similar situation.

I’m confident that most industries will soon shake this off and slowly return to their former selves – just like people who will want to meet up with friends and family. But for the restaurant industry it might be too late, and instead of a sign saying “open again” they might find vacant premises. So, please order take-away food and help Czech restaurants survive this period of darkness.