Restaurateur: After the corona there was a great demand, but they didn't want to work because of the halat. Now there is no mood (Photo: ShutterStock)
The warnings of the economists against damage to the Israeli economy following the legal reform, is becoming a reality, at least as far as the restaurant industry is concerned.
Restaurateurs report a drop of between 20% and 30% in restaurant revenues in Israel in the last two and a half months.
Shai Berman, chairman of the restaurant association, tells Walla, "The situation is not good.
We are looking ahead with great concern."
In economics, the phenomenon is called the "perfect storm", a coming together of several factors that create impossible market conditions: the combination of the national mood, the demonstrations, inflation, interest rate increases and the damage to high-tech and households, is giving its signals in the restaurant industry.
Suppliers of old and successful restaurants tell of a sharp cut in orders. Tel Aviv restaurants, which are on the axis of the protests, are forced to change their opening hours.
Yuval Ben Naria announced a month ago about the closing of the decorated restaurant a on Saturday night, Ran Shmueli from "Claro" told about the damage to the income and Chaim Cohen, whose "Jaffa Tel Aviv" is very close to the Azrieli junction, is also considering closing it on Motzash.
"The reports we receive from restaurants all over the country, not only in Tel Aviv, are about a decrease in revenue for January, February and March," Berman says and adds: "The direction is not encouraging at all. We are in an atmosphere of general gloom and the restaurants are the best barometer for that. Bad mood , the economic situation is burdensome, the increase in interest rates makes it difficult for the public, so they cut back where possible and eating out is the first thing they give up."
Shai Berman, chairman of the restaurant association (photo: Udi Golan)
"Customers will not break savings to sit with us"
Berman's words indicate that not only the shaky economic situation and the legal reform are causing damage to the industry: "In addition, there is a 25% decrease in the number of tourists entering Israel, against the background of the security situation, the protests and the cost of living here, and compared to 2019, before the corona virus, this decrease is very significant. We are very upset and don't know what can be done.
You have to understand, the social situation today is not good for business in general and it is certainly bad for businesses of our kind, which are built on mood and atmosphere, when there is no atmosphere and no mood, you don't go to restaurants. We hope that our leadership will come to its senses and realize that there are things that Beyond ideology, like the fabric of life."
Restaurants reached a situation of layoffs?
"Our industry is in a shortage of manpower. Since the corona virus, we have not been able to return to the level of manpower we need. But there is a very big concern. Profits are eroding, raw materials are becoming more expensive, and it is very difficult to raise prices again, because there is a glass ceiling that we have already reached. In the end, customers are having trouble paying current bills and we wouldn't want them to have to spend their savings to sit with us. We look ahead with great concern."
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Poor occupancy and an uncertain future.
In Tel Aviv the situation is still reasonable, but the fixed expenses are also high (Photo: ShutterStock)
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A well-known restaurateur from Tel Aviv
told Walla: "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't curse the profession... I like to host, but after two years of opening and closing, take-away or deliveries - and in part of the period not even that, a good year has come with the economic tide and the high-tech boom.
But Even the days when people couldn't get a table with us, we couldn't make the most of it, because even though we offered an attractive salary, they didn't want to come to work because of the halat.
I found myself a waiter and even a dishwasher.
I'm not complaining, it's part of being a restaurateur.
But in the last two months, catastrophe.
We have reached a situation where people cancel at the last minute even birthday meals.
When it comes to clients I feel comfortable asking, I find out why.
They answer me that the appetite is gone because of the news"
It sounds like a local problem of the state of Tel Aviv, doesn't it?
"On the contrary, the situation with us is less bad. It is true that we have high fixed expenses, but here at least there is no situation of an empty restaurant: on Purim there was even a peak for several days because people decided to rejoice in the power, they demonstrated and also had a good time, but this was the exception. I spoke
with Friends in the periphery and it's even worse with them. So maybe one sunny Saturday after snow in Hermon can do good for a restaurant in the north, but in the middle of the week, which was based on tourists, it's empty. Here in Tel Aviv, as bad as it is, people still go out because it's in their nature. Less, but going out."