Revolution Bars urges Johnson to consider easing virus curbs ahead of schedule

·2-min read

The boss of bar group Revolution has called on the Government to “follow the data” and consider easing restrictions sooner than scheduled as the company sank to a loss for the past half-year.

Revolution Bars Group told investors on Tuesday that it slid to a £17.7 million pre-tax loss for the 26 weeks to December 26 after sales were battered by the pandemic.

The company’s chief executive Rob Pitcher told the PA news agency there was reason for positivity after around third of its venues reopened on Monday.

“Yesterday was a great day for us, our teams and customers, even if it was snowing at some locations,” he said.

“We had so much positivity around the estate, particularly with staff just really glad to be back.

“Trading wise, we were about 100% up against the same day in 2019 so it really felt like a move in the right direction.”

Revolution Group also runs the Revolucion de Cuba chain (Revolution/PA)

He said the business will continue to be loss-making while it only trades from 20 of its 66 bars due to restrictions.

The company will be “in a position to possibly break even” from the May 17 date for indoor reopening, when all sites will welcome customers again.

However, he said the business only expects to be profitable again from the June 21 stage of the Government’s reopening road map.

Mr Pitcher said the recent fall in virus cases and strong vaccine rollout mean the Government should consider whether restrictions can be eased ahead of these dates.

“The Prime Minister said he will follow the data not the date, so we are asking him to do exactly that,” he told PA.

“Given the vaccine rollout has taken place ahead of forecasts, I think there is case for looking closely at the current reopening schedule.”

Mr Pitcher said the company is looking at new opportunities to help spark a recovery after restrictions lift and is planning to trial two new operating models.

He told PA the group wants to reopen one of its current sites with a “competitive socialising” model which will involve a seaside-based theme and classic arcade games.

Another site, which will open later in the year, will “promote young entrepreneurs” as part of a mixed-use hospitality and retail site.

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