Restaurateurs are trying to save their business refusing imports

Restaurateurs are trying to save their business refusing imports

The number of Kyiv restaurants that bring losses to their owners is increasing. At least 20 establishments closed in Kyiv in January – beginning of February, according to the calculations of General Director of Restaurant Consulting Olha Nasonova. As a rule, these are non-chain places: Panda, Graffiti Pizza, Rodizio, Pena and others. “This is a lot,” noted the expert. For example, not more than a dozen of restaurants closed in the capital in the same period of last year. The majority of restaurants located in the central part of the city closed their doors only during the most fierce standoffs. As a rule, however, many of them continued to work after a day or two.

Fewer visitors

There are several reasons why restaurateurs are forced to shut down their business. Decrease of attendance is one of them. Co-owner of Pizza Celentano chain Maksym Khramov told capital and in January and beginning of February the number of visitors was comparable to the same period of last year. “However, last year was not a typical one,” adds co-owner of Aroma Café chain Yakov Livshits. Compared with the average monthly indicator of 2014 the attendance dropped by 15%. Compared to the same period of 2013, the restaurateurs lost 50% of their customers.

High rent, which is tied to the hard currency in many non-chain establishments, is yet another reason. “Not all property owners agreed to make concessions and transfer the rent payments into national currency. Meanwhile it is impossible to expect profits in such conditions,” says Nasonova.

Dishes will become of Ukrainian origin

This will be a difficult year, predicts Livshits. “We will be forced to raise the prices because of the growth of dollar exchange rate. We don’t know yet by how much,” he added. Khramov believes that the prices should increase by no more than 15% within a month. The restaurant owners are afraid to raise the prices more as they risk losing even more customers. “We will probably partially raise the prices and partially preserve at the expense of our own profitability,” says General Director of Sushiya chain Roman Romanchuk, confirming the trend.

Re-orientation to the Ukrainian-made products will help restaurant owners to hold back the increase of prices. It is indeed happening and now 70-80% of the total quantity of the products that we purchase are manufactured in our country, says Khramov. “The rest simply cannot be replaced with Ukrainian analogs,” he emphasizes.

Further increase of prices for imported goods, however, will force restaurant owners to seek a way out of the situation. For instance, a director of one of the capital’s restaurants on condition of anonymity said that many of his colleagues are reducing the portions, which allows them not to raise the prices. “For mulled wine cheap Moldovan or Ukrainian wine is purchased at very low prices,” he shares.

Olha Nasonova believes that “original dishes” will appear this year in the restaurants of medium-price category: world popular salads, appetizers and main dishes will be cooked from Ukrainian ingredients. “For instance the chefs will be using local cheeses instead of Parmesan. This will also apply to other dishes, for instance steaks,” adds the expert. Only few places will be able to afford to cook dishes from imported products.

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