Catering businesses: ‘In 10.5 months we will be closed 6.5 …

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‘It’s a drama. We are the first to close and the last to open, ‘says the CEO of Le Pain Quotidien.

Stef Meulemans, CEO of Top Brands, is a shareholder of Pïzza Hut, Boulangerie Paul, Wasbar and hamburger chain Ellis. “The further closure of the catering industry means that the support measures must be increased or there is a risk of casualties,” says Meulemans. ‘It looks like we will have been closed 6.5 to 10.5 months including the first lockdown.’ He hopes that there will be a remission from the NSSO before the fourth quarter. About the reopening date, Meulemans says that he would rather be closed a little longer and reopen fully instead of working with, for example, one table in three. ‘A stop and go can be avoided altogether. ‘ The two lockdowns mean a loss of sales of 50 million and 2,000 people who are suffering mentally, he says.

Annick Van Overstraeten, CEO of Le Pain Quotidien, also points to the human toll. ‘It’s a drama. We are the first to close and the last to open. It is very difficult for the people. ‘ It recovers 30 percent of its turnover through take-away and home delivery. Le Pain Quotidien already had to restructure financially.

Self-employed organization NSZ regrets that the catering industry has to remain closed for so long. “New support measures must be introduced to avoid a new tsunami of bankruptcies,” it sounds.

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