Czech restaurant sales have recovered to pre-pandemic levels

Revenues at restaurants in the Czech Republic during the first three months of 2022 were up about 8 percent over 2019, though attendance was down. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 16.04.2022 09:47:00 (updated on 16.04.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Sales at restaurants in the Czech Republic over the first three months of 2022 were up more than 50 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a study conducted by SaltPay, which operates the Storyous electronic cash register system in the Czech Republic.

Restaurant revenue over the first three months of 2022 was up about six percent over 2020 and eight percent over 2019, indicating that sales at establishments in the Czech Republic have recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

At this time last year, restaurants could only serve customers through take-away windows and delivery services.

The increase in sales, however, can be entirely attributed to inflation, as restaurant attendance has declined at a higher rate. About sixteen percent fewer guests visited restaurants in the Czech Republic over the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2019.

The initial data may not tell the whole story, however, as winter months are traditionally the weakest for local restaurants, with attendance usually increasing gradually following Valentine's Day and into the warmer spring months. Over the first three months of this year, restaurants saw their highest sales during the final weekend in March.

"The highest sales for restaurants so far were on the weekend of March 25-27, which saw the largest number of customers since the beginning of the year," Jana Kohoutová, a spokesperson for SaltPay, told local media.

"The number of guests [during this weekend] was almost 20 percent higher than the average attendance throughout March this year."

SaltPay, who also supply cash register solutions to retail stores, noted that the war in Ukraine has not had an impact on local restaurants. While Czech retail sales fell by about 47 percent the week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, restaurants did not see a similar fall in revenue.

"Sales are developing well, even though costs are rising, which does not make us happy," said local restauranteur Luboš Kastner, who is behind the Moje restaurace project which offers assistance to small businesses in the food and drink industry.

According to Kastner, customers are willing to accept the increase in prices due to inflation, but may be more careful about their dining choices. Restaurants that have only increased prices without an accompanying increase in quality or other services may suffer in the coming months or years.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, year-on-year inflation in the Czech Republic hit 9.9 percent in January, 11.1 percent in February, and 12.7 percent in March, which was the highest it has been since 1998. Prices of electricity, gas, and also food have sharply risen over the past year.

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