A heavy decline in sales, and a 50% discount for S4labour customers for January.

Following a heavy decline in sales, S4labour writes to all customers promising 50% discount in wake of new low point for the industry. 

Analysis from S4labour shows that total hospitality industry sales were down 73.7% on last year for December. Food was down 63.7%, Drink was down 81.7% and Accommodation was down 71.4%. Given that December is usually hospitality’s busiest month, this is a hard blow for the industry.

To exacerbate the problem, New Year’s Eve sales were down by 97.8%, as all pubs and restaurants moved into Tier 3 or above prior to the 31st. The few takeaway sales that were left do not compensate for eating in sales.

In a communication issued today, S4labour has reassured all customers that they are “prepared to stand with them” shouldering some of the financial burden as new restrictions hit. All customers have been given a 50% discount on January’s invoices.

S4labour has offered the same discount to all customers during previous lockdowns and has always made available to those whose tiers had made it impossible to trade. However, as the vast majority of operators will have moved into tier 4, very few will be trading and almost none profitably.    

Sam Wignell, S4labour’s Chief Customer Officer commented: “As we enter the New Year, this is a dire time for our industry and it is the responsible thing to share some of the pain and to help our customers get to the other side of this crisis.”

Christmas takings in pubs, bars and restaurants fall almost 80%

Christmas takings in pubs, bars and restaurants fall almost 80%


Analysis from S4labour shows that total hospitality industry sales were 79.4% down on last year from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. Drink was down 84.2% and food was down 64%. Given that households were prevented from mixing in hospitality venues, it is no surprise that bookings were cancelled and sales plummeted.
Individually, total figures for the individual days were as follows: Christmas Eve was down by 71.5%, Christmas Day was down by 78.5% and boxing day was down by 88.1%.
During the festive period, sites often close for at least one of the days, however this year with the recent Tier 4 introduction, most sites have been unable to open this year the majority of sites were closed; 53.3% of sites were closed on Christmas Eve, 33.6% of sites were closed on Christmas day and 65.2% on boxing day.
Richard Hartley, Chief Product Officer commented: “this unpredictable year has ended in very suppressed Christmas sales due to ever increasing COVID restrictions, and it’s not looking likely to change for a while yet.”

Dec 2020 sales to date

Dec 2020 sales to date

 Analysis from S4labour shows that sales are down 64.3% year on year for Tier 2 venues, for December to date. As a result of the restrictions places on hospitality, food is down 55.3% and drink is down a significant 72.5%. Given that Tier 1 is a tiny percentage of the country, these Tier 2 figures are the best case scenario for the majority of the hospitality industry, most of which is now in Tier 3 or 4, and down over 90% year on year.


London has fared worse, down 71.1% year on year, while the rest of the country is down 61.9%. These figures in the capital are due to drop even further to full lockdown levels, given the recent announcements regarding further restrictions.


Richard Hartley, Chief Product Officer commented: “the everchanging covid restrictions continue to have a damaging effect on the industry as expected, and Christmas this year is now set to look even more uncertain than previously expected.”

Tenzo & S4labour – covid sales effect

Tenzo & S4labour – covid sales effect

Joint Research Between S4labour and Tenzo identifies 98% rise in takeaway sales, but has little impact on overall decline of hospitality like for likes. 


Joint research from hospitality software providers S4labour and Tenzo the business intelligence specialists, reveals that despite a 98% year on year increase in takeaway sales during the first full week of trading since lockdown 2.0, eat in sales slumped 50% over the same period, resulting in a 46.7% overall decline in year on year sales, comparing last week with the same week in 2019.  The research by S4labour and Tenzo was done in conjunction with each other to highlight the plight of the industry and help forecast trends for 2021.

Taking a look at the whole Covid period between March the 20th to the 21st of December, the hospitality industry has suffered a sales decline of 56.5% on the same period in 2019, the majority of this driven by lockdowns and the Tier system. During the periods of the year with the least restrictions, between July and September, sales were down just 7.5% year on year.

Christian Mouysset, CEO at Tenzo, the business intelligence and forecasting platform for hospitality, commented that “Unfortunately, restaurateurs can no longer rely on eat-in sales. With changes to restrictions happening so often and at such short notice, the only way for restaurants to recoup revenue is to focus on diversifying their offering by focusing on the delivery and takeaway channels.’

Alastair Scott, MD of S4labour and Malvern Inns added “Covid-19 and the various restrictions on hospitality have been devastating. The innovation in take-away and the speed at which operators have adapted has been remarkable. While take-away will have helped some operators keep their heads above water, the model doesn’t work for many. News that London is going in to tier 3 this week will be devastating, for those who would not have been able to plan for such an abrupt end of trading. “

Sales by Tier, coming out of lockdown 2.0

Sales by Tier, coming out of lockdown 2.0

Tiers 1,2 and 3 down  30%, 39.2% and 77.8% respectively.

Analysis from S4labour shows that sales in Tier 1, 2 ad 3 venues are down 30%, 39.2% and 77.8% respectively year on year.  As we expected, the tougher lockdown restrictions have been disastrous for the sector, however there is also proof in Tier 2 that despite greater restrictions on average than before lockdown (most areas in Tier 2 came from either Tier 1 or 2 in October/November), that some consumer confidence is there. A lower post-lockdown effect can be seen than previously expected, as pent up demand for hospitality drives sales yet restrictions preventing households from mixing indoors curbs sales as the cold December kicks in. The new rules concerning eating are also affecting overall sales, as going out for a drink no longer becomes an option, and a trip out becomes more expensive. As expected food sales are down by less year on year at 18.9%, whilst drink is down 49.6%.


It must be noted that whilst these figures compare sites that are open; 25% of Tier 2 sites are still closed, and 91.7% of Tier 3 sites are closed. Take these venues into account and the overall figures are much worse.


Richard Hartley, Chief Product Office at S4labour commented:” We can fear that with these levels of sales that a lot of venues will struggle to be profitable. The number of sites not open shows just how catastrophic the current restrictions are for the industry. This is a time that hospitality normally thrives and many organisations rely on December revenues to get through January and February.”

Hospitality industry loses 94% of sales over lockdown

Hospitality industry loses 94% of sales over lockdown

Hospitality industry loses 94% of sales over lockdown

Analysis from S4labour shows that through lockdown 2.0, hospitality sales in sites that were trading in England were 80% down on pre lockdown levels and 96.5% down year on year. It should be noted that on top of these figures, 32% of sites did not trade at all, so the actual cost to hospitality during the lockdown was 94% of revenue.

Takeaway sales were low during lockdown, indicating that for most sites it was not feasible or profitable to pivot business models.

Sales figures from the few days before lockdown indicate that consumer confidence in hospitality is high, and pent up demand will mean that the few days coming out of lockdown are likely to be busy.

Alastair Scott, Managing Director at Malvern Inns commented: “Most operators do not have the infrastructure or the business models to run takeaway sales at a profit and the government cannot expect the industry to rely on such sales for survival. As lockdown-esque restrictions linger further into December, it is not looking promising for an industry that relies on Christmas trading to get through the next year.”